2015 marks the 30th anniversary of Mario. For thirty years, the Italian plumber has been abusing turtles, eating mushrooms, and saving princesses. Most franchise anniversaries will have remasters of old greats however Nintendo are doing something different for Mario’s anniversary, they are giving fans the chance to create their dream Mario courses with Super Mario Maker for Wii U.
So, is Super Mario Maker the number one game for all Nintendo fans, or is it a game to avoid? Find out in our review, after the break!
Booting up the game for the first time will instantly place your in a very familiar setting, what seems to be World 1-1 from Super Mario Bros.. After running to the right for a bit however, you are introduced to a massive chasm, this level is definitely incomplete. After falling into the pit, a notification comes up to tell you to finish creating the level. Once you hit create, you will enter the level creation screen with some overlays to help you get started on where would be a good idea to place certain objects as well as some helpful little tips. Once you are done creating, you get to play your first ever Mario creation. The perfect little tutorial!
The point of Super Mario Maker is to create the levels of your dreams, or levels which you would never usually see in a Mario game. There are so many ideas that you can come up with and create. There area few nifty tricks too, for example, when you shake certain items, an alternative version of that item will appear. You can also stack enemies up and give them a Super Shroom to make ’em grow. Almost all items can be put onto tracks for them to move around the place. There are plenty other combinations you can discover too. If you are more into the special effects department, then you are in luck. After you have played the game for a while, you will unlock the Sound/Special Effects tool to make your level even more unique. Every sound effect can be given a little shake to get a alternative sound, and every effect includes some sort of visual or special effect. There are also a couple pieces of music you could add too such as a mini-boss theme based on the art style you are using. You have up to four art styles and six themes to choose from, and you can use two themes in one level with help from warp pipes. So your level could start off in an airship and end off being a haunted house, all in the theme of New Super Mario Bros. U! Finally, you can set how long the player will have to complete the level (you can make the timer as short as ten seconds if you are feeling extra devious) and set an auto-scroll with three different speeds. The amount of customisation is pretty impressive in Super Mario Maker and is sure to give many players lots of good ideas.
Those who are hoping to create intricate levels using loads of different tools from the get-go may feel slightly underwhelmed on the first day. Nintendo have implemented a unlock feature in Super Mario Maker where new tools are unlocked once a day as long as you have been creating for at least five minutes the previous day, and it takes around nine days to unlock all the tools. The first day will start you off with the bare minimum. There are both good points and negative points with starting with fewer tools. For one, new players may feel overwhelmed if there is a wide selection of tools to choose from. Starting off with limited tools can also force creators to become creative and compromise with the tools they have available, you’d be surprised with what you can make with some platforms, piranha plants, mushrooms, and Koopa-Troopas. On the other hand however, some people may also feel underwhelmed and their initial impression would be that the game is empty. There are also people (like me) who want to fit as much as they can in a level and are too impatient to wait the full nine days. If you are one of those people though, there’s no need to worry as there is a way to unlock all the creation tools (with a couple exceptions) in about 60 minutes. Those who are familiar with Animal Crossing should know about ‘time travelling’, this is when you change your system’s clock forwards to reap some benefits. From what I can tell, there doesn’t seem to be any drawbacks to time travelling with Super Mario Maker either!
Though I did say that there is a lot to customise, I feel that some of the creation tools could have been developed a bit further. For example, it would be nice to change the speed and range of moving platforms, or to be able to rotate piranha plants. I could also see player wishing that Super Mario Maker contained a few more memorable items, such as slopes and star coins, I do not mind that these were absent though it would create even more possibilities. Perhaps it’s a good opportunity for Nintendo to release some DLC to keep the game fresh. As with all creation games, there is always a limit on how much you are able to put into your creating, and Super Mario Maker definitely includes these limits, though these can be very difficult to reach. There is a limit for how much of each item you can use, a lot of these items will be grouped together as well, though most items you can put boat loads in, and if you do happen to run out of items you can use, just pop in a warp pipe to a sub-level and you can use even more items. The only limit which bothers me slightly is how high you can make your level, I know there are probably a lot a people who have ideas for castle levels which you have to climb up high to get to the finish. Oh, there should have also been a rectangle tool so it would be quicker to place certain items!
Uploading creations is very easy (though this can vary depending on how difficult your level is). Once you have finished creating, click Save and Upload, this will bring you to the beginning of the level for you to play; you’ll need to complete the level before uploading. After you have completed the level, give it a name, click send, and presto, your level is now available to players around the world! When you first start uploading, you can only upload up to ten levels, however the more your levels get played, liked, and starred, that limit will slowly increase.
The Course World is where you can find levels made by players from around the world, it’s a pretty neat area. You can filter courses by ‘New and Upcoming’, ‘Featured’, and ‘Most Starred’. You can also choose to filter by difficulty level (difficulty is determined by how many people have completed the level compared to how many attempts have been made), when the courses were made, and by location. One thing that I find weird, is that there isn’t a way to search only for courses made by your friends on Miiverse, however you can still grab their courses by entering a unique course ID. Loading courses is an absolute breeze, not once did I encounter an error when booting up a course. One thing I think is pretty cool is that you can see icons from where players tend to die in the level on a little map on the course info screen, you may also see Miiverse comments about the course during loading (which takes just a tiny bit longer than loading times in New Super Mario Bros. U).
If you have a bit of trouble coming up with ideas, then fret not, there are tons of sample courses to help give you ideas and these can be unlocked through 10 Mario Challenge. Playing this mode will put you up against eight random sample courses to complete with ten Marios at your disposal. If you want bit more of a challenge, then head over to the Course World and yo can play 100 Mario challenge in Normal, Hard, or Expert difficulty. This mode will select up to 16 random courses which have been uploaded online, this time with 100 lives. If a course is a bit too devilish for you, just give the Gamepad screen a flick and a new course will serve as a replacement. Be warned, choosing expert difficulty will pit you against some of the most difficult courses created by man, not recommended for the faint of heart. When you get to the end of 100 Mario Challenge, you will be rewarded with a new Costume Mario costume to use in create mode. Alternatively, you can also unlock costumes by touching almost any Amiibo to the NFC point on the Gamepad. But what is Costume Mario? Costume Mario is a mystery mushroom that gives Mario a costume based on characters from other games, such as Ganondorf from The Legend of Zelda, or the Inklings from Splatoon.
Overall, Super Mario Maker is an essential game for any Mario gamer, or just any gamer. The ability to create almost anything you want with very little limits in a Mario level is a dream and it couldn’t be easier. There will be no end to courses thanks to Super Mario Maker, and playing each one is a unique and fresh surprise… sometimes it’s too much of a surprise! The only negative point I would have to say about Super Mario Maker is that it would be great to go more advanced with some mechanics. but even then it’s pretty on point, plus Nintendo could always add more through content updates and DLC.