It does nearly everything better than its already excellent, but criminally underplayed predecessor on the Wii U , and introducing some incredible new ideas to this 2D platformer level designer. Those include, but are not limited to, level styles, building items, a story mode and so much more.
Most importanly though, it maintains the charm of the Mario games we know and love .
One of the most surprising new additions to Mario Maker 2 is story mode, which has as much depth as you’d expect from any Super Mario game story, which I admit is a low bar, but it gets by on its charm. Peach’s castle has been destroyed, and rebuilding it means beating over 100 increasingly difficult built-in levels, which in turn, earns you the coins needed to repair the castle. That’s all the story mode is – that’s all the story mode needs to be!
What’s cool is that these levels couldn’t exist in a Mario game outside the bent rules of Super Mario Maker 2. They take the classic Mario formula and pull that familiar rug out from under you in delighting and surprising ways.
Mario Maker’s Maker 2
But this is Super Mario Maker 2, not Super Mario Castle Repair Simulator. And since it’s the second version of an already groundbreaking tool, it comes as no surprise that the section dedicated to crafting your own fun, goofy or absurdly punishing Super Mario levels in the style of Super Mario Bros, Super Mario World, or even Super Mario 3d World, is superb.
Any concerns I had about controller-based input versus the 3DS or Wii U’s touch input melted away after short period of adjustment.
The number of options here for level creation are astonishing. Options depend on what Mario style you’re using, like you can’t use the 3d World cat suit in the original Super Mario Bros levels, but you can switch freely between the other styles.
My favourite extra feature of Super Mario Maker 2 is Yamamura’s Dojo, which is a game design boot camp.
Yes, there are lessons showing you the basics, like how to switch back and forth between building and playing to test your levels, what to do when you mess up, and how to use the various parts. There are also lessons on drawing inspiration for your works, giving directions to your players and even a lesson where the ultimate takeaway is no one likes a troll.
Fun with friends, or not
You could play through Super Mario Maker 2’s levels cooperatively, just like you can in New Super Mario Bros, but you can also build levels cooperatively. You can play levels locally – and from recently – even online.
Mario Maker is fundamentally about sharing and exploring levels built by other people, and the Course World section of Super Mario Maker 2 is where user-generated content lives. I like how easy it was to browse other people’s creations, so long as they’re not your real-life friends. If you want to check out your friends works, it’s as easy as entering their nine-digit Maker ID?! Seriously, Nintendo, in 2019 ?
The good news is that headache is the biggest knock against an otherwise exquisite experience.
One-upping the original, Super Mario Maker 2 is the most accessible game design tool ever created. I’ve spent hours, building – testing, and then, playing levels, and I feel like I’ve only barely scratched the surface of what’s possible. A lot of you out there will certainly blow my mind with your ideas, but that’s just part of the whole. The story mode introduces hundreds of novel, professionally made levels to play. And its design tutorials are so much more in-depth than they ever needed to be . While SMM2 takes the incredibly complex concepts of game design and makes them accessible to everyone, accessing your friends and their level creations is still needlessly difficult.