Impressive most immediately for its graphical superiority over its forebear, Super Mario Land 2's scope and ambition eclipse Nintendo's first effort--and root this instalment as an essential in any Nintendo Gameboy collection.
Replete--this time around--with a save function, indicating--quite correctly--a larger game, Super Mario Land 2 offers a hefty number of levels--all of which can be attempted at normal or easy difficulty--simultaneously satisfying those pursuing a rewarding title, and those desirous of a more simplistic jaunt. Hidden levels can be accessed optionally, advocating exploration, yet the game offers few other optional or additional excursions, with its sequel--Wario Land--boasting a far more generous collection of stages and optional pursuits.
While Mario Land 2's aesthetics ape much of what can be seen in Super Mario World--a commendable fear, even in the absence of colour--the game plays discernibly slower--with Mario's movements and responses feeling less acute, and rather more sluggish: a piquant contrast with the first Mario Land. While the reduced responsiveness relieves much of the inherent frustration in the first title, players may be disenchanted with the lack of speed--something promised by most other Mario titles--yet Nintendo does an admirable job of compensating for this through the sheer creativity of levels, and a musical score that--while underwhelming--is instilled with a gusto not suggestive of a slow game.
Super Mario Land 2 is archetypal handheld gaming--best enjoyed during typical train journeys or at the bus-stop. In the presence of newer technologies, those in possession of a Gameboy Pocket while partaking in Mario Land 2 on such excursions may perhaps appear curiously old-fashioned--but the trade-off for a few raised eyebrows is far from invalid yet.