Super Mario Maker 2 is now out on the Nintendo Switch. It wasn’t a long wait, but it was still worth it. Here’s the only review worth reading, according to me. Not that I’m biased, but you’re on my site so I’m sure you’d like my opinion on this little indie title?
What is there to say that there hasn’t already been said about this game? Has anyone noted in their reviews that in this game, Mario wields a laser sword (copyrighted)? Or that you can now play as Bowser? Or how about that in this latest version there is a deathmatch mode where you can take on goomba’s à la Fornite? No? These other reviews aren’t telling you nowt. Of course, none of these is true, but that’s not the point.
So, what is real then? My love for this game. That’s what’s real, brah. Apart from future consoles and Super Mario Maker 3, you don’t need any other Mario game any more. Oooh – look at me on my orange box, mouthing off what you need and don’t need. You do, though. You need this game if you like Super Mario.
I don’t recall avidly playing Super Mario Maker on the Wii U other than buying it and playing it for a few days at first. It was ace, but I just didn’t get on with the Wii U that much, so it just sits on the shelf with all the others. No reflection on the game, more the system. Well, Super Mario Maker 2 is just like that, but it’s on the Switch, and we all know that the Switch is super swell.
Super Mario Maker 2, in a nutshell, is an omnibus of the Mario games before it. Design your own Mario levels and share them with strangers. Legitimately. If that doesn’t float your boat, you can design levels and remain in your bedroom. While there, you can play a single-player mode – Super Mario style. If you want.
That’s why I’m single
The single-player campaign begins with Undodog destroying Princess Peach’s castle. It wasn’t that special to begin with but doesn’t account for the dog’s callous behaviour. No one seems to pick him up on it. Anyhoo, the mushroom people tell the plumber to get his act together and rebuild the castle by completing a series of levels, called jobs. Each level awards a certain amount of coins and those coins are then reinvested into the crown’s digs.
It’s a marvellous addition and gives the single-player some meaning. I would have liked to have undone the dog after its actions, but it’s a family game and there are coins to collect. There are hundreds of levels to complete so this new castle is going to be the mutts.
Job evels can be replayed, but you’ll only unlock the coins you missed before. You aren’t rewarded with the amount set for the job. That would be too easy. A grind, but too easy. This is a good way to learn the game, however. Not Mario, but the game mechanics and what goes into good level design.
The actual level designing is intuitive. There’s a tutorial with a pigeon because they know stuff and it covers all the basics you need. Everything else is down to experimentation through trial and error.
Navigating the various assets needed to build a killer level is easy as peas. The top of the screen drops in your essential elements like enemies, blocks, and obstacles. There are more elements hidden off-screen, but easy to access. The left defines the stage, i.e. classic, underwater, or the mall as well as the Mario version you wish to play (Super Mario World for example). Finally on the right are the options for saving, undoing and starting from scratch. Of course, you can test out the area to ensure it works and realistic for someone to complete. The latter isn’t a necessity. It’s fun watching your friends squirm. No point if it’s online as you have to complete the level yourself to ensure it’s doable. The term here being verification.
As before, you can set the game design to previous Mario’s – Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, Super Mario Bros. Wii U and Super Mario Bros. 3D World. With the latter, where’s his hat? I like Nintendo. I’m not a massive fan, so I’ve missed this character model, and I find it disgusting that he doesn’t have a hat. Completely confused me. This could have been anyone – an imposter even. I jest. I don’t care, and I’m not disgusted. Why doesn’t he have a hat? He’s like… naked.
Do you know the best bit when designing a level? The music. Each time you place an element, it plays a note in time to the background music. I found myself quite literally wasting time dragging various items across the screen just to hear the music. Sure, I could listen to it on YouTube, but here I’m creating the music.
What about online play? Your guess is as good as mine. I haven’t tried it – that is, playing with others. I’m not paid to do this, I do it because I want to, and quite frankly, aside from user-generated levels, I’m not fussed. Apparently, it’s laggy. If that poses a problem for you, just ask your chums to come to your house to play. Well, to watch you.
There are so many user-created maps now that it’s like navigating the eShop. A lot of crap, but equally a lot of gems buried in there. Either you sift through the toss or watch other players find the better levels and hop onto those. There is a list of the top played levels and new content. Surprisingly, the most popular ones are actually good.
I’m not going to rate any of individual levels as the majority are so ridiculous, I anticipate I would smash the Switch in frustration. You know the level: impeccably timed, jumping over a succession of Bullet Bills while avoiding Piranha Plants, all while holding a power button that you have to launch onto a trampoline then land in a space that is four pixels wide. Absolute lunacy and I am no way capable of that.
Skip to the end…
Now, this game is unlimited. As corny as it sounds, the only restriction is your limited imagination. That said… I did find myself wanting to play something else after a couple of hours. This game is near perfect for what it is, but I wasn’t too interested in playing it in blocks at a time. I mean, I have a life. I don’t. This is my life. What I actually mean is, I wanted a break from it.
Does this have replay value? Well, yeah. Of course it does. It’s infinite Mario. I’ll play in blocks at a time, but I always come back to it as it’s just so much fun. While it’s all good making your own level, it’s worth loitering around to play something someone else has mastered.
What didn’t I like? Well, I’ll tell you what I don’t like, shall I? Erm… not much. I didn’t have expectations for this game so they’ve neither been met or exceeded. But… BUT – this is the best Mario game (excluding Mario Kart and Smash Bros.) for this generation. I’m still a huge fan of Super Mario World on the SNES, and one of my all-time favourite games is of course Super Mario. Bros. Taking out the linear side of the previously mentioned games and their respective stories, Super Mario Maker 2 is fantastic.
If you had the time and skill, I suppose you could recreate the levels from these games. I dunno. Either way, this is an essential purchase. I bet you didn’t see that coming. Thanks for reading through to the obvious though. You’ve touched me in ways I haven’t been touched.