- “If you ever want to visit that ship, you can get there with the Warp Pad.”
- —Lubba, Super Mario Galaxy 2
Warp Pads are semi-common objects found in both Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2. They appear as small metallic circular switches positioned on the ground and are always found in sets of two. Their bases are red, and the "switch" part of them is green on the outside and silver on the inside, with a small gold circle in the middle. Hovering over the center of them is a small white orb of pure light, with a curved beam of light extending from the orb of light over one Warp Pad to the orb of light over the other. When activated, Mario will temporarily be transformed into a ball of light that will travel along the curved light beam like an electrical current until he reaches the second Warp Pad, at which point he will turn back into himself. Warp Pads allow Mario to travel quickly between places that usually have different elevations or would be inaccessible otherwise.
To use one, the player only needs to have Mario walk onto it, at which point it will automatically be activated. The "switch" part of the Warp Pad will only become indented after Mario has reached the second of the two Warp Pads, and will rise back up after Mario walks away from it. Otherwise, it will always be raised up. Even though most Warp Pads lead specifically from one area to another, Mario can also use them to travel back in the same direction from which he previously came. Warp Pads only ever appear in the hub areas of the two games (the Comet Observatory in Super Mario Galaxy and Starship Mario in Super Mario Galaxy 2), and never make an appearance in any galaxies whatsoever. In Super Mario Galaxy, six sets of Warp Pads appear onboard the Comet Observatory in the following locations:
- Leading from a pathway on the Comet Observatory to the outside of the Fountain.
- Leading from the outside of the Kitchen to the outside of the Engine Room.
- Leading from the outside of the Engine Room to the outside of the Gate.
- Leading from the outside of the Gate to the outside of the Garden.
- Leading from behind the Garden to the Garage.
- Leading from the bottom of the Comet Observatory to behind the Engine Room.
Most of the Warp Pads in this game will not work at first, as specific parts of the Comet Observatory must first be powered up via the collection of Grand Stars, which will enable more Warp Pads to be used as the game progresses. As such, many of these Warp Pads have colored power cables running to them from the platform near the start of the Comet Observatory. The beam of light extending from these Warp Pads reflects the color of the power cables leading to them. Not every Warp Pad found onboard the Comet Observatory is necessarily used to reach otherwise inaccessible areas; some only act as shortcuts which lead to previously accessed areas that would normally take longer to reach without the use of Warp Pads.
In Super Mario Galaxy 2, only one set of Warp Pads appears in the entire game. The first one is positioned in the right ear of Starship Mario, and the second one is found on the bottom of the red Starshroom orbiting Starship Mario. The only function of these Warp Pads is to provide access between the two ships. In this game, there is no beam of light visibly connecting the two Warp Pads, although Mario still transforms into a ball of light and travels along a predetermined path between them.
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- Unlike using Launch Stars, power-ups always remain active when using Warp Pads. This can be experienced with the Red Star in Super Mario Galaxy as well as the Cloud Flower in Super Mario Galaxy 2.
- Although the Warp Pad in Super Mario Galaxy 2 leads both to and from the Starshroom, it does not necessarily need to be used to get back to Starship Mario; if the player is Cloud Mario when they use the Warp Pad to go to the Starshroom, they can reach Starship Mario again via a glitch.
- If Mario walks onto a Warp Pad after he has just used it, the switch part will remain indented and it will not activate. If the player looks closely when Mario does this, the bottom part of his legs will actually be going through the Warp Pad as if it was not there.
- By using the slope-climbing glitch to reach the Engine dome's platform, the Warp Pad leading from the bottom of the Comet Observatory near the Library to the back of the Engine Room can be unlocked early.
- By performing a frame-perfect backflip off the Engine Room dome with Luigi and using player 2 to click him at a specific spot, allowing him to wall jump off the Garden dome and land on the platform that it is on, the Warp Pad that leads from the Garage to behind the Garden can be unlocked early.