Sneak Peek: Super Mario Galaxy 2

If you enjoyed taking your favorite Italian plumber into space the first time around, you’ll have even more fun with the sequel. Scheduled to be released May 23rd, Super Mario Galaxy 2 is anything but a rehash of the original. Nintendo was kind enough to give us a demo of some of the new goodies you can expect. You know, if you’re into that sort of thing.

First and foremost is the addition of Yoshi to the line-up. Along with the classic maneuver of eating your enemies, you’ll be able to utilize Yoshi’s tongue as a grappling hook to traverse worlds, and feed him various treats that transform his abilities. Why should Mario and his mushrooms get all the fun? The Blimp Fruit will inflate Yoshi like, well, a blimp, allowing you to soar up to new heights, while the Dash Pepper sets him off running at speeds only having your mouth on fire can achieve. This is only the third 3D Mario title to have Yoshi as a playable character, so its nice to see him making an appearance.

Mario gets his own share of power-ups too. The Spin Drill lets you drill straight through a planet to the other side, leading to all sorts of creative puzzles and boss fights. Or the Cloud Suit which allows you to create makeshift, smiling platforms in mid-air.

Gravity plays a bigger, if more temperamental role in this game. Levels range from upside-down, side-scrolling, to being on a planetary scale.

The soundtrack is no less impressive than the award winning original. It keeps the symphony orchestra instrumentation, with some 8-bit tracks from earlier Mario titles mixed in.

A two-player mode gives our protagonist a small orange Luma as an assistant. The second player can attack enemies, collect items, or in the case of my demo partner, throw star bits at everything in sight.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 is scheduled for release in just under a month at $49.99.