Super Mario Galaxy 2/Game Mechanics

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This page explains various game mechanics related to speedrunning.

Basic Mechanics

Jumps: Basics

  • Spins: You can always boost yourself a little bit by adding a spin at the end of a jump. To get a higher spin boost, hold the A button while spinning.
    • Spins can be used in practically any jump trick. This wiki may tend to omit spins from jump trick explanations, assuming that the reader will know to add spins whenever more height or distance is needed.
  • Sideflips and Backflips: These give almost exactly the same height. Backflips give more horizontal speed, so they are more useful in some cases. Sideflips are harder to execute than backflips, but sometimes doing a sideflip instead of a backflip will save time because you don't have to stop running to do a sideflip.
    • Yoshi can only do sideflips, not backflips.
  • Triple jumps: These go higher than backflips and sideflips. Sometimes the terrain will make it difficult to time your second and third jumps, but you can often just repeatedly tap A while running to perform a triple jump.
  • Wall jumps: You can maximize your height by spinning before the wall jump as well as after the wall jump. Make sure you're not right against the wall when you spin, though, or you may deflect off of the wall without getting a spin boost.
    • In many cases, a triple jump + spin + wall jump + spin combo will be the way to get the most height. However, a backflip + spin + wall jump + spin is easier, and sufficient for a lot of jump tricks.

Jumps: Advanced

  • Fast long jump landing: Normally, you lose your speed if you land from a long jump without following up with another long jump. However, if you press A and Z at about the same time to execute the long jump (instead of pressing Z before A), you will continue running immediately when you land.
  • Ground pound out of a long jump: During a long jump, press Z and spin at about the same time to do a ground pound. The timing can be strict; if done incorrectly, you will probably end up doing a homing stomp or a spin instead. Video
  • Long jump out of water: There seems to be a couple of ways to do this. In the first method, swim to the surface, press Z and spin at the same time, and then press A. In the second method, hold Z as you enter a body of water, build some speed on the surface, then hold A.
  • Spinning multiple times quickly: Spinning on the ground and then quickly jumping will reset the spin cooldown timer, so you can spin again immediately. Also, before landing from a mid-air spin, you can do an extra spin that can be used as an attack but cannot gain height. Taken together, these tricks allow you to spin-attack three times in a row.
  • Homing stomp: Mario and Luigi can perform a homing attack that will automatically target nearby enemies. To perform this technique, jump and use a midair spin attack. Before the spin attack has completed its animation, press Z to use your stomp attack. If your timing was right, you'll hear a different sound effect, and Mario/Luigi's landing will look different than it does after a normal stomp. If used close to an enemy, the stomp should home in on them. While this move could occasionally be useful in combat, its most interesting property is that it also targets NPCs such as the Toads. Frequently after bouncing off of an NPC's head this way, you will receive a significant horizontal boost, sometimes even greater than that of a long jump. The key is to doing this is to face away from the NPC. Video
  • Sideways wall-jump: To get a wall-jump that is nearly parallel to a wall, spin before touching the wall and hold the analog stick parallel to the wall during the spin. The longer you hold the analog stick parallel during the spin, the more parallel the wall-jump will be. This method can be used to get consecutive wall-jumps off of perpendicular walls.
  • Super Short Long Jump This trick's cause is unknown. Video
  • Tilt: The tilt of Mario and Luigi's body can affect the height of their single, double, and triple jumps. Video A backwards tilt can increase the height of jumps, while a forward tilt can do the opposite. Tilt is mostly determined by the slope of the surface you are standing on, but other environmental elements can have an effect. SMG1 doesn't always reset tilt after coming off a sloped surface, allowing for higher jumps off of flat ground in some places. SMG2 tends to reset tilt more consistently, making it less exploitable.
  • Mega sideflip: In some places, a sideflip can get much more height than usual. Start a sideflip while facing directly away or towards the camera, and then immediately hold left or right once the jump starts. This glitch also works in SMG1. Video

Momentum Boosting

When Mario or Luigi is standing on a moving surface, the motion of that surface is added to Mario and Luigi's jumps. For example, when standing on a platform moving to the right, doing a long jump to the right will give you extra speed and distance. Likewise, when on a platform moving upwards, jumps can reach higher than normal. Video

  • Superbounce or catapulting: A noteworthy application of momentum boosting can be done in areas with reversible platforms (e.g. Flip-Swap Galaxy). It's possible to do a jump off of these platforms while they are swinging upward. The upward movement of the platform pushes Mario or Luigi while he jumps to provide extra height and distance. Video

Infinite Flutter

Normally, after Yoshi uses his flutter kick, there is a long cooldown time before he can start another flutter. However, if you crouch in midair with Z before the flutter ends, this cooldown is canceled. By using crouch cancels, you can do flutters much more rapidly than normal. Details:

  1. Start a flutter.
  2. Before the flutter finishes and while still holding A, press and release Z.
  3. Release and press A to start a new flutter.
  4. Repeat.

This technique allows Yoshi to stay in the air indefinitely using repeated flutters. You can even gain height infinitely, although somewhat slowly.

Sideways infinite flutter

You can gain quite a bit of speed during an infinite flutter if you move sideways and slightly backwards. There are several subtleties to sideways infinite fluttering:

  • If you try to move even slightly forward with the analog stick during the flutter, you will lose almost all of your speed. Forward motion can be imparted through momentum boosting.
  • You can gain some speed by moving only backwards as well. The speed gain is smaller, but this can be useful in 2D sections where you cannot flutter sideways.
  • The speed you gain from infinite fluttering almost completely disappears after being in the air for about 10 seconds. As a general guideline, you can flutter about 7 or 8 times before you stop; but the determining factor is air time, so the number of flutters you have time for depends on how quickly you cancel and restart your flutters.

    There are a few ways to extend the amount of distance you can cover. The easiest and most generally applicable method is to simply dismount just before your infinite flutter stops. Mario and Luigi can cover a lot of extra horizontal distance after dismounting, but their horizontal momentum goes away after several seconds. This technique can be used in Bowser's Galaxy Generator for a large shortcut.

    A more effective but trickier method to extend your distance is to bounce off an NPC or an object during the flutter. Things you can bounce off include almost any enemy, allies such as Toads, and giant berries (in Yoshi Star Galaxy). You can bounce off Yoshi's power-ups and berries as well if either a Smeech is attached to Yoshi's mouth or if you press the B button without pointing at anything.

    The least effective method to extend your distance is to start moving slightly forward once the infinite flutter loses its speed. While moving forward slows Yoshi to a crawl, you can cover an indefinite amount of distance this way. On the other hand, trying to move backwards covers no distance at all until Yoshi bounces off something or lands.

  • Aiming a sideways infinite flutter can be tricky. While you can adjust your trajectory to point slightly less backwards at any time, you cannot aim any farther backwards once a few seconds have passed.

    Generally, when trying to aim an infinite flutter, you should risk moving too far backwards rather than too far forward. If you're too far backwards, you can at least make an adjustment to your trajectory. In the worst case, you can slowly flutter forward until you reach your goal. On the other hand, if you're too far forward of your goal and you can't land or bounce off something, your only choice will be to dismount.

  • If you do a midair spin before your first flutter, your infinite flutter's initial acceleration will be slightly faster than normal. This will gain you a little extra time and distance. However, this may also change the control stick input required to get the desired flutter angle.

Additional details can be found here.


Cloud Flower

  • Quick clouds: Press Z immediately after making a cloud to cancel the cooldown and move sooner.
  • Spring Clouds: As Cloud Mario/Luigi, make a cloud, cancel the cooldown with Z, then jump just when the cloud reaches full size to gain extra height. There are a few common forms of this trick:
    • Long-jumping: While running, spin to form a cloud, then hold Z and press A to do a long-jump that gains extra height and distance.
    • Backflipping: This is just like doing a cloud-boosted long-jump, except you start off stationary. Video
    • Quick cloud boosting: Make a cloud, tap Z, then tap A in quick succession to do an extra high regular jump. This is the quickest but most difficult cloud-boosted jump technique. Video
  • Extended long-jumps: When long-jumping over a bottomless pit or high above solid ground with the Cloud Suit, the long-jump will sometimes gain more speed than usual. This can also be done by long-jumping off of a cloud in midair or, if the cloud is on the ground, by doing a long-jump shortly after the cloud is formed. This seems to work best when starting the long-jump near the center of the cloud.
  • Cloud clipping: There are 2 ways to move through the ground or a wall with clouds. Currently, no known shortcut utilizes these tricks:
    • The first method was found by akheon and Kazooie. The way this works isn't exactly known, but it seems to require a wall for the cloud to clip through and a curved gravitational field.
    • The second method exploits the fact that the sides of a cloud are solid. Normally, Mario and Luigi will die when they are crushed between 2 solid walls, but they cannot get crushed by the sides of a cloud.

      To exploit this method, find a place with a moving wall (such as the end of Cloudy Court) or a place where wind can push a cloud against a wall. Make a cloud near the wall, run off a side of the cloud, and press backwards to cling to the side of the cloud. With correct timing, Mario or Luigi should get squeezed between the cloud and the wall and get pushed through the wall.

Fire Flower

  • Quick fireballs: As Fire Mario/Luigi, repeatedly press Z while shaking the Wii remote to throw multiple fireballs without any delay between each. Video

Rock Mushroom

  • Midair spin jump: Enter a roll as Rock Mario/Luigi and do a jump. While in the air, do a spin and repeatedly press A at the same time to do a midair jump that can potentially gain a lot of height. This trick can be inconsistent; you might want to try shaking the nunchuck if you find tapping A while shaking the Wii remote difficult. Seems to be consistent for one jump when you press A and Spin (flip nunchuck) at the same time.

    Additional details on how to do this trick are described here.

  • Rock Roll Cancel: Press Z while you are in midair to cancel your rock roll. This does not work after you hit a ramp, such as Melty Molten Galaxy.

Mario/Luigi Differences

Luigi's Advantages

  • Luigi runs about 15% faster than Mario. In turn, Yoshi runs about 20% faster than Luigi.
  • During a long-jump, Luigi is about 3% faster.
  • Luigi can jump slightly higher than Mario, but the difference depends on the type of jump (details here):
    • Single/double-jumps, backflips/sideflips: 12% higher
    • Triple-jumps: 4%
    • Long-jumps: 5%
    • Wall-jumps: 9.6%

Luigi's Disadvantages

  • Luigi has less traction and slides a significant distance before he stops. There are 2 ways to get around this:
    • Do a jump and release the analog stick before Luigi lands.
    • While Luigi is sliding, quickly tap the analog stick in the same direction Luigi is facing.
  • Luigi accelerates more slowly. As a result, Luigi needs 7 more frames of running animation before he can long-jump. Assuming only 1 frame of crouching:
    • Mario needs to run for 13 frames, which is a little under 2 steps.
    • Luigi needs to run for 20 frames, which is a little under 3 steps.
  • Mario's spin gains slightly more height.
  • Luigi loses a chunk of air whenever he spins underwater.
  • Mario gains height faster with the Boo Mushroom.

Miscellaneous Tricks

  • Scroll through text quickly: Hold the A button to scroll through text more quickly than normal.
  • Land cancel: When landing from a Launch Star, you normally have to wait about 1 second before you can move again. This wait can be nullified or shortened by a couple of techniques:
    • Jump cancel: Press A to do a jump as soon as you land. The required timing is extremely strict (possibly frame perfect).
    • Camera cancel: Quickly enter and exit first-person view upon landing. This approach is much easier than jump cancelling and it saves the same amount of time, but it can't be used during the initial landing into a Galaxy and in areas where first-person view is disabled.
  • Timing of moving elements:
    • Cutscene skips: skipping (or not skipping) the cutscenes after selecting a star will affect the timing of moving elements. This means that strategies may be adjusted depending on whether you are playing a full speedrun (where cutscenes can't be skipped) or an individual-level speedrun (where cutscenes may be skipped). Examples: spike panels and electric wires in Painting the Planet Yellow, penguins in Passing the Swim Test, Tox Boxes in The Secret Undersea Cavern.
    • Draw distance: some moving elements will not move at all when they are far away or offscreen. In some levels, this means that when you want to practice a timed element in a level, you don't have to worry about speedrun mistakes that were made earlier in the level. In other levels, turning the camera toward enemies (to let them move) or away from enemies (to stop them) can be part of the speedrun strategy.
  • Start of movement in ILs: For individual Star runs, wait about a second before ending the fly-in scene to start moving immediately.
  • Camera effects on speed: When the camera is high and far away from Mario/Luigi, jumping left or right is slightly faster than jumping up or down.
  • Whomp glitch: The downward motion of a falling Whomp can be used to push Mario and Luigi through solid ground. Position yourself in front of a Whomp such that about half of Mario/Luigi's body is within reach of the Whomp. Jump just before the Whomp falls on you to clip through the ground. Video
  • Getting extra lives quickly: It's often convenient to have lots of lives for testing purposes. The fastest way to get extra lives is to go to the planet with the giant Koopas in star 1 of Supermassive Galaxy. Long jump onto one of the Koopa's shells and bounce on it repeatedly. Starting from the 8th bounce, you'll get 1 extra life per bounce. You can get up to 99 lives. You can simply exit the level to keep the lives you've gained; you don't need to complete the level.
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