Super Mario Maker is the latest from Nintendo, it brings a whole new depth to user-created content and it not only brings back memories from your childhood, but it also lets you be the king of creating as you piece together your very own Super Mario levels. The concept is simple, you have your empty canvass, and you create anything you wish using various Super Mario Bros items found in every Mario title since the classic NES version. But there is so much more to it than just dragging a few blocks across the Wii U Gamepad using the stylus, you need to know what you want, and that changes every time you select a new object.
The create mode is the highlight of Super Mario Maker, you can have zero creativity in you and you will still find something to create. First you select your canvas – these will change the style of the level you are creating. You can choose from a classic NES look, to Super Mario World, right up to New Super Mario Bros U. Once you have selected your visual style, you then choose what type of level you are creating. Remember Mario goes on all sorts of adventures, from underground, to the air, to swimming in the ocean. All the visual styles also come with their own set of levels. If you want to create a Bowser Castle re-enactment, then you choose that type of level. The visual style also determines the look for every object that you can select to build with. Bowser’s look will change if you select the New Super Mario Bros U visual style, and so will every other object.
Once you have your set look down and the type of level you want to create you are free to go ahead and create any thing you want. In an attempt to ease players into the game, Nintendo only unlocks a new set of objects every day if you play the game for more than 10 minutes. This is kind of a bummer for me as for the purpose of this review it would have been nice to be able to experiment with everything, but I made sure to play the game every day to unlock the next day’s package of goodies. For new players you will get around 10 craft items, as you learn to create levels with them, more will be unlocked the next day.
Creating is the easiest process I have ever experienced in a user content driven game. You pick up items with the stylus and tap on the blocks in the game to place them. If you want to place down a whole row of bricks, you just color in the area you want to have bricks placed. Certain objects like the Koopas have two forms, so shaking them by moving the stylus around quickly will transform them into their other form. The same goes for the Piranha Plants, if you want them to spit fire, you will have to wiggle them around and then place them down. Pipes can be placed and rotated, fire streams can be switched to rotate the other way around, and Goombas and other items can all be dragged into blocks to be revealed once hit. It is simple and so easy to pick up and master. it requires no programming of any item, linking, pasting, or any other sort of modification that you find in user generated content games today.
While you are creating a level you can test it on the fly by selecting the “play” icon, here you can see if things work out or not, but most of the time they will, what could possibly go wrong anyway? Once you are happy with your level and you think it is the best thing since sliced bread, you can upload it online for the rest of the world to play. But first, you will need to complete the level by getting to the end of it, else it will not be uploaded. So those of you who think you are going to take advantage of gamer’s patience, think again.
When you are not creating levels, you can try and master the rest of the world’s levels by playing through them online. If you love a level so much you can download it and save it on your Wii U console to play offline, or without having to connect to the online services. In Course World you can find the best creators based on the amount of votes, plays, and rating they have, so expect the best of the best to be there. You can also just browse the Courses menu that houses all the latest uploads, or you can jump into the 100 Mario Challenge, the main single player mode of the game. Here you will play through 8 levels with 10 lives to try and get to the end and save Princess Peach. Each level you complete will be added to your level templates so you can go and mix and match them if you feel that Nintendo did not do a good enough job at it.
The 100 Mario Challenge mode is fun, and if you just feel like playing through Mario levels all based on different games, with different enemies, and different visual styles, then you will enjoy this. I felt like it was truly the only thing that kept me going back to the game after I received my daily content pack and was awaiting my next one. Sure the online mode was there, but with no public release of the game, many of the levels just felt boring. Saying that, I cannot wait for the rest of the world to get their hands on the game and create some rather awesome levels.
One of the biggest missing features on Super Mario Maker is the multiplayer. There is no couch multiplayer, one of the best features about all recent Mario titles on the Wii U. This is a single player experience and you cannot get a friend to jump in to play online levels with you. This would have been a great added feature as creators could of used this to create two-player specific levels that we have never actually experienced before. So those looking to play with friends, sorry.
Although missing the co-op feel, Mario Maker adds in a ton of great content. Extra costumes are unlocked with the use of an Amiibo, and there are some other rather fantastic surprises in store for fans of the series that I cannot mention in the review. Yes, it is a surprise, and I cannot afford a lawsuit. Super Mario Maker is an extremely addictive experience, unfortunately it is very limited at first due to its snail-pace roll out of creation items, which should not be mandatory. Once you have everything I am sure you can spend hours upon hours with it, and as soon as the rest of the world gets to upload levels, it will truly be a landmark title. Nintendo took the best feature from Super Mario, its levels, and made them available to you to do whatever you wish with, and I canot fault them on that.
Easy-to-use building mechanics
Everything you love about Mario
Growing online community
Makes Us Sad
Slow roll out of creation items and tools
Disclaimer: This review was conducted on a review copy of the game that was given to Tech Girl.
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