Review: Super Mario Maker – A Classic in the Making
Super Mario Maker is the type of game that has been a long time coming. Since the debut of the very first Mario title, fans have spent hours upon hours honing their skills in the platformer — learning every jump, power-up, enemy type and placement and hazard the game has had to offer.
And for many of these same devoted players, being able to recreate those same cherished levels or creating unique levels was a distance pipe dream (no pun intended).
With the release of Super Mario Maker, Nintendo has finally put those development tools into the hands of the players, ensuring a grand old time for many.
Super Mario Maker comes with over a hundred already playable levels accessible through the Tour mode, which challenges players to complete these levels under certain conditions. Similar challenge modes such as beat eight levels with eight lives also exist to liven up gameplay.
Then there’s also of course the Creation mode, the meat of the title. You mold new masterpieces (or failfests) by using and customizing the tools provided to you by the game like enemies, platform block-type and placements, hazards, powerups, coins and more.
A new set of tools is “delivered” to your game each day for the first few days, as long as you spend a certain amount of time either creating or playing levels.
This gives you plenty of time to get acquainted with the previous set and prevents players from being overwhelmed by too many choices early on. This tactic is both simple yet effective, not only due to the aforementioned reason above but because it serves as incentive to keep playing.
For those looking for even more options, amiibo figurines can also unlock costumes and tools by simply scanning them in. A nice bonus feature but if buying the figures aren’t your cup of tea then you’re hardly missing anything. Especially when those same effects can be downloaded in your own game through online courses made by other players.
The interface for level creation in general is pretty intuitive — it’s incredibly easy to design using the stylus and Gamepad and all the options are laid out quite clearly. Honestly it’s rather impressive how simple the tools are yet the resulting levels can have so much variety and depth.
A nice touch is the ability to switch between the various Super Mario Bros. titles including the original, Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros. U. This also switches the physics, lending a completely different feel and playstyle.
If the actual creation is the meat of the game, then the online community is the dessert — a sweet ending to an already filling meal.
To elaborate, after making all those nifty levels, what to do with them besides replay them over and over while admiring your genius?
For starters you can upload those levels online and share them with the Super Mario Maker community. In turn, you can then download levels created by others and edit or play to your heart’s content. Players can also rank said levels and of course a higher rank equates higher notoriety.
Seeing what your fellows wrought with their own hands and being able to share your very best with others is an incredibly satisfying — not to mention just fun — experience.
It would behoove me to mention the music and general controls, which are quite excellent. As was mentioned previously, when you switch between the titles it changes the appearance, physics engine used and music.
Music is exactly the same from the originating title, giving players an opportunity to take a trip down memory lane. The recreated appearance and physics gives the title changes actual legitimacy and will undoubtedly result in players quickly choosing their preference (mine being New Super Mario Bros. U).
The title is well polished and plays wonderfully but there are a couple caveats that I must address. For one, outside of the level editor section, the menu design is a bit convoluted and navigating the screens to access other modes, tracking down levels to edit and upload takes a while to actually figure out.
The second issue that very rarely I would have input lag with trying to time a jump or attack (if using a power-up) which often caused an untimely death. In the level editor this is a non-issue but can become annoying when trying to beat actual levels in the game.
Other than those minor issues, Super Mario Maker remains an excellent value for gamers: a deep and satisfying creation mode for level building wrapped in a relaxing and non-stressful package that those of any age could enjoy — maybe even multiple generations together.