Mario is a gaming icon not only because he’s a brave and affable guy, but also because he’s the name behind some of the greatest platformers of all time. Nintendo carefully guided its adventures for decades; however, something happened in 2015. It gave gamers the keys to design and share stages in Wii U’s Super Mario Maker, and the Super Mario we thought we knew got a whole new light. This is our Super Mario Maker 2 Review.
Super Mario Maker 2 Review: About
- Platform: Nintendo Switch
- Developer: Nintendo Entertainment Planning & Development
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Genres: Action, 2D, Platformer
- Release Date: 28 June 2019
Super Mario Maker 2 Review: Gameplay
Now that Nintendo has abandoned the Wii U and 3DS versions of Mario Maker, Super Mario Maker 2 on Switch takes us back to that heady time of the past few years. The game itself is primarily known, but the more you play and make, the more you notice all the little additions that are in it and how they increase the potential for creativity in new methods. Mario Maker 2 is a robust level creation game and a fantastic open-ended platformer that will no doubt stimulate a new era of competition between players and creators. But so far, it’s incredible what the right players can do when given the tools to create Mario’s world.
The intuitive drag-and-drop system is back – however, you don’t have the luxury of a built-in Switch stylus. So consider buying one or coming up with one before you get into the game, because if you only use your finger you can, you sometimes place objects incorrectly. You can create while your Switch is docked, but that should ultimately be the last resort given how quickly you can put objects in handheld mode even with a lack of a stylus.
Choosing and placing ingredients for your level, or painting wide tracts of land, is a quick and painless process, and there are intuitive means to copy, paste, and undo your work if needed. You will regain access to game components, including Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros. The big exception is the freshly included set based on Super Mario 3D World, which can only be used in isolation.
Unless you mistake the “3D” aspect to suggest that you get away from side-scrolling Mario, you only gain access to unique elements from that game, such as the never-strange Cat Mario startup. The Cat Mario suit is far from the only notable addition, the total of which is too much to list here, with the ability to create ramps, custom scroll for stages, and set level-clear conditions as one of the most substantial additions to the Mario Maker formula.
However, even the smallest variable can have a huge ripple effect in the hands of the right person. Time will tell which seemingly average element is turned into a devil weapon in the hands of the smartest creators. For new creators, there is the chance to get overwhelmed by the options available at the start; however, that’s where Yamamura’s Dojo comes in. Yamamura is a pigeon, but also a very wise and insightful pigeon.
If you want help wrapping your head around the basic concepts required to come up with and create a level, Yamamura’s is your bird. His catalog of 45 lessons walks you through everything from landscaping and Goombas placement to the more philosophical side of creating levels, even navigating the meta side of being a creator who unleashes their work for others to judge. These lessons help get a budding maker up to speed, and the fact that nothing is stopping skilled designers from the start was another smart move from Nintendo, too.
The creator’s pool has created some truly impressive stages so far that make good use of Mario Maker 2’s robust toolset. The overall level of logic inherent in a Mario game remains mostly the same – don’t dig under the hood to rewrite traditional cause-and-effect rules, for example. However, the spirit of Mario Maker 2 comes alive when masterful players combine familiar elements, often in ways that Nintendo would never use in a traditional Mario game.
So far, that unexpected creativity often manifests itself in strange stages filled with an unreasonable number of enemies, devilish platform tests that require superhuman reflexes, or ingenious constructions that move Mario and essential items in an environment with calculated chain reactions. Not every stage is a winner, but since the necessary controls and elements of the world have been tried and tested, it is rare to come across a custom stage worth getting upset.
Ultimately, tens of alternative stages are seconds away, a convenience that is quickly taken for granted. It is no understatement to say that the speed with which you can browse, download, and play levels are essential factors that make exploring the Super Mario Maker 2 review so easy and enjoyable. The findability plays a role in the levels that you come across, and apart from essential lists such as popular, new and trending courses, there is a specific search function that allows you to narrow down the selection of levels by features such as theme and difficulty.
You can also sort by tags that indicate the stage type, be it an auto-scrolling level or a puzzle-focused challenge. After playing, you can leave feedback at the level that other players can consider – a simple yet meaningful opportunity to contribute to the community and learn from your peers. All this means that the online stage selection of Mario Maker 2 is both organized and suitable for the broader player base.
You don’t have to get yourself involved in every aspect of it if you just want to play some random Mario levels, but it’s great to see that you can get deeply involved with your fellow creators if you’re going to. One of the hotly contested elements before launch was online multiplayer, which has both co-op and competitive forms. Nintendo’s initial plans to limit these modes to random matchmaking caused the anger of some fans who reasonably expected to be able to play with their friends.
Nintendo has since made it clear that this feature will come, just not in time for launch. As it stands, the delay that is present in most multiplayer sessions ruins the experience. Mario, and especially Mario Maker levels, are focused on precision platforming. If you can’t rely on your character’s movement or your controller’s input, you might as well not play at all. If Super Mario Maker 2 has spots, it is the current status of the online multiplayer.
More positively, the other significant addition to Mario Maker 2 is a true story mode, a campaign of 100 levels created by Nintendo. The story is quintessentially Mario fare in a world of NPCs and some pleasant surprises and goes a few steps further than The Super Mario Challenge from the 3DS Mario Maker. It’s not a great addition in light of the myriad levels coming from other players, but it’s an excellent alternative if you prefer a more coordinated campaign.
There is a small missed opportunity to give you creative tools as a way to solve purpose-built puzzles to provide you with that practical learning in a possible scenario. Still, they are offered to you as options to overcome stages that you repeatedly don’t fetch. It’s not like there’s a drought of custom stages online even before release. However, Nintendo’s array of stages is beautiful to have if you want to dig into homemade stages by the developers themselves.
Super Mario Maker 2 Review: Conclusion
The Mario series is worth all the admiration it gets, and Super Mario Maker 2 is an excellent tool for taking it apart by pushing its enemies, mechanisms, and Mario to the limit. I have yet to create a stage of my own that I think is worth sending to other players, but I am determined to get there. Whether I’m exploring the full potential of a single element or throwing things at the wall to see what lingers, I’ve got the jitters to join the maker’s club.
Mario Maker 2 makes the learning process intuitive and enjoyable. Most importantly, designers, both amateurs and professionals, can share their creativity with the world. The community has started well, and luckily the fun has only just begun.
The Super Mario Maker 2 is a robust level creation game and a fantastic open-ended platformer that will no doubt stimulate a new era of competition between players and creators.