Get a bit cocky and you'll die. Try to run across too many disappearing platforms and you'll die. Take your eye off the screen for a moment during a high speed race inside a tube… and you'll die. You never feel out of control unless you do something stupid. There's never a sense that the game has cheated you or that you couldn't have prevented something. Every star, no matter how tricky it might seem to get, is achievable, and often ends up being simpler than you thought - if you just keep your cool.
Only on one occasion over the course of a mammoth 120 star adventure did the camera genuinely cause a problem, and this was merely a "where the hell am I meant to be going" moment, rather than a "OMFG, that's not fair" catastrophe. Galaxy 2 is, for want of a better word, the ultimate design template for a 3D platformer. It's been so tightly designed that it's hard to see anything bettering it, save for the presentation, which given the platform is far from shabby.
Even years after its release Mario Galaxy makes most Wii games look like rush jobs and the sequel builds on this. It's not a huge leap over the original, but it didn't need to be. In many cases the spherical planetoids are fairly sparse in detail, but what's there has been crafted superbly, with nothing seemingly placed in the environment just for the sake of it. Colours burst out of the screen, enemies are as lovable as Mario's friends and the feeling of creativity is unrivalled. As much as I'd love Nintendo to have the power of one of the Wii's rival consoles to work with, there's no way anyone could be disappointed with the joyous mini worlds Miyamoto and co. have created.
If positives are hard to rein in when talking about Galaxy 2's visuals, new words need inventing to discuss the audio. No other game features as many toe-tapping, insanely memorable tunes as this. From the moment Nintendo drops a happy beat into title music, you know you'll be humming random little ditties in the shower or as you idly ride the bus to work in the morning. There's still no proper voice acting, but Mario is a series where it really isn't needed. Cute little enemy sounds, the classic 1-up jingle, the ding when you collect a coin, ticking sounds from your Wii Remote, all reinforce the already strong belief that no detail was spared in Galaxy 2's development.
It's easy to get carried away when talking about such a wonderful game, but it thoroughly deserves all the praise. Game length, a common issue with modern titles, isn't even a problem. Collecting all of the 120 stars will take a very long time, and for the best gamers there's even more on top of that; 120 hidden green stars are placed in the galaxies once all the standard gold stars have been found. These green collectables will test your platforming skills more than any other game in the plumber's history and extend the experience without feeling like filler. There's even two-player support, should a friend want to help you out by collecting star bits and firing projectiles at enemies with a second Wii Remote.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 doesn't have the impact of the original, but it does take the formula and refine it to something approaching perfection. With so many new ideas, a control scheme that never lets you down, a huge amount to see and do, charming presentation and that certain Nintendo magic, the Wii finally has a game that's better than Mario Galaxy.