note: I did include it in my SMG review, but i'm reviewing this one by itself.
Mario Galaxy was, and still is the highest point of the Mario series. The platforming worked well, the levels were colorful, and full of variety, and a soundtrack that will make even the prettiest girl cry manly tears. But how was Mario Galaxy 2, the first direct sequel to a console Mario game since Super Mario Bros 4. Mario World?
Yes, it was still good. Yes there was still a lot of variety. Yes, it was longer. And yes, the soundtrack was improved. But in the end, Super Mario Galaxy 2 was much lazier than the original Galaxy. Slight gameplay tweaks aside, it was one huge level pack. It had lots of callbacks to the previous games, hell, it even reused some tracks. If you break down the game, you can see the 30 years of Mario history. The most blatant example was the Throwback Galaxy, which was literally a blatant copy of Whomp's Fortress from SM 64
. Smaller examples include the Floating blocks level, which has a strong Sunshine vibe, a faster version of a level from Galaxy, a remix of a remix of the main theme, dear lord, i could go on.
Mario's strength has always been huge tweaks from game to game. Every game had a substantial improvement from the last. 1 was much better than Donkey Kong and Mario Bros, Doki Doki Mario was strange, and unique for it's time, 3 included more variety, compared to 1, Land and Land 2 had a different setting, World included bonus levels, extra routes, and more secrets, Yoshi's Island had a colorful artstyle, and different mechanics, like the flutter jump, the egg throwing, etc, 64 was it's jump into 3D, Sunshine gave you a gun (Ok, still...), and Galaxy had gravity, more variety, and several gimmicks that actually worked. Galaxy 2, and by extension, New Super Mario Bros and Wii, didn't revolutionize. It just made small improvements, and tweaks. Other than that, it's just a big expansion pack.
But don't let that discourage you, Galaxy 2 is still a good game. The new power-ups are pretty interesting, and Yoshi's return was welcome. The level design is amazing, and well varied, and like i said, the soundtrack is substantially improved. Every original piece is catchy and at times, epic. It still retains the charm of the Mario series, and the tweaks, while very small, are still welcome. Galaxy 2 is fun, but don't expect a huge leap