ATB’s Best Games Ever: (17) Mario Galaxy 2

supermariogalaxy2

Nice spaceship, yeah? More like a faceship!

This is the list of At the Buzzer’s top 25 games of all-time, as voted on by the main ATB cast members and other friends of the show. For more information on how this whole thing works or for the other games on the list, check out the Related Links at the bottom of this post.

17) Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)

Chris: “More like Super Mario Galaxy 1.5,” said no one smart ever.

Sure, the game looks similar to its predecessors. It’s built on the same engine and the graphics are the same and it’s still a Mario game and DAMN IT NINTENDO WHY WON’T YOU INNOVATE.

Here’s the thing, though. Shaun uses the word “advanced” below, but I would say that Mario Galaxy 2 is the most “refined” platformer ever made. It takes what few flaws the first game had (which was already an outstanding experience — watching people crane their necks to follow Wii_TitlesheetMario as he went underneath a planet upside down never got old) and fixes them. The levels are tighter, the overworld map is back instead of the needless comet observatory, and the green stars…oh, the green stars.

Green stars help break the one major complaint I had about the first Galaxy: Everything felt too linear. Levels had multiple paths, but some of those paths were closed off depending on which star you chose at the beginning. Usually, those paths led to either a boss or a difficult-to-reach star. In SMG2, some of those mechanics are still around, but the green stars open up a brand new world of exploration. Sure, you still pick a star at the menu, but that’s it. No hand-holding, no clues, no nothing. It brings back memories of Super Mario 64, when you could find just about any star you wanted if you put your mind to it and happened to explore the level enough. It also doubles the game’s length, turning SMG2 into a 30+ hour experience, and adds a pretty serious layer of difficulty.

This game absolutely deserves to be on the list.

Shaun: Almost always, more credit goes to the game that “innovated,” rather than the one that “polished.” Hell, it’s basically the standard for hipster gamers to bitch about every sequel ever made, insisting that the original is far superior in all ways and that developers should kill themselves for ever even attempting a follow up.

Maybe that’s why I love Super Mario Galaxy 2 so much — a title that trumps its predecessor in almost every way, it’s the perfect ammunition in the fight to fend off these insatiable contrarians.

Not to say the Galaxy wasn’t a great game — it demonstrated what Mario was truly capable of after a lackluster Gamecube entry in Sunshine. It also introduced gamers to gravity defying feats (literally) that many had never seen in the medium before. But what’s so special about Galaxy 2 is how it took these ideas to their full potential, exploring the mechanics and physics in brand new ways.

The real clincher for me, however, was the inclusion of the Green Stars. These collectibles were available post game as a means to further explore the game world; however, unlike the standard regular stars, these puppies were completely hidden throughout the level, requiring deep exploration and, in some cases, a masterful handle on the game’s platforming mechanics. It was the true test that advanced Mario fans were clamoring for, and added another layer of depth to this already rich game. The most advanced platformer ever, Galaxy 2 is a game everyone should experience.

supermariogalaxy2green

MORE FROM AT THE BUZZER’S TOP 25 LIST

(18) Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

(19) Final Fantasy IX

(20) Star Fox 64

(21) The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

(22) The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

(23) Fallout 3

(24) StarCraft

(25) Bioshock

Best Games Ever: #50-26

Best Games Ever: #75-51

Best Games Ever: #100-76

Honorable Mentions

Introduction

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