As for the rest of the game, it is, quite simply, the greatest 3D Mario experience ever. Indeed, I would go so far as to say the level designs are the most clever and innovative I've seen in any game. The first Super Mario Galaxy had some great levels, don't get me wrong, but with the sequel, it's as if the developers truly realized the potential of the premise of "Mario in Space". The new power-ups, like the Drill, Cloud Flower, and Rock Mushroom, are well implemented. The Drill is my favorite of the new abilities, allowing Mario to tunnel through soft earth at breakneck speed, switching between the surfaces of worlds in a dizzying snap.
Yoshi is back, as well, and even the friendly dinosaur has new abilities, like turning into a blimp, and lighting up invisible platforms. Yoshi's trademark "gobble and spit" move is used at length, and his tongue can also be used to swing off certain objects. Luigi is available early on as a playable character, and beating levels as Luigi opens up time challenges, adding longterm appeal for the hardcore platform game champs.
The first Super Mario Galaxy was a good fit for casual gamers, and this casual friendliness is even greater in the sequel. TV screens found throughout the levels give tips and tricks, some even showing players how to get past particularly tricky sections. The "play it for you" feature from New Super Mario Bros. Wii returns, too. Adding to the casual appeal, the map navigation system is more like that of Super Mario World than the pretty but confusing style of the first title.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 is one of the best gaming experiences you'll ever have. A constant parade of jaw-dropping moments combine to set the new standard for 3D platformers. It is a marvelous game, so good that even Player 2's limits don't really detract from your enjoyment of it. But the co-op doesn't hold up to the extremely high standards of the rest of the game. Playing as Luma isn't the same as using Mario, and I cannot give a game with co-op like that of Super Mario Galaxy 2 a high co-op score. It's by far the best and most polished "B.Y.O.B." co-op out there, but it's still far from ideal. In all other areas, though, Super Mario Galaxy 2 is the pinnacle of platforming perfection.
The Co-Op Experience: The second player can zap and temporarily freeze enemies in place, making some of the trickier timed run-and-jump levels a little less frantic.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.