I still remember my praise for Super Mario Galaxy when I first played it back in 2007. It was winter, we didn’t want to go out, so we cuddled on the couch wile playing the fat plumber’s latest installment. I was Mario, she was collecting star bits. I called it “the perfect multiplayer experience”. Now, I’m in a bit of a sticky situation now. Is there a word called “perfecter”?

Little Orange Big Bum Star

It’s like they took the concept of the first game and upped the ante. The levels are better, the level select is slicker, the music is crazier, the game is longer, the awesome moments are more epic and the multiplayer is… well, I’ll use the word perfecter just because I want to.

I’m now entirely sure that Super Mario Galaxy 2 is a game best enjoyed with two people – the second player will want to keep on playing the game as bad as you. Now, he or she has an avatar (an orange star following Mario around) and can not only collect star bits, but coins, lives, upgrades… as well as kill baddies. If that makes you think of game balance, you’re antisocial and need to live a little. The excrutiatingly frustrating game (well, later on) becomes tension relieving when someone sits next to you. Because you need him or her, and he or she needs you. Multiplayer at its finest, and I’m not sure why it took twenty years of trying around to come up with this.

Bigger, badder, bester

As I already said, the levels are breathtaking. Obviously, we’re used to that: this is a Mario game after all. But I was amazed at the tricks Nintendo still had up their sleeves. In the last game, the whole gravity concept was being introduced – in this game, they just go all-out, saying that if you don’t know this shit by now, this will not be a game for you. Galaxy 2 is certainly harder than the first one, but its creativity makes it a lot more fun.

Remember in Mario Galaxy, how you could replay the game as Luigi after getting 120 stars? Forget that stuff. Luigi is available starting about midway through the first playthrough. There’s no second playthrough – instead, green stars have been hidden throughout the levels. There’s no time limit, no pressure, you can search for hours on end if you want. But finding these stars will force you to think outside the box, to do things that even look like they are breaking the game. So great.

In all…

Hey, if you haven’t played Galaxy, don’t bother with the second one yet. Better take your time and get introduced to the gravity concept, then switch to number two. You’ll enjoy all those nifty features they threw in there a lot more.

People who want to be cynical criticize it and call it an expansion pack – and it is. It expands upon the concept. It’s not just new levels. It’s a lot more. Fun.

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