Home > Gaming, Opinions (Gaming) > Gaming: Super Mario Galaxy 2’s asymmetrical co-op

Gaming: Super Mario Galaxy 2’s asymmetrical co-op

Galaxy Co-op

Wikipedia quote: "The game also allows a second player to control an Orange Luma (Co-Star Luma) to assist Mario."

(Click the image for a link to source. It’s actually a co-op review of the game, meaning that in searching for an image I basically found a review that rendered this entire post redundant)

The co-operative mode in Super Mario Galaxy was an interesting idea. Rather than go for full local or online co-op that saw player two controlling a second character (like Luigi) or following the classic Mario games and have each player take turns attempting levels, the game put player two in the role of a helper. You didn’t control a character, just the cursor from the pointer of a second Wii remote, your interaction limited to collecting star bits (which player one could also do) and stunning a few of the basic enemies, but a lot of the time you just didn’t feel useful. Super Mario Galaxy 2 has improved the mode dramatically.

On a superficial level the biggest change is that player two is represented by a Luma (the little star people) that follows Mario when a second controller is active. Functionally you’re still just a cursor pointing at things to interact with them but having an actual character to represent you genuinely adds something, placing you in the game a little more.

The improvements stem much further than giving player two an avatar though. Almost every enemy can be stunned this time, the Luma physically moving over to them, and the second player is even able to defeat some with their own spin attack. Most environmental hazards can be stunned in the same manner (there are lots of moving lines of fire or electricity that are tricky for Mario to dodge). I didn’t test it on every boss but quite a few have something player two can interact with that player one can’t (mostly projectiles). Player two can also collect coins and mushrooms now in addition to star bits, and even hold on to them for some time (useful for keeping a coin around as top-up health or for extra air when underwater).

This all adds up to make co-op a radically different experience and a much better mode than it was in Super Mario Galaxy. It’s almost a different game in many respects that is more in line with something like Lemmings, using your pointer to protect Mario by zapping obstacles, collecting health, and stunning or even defeating enemies to keep the little plumber safe (this is particularly true if Mario is being controlled by an inexperienced player prone to mistakes). I think I’d even go as far as saying that even if you have collected all 242 stars you’ve still not experienced all the game has to offer if you haven’t given the co-op mode a try.

While I would still prefer a proper symmetrical co-op mode that doesn’t make one player the star and the other the assistant, co-op in Super Mario Galaxy 2 was still a lot of fun and is definitely worth a look if you have somebody else to play with.

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  1. September 19, 2010 at 06:18

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