Super Mario Galaxy 2 hits the Nintendo Wii today, and to judge by the critical reception, the latest installment in Nintendo's top-selling franchise is going to be a smash. Over at Metacritic, Super Mario Galaxy 2 review scores hit an astounding average of 98 percentage points – a signal of just how unified the reviewers are in their appreciation of the game. But what makes Galaxy 2 so great? Let's go to the score cards.
The Escapist acknowledges that Super Mario Galaxy 2 follows a pretty familiar Mario rubric: There's a princess to save, points to rack up, a scaly monster to defeat. Still, The Escapist's reviewer says that "the incredible creativity that goes into [Galaxy 2's] planets will nonetheless fill you with the kind of awe and glee you felt when you first started playing games."
As most gamers know, the Nintendo Wii isn't exactly a high-powered machine. Still, Gamespot says Nintendo has managed to make Super Mario Galaxy 2 look bright and inviting. "There is an unabashed joy in movement that makes even running around the colorful worlds and taking in the uplifting atmosphere feel special," the Gamespot team notes.
Part of the appeal of the Mario franchise has always been its intuitive controls, which allow casual gamers to dive into the action, while rewarding the fast finger-speed of veteran Nintendo warriors. No exception here. "To say that the actual controls of Super Mario Galaxy are smooth and responsive would be a gross understatement," Nintendo Life notes, adding that "the developers have managed to give Yoshi [a familiar companion missing from the first Galaxy] a feel all his own and somehow find an extremely enjoyable way of using his trademark tongue to take the game's already solid gameplay engine to new heights."
The game design
Of course, a Mario game is nothing without intricate design, and here, too, Nintendo pulls no punches. "Each galaxy, and each planet in it, feels crafted and considered," writes Scott Jones of the Onion AV Club. "You’ll balance on a platform with the entirety of the universe beneath your feet, and spot a moon you can’t reach yet. In the distance, you’ll see a greater menace, like a Chain Chomp, which you’ll eventually need to deal with. It’s confounding how this simple world can evoke feelings of curiosity, wonder, and dread all at once."
The last word
We're going to give the last word to Steve Schardein at Digital Chumps, who has embraced Mario Galaxy 2 with a deep and undying fervor. "Even the harshest critics will struggle to find fault in its symphony of imagination, execution, and polish, while fans will cherish its brilliance for years to come as one of the very best games in history. Quite simply put, Super Mario Galaxy 2 is the reason I still play videogames," Schardein writes.