Was it ever really in any doubt that Nintendo would follow up 2007’s sublime Super Mario Galaxy with another breathtaking installment following its announcement at E3 last year? Perhaps only among the more cynical members of the gaming populous; because for the rest of us, Shigeru Miyamoto’s skills in the art of platforming (and, it often seems, anything else he chooses to turn his hand to) are simply unquestionable.
The levels are meticulously designed, offering the perfect mix of old clichés and innovation, and are jaw droppingly gorgeous to boot
Enter Super Mario Galaxy 2, the first direct sequel to a Mario game on the same platform as its predecessor since Super Mario Bros. 3 way back in 1991 – a fact that has been rolled out quite a bit in the last twelve months, but which is nevertheless astonishing – and the follow up to last rather spiffy year’s The new Super Mario Bros. Wii. To summarise that this is the ultimate culmination of Miyamoto’s work to date wouldn’t be too far wide of the mark. Everything you see, do and here is the product of the decades of genius that has preceded it.
The game swings comfortably from free roaming 3D landscapes to confining 2D mazes to astonishingly simple vertical play and back again with tremendous aplomb. The levels are meticulously designed, offering the perfect mix of old clichés and innovation, and are jaw droppingly gorgeous to boot – we all know the limitations of the Wii as a machine, but it would appear that Nintendo have squeezed every last drop of power out of its baby and then some.
Some of the most memorable features of previous Mario titles return, including Yoshi (sorely missed in the original Mario Galaxy), the traditional world map and the Wii Remote waggling, star bit collection shenanigans of 2007. On top of that we’ve got a healthy selection of outfits to power the Italian Plumber up, ranging from some old favourites to some ingenious new additions (which we’re loathe to spoil for you).
To say that this is the perfect platform game does it a disservice – its very design doesn’t even allow it to be comfortably pigeonholed as one for starters – and instead it could be more accurate to simply call it the perfect video game. It’s got absolutely everything that reminds us why we fell in love with gaming in the first place, and manages to achieve what few games ever do; an indescribably fun experience whether taken in short bursts or over mammoth sessions.