Super Mario Galaxy 2 PreviewBy Abbie Heppe - Posted Feb 25, 2010
Super Mario Galaxy 2 clearly deserves to be called “super.” The eight or so levels I played at Nintendo’s 2010 media summit ran the gamut from simple to embarrassingly complex, and overall, the new Mario builds on the foundation of previous Mario titles, but adds enough novel tricks, traps and abilities to keep it from being a stale nostalgia trip.
Judging by the interview I did with Nintendo’s Bill Trinen (which you can see on X-Play shortly), the development team had as much fun experimenting and creating the game as I had playing, probably a core reason SMG2 has improved so greatly on what the first game offered.
The addition of Yoshi is the biggest game-changer in Super Mario Galaxy 2. Not every level uses Yoshi, but the ones that do are impressive. Mario’s dinosaur friend swings his tongue, and gobbles down enemies and fruits that act as items. Some fruits allows you speed Yoshi up or float him in the air. Expanded-power Yoshi is a welcome expansion of the established Galaxy gameplay.
Along with the return of old Nintendo pals, Galaxy 2 breaks out some new items too. The level Nintendo demonstrated in the early morning presser involved a drill that allows players to dig through planets and explore within them, opening new paths where it appears none exist. Although it felt like cheating to watch the level played before I had to chance to solve it myself, little magic was lost as a consequence; there’s a lot of pleasure in experimentation with new devices.
What is most impressive is how the new items are incorporated into puzzles that challenge my perception of 2D vs 3D platforming. The game tightly nestles in between the two in a very satisfying manner. I am still delighted as I write this.
Many elements from the first game reappear -- the bee suit, the Lumas and the collectable comet bits that can be used to unlock new areas -- but (of course), there are some new approaches to these elements that I can't detail because, well, they're secret for now, known only to Nintendo.
In short, SMG2 is enjoyable to watch, to play, to assist with star collection or to simply heckle other players attempting the most challenging of puzzles. May 23 can't come soon enough.