I can't think of any serious gamer who hasn't played or heard of a Mario game. His 8-bit theme pretty much defined the sound of video games for decades. When a non-gamer thinks of video games, that catchy tune comes to mind almost instantly. Anywho, his newest installment came out for the Wii a couple of weeks ago now, and being the massive gaming nerd/geek that I am, not only did I play through it and rescue the princess, I wanted to write what I thought of the game. Now bear in mind, I didn't go for all 240 stars or all of that shiz. I will eventually. So far I've nabbed the princess back and I was on my way to getting all the extra green stars.
Too Little Too Late : Episode 4
Storyline (20 points) -
The Super Mario franchise has had the same story throughout the whole series. You shouldn't expect any major deviations from the formula.
Mario loves Peach, Peach gets kidnapped by Bowser, Mario goes through levels to catch Bowser, Mario rescues Peach. They do unspeakable things to each other while the credits roll. Pretty simple.
The story is actually not as significant here as in Super Mario Galaxy 1. Rosalina's role is pretty much non existant in this one and it's just Mario going for Bowser.
You get a nifty hub area too, but that will be explained in the gameplay.
Gameplay (20 points)
The gameplay and controls are identical of Super Mario Galaxy 1. One uses the Wii mote and the nunchuk to control Mario. Shake the wiimote to attack enemies, and so on.
Attacking an enemy and killing them by shaking the Wiimote yields star bits which can be picked up by walking into them or pointing at them with your Wii mote.
Though the biggest change in the gameplay from Galaxy 1 was the addition of Yoshi. One can lick/eat enemies by pointing with the "tongue" (via Wii mote) and spit out star bits. Yoshi is also required for some of the levels.
Speaking of levels, some of them are pretty damn imaginative. See for yourself! The levels themselves use the same engine as Galaxy 1, but they've massively split the different galaxies into many different levels. In Galaxy 1, one galaxy would have 3-5 different stars. In Galaxy 2, with the more diverse set of levels, each of them only have between 2-3 stars. It's a welcome change (at least in my opinion) because I didn't like being shot to the same level four-five times for a slightly different objective.
Also, the hub area! It's much more accessible and straight to the point. In Galaxy 1, the hub area was this giant space station that took 5 minutes to get from one place to another. Galaxy 2, it's a small area which is in the shape of Mario's head. All you have to do is run to the cap (where you usually start off anyway) and then you go to a world map (reminiscent of Super Mario Bros 3, World and New Super series) where you can literally jump right into the action from there. It's a very welcomed change, and it puts way more emphasis on level creativity than ever before.
Also: You can play as Luigi, he's not too different than Mario, other than flutter while jumping instead of flipping around. Developer ghosts also appear if you clear the level with Luigi.
Music/Sounds (20 points) -As in Super Mario Galaxy 1, the music was done by the great Koji Kondo of all Mario music fame as well as Mahito Yokota and Ryo Nagamatsu. As with Galaxy 1, the Galaxy series has taken more of an orchestral influence to most of its themes rather than the traditional approach.
Some of my favorite music from the game:
Innovation to Genre (20 points) -
Although Super Mario Galaxy 2 set a new standard for all platforming games from here on out, I personally believe Galaxy 1 had a way bigger impact, before Galaxy 1, no platformer had such precision despite the massive change in physics in the game engine and how it worked. But in any case, it only is outranked by its predecessor, and that's really saying something.
Re-playability (10 points)This game is the poster child for re-playability. You only need 70 stars to "beat" the game, but there are so many extra stars to catch once the main quest is over, the total racks up to over 240! That's not to say it's easy, because it's not. You need 120 stars to even unlock the second half, and it only increases in difficulty from there. Needless to say, I'm not much of a completest myself, I'll probably come back and finish the stars once I've finished some other games I've been working on. But the challenge is still there.
Nostalgic Inclusion (10 points) -This game bleeds itself with nostalgia, two of the three themes I posted were from Super Mario 64, the game starts off and has many levels which takes place in a 2D side-scroller position, there are notes around the level that make up tunes to well known themes from earlier mario games. There's a nod to the series all around here, and that's not really a surprise there.
This game is an absolute must have for anyone who has a Nintendo Wii. If you have a Wii and do not have this game, I can legitimately ask this question: "What the hell is wrong with you!?"
Final Score: 96/100 (A+ HIGHLY-HIGHLY Recommended!)