Although most of the game is in 3D, letting you explore the environments with few restrictions, there are also 2D sections that are just as entertaining to run through. These stages are exceptionally well designed, going much further than the standard running and jumping for which Mario is known. In certain cases, gravity is your biggest opponent. Rooms will change their gravitational pull at a moment's notice, turning the walls or even the ceiling into your temporary floor. At other times, you'll be running along without a care in the world when you'll come across a pool of water floating above your head. These brief forays into swimming give you a chance to avoid cheep-cheeps and slow-moving urchins before you exit once more onto dry ground. Levels freely shift between the two perspectives. You'll be floating lazily around as bee Mario and then all of a sudden you'll be in a 2D world, swinging on vines and nabbing coins without an extra dimension to distract you. These 2D levels are a great changes of pace from the free-roaming action and are as inventive and fun as every other section of this game.
6262336So much for gravity being a natural law.None
While attempting to nab every star within these stages you should also keep an eye out for hidden comet coins. These special tokens summon a comet that gives you a new challenge to experience. Sometimes, you need to sprint through a world as fast as possible, running at top speed and performing long jumps so you can shave off precious seconds. Other times, you must collect purple coins or defeat a boss without taking any damage. The comet challenges are the most difficult goals in the game, but it's a blast to sink your teeth into these levels to try to overcome their punishing traps. In one stage, you create clones of Mario with every step you take and you lose health if you touch one of the clones. Trying to coordinate your movements so you can still make it to the end without running into your clones can be difficult, but when you finally outsmart yourself and nab that star, it's extremely rewarding. Most of Galaxy 2 starts out relatively easy for platforming veterans, but there are plenty of stars that will push you to your limits, and these prove to be the most satisfying to earn.
Many of the levels end in boss fights, which are just as varied and exciting as the other aspects of the game. One of the early battles has you take on a slithering dragon that floats above a craterous moon. It flies dangerously overhead, showing off its colossal might, before it dives toward the surface and borrows underground. That's your chance to attack its glowing red pustules, but it's not easy. Dragons don't like to be punched, and it floods the screen with a wall of fire to keep you from poking its weak spot. Every boss requires a different strategy to overcome, and it's a real treat figuring out what needs to be done and then going in for the kill. The Bowser battles are particularly impressive. He is absolutely gigantic in this game, and striking him down is immensely satisfying. There is nothing quite like bringing down a treacherous foe who has been hounding you, and Galaxy 2 does a fine job of making its bosses big and imposing enough to ensure they are rewarding to conquer.
The incredible action is tied together beautifully by the visuals and music. This is a gorgeous-looking game. The levels may be home to snapping piranha plants and explosive bullet bills, but they are eminently welcoming. The attention to detail is outstanding. From the puffs of smoke billowing from the chilly rabbit's snow-covered cabin to Mario's graceful spin when performing a triple lutz, every aspect of this game looks incredible. But the music is even more impressive. Using a great combination of classics and new material, all of the music fits the action perfectly. The older songs have been remixed, and what's most interesting is how they sound even better than they did before. For instance, the haunting theme from Bowser's levels that first appeared in Super Mario 64 now has a choir singing the higher sections, and it adds an eerie note that will send shivers down your spine. Galaxy 2 is a game you do not even have to touch the controller to enjoy. The sights and sounds are so enthralling that you can just sit back, relax, and take in everything.
Even Luigi gets a chance to take part in the star-grabbing action.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 is simply an outstanding game. It never rests on its laurels for a second, constantly presenting new objectives and mechanics to push you to never before seen places. Even the two-player mode offers new abilities and delights, making it even more fun to play with a friend by your side. Everything is so well designed and so entertaining that it's easy to get sucked into this world for hours. Super Mario Galaxy 2 is so phenomenal that it's difficult to imagine where Mario could possibly go in the future. But that's hardly your concern now. Mario proves that he is still the king of fun.