Super Mario Maker Review
Have you ever wanted to put giant Goombas or Koopa Troopas in World 1-1 of the original Super Mario Bros.? Or a tower of blocks in Super Mario World that can only be broken with Koopa shells? How about facing not one, but three Bowsers in one course in New Super Mario Bros. U?
Aspirations like these are only a taste of what players can accomplish in Super Mario Maker, Nintendo’s newest creation game on the Wii U. In essence, the game lets you create your own personalized Mario levels based on the themes of four different Mario games: Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros. U. The notion of customized Mario levels is not unique, in fact many ROMs and modded NES catridges of classic Mario games predate Mario Maker, but Mario Maker is special in its own right because it opens up the field of level creation to both casual and hardcore gamers in a fun and easily accessible way.
With each of these game themes comes a profusion of different elements to build the perfect level. The items you have access to while building varies depending on which theme you are working with. For example, if you choose New Super Mario Bros. U you can put propeller mushrooms in question mark blocks or if you decide to use the Super Mario World theme you can put the feather in question mark blocks to deck Mario in his yellow cape. Aside from the different items you can use with the different themes, the game mechanics also change accordingly depending on the current theme you are using. So if you decide to go with classic Super Mario Bros. the only options you will have is jump, duck, and sprint, while New Super Mario Bros. U gives Mario his spin attack and ground pound. Deciding on a good Mario theme is imperative to constructing a level because it can help you determine what obstacles and enemies to place.
What is especially great about the customization options in Super Mario Maker is that you are not overwhelmed by a barrage of course elements all at once, instead you make and edit courses with a small number of tools on one day and if you create things on one course for at least 10 minutes you will receive a notification about the next tool delivery that will arrive when you play the game the next day. Of course this can easily be exploited by means of changing the date and time on the Wii U console so getting all the tools can be relatively quick if you decide on using this little exploit. Building courses is extremely simple and intuitive all you have to do is use the stylus on the gamepad to add, erase, or multiply anything you want. The touch controls work excellently and rarely waver so making a course can take 3 hours or 3 minutes depending on your personal preferences. Put the flag pole goal near the beginning or put it miles away from Mario, place dozens of precarious traps on moving platforms, or make Mario navigate a mind numbing maze, the choices are nearly limitless with Mario Maker.
Once you complete a course you can save it to the Coursebot who stores all of your saved levels in one place and can also upload your favorite courses to the Course World for other people to play all over the world. Moreover, you can also play the courses of other people in the Course World and try your luck in playing some of the most insane levels you will ever find in any Mario game. Once you complete someone else’s course you can star it if you enjoyed it and the more stars that you or others receive for their courses the more slots they will have available for course uploads. If you hate to keep track of a course maker with levels you love just follow them to play any levels they make or have made in the past. If you get tired of making levels and looking through the long lists of the Course World you can try either the 10 Mario or 100 Mario challenge. Each of these challenges puts you through a series of randomly generated courses produced globally by different people with Mario being given 10 and 100 lives respectively. Every time you complete one of these challenges you can unlock a new mystery mushroom costume that can be put in your courses to change Mario’s appearance to that of various Nintendo characters.
Super Mario Maker does have a few faults that may possibly be fixed in future updates. One big flaw with the game is that is does not really offer a lot of game modes which is understandable, but the game could have been ten times more expansive if it gave players the abilities to organize their levels within their own worlds and create their own Mario adventure rather than just individual courses with no connection whatsoever. Also, if I have to nitpick, I disliked the fact that when editing a course you not given the ability to zoom out so you can see what you have added to the whole course without have to constantly scroll back and forth with the gamepad.
The way Mario Maker puts you in total creative control in both creating and playing courses is empowering. There was a point during my experience when I felt inadequate in my abilities in making courses, but I am glad that experimenting with the game and having a lot of patience paid off and made me find a new appreciation for it. I also really enjoyed the Mario challenges because of their varying degrees of simplicity, complexity, and overall charm. Super Mario Maker is a game that anyone with a Wii U should pick up and play because it opens up the doors to a new realm of Mario for both longtime fans and newcomers to the franchise so they can build and play the Mario courses of their dreams.