Super Mario Maker Review
After a slow summer, Nintendo’s big releases for 2015 are starting to land. First up is Super Mario Maker on the Wii U, the game every Mario fan has wanted since Super Mario Bros. came out oh so long ago. However, does the thought of building your own levels live up to preconceived notion we have all had in our heads for year? Yes, yes it does.
The title for Super Mario Maker is fairly self explanatory. You make things. However, you get to make things like never before, doing things never done before in a 2D platforming Mario title. Lets back up for a second, and talk about the story.
Wait, there is no story, and that is not a problem. This game is all about building evil, nasty, and downright insane levels. At least, that’s what the game is all about if you are evil, nasty, and downright insane. But you are not limited to that. You could make a level filled with coins, a level that requires players to maneuver through a maze, or even a level that involves math problems!
Math problems? Yuck! But it is true. The creation options in Super Mario Maker are almost endless. The game does hold your hand early on to keep first time makers anxiety to a minimum. Each day that you play (up to Day 9), a new truckload of parts comes. So on Day 1, you are limited to a few platforms, basic enemies like Goombas and Koopas, and your typical Mario mushroom, among other things. Prior to the release, I thought this was ridiculous way to introduce new building elements. I was wrong. Initially, I was worried that my play time for Day 1 would be minimal, because I had minimal parts to work with. However, I created level after level using just the basic building pieces. Before I knew it, I had clocked almost six hours into Mario Maker, using less than 10 building items.
This is truly were Super Mario Maker shines. Even in the earliest stages of the game, I notice people were creating some outstanding levels. These levels did not need Bowser, lava, fireballs, or anything else. With just the basic elements, I was finding hours of play time going through level after level. Fortunately, players are not limited to just Day 1 pieces, as each day produces new items to experiment with. At each day, however, you never really feel like you are missing out on something you have yet to unlock.
Each level that you create can be uploaded online for others to play, favorite, or get angry at via Miiverse comments. The uploaded levels – which is initially limited to 10 levels – must be beatable. Before they appear online, you yourself must complete the level you have built from start to finish, without dying. In other words, you cannot make someone climb through the depths of hell only to reach a flag surrounded by impenetrable blocks. You can do that offline to your friends, but not online; this is done for obvious reasons. Each level that you upload will track a number of things: the number of players who have played your level, the number of attempts to complete your level, and the percentage of people who actually did complete your level. Players can then attribute stars to levels they really liked – which will factor into them appearing more prominently in the online community – as well as post comments via Miiverse.
The number of available levels right now, just from media members – is already staggering, and at times, overwhelming. I can only imagine this problem will be multiplied by 1000 by the time the game launches. Like any online community or marketplace, there is a fair amount of weeding out that players will need to perform for themselves. However, when you find a creator you like, you can tag them for easy reference in the future. You can also share course IDs, so that if a friend uploads a level to the online community, you can find it easily. A final, extra touch?! If you see a level created by someone else and think you could alter it to be way better, you totally can! However, Nintendo is limiting the ability to re-upload those titles as they are looking to foster a community of creativity, not partial theft of an idea.
Super Mario Maker is a near perfect game, and it can reach perfection with a few added DLC bonuses. I am not saying Nintendo has confirmed that we will see DLC, but I am saying I don’t see why they wouldn’t. A few notable items are missing from this release, including the 3 Large Coins introduced in New Super Mario Bros. on the Wii and DS, multiple Mario suits, and more. I would also like to see a few other things added to the game to make 1-Ups and coins more relevant. Although this steps outside what makes a 2D Mario Platform game a,well, 2D Mario Platform game, would be to include individual level challenges. For example, collecting 100 coins in a level to unlock the door that brings you to the flag.
Another community request has been to be able to upload an entire World of levels – which are currently capped at 4 when creating levels. Players have been saying they would like this since Super Mario Maker was announced, and I for one would agree. The ability to upload an entire world for someone to play – perhaps a standard level, underground, underwater, and a castle stage – would add something extra to the game, and would also make coin collection and 1-Up mushrooms important.
There is also things to do outside the creation tools, and outside playing random levels from other players. Super Mario Maker also includes a challenge mode: the 10 Mario Challenge and the 100 Mario Challenge. In 10 Mario Challenge, players receive 10 lives to complete 8 levels created by the game’s developers. These levels can take 30 seconds, or a few minutes. Some levels require precise jumping, while others are just merely puzzles. For example, here are a set of doors, which one do you need to go through to ultimately finish the level? In 100 Mario Challenge players are given 100 lives to beat 16 user created levels. The difficulty on these challenges definitely ranges. I beat 10 Mario Challenge without losing a life, and I’ve only made it to level 5 before losing all my lives. The same can happen with 100 Mario Challenge.
There is so much to do in Super Mario Maker, and so many interesting things to discover. This review has not even touched on amiibo functionality, and for good reason. When you finally get a hold of the game, experiment. Try putting random things inside a Bullet Bill canon! Try shacking various items that you have unlocked to see what will happen. And definitely try creating a Blastoise by placing a canon on the back of Bowser. These are all possibilities, and there is still plenty more. This game is all about experimentation, something I won’t ruin for you here. All I can do is recommend that you pick up Super Mario Maker when it launches on September 11th, We are not giving this a 9.5 for no reason!
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @adamroffel and send me your course ID’s once the full game hits retail. I look forwarding to playing through your levels!