Back when the original Super Mario Galaxy was released, someone asked me what I thought of the latest game to feature everyone's favourite mushroom-eating plumber. My response was simple: "It makes me happy."
Fast forward to the present, and the first numbered Mario sequel in over 15 years sees a return to the formula that made the original so great – yet with some subtle improvements, new friends, and some of the most fiendish puzzles ever devised in any medium, let alone videogames.
Every level is unique in some way. This was true of the original, but here it feels more refined and more varied. There are your typical ice and fire levels, but what about the level in which you spend half your time floating on clouds? Or the one where everything is pitch black apart from a small spark of light coming from Mario's hat? Then there's the level where everything is three times larger than you are.
Boss fights, too, are some of the most inventive yet seen in a Mario game, and while they do still require the learning of attack patterns, none are unfairly challenging. The basic core of these fights is always the same – find weak spot, attack, repeat – but they are never a chore, and are varied enough to ensure that each is a pleasure to play through. It simply has to be played to be believed.
And that's the true crux of why Galaxy 2 is so special. Describing it to you will only serve to whet your appetite, and nothing will compare to playing it for yourself and seeing exactly how the gorgeous art style, fantastically cheery music and tight, well-conceived controls combine to create one of the best platform games ever made.
At the beginning of this review, I said that the first Super Mario Galaxy was brilliant simply because it made me happy. Its sequel does that and more, and just goes to show that when Nintendo set out to make a truly great game, they go above and beyond the call of duty at every turn.