I have been waiting for this one for quite some time. You’ll not find a bigger Mario fan than me. I grew up with the red plumber and I have been an avid fan (possibly even fanboy at times) ever since. The 3D Mario series is arguably my favorite in all of video games. And, when the Wii was around, Nintendo released a pair of great entries.
They released Super Mario Galaxy and then released the sequel around three years later (closer to two-and-a-half years). While I do think that both of these games are great, I believe the original to be an utter masterpiece. In fact, it’s my second favorite video game of all-time and what I believe to be the best 3D game ever made.
Maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but it’s just my opinion. But, what are my feelings about the sequel? Yeah, it holds up very well and is indeed a really good game. Yet, I personally find it inferior.
I Seem to Be Alone in This
Over the years, I have noticed that many, many fans seem to prefer the sequel over the original. In my opinion, there are really only two areas the sequel improves on. Firstly, the mechanics are more optimized and secondly, the power-ups are much better. Outside of that though, I can’t see where everyone calls the follow-up better. Let’s break down why I feel this way.
The First Has an Overworld
Super Mario Galaxy is the last true entry in the series to have a full-fledged overworld (that’s kind of crazy to think about). You could count Super Mario 3D World, but it’s not quite the same. Anyway, the sequel did away with this and went with an old-school world map to traverse around.
The problem with doing this in a 3D environment is it cuts away from the freedom you have. In the first, you can traverse around the homeworld and go to whatever galaxies you want (granted you have enough star power to get there). In the sequel, you can only go where the map takes you. It’s a dynamic that, to me, only works in the original 2D Mario games.
There Are Larger Galaxies in the First
One of my major issues with the level design in the sequel is its overreliance on smaller galaxies. In the first game, you visit a ton of galaxies that feature many different stars to collect. No, you can’t collect them out of order, but you can’t in the sequel either (unless you are talking about the green stars).
The first also has some smaller galaxies but the blend of scale is done so masterfully. There is little to no fluctuation of the scale in the second game, which makes a big difference.
The Original Simply Has a Better Atmosphere
Some of you may think I’m crazy for saying this, but the two games don’t compare in their respective atmospheres. In the original, you just get the feeling (with the amazing soundtrack and the ambiance) that you’re traveling through space on an epic adventure. The second just doesn’t give off those vibes for me. Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t think so.
At the end of the day, I still enjoy the sequel quite a bit. When it comes down to it, however, it will always be inferior to the original. Both will always be classics, though, and will go down in history forever.