I am a husband, a father, a writer, and a gamer. I love playing games and writing about them.
The Sequel We've Been Waiting For
Super Mario Maker 2 had a big boot to fill. The original Super Mario Maker happened to be the last real reason to keep a Wii U plugged in. Now, the Switch title has finally hit store shelves. The question is, did Nintendo release a worthy sequel to one of the most exciting new entries in the Super Mario series?
The short answer is YES.
Super Mario Maker 2 is a wonderful upgrade from the original and improves everything and then some.
This game adds slopes, new enemies, new items, new stages, new backgrounds, new sound effects, a brand new Mario game in the form of 3D World, story mode, and both a competitive and cooperative multiplayer modes to the mix.
It is truly the sequel that fans and speedrunners have been desiring with tons of fun truly for everyone.
The Course World
Super Mario Maker 2 is an absolute blast to play! Like the original title, you are presented with the options to Make or Play from the menu screen, catering to both creators and players right from the start.
The game controls wonderfully, and the massive variety of potential stages just adds so much value to the package.
In Course World, we are presented with a simple menu consisting of four options:
- Network Play
- Endless Challenge
There is also your player profile, an avatar editor, and a means of searching for other players and their levels via Maker ID or Course ID.
Like the original game, Courses opens up a series of lists like Hot Courses, Popular Courses, New Courses, Detailed Search, and Favorites. The levels are constantly updating, and the Hot Courses section does a really good job of keeping things fresh and introducing players to alternate stages from the Popular Courses tab.
This is a simple jump in, pick a course, and play it section, which is great for players who want to play a stage or two quickly during breaks.
This is new to the Super Mario Maker series. Leaderboards keep track of the Creators with the most Maker Points, a system that awards players who make good levels, Player records through various means, and multiplayer ranking records.
This is just a fun way to keep track of impressive creators and players.
Network Play allows you to play with up to four other players from around the world. One mode is Multiplayer Co-op, where the team works together to try and clear a stage.
Multiplayer Versus is the other, a competitive mode where everyone is racing to the goal, and it is a winner takes all situation. In Versus mode, you are awarded points for winning to improve your Ranking and possibly even show up on the leaderboard. Losses, unfortunately, subtract a small number of points from your Ranking as well.
There is also a Nearby Play section that allows you to play with people locally. This mode requires each player to have their own Switch console and copy of the game.
This is the most entertaining mode in the game. There are four difficulty modes; Easy, Normal, Expert, and Super Expert. Each of them gives you a set amount of lives to start, and the task is to complete as many stages as possible before running out of lives.
This is a great way to be introduced to unplayed levels, as stages are randomly selected. Easy and Normal are great for players who enjoy a more casual experience, and Expert and Super Expert provide a major challenge to those who enjoy difficult levels.
Although not in the Course World menu, the Coursebot can download any stage online and add it to the hard drive so it can be played offline too. The Coursebot is also where you can access local multiplayer for up to four players on one Switch console.
Super Mario Maker 2's Story Mode is a welcomed addition to the series and provides a great way for new players to see the potential of what someone is capable of making in the Course Maker Mode.
The story is simple. Princess Peach's castle is accidentally deleted, and it is up to Mario and a ragtag team of Toads to rebuild the castle from scratch.
Mario is tasked with completing levels to collect and earn coins to spend on rebuilding the castle. The stages progress fantastically. Initially, there are low difficulty levels that gently coach the player, but the stages gradually become more challenging while also introducing new and unique powerups and stage items.
There are well over 100 stages in Story Mode, so there is plenty to do and loads to learn when it comes to stage building. Since all of the stages were created by Nintendo employees, there is some great level design to learn from.
"Super Mario 3D World"
Super Mario 3D World is the biggest new addition to Super Mario Maker 2. Although the original 3D World was a three-dimensional Super Mario game, Nintendo did a brilliant job of transitioning it into a 2D platformer with loads of unique properties that set it apart from the others.
3D World's biggest changes are in its long jump, high twirl jump, clear pipes, and of course, the Cat Suit, which allows you to climb walls and trees.
There are numerous new enemies that are unique to 3D World, including a cat-version of Bowser known as "Meowser," which essentially makes it feel like a completely different game from the rest.
Even in Course Maker Mode, Super Mario 3D World is in "Extra Game Styles," separating itself from Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario U.
Course Maker is the bread and butter of the Super Mario Maker series. The ability to create and play your own Mario levels whenever you want and upload them to the internet for the world to play as well.
The original concept was designed around the Wii U and its gamepad controller, but on the Switch, Nintendo had to make some changes.
Thankfully, Nintendo did a really good job, but there is a huge difference between creating in handheld mode and docked mode. In handheld mode, you can use the Switch's touchscreen for easy editing and switching items, but in docked mode, using a controller to create a level requires a lot of adjustment. It is functional and gets the job done, but the handheld mode is definitely the way to go if you want to create.
There are tons of things to work with as well!
On the top bar are all of the items, enemies, blocks, pipes, sound effects, etc. On the left is access to Game Styles, Course Theme, Autoscroll settings, Timer settings, Clear Conditions, Co-op Creating (Two players creating together), and an option to see Mario's trail from a previous test run. Finally, on the right side, there is the ability to save and load, erase, undo, and reset.
It is quite intuitive and a load of fun to use!
One thing to be aware of is switching Course Themes. Super Mario Bros, Super Mario 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario U can all be easily switched with little to no problem, but switching to Super Mario 3D World will reset all previous progression. Please be careful.
Multiplayer is another huge addition to Super Mario Maker 2. Nintendo went the pretty safe approach by only including a simple co-op mode and competitive mode, and although the lag is pretty bad at the moment, the experience is still incredibly fun.
In co-op, the party decides by vote whether to play a Normal stage or a Hard stage. Since it is cooperative, it does not matter who reaches the goal first. It is just a matter of someone getting to the goal. Because of this, the strategy to reach certain platforms changes. Players can assist each other by jumping off one another's heads to reach higher areas to potential clear stages quicker. There are unlimited lives, but each death brings the player back to the start or to the location of another player and the timer is still your enemy.
Versus is essentially a race. The first player to reach the goal wins. Dying in Versus resets the player back to the start or to the most recent checkpoint. Since it is a race, dying can be devastating. Versus seems to be a mode that exists for racers, which can be quite intimidating for casual players, but it is a great mode nonetheless.
Super Mario Maker 2 has officially killed the Wii U. It is a tremendous accomplishment and further proof that Nintendo has really been listening to their fans recently, and if you have been looking for a reason to buy a Switch, now is the time.
For any Mario fan or gamer who just loves platformers, Super Mario Maker 2 is an absolute must! It caters to such a wide range of players too, from the youngest of beginners to the fastest veteran. It is the game that just keeps on giving, and thanks to a serious community of Mario Maker players, Super Mario Maker 2 will be supported for years to come.
On my personal scale of SUCK → MEH → DECENT → GOOD → EXCELLENT, I give Super Mario Maker 2 my first ever EXCELLENT review.
© 2019 Jason Reid Capp