First Impressions: Super Mario Galaxy 2

Truly spacial

Super Mario Galaxy 2 had by far the biggest queues of the day, with a cordoned area showcasing the plumber's latest adventure. Our crafty writers, however, took advantage of everyone else's hunger by striking when most other journalists were stopping for lunch, managing to get a good half an hour of hands-on time. With such high hopes surrounding the sequel to arguably one of Mario's greatest adventures, it's a pleasure to be able to tell you it absolutely lives up to expectations.

With a range of levels available we were able to try out almost all of the new additions, the most prominent being the inclusion of Yoshi. The little green dinosaur can chew on blueberries and red peppers laid around the courses, which both grant him special powers: eating a blueberry fills him with air sending him floating upwards, whereas the spicy pepper sets him racing ahead at breakneck speed. One stage challenges you to sprint up vertical slopes and avoid the perils of a dangerous course, with one hit sending Yoshi plummeting to the ground and back to the last checkpoint flag. The blueberry is reminiscent of Balloon Mario from previous plumbing titles, and is used in some devious mazes, with one around a revolving log standing out in particular.

It's not all dinosaur-based action in Galaxy 2, however. Those who complained about the first game being too easy will be thrilled at the inclusion of some very tough levels, with the latest available level presenting a stern challenge to even these experienced gamers. Mario doesn't seem to have too many new moves: we were told of a new longer jump that seemed almost identical to the slide jump from previous entries, and the all-new drill power-up wasn't used in the truly game-changing fashion that perhaps it will be later on.

There's no way around it - Super Mario Galaxy 2 is going to be a must-have game and one that looks set to exceed the high standard set by its predecessor. With a European release date set for June 11th there's only a few months to go until we can get our hands on Nintendo's latest masterpiece again.