I didn’t get my copy of Super Mario Galaxy 2 until the week of E3, so please accept my apology for being a little late to the review party. Anyways, I’m here to tell you how Nintendo’s iconic plumber is back with a very important message for gamers — and that is, having fun is the key to a great game.

SMG2 retains the same concept of guiding Mario in his quest to rescue Princess Peach by running and jumping through different unique worlds, collecting coins, stomping on enemies, and defeating bosses, including Bowser. But like its predecessor, it does all of those things in a modern way, both with its use of 3D environments and the ability to create unexpected adventures with the Wii.

I can’t even recall how many times throughout Super Mario Galaxy 2 that I smiled just because of how awesome certain parts were. That became a recurring feeling as I was astonished by the great level design in the game with all sorts of shapes and gravity shifts. Just like the original, the levels play tricks a player’s traditional sense of up and down. The game has all sorts of flips, twists, and turns that Mario can run around on.

One of the game’s biggest strengths is how easy it is to pick up and play SMG2. The the Wiimote and Nunchuk feel comfortable here and Mario responds efficiently. In the original Galaxy, Motion control wasn’t that big of a factor and was used primarily for gathering star sprites, however, in the sequel it’s used a bit more often. For example, there is one part that you have to balance Mario on top of a giant ball around the level, holding the Wiimote straight up just like it was Mario. These simple examples of the game make it just that much more enjoyable, something we always expect from a Mario game.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 plays with a pacing that makes it both fun in the moment, but in a freakishly good way, is still on my mind when I’m done playing for the time. Mario’s new suits like the cloud suit, which lets him create his own platforms, allow for experimentation and pleasing experiences. And let’s not forget to mention Yoshi’s return, which totally adds another dimension of play with unique levels, especially those where he eats different fruits that give him powers, like the spicy fruit that gives him a “hot” sprint boost.

But those are just the most obvious examples. Seemingly every level has some new trick to it, with only a few old, familiar dynamics returning, like balancing on top of a sphere containing a star. These ideas are normally just exclusive to just one or two levels, like Mario hurling himself from bar to bar like a gymnast or gliding in the sky with a bird. Same goes for the boss fights, which are totally new and are all fun. I don’t want to go into too much detail, as Nintendo and plenty of others have already given away too much about what makes the game so special.

The SMG2 production is just as big and bold as it was in the original. Along with some of the best visuals the Wii has ever seen, the SMG2 soundtrack is even more intense with far more orchestral and studio recordings than the last game. It all makes up for the fact that this is just another simple fight against Bowser who’s, once again, kidnapped Princess Peach.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 is a spectacular and extremely fulfilling game, however, the only complaint I have is that it’s still a lot like the original. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as both are great games, but I guess I wanted a bit more from SMG2. That being said, the title is still a must have for every Mario fan and Wii owner. Super Mario Galaxy 2 is a delightful title for anyone who wants to pick up and play, and it’s still enough of a challenge for those Mario pros out there. In short, SMG2 is yet another great Mario title from Miyamoto.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 was developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Wii. The game was released in the United States on May 18th with with a retail price of $49.99 USD. The copy used in this review was supplied by Nintendo. The game was played through 25 stars, with roughly 10 hours of game time.