The Willy Wonka magic of Super Mario Galaxy 2

One of the big differences between adulthood and childhood is that the world becomes, well, more normal.As a child it's easy to enhance reality with t

As a child it's easy to enhance reality with the wild speculation of your feverish imagination so that your next door neighbour is actually a werewolf rather than just an exceptional hairy man. But as an adult you tend to see the world how it is.

So anything that offers a chance to relive the Willy Wonka-ish flights of fancy of youth has to be welcome and Super Mario Galaxy 2 is just the ticket.

Like the first Super Mario Galaxy, the sequel is a virtual piñata packed with colourful surprises, magical wonders and delightful twists and turns. There's something unique and unpredictable on each level and a plentiful supply of hidden areas to encourage you to retrace your steps in search of further surprises.

It is, of course, a kids' game at heart: a fact reinforced by the children's picture book opening scenes where - inevitably - Princess Peach is kidnapped again. But like the best in children's entertainment - think Harry Potter or Toy Story - Super Mario Galaxy 2 has cross-generational appeal.

For children the attraction of Mario's playground-esque worlds and Nintendo's roster of iconic cartoon characters is obvious, but for adults - especially those who grew up stomping on koopa troopas - it's a welcome chance to go back the days when a surprise could lay around any corner.

It may be less of a step forward than its immediate predecessor, but Super Mario Galaxy 2 still boasts more inventiveness and unpredictability in each of its levels than many games manage from start to finish.