Super Mario Galaxy 2: A Lesson in Gaming Ecstasy and Frustration

You can argue the merits of its review scores until the end of time but there is no arguing that Super Mario Galaxy 2 is a wonderfully polished gaming experience. Despite only being two hours in, I feel comfortable stating that it is an amazing title. It is a beautiful looking game and just watching it in motion brings a smile to my face. However playing it is where the game becomes even more amazing.

On one hand finishing a level and rescuing the star is one of the most satisfying feelings I’ve ever gotten from a game. Be it defeating a boss by using a drill and angling yourself to hit its underbelly to traversing a maze of deathtraps that can only be traversed with some tricky jumps and waggles, the game knows how to make the gamer feel good about themselves. One of the biggest complaints about Super Mario Galaxy was that it was too easy, Super Mario Galaxy 2 kicks up the difficulty and most of the levels can be quite challenging. This added level of challenge really helps to garner the player a sense of accomplishment when reaching the end of a level. In short it is gaming ecstasy.

However not everything is fine and dandy in the Mushroom Kingdom and as high as the game has been able to take me, there have been parts where I want to hurl my Wii remote, crawl into a ball under my table and shake in frustration. A lot of this I blame on the “new” addition to the galaxy, Yoshi. Personally I have never been a very big fan of the spastic green dinosaur and my short time with him in Super Mario Galaxy has not been a happy reunion. Some are going to argue with me but I feel that Yoshi handles like crap. He feels clunky and unresponsive when compared to Mario being controlled by himself. Last night for instance, in a very early level, I was trying to get Yoshi to pull out a platform with his tongue, eat a spiny and promptly jump onto the platform before it all resets and all I was met with was a dinosaur who seemingly kept hitting an invisible ceiling and a death grip on my Wii remote. Still despite my dislike of Yoshi and some aspects of the game that require me cry out in frustration, I feel the game is something quite special.

It is rare that a game can completely frustrate you, yet reward you in such a fulfilling manner. It is a trait that some of the best games ever have accomplished and one that many of today’s games don’t come anywhere close to fulfilling. Super Mario Galaxy 2, at least in the short amount of time I have spent with it, is shaping up to be one of those games that transcends to a higher plane of gaming existence.

Is it worth a 10? That’s not for me to decide unless I am writing a review but its score, be it a 10, or a six has no bearing on my enjoyment of the game. I am going to enjoy it for what it is, a lesson in ecstasy and frustration balanced out with an annoying green dinosaur.


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