Still haven't had my morning coffee but that's alright. Here's the long-awaited review! Here's gameplay footage, provided by ifish! Mario is a truly fascinating character. He's the biggest video game character made and one of the largest characters in general. What's even more fascinating is how after 25 years he's still the pinnacle of video games. Years ago Nintendo brought us Super Mario Galaxy, which brought Mario out of the rut that was Super Mario Sunshine and gave us a truly amazing game that put mind bending physics and interstellar platforming into one great game. It instantly gained the spot of the second highest rated game ever made. Now comes it's sequel, Super Mario Galaxy 2, and Nintendo is still one to hit the mark. Like most Mario games, Super Mario Galaxy 2 is light on plot, lighter than the first. It's a little disappointing, but when I pop in Mario, I don't think "WOW I WANT A GREAT PLOT!" (outside of maybe the RPG games). Bowser has grown to astronomical sizes and has kidnapped Princess Peach, so it's up to Mario and the Lumas to save Peach and the universe from Bowser. It's typical, but it's expected for a Mario game. One of the notable presentation changes though is a switch from the "hub" system of Mario 3-D platformers and the introduction of a more classical, 2-D Mario styled world layout. There's still the hub of Spaceship Mario though, so you can still wander around there and find some small goodies and stuff. It's easier to navigate the worlds now and is a pretty nice layout overall. But at the core, SMG2 is a combination of perfecting platforming in the third dimension since the days of Super Mario 64. This can easily be the best platformer ever made in the 3-D. Everything from controls to level design is perfect. Super Mario Galaxy 2 is basically just high flying, interplanetary platforming. You'll leap from one planet to the next, fly across the universe, all while collecting star bits, coins, and stars. The controls are absolutely perfect. From the physics to the accuracy, it's mind boggling. That's also complemented by a perfect camera, and together that's a perfect platforming scheme. As for level designs, people were worried that Nintendo would have exhausted them in the first game, but hey, levels here are fresh and exciting. There's some easy ones, some hard ones, and a nice balance of difficulty. One thing I want to comment on though is the 2-D level designs. Why can't new Mario 2-D games play more like this? I think they're absolutely brilliant. It's captured the same Mario Galaxy feel but in 2 dimensions, and it works great. Screw NSMB Wii, these few levels are better 2-D platforming. But anyway, levels are varied, large, full of content, and fantastical. As for the new mechanics, they all work great. Cloud Mario, Rock Mario, and Yoshi are all welcome additions and all have their place. Levels that use them work well and they don't feel like useless tack-ons. Boss battles are also varied and exciting, switching between unique "Bowser Jr." levels and the big Bowser showdowns. As for graphics and audio, the game is quite simply the best for both. This is the best looking Wii game to date, period. And the contender for best Wii game before that was its predecessor. It's got some best lighting effects for any game to date, smooth and polished models, and a great sense of vastness. The soundtrack is also something of amazement. Never in a million years would I expect a deep, grand soundtrack from Mario. But it has it. It's got a great score and is one of the best soundtracks in gaming to date. On top of the sound effects and everything else, it's amazing. I know I haven't had much to say for this review, but there's not much to say. Maybe I'm a little out of the game. But thing is Super Mario Galaxy 2 is the acme of 3-D platforming and game design in general, fined and sharpened to the sharpest tip. It's a perfect storm of absolutely perfect controls, great level design, grade-A graphics, and grand sound, all to make what some may consider the perfect game. When debates on whether it's the best game ever made start whirling around so soon, it's hard to deny it at times. Presentation: Story light, as expected, so no real downside here. The new world layout is a welcome addition to the series and works great. The game overall keeps a sense of being a full sequel instead of an addition, bringing high production values and new mechanics that work well together. 10/10 Audio: A terrific soundscore. Orchestral ballads mix with cheery Mario tunes to great effect. It's one of those video game soundtracks you really want to listen to, not keep around as a novelty. Sound effects and the rest are great. 10/10 Graphics: The best looking Wii game to date. Fantastic lighting, smooth character models, bright colors, all without a single instance of lack of polish. It's truly amazing to see what the Wii can do, and really puts to shame the bashers of the console's graphics. Framerate is a constantly high too. 10/10 Gameplay: From the level designs to the controls to the camera, it all works perfectly. Some of the best controls on any platforming game to date, a great camera, and new and refreshing level designs keep you engaged. 2-D levels are also awesome. Boss battles, physics, everything is just polished to perfection. 10/10 Lasting Appeal: On top of the beating the main game, there's tons of extra stars to collect and even more reason to get all the stars. You'll be playing this one for a while and be thinking about it even longer. 10/10 Overall: 10/10 Discuss! ------- On other news unrelated to this review, check out ifish's PS3 review when you have the chance. It's a great read. I'm here to announce that my Nintendo Wii review is the in works (by in the works I mean I'm churning it inside my head). The other big announcement for this is that, in my efforts to suck cock to the Mag Staff, I'll be trying a more Another World-type layout for it. I'll try filling in the lack of pics with more text, so prepare for a snoozefest. Other reviews in the work include Assassin's Creed II and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. Now that school is coming to an end soon, expect more reviews to churn out from yours truly.