The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet

Super Mario Galaxy 2 first impressions

I’ve been playing the thing for about a day now, and it’s pretty goddamn good. It’s basically a MOTS sequel, so if you liked Mario Galaxy, you’ll like this one too. And if you didn’t like Mario Galaxy, well, you’re a failure as a human being anyhow, and you should probably get back to waxing your sinister mustache instead of reading stupid blogs.

The controls seem to have been tightened a bit, which is nice, since that was one of my only two complaints with the first game. Largely, they seem to have accomplished this by reducing the number of odd, tiny planets you have to run around, and by locking the camera in place when you do so you don’t have to try to contend with your frame of reference being randomly repositioned.

There are still minigames, which is too bad, but on balance they seem more like they belong in the game than they did in the first, as they generally use the actual game mechanics instead of randomly having you surf or play a bomb-tossing puzzle or some bullshit. Maybe those are coming later; I don’t really know.

There are a lot more galaxies this time around, but with a lot less to do in any one. I don’t know that that’s good or bad, but it’s the case.

So far, I haven’t noticed there’s either more or less narrative than there was in the first Mario Galaxy. I mean, for all the noise the internets made, the plot is exactly the same: Bowser kidnaps the princess and then declares he’s going to create his own galaxy in the centre of the universe. Mario takes off in a spaceship to follow him, and the spaceship has dudes on it who tell you shit periodically between levels. I mean, it’s exactly the same. So what all the "less narrative" people have been braying about for a year I couldn’t say.

Bowser’s more comical this time than he was in the original, where basically he was just a big evil presence. This time he cracks jokes and prattles somewhat. The fight is also different, which should assuage people who were annoyed enough that all the Bowser fights in the first game were exactly the same.

Sometimes content from the original Mario Galaxy is revisited, but with a twist; for example, you may have to fight a boss that you fought in the first game, but you’ll do it in different conditions. That’s pretty interesting.

The new powerups are fun. I like the drill a lot. Yoshi is interesting, and the tongue controls are a lot more intuitive than you might expect, but he’s a whole lot less powerful than he was in Super Mario World or even Super Mario Sunshine. You may recall Yoshi being completely broken from overpowered in Super Mario World, where he made you invincible and able to kill almost anything, and caused you to gain huge numbers of extra lives from eggs. He also made the fire flower totally worthless, since you couldn’t throw fireballs while riding Yoshi, and there was literally no situation in which you wouldn’t want a Yoshi. In Mario Galaxy 2, Yoshi is considerably less strong than that; he can’t stomp on spiked mobs without taking damage, and Mario takes damage in addition to being dismounted if you get hit. Also, there are far more mobs Yoshi can’t eat. On the bright side, there are a lot of fun new things to do with Yoshi; the berries are interesting (the bulb berry in particular rocks your face), and there are quite a few mobs that can be spit out for interesting effects.

I got my wish: the hub world is way less annoying and hard to get around this time. Instead of having to run around to different parts of the hub in order to get to the actual levels, they’re all accessed centrally from a New Super Mario Bros.-style map screen. It’s much more usable than the old method, but has a little bit less flavour.

May 24th, 2010 Posted by | Games | 3 comments


  1. Yeah, I hope there’s no surfing. What ended up happening after the first few times of falling off the track in SMG is that I started creeping slowly along the track. Which I’m sure is not how Nintendo intends its players to experience it, but hey, it works.

    Also, there are situations where you don’t want to ride Yoshi, few though there are:

    1. In a couple of underground locations, there are these simple mazelike tunnels, but the trick is that there are these two blocks that ascend and descend, controlling how high you. So you have to go through at the right time so you don’t get crushed, and Yoshi gives you just that little bit extra height that makes getting through impossible. Sure, you could take the exit with those magical wing things, but if I recall correctly, those take you to different exits than the ones you go through if you make it through those areas.
    2. If you want to fly the length of the level (I’m looking at you, Outrageous), you can’t do it with Yoshi. You can only go so far with him, and that’s it.

    Comment by Nyperold | 25 May 2010

  2. Are you perchance thinking of Awesome? That’s the one everybody flies over, with all the goddamn ice. Outrageous is super fun imvo.

    I’m reasonably sure the wings in that level you’re thinking of take you to the same place as the regular exit, which is where you’ll end up if you go through the tunnel. But, okay, yeah, there are a few limit cases where a Yoshi is suboptimal. I can deal with that. :-)

    Comment by Darien | 26 May 2010

  3. Naw, Awesome is the sort of level I would fly all the way over if I could, but I can’t for some reason. It’s been a while, but isn’t there a pipe partway through that forces you to land? I mean, maybe I can take off again, but then I miss the Starman that lets me get quite a few lives (not Vanilla Secret 2 levels of lives, but still) before I have to stop so I won’t kill the Paratroopa that I have to bounce off of.

    …Oh, I see what it was, at least in Valley of Bowser 2. Getting through that tunnel leads to another tunnel in which the floor rises, and if you don’t get out soon enough, you die, but if you stop at the very end, it’ll lift you high enough to go over the wall and get to the keyhole exit, leading to the fortress that you have to beat to get the Back Door. (Or you could beat it for completion’s sake, whichever.)

    It seems like there was another one, but the Super Mario Wiki seems to be intent on being as not-searchable as possible, and its Yoshi’s Wings article doesn’t seem to have where they show up at the moment.

    Comment by Nyperold | 27 May 2010

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