Super Mario Maker was released this past Friday to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the release of the original Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo and Famicom (Japan’s name for the NES). This game encompasses the last thirty years of Mario games and gives you all of the tools you need to create your very own Super Mario levels.
The game uses templates from the original Super Mario Bros. from 1985, Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World (SNES), and the more recent Super Mario Bros. Wii U. With these templates for graphics you can use a variety of level designs, like the basic 1-1 level, to the underground levels, airships from Mario 3, Bowser’s Castle, underwater levels, and many more. The transition between which Mario game you want or the level design is absolutely seamless. You just use the stylus from Wii U pad and click a button on the screen. It’s so simple to get started and takes hours to master.
With the level templates you’re also given access to pretty much every Mario villain Nintendo has ever conceived to litter your levels with dangers. This might sound a bit cliched but honestly the only limits you have with this game is your imagination. Friday and Saturday nights I’ve literally spent all night designing levels and playing levels other players created, and boy were there some dooseies. Created levels ranged from challenging and fun to down right insane. I had a lot of fun playing levels created by players from all over the world.
When this game was first announced and when I brought home my very own copy I had a nagging feeling that this game might be a bit daunting. Would I be able to make some fun and challenging levels or would I turn out something a 2 year old could master. Well I’m happy to announce that my favorite level that I’ve created, “I See Fire & I See Pain” has been played by over 60 people and only one person world wide has completed it, giving it a completion percentage of 1.63%. This pleases me. And before you say, “well Josh you just created some impossible level, can you even beat it?” To that I say, “yes I can, and have.” One of the beautiful things about Super Mario Maker is that in order to upload your levels to the world wide web is that you must first beat it yourself. This ensures every level is beatable.
I’ve played some sadistic levels over the weekend (see the video below), loyal reader, like levels that people made just to cause folks pain, they’re not even fun, and honestly I think these players are missing the point of Mario Maker. Yes, I have uploaded some challenging levels, but they’re all fun, they’re levels when you play them you know you can beat them (plus a few have built in secrets that make them super easy). That honestly has been my main goal with these levels is to make them super fun. Granted my two water levels may not be the most fun, but in my defense that’s because no water level in any game is fun.
Another thing this game does extremely well, and I dare say better than any other Wii U game up to this point is the inclusion of Nintendo’s Amiibos into the game. Every single Amiibo released so far (and ones yet to be released) are compatible with this game and in some fantastic ways. Every Amiibo you add to this game acts as a power up for Mario in the levels designed after 1985’s Super Mario Bros. They act just like a mushroom or fire flower, except that when you get this “mystery mushroom” it turns Mario into one of the Amiibo characters like Pikachu, Mega Man, or Sonic the Hedgehog. That’s right, you can now play as Sonic in a Mario game. This last bit is why I searched high and low for a Sonic Amiibo on Friday. Also, loyal reader, to get these costumes you don’t have to actually own any Amiibos, you can earn them by completing different challenges, like the 10 Mario Challenge that has you competing in various levels created by Nintendo’s Mario team, or the 100 Mario Challenge that has you playing in levels that were uploaded by fans.
This keeps the game fresh and keeps you coming back so you can earn more items to add to your own game. I found myself just playing a bunch of online levels when I got tired of making my own. The beauty of this is it can give you own ideas. Stuff you liked in levels or stuff you didn’t like but think you can make better.
Getting back to the level creation, it is extremely easy. At the start the game it takes you through a short walk through of the level design. The layout of the game is so similar to Mario Paint form the old SNES that you veterans of that game will feel right at home and newbies will learn very quickly. Another helpful little thing that the game does is that it doesn’t give you everything at once. Out of the box you can only make levels using the graphics from Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. Wii U, after playing the game for so many days does the “delivery truck” bring you the graphics to Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World, along with other villains, items, level pieces, and more level designs (i.e., Bowser’s Castle and Under water levels, to name a few). At first I was kind of bummed that I wouldn’t have everything at once but what this waiting mechanic does, is have you master what little you have at first before you move on and boy does it help you learn the ropes. I have to imagine the second Nintendo went ahead and said “we’re including a gamepad with the Wii U” Mario creator Shigeru Miyamot0 thought to himself that he would be creating this game. Miyamoto has always created games based on what he loves, Mario a love of platforming games, The Legend of Zelda for his love of adventure as a kid, Pikmin for his love of gardening, and now Super Mario Maker for his love of making games.
This game is truly a passion project, not just for Miyamoto or Nintendo, but for the fans. I love Mario, I love Nintendo, and I love this game. As I’ve gotten older I’ve played games less and less because adult responsibilities get in the way or sometimes it’s just easier to veg out in front of the television instead of playing a game. This game however has made me feel like I did back in the late 80’s when my parents got me a NES for Christmas and the late nights I’ve spent this weekend brought back memories when I got Super Mario Bros. 3 years later and my cousins Crystal, Kevin, Kenny, and my Sister Jenny and I stayed up all night to beat the game.
Final Verdict: I don’t think anyone is going surprised by this verdict. I love Mario games and this game is easily my all-time favorite. This is game so much fun and honestly right now as I write this all I can think of is getting back to playing the game. Go buy this game right now, get it home and play the hell out of it and while you’re at it play some of our fun levels.
4384-0000-001C-160B (The Waiting Game) 9C24-0000-002A-5805 (I See Fire & I See Pain) 81FA-0000-002B-B340 (The Maze Swimmer) 93C4-0000-0031-B4D0 (Easy Like Sunday Morning) 77AB-0000-0024-B707 (David Bowie).
Check me out playing through the 100 Mario Challenge below.