Super Mario Galaxy 2

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Super Mario Galaxy 2 Game Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Brilliant platformer a surefire hit for virtually all ages.

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 27 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 73 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

The game offers a light and whimsical good-versus-evil story that offers little in the way of morals or lessons. However, play focuses on proble- solving and encourages players to work with a friend in local cooperative mode.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Mario is the archetypal video game good guy. His goal, as usual, is to rescue Princess Peach from the clutches of the always grumpy and power-hungry monster Bowser; and he teams up with and helps plenty of other characters along the way. Mario fights plenty of cartoon-like, non-human enemies, but they’re all trying to do him harm so it’s mostly in self defense. Plus, his brand of jump-on-a-bad-guy-to-flatten-him action is about as innocuous as video game violence gets.

Ease of Play

The controls are fairly simple and you're provided good in-game instructions on how to use them. Televisions scattered throughout the game show tips on how to perform certain moves. If players are having a really hard time, a cosmic guide may appear to show them how to get to that level’s star. It can be very challenging in some areas, but should players grow frustrated they usually have the option of going off and exploring other levels. Plus the Co-Star mode let's parents help younger children, or in the case of experienced kid players, vice versa.

Violence & Scariness

As in other Mario games, our hero can jump on cartoony characters (goombas, chain chomps, and other enemies) to flatten them or use a whirlwind-like spin attack to hit them, stun them, and then make them disappear. Players can also have Mario turn into a rock to roll into and knock away characters in his path, shoot koopa troopa shells and fireballs at enemies, and use a handheld drill to tunnel through the ground and come up on the other side of small planets with the pointy drill end poking into foes. It’s all extremely cartoonish, and none of Mario’s enemies are human.


This game is the latest in Nintendo’s juggernaut Mario series, the most popular game franchise in the world.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Super Mario Galaxy 2 is a nearly all-ages platformer with only mild cartoon violence. Mario is the quintessential video game protagonist, an unquestionably good soul journeying to save his princess from an evil monster named Bowser. He fights enemies, but only those of the cartoonish, non-human variety and using whimsical attacks, such as ground pounds, spins, and special abilities that let him turn into a rolling boulder or use a dinosaur’s tongue to grab and swallow up foes. Several situations force players to put on their thinking caps to solve tricky platforming problems and figure out how to beat clever bosses. If you let your kids play the original, there’s no reason not to let them play this one, too. It’s worth adding, though, that Mario is possibly the most commercial video game property in existence, and once a child begins on this plumber’s path, there’s really no turning back.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bykm_usama November 4, 2018
Parent of a 7-year-old Written byratp January 2, 2016
Kid, 12 years old August 23, 2016

Super Mario Galaxy 2 = The Best!

Super Mario Galaxy is certainly an amazing platform video game for all ages! IGN even gave it a 10/10, which I have never seen on any other game review. But eno... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old January 1, 2011

Go Mario 2!

Extremely fun. I absolutely love playing as Yoshi. I think it's great how easy to play it all is and how much pride they put in their work.

What's it about?

Poor Peach, Mario’s perpetual princess in distress, is kidnapped by the beastly, shell-backed Bowser yet again at the outset of SUPER MARIO GALAXY 2, a sequel to one of the Wii’s most popular games. As Mario sets out on his journey to save her he enlists the aid of a pudgy purple spaceship mechanic named Lubba, who sets him up with a giant Mario head of a spaceship that lets him travel the galaxy in search of his abducted royal. The only catch is that the ship is fueled by power stars, and Mario has to earn them one by one by visiting various galaxies, working his way through countless platforming challenges, and defeating quick and crafty bosses. Along the way, he’ll find and ride on his old friend Yoshi the dinosaur, discover useful items, and locate loads of power-ups. A second player can join in on the fun by using a second remote to collect starbits and coins and distract enemies.

Is it any good?

Recent Mario platformers have tended to take the form of original games rather than direct sequels, but Nintendo game brain Shigeru Miyamoto believed the original Super Mario Galaxy only scratched the surface of the sort of platforming possible in a space-themed world. Apparently he was right, because while the second game feels very much like its predecessor in terms of graphics and controls, very little of what players do is the same.

Mario has loads of fresh powers, such as tumbling around like a boulder as Rock Mario and flying through walls as Boo Mario. Plus, the platforming challenges are at least as clever and compelling as those found in the original. For example, shoving Jenga-style blocks around a wood-themed galaxy is great fun, as is using a giant drill to tunnel through and inside of planets. Meanwhile, the addition of Yoshi creates a slew of new possibilities, whether it’s eating a bulb berry to light a path through an invisible haunted house or using his talented tongue to grab and swallow enemies. Put simply, Super Mario Galaxy 2 is the medium of games at its very best. Child or parent, this is one not to be missed.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Mario’s continued all-ages appeal. One generation after another has flocked to his games, and parents and grandparents continue to have as much fun with him as they did when they were younger. What is it about this franchise that has made it the most popular not just in our country, but around the world? What do you like about it?

  • Families can also discuss the role of male and female characters in the Mario games. Does it seem like the females are always in need of rescuing? Do you think this might have some impact on how the kids who play these games view men and women? Or is it all so fantastical that gender roles hold little meaning?

Game details

  • Platforms: Nintendo Wii
  • Price: $49.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Release date: May 23, 2010
  • Genre: Adventure
  • ESRB rating: E for Mild Cartoon Violence
  • Last updated: December 2, 2019

Our editors recommend

For kids who love adventures

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate