Super Mario Maker 2 has been the breath of fresh air that I needed. Straight after the stresses of E3, the simple, addictive nature of this game has been absolutely perfect. Given the current landscape of video games, where most games will have you exploring vast, open worlds or put tinghours of time into crafting or sorting your inventory, I can’t help but feel that it’ll be a breath of fresh air for you too.
The story mode, whilst incredibly simple is a great way to keep busy, providing some of the best Mario platforming that we’ve ever seen. You’re faced with rebuilding Princess Peach’s castle as Mario. There’s over 100 courses (or jobs) to undertake from Chief Toad as well as bunch of other new and familiar characters. Each differ in difficulty and also in the amount of coins they provide. Coins are necessary in order to rebuild parts of the castle, which also taken a certain amount of time to build (which is reflected by how many levels that you complete). This certain mechanic does feel a little bit cheap as a way of holding you back from progressing, but it does make sense given the context of what’s actually happening in the background.
Whilst the levels in this mode are great and obviously vary from Super Mario, Super Mario 3, Super Mario World, New Super Mario Bros U and the newly introduced Super Mario 3D World, exploring the castle leaves a little bit to desire. Peach’s castle has provided some of the best memories in gaming, so the lack of personality that is found here is a little bit disappointing.
Once you’re done with this mode, there isn’t a whole lot of reason to go back to it, which doesn’t really bother me as it serves its purpose of teaching you the many new and old mechanics of Super Mario Maker 2 and does enough to inspire you to create your own levels. There’s also the little known fact that you can head online and play the thousands upon thousands of courses that will be hitting the servers come launch day.
The online experience is fairly similar to that of the first game. You can explore the levels that other have created and sort them by most popular and newly added or you can even search by tags that describe whether the level is more of a puzzle solving level or one that makes you go quickly. There’s also more ways to comment on levels (which is necessary after the demise of Miiverse), which makes the online feel like a great little community. This is also enhanced by the fact that you can now take a Mii online and customise it with a number of cute outfits.
Endless Fun is also back, where you can take part in an unlimited amount of course ranging from Easy to Extreme. It’s a great way to mindlessly keep playing through levels without having to be pushed back to the searching screen. There’s also a huge emphasis on leaderboards, which might be a little unfair due to the fact that these levels are essentially served randomly, so certain levels might be easier on one run than the next.
Multiplayer is here in a big way. You can play your own created levels with friends on the couch or compete in Multiplayer Versus or Co-op modes online. Versus mode has you trying to complete the level before the rest of your competitors whilst Co-op mode has you working together, which sees everyone rewarded when you complete the level. Both are a tonne of fun and provide a nice contrast depending what kind of mood you’re in.
I’m not the biggest Maker, but there’s a bunch of great new items here to try. Outside of the new 3D World courses, which are almost certainly the best of the bunch and allow for the most creativity, there’s also favourite items such as the Angry Sun, Swinging Claw, Dry Bones shell, On/Off Switches and a crazy Koopa car which is absolutely insane. Something major is the newly introduced night themes. These take every single theme and completely turns it on its head. For instance, the ground theme will make Goombas float, the Underground theme will turn everything upside down, the Underwater theme will turn everything pitch black except for Mario and the Desert theme will bring in random sand storms which will through you across the map. My favourite though is the Sky theme which will basically turn everything zero gravity.
Whilst there’s some things missing from the first game, there’s enough here to save anyone from getting too mad, and I don’t doubt that when even the most hardcore of players get their hands on this, they’ll realise just much they’re able to achieve.
One of the main things that is missing, which added a lot of personality to the first game is the Amiibo support. The first game allowed you to transform into a bunch of Nintendo characters (any that had an Amiibo) which added a lot of personality to the game and was incredibly cute. It’s weird that Nintendo has taken this away and I’m not really sure why this is the case, but it definitely hurts the game (from an aesthetic point of view).
When it comes to actually making levels, the Switch can be a help and a hinderance. The experience on Wii U was definitely more intuitive with the two screen approach, and there’s some clunkiness at first with the Switch. One of the more odd choices is the fact that you have to use the touch screen in handheld mode. This make sense at first and luckily the touch screen is good, but it does get a little bit annoying, when you’re constantly covering up the screen with your hands rather than being able to use buttons and the D-Pad in order to have full visibility of the screen.
THE NINTENDO SWITCH VERSION OF THIS GAME WAS PLAYED FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS REVIEW. A DIGITAL REVIEW CODE WAS PROVIDED BY THE PUBLISHER.
Super Mario Maker 2 is a breath of fresh air. The story mode is fantastic, the online multiplayer additions are more than welcome and the new items and game modes are absolutely fantastic.