Review: Super Mario Maker

Posted September 29, 2015 in
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Super Mario Maker

Reviewed on: Wii U (exclusive)
Street: 09.11


For all the years I’ve been playing Mario, there were always levels that left me with a sense of awe. I always thought that the amount of time and effort that goes into creating a level always seemed way out of reach for me. Enter Super Mario Maker. It’s easy to pick up and just start designing the level of your dreams. The time factor is still there, depending on the intricacies you want to throw in, but it’s almost effortless to put that level together.

The Making of Super Mario Maker

Super Mario MakerSuper Mario Maker is broken into two main sections: make and play. Those of us that have those creative minds are going straight for the former. Nintendo’s mission is to protect you from feeling too overwhelmed and only allows you to access the very basics at first. Think everything that’s in World 1-1 on the NES and that’s what you get to work with upfront. You’ll also get access to the Mystery Mushroom if you have any of Nintedo’s amiibos handy. Once you spend five minutes creating a course, a “delivery” is queued up and you will receive new items for your levels the next day. If you’re obsessed with level designing though, you should be able to get to them unlocked much faster with Nintendo’s new patch.

Anything you’ve seen in a SMB game is at your disposal in Super Mario Maker—enemies, power-ups, fire sticks, saw blades, etc. The list is pretty long, but suffice to say, you can make any kind of level you want. You can also do it in four different styles—classic NES, Super Mario World, Super Mario Bros. 3, and the Wii U. Along with those styles, there’s templates of the type of level you want to create—airship, castle, underground, underwater and the regular ground levels. You can also mess with the auto-scroll, time limits and add in some really weird sound effects and music. I tend to hang out in the classic era, mostly so I can put my amiibos to good use. It’s awesome to see your favorite characters turned into 8-bit versions of themselves. There’s 100 different costumes that you can unlock for your Mystery Mushroom, and you can unlock everything with or without an amiibo.

Once you’re done with your masterpiece, you can upload it for the entire world to play. The only catch is, you have to be able to beat it—you can’t just upload 17 Bowsers descending upon Mario at the start of the level unless you give the player a way to survive. It gives you hope and frustration at the same time, “I can beat this level, if that guy did,” competes with “How the FUCK did that motherfucker fucking beat this level?!”

Social Networking, Mario Style

Super Mario Maker: Some trolls leave comments. Others make levels like this.Playing Super Mario Maker takes you to the course world where you have a few options—10 and 100 Mario Challenge, Courses and Makers. In the challenges, you get the respective amount of lives to work through up to 16 levels of pure Mario Maker goodness. You get 10 lives for sample course and 100 for courses made by people with varying degrees of difficulty—easy, normal and expert. Making it through 100 Mario Challenge is how you unlock costumes for the Mystery Mushroom.

Under the Courses header you have a whole social aspect to Super Mario Maker that makes it even more addictive—you receive notifications every time someone plays your level, stars your level or leaves you a comment. After you complete any fan made level, you’ll be given the option to star it, comment and check out a few similar courses. The starring of your level earns you medals, which allows you to upload more levels. You start with 10 slots, so you have to pick and choose what you keep uploaded if you can’t get those stars. Nintendo gives you a fighting chance for visibility—new courses appear in the up and coming tab and, after a few plays and stars, you can end up in the featured column.

The star ranking levels are full of automatic Mario levels or levels where you just hold down the run button and go through the level. The ones that make it here are ridiculously intricate and damn fun to watch. There’s others that incorporate music into their levels with the little note boxes and that’s all they are, but they have some great songs and the effort that goes into these levels is amazing. Some are just irritating though, one guy just put a long line of breakable blocks that took up the entire level and in ONE of them there was the item you needed to get to the end of the level.

Super Mario MakerYou can sort every column by country, time frame of release and difficulty. This changes the Star rankings one up quite a bit and gives you faster access to the hot, new levels that are well within your platforming skills. Difficulty is gauged by the clear rate of the level—attempts vs. successful completions. If you see a 12 percent, just know that you’re going to tap into your inner sailor for at least 20 minutes while you do the level 70 times.

You can leave comments inside the level, and just like anything that’s on the internet, there are trolls and actual helpful people. The problem is, sometimes the comments just clutter the level, turning it into a clustercuss of terrible drawings and spellings over a great Mario level. Some are gems, while others just make you pity the fool that wrote it. You can get rid of them, thankfully, but one thing you can’t turn off is the speech bubble with the red X inside, but you wouldn’t want to. It’s a representation of all deaths in that level—don’t feel bad that you let that first Goomba hit you on 1-1, so did 20 other people! On levels with a 12 percent clear rate, those things are everywhere after you die.

I loved the hell out of Super Mario Maker. It’s amazing what people come up with, and you’ll be surprised by your own creativity. I didn’t think anyone would play my levels, let alone star them, and I’ve gotten an abundance of both. There’s a bundle that has this game with a Wii U, there’s enough fantastic games on the console now to be worth your hard-earned cash and this game is the perfect starter game. This is the best way for Nintendo to celebrate the plumber’s 30th birthday.