REVIEW: ‘Super Mario Maker 2’ is the Best Nintendo Experience Yet (Switch)

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Super Mario Maker 2

Super Mario Maker 2 is developed and published by Nintendo and expands upon the success of the original Super Mario Maker for the Wii U. Expanded options in its creator sweet and a new single-player adventure highlighting all the platforming, and puzzles you can create in Super Mario Maker 2 round out this game’s offerings.

Like many gamers, I never purchased a Wii U, and never got to experience the original Super Mario Maker. It was probably the only game that made me almost break down and purchase that console. Now, my long wait to try this game is over and I must say that Nintendo has unleashed another unparalleled masterpiece. This game is filled with that fun charming style that the company has spent over 30 years cultivating and it’s, without a doubt, one of my favorite experiences Nintendo has ever crafted.

The biggest addition to Super Mario Maker 2 is the single-player campaign. Princess Peach’s castle has been destroyed and the toads plan to rebuild it, but there is a problem, the toads lack the funds for the rebuilding effort. Mario offers to help the toads by taking jobs to earn the coin necessary to build the castle.

These jobs play out by having the player guide Mario through levels designed by Nintendo’s game designers with the Super Mario Maker 2 toolkit. As the player progresses through the campaign more and more tricks are showcased to help inspire the player to create their own courses. And not one bit of Nintendo charm is lost in these levels. Because the focus is more on showing off what the toolkit can do than making traditional Super Mario Bros. levels, the breadth and scope of the courses on display is staggering.  From courses brimming with puzzles to having to guide Toad off an airship brimming with cannons, virtually every level played has something that makes it feel truly unique.

Even the way Mario is given these jobs is brimming with the classic Nintendo charm. There is small hub area that Mario can explore to meet new quest givers. These different characters all have their own level themes, and many open further paths for Mario to adventure down. When all told the single-player offering that comes with Super Mario Maker 2 boasts over 100 of the most creative Super Mario Bros. levels I’ve ever had the enjoyment to discover and play. I personally would be willing to pay the asking price for just this amazing collection of levels alone.

While the campaign is a blast, the true center stage of this video game experience is, of course, the level editor. This creation tool has been finely honed to work with a minimal learning curve. I took five minutes to watch the basic tutorial and then dived right in. With just a bit of trial and error, I had my first mini-course made. Of course, there is a ton of depth that can be utilized here, and in order to squeeze every bit of it out Nintendo has provided a deep set of tutorial videos for the highly ambitious Super Mario Maker creators out there.

If you played the original Super Mario Maker and are wondering what improvements to the creation suite have been added from the original there are quite a few new additions. To start with, Super Mario Maker 2 added Super Mario 3D World theme which includes the catsuit, wall bouncing action, helicopter hat, and a bevy of enemies and items. But, before you use it, you should know that due to the number of differences with this theme it cannot be interchanged with the other themes, and is a bit more stand-alone.

In addition, the angry sun has been added as an element to the game. Plus, it can also be changed to a moon, changing the map to a night style and altering gameplay in interesting ways allowing for hours of experimenting. There are also several all-new elements like chain hooks that Mario can swing from, the Koopa Car that lets Mario can drive through levels at super speeds, and the Dry Bones suit that lets Mario traverse lava with have been added.

The player can also assign additional win conditions that must be met before their created course can be completed. These range from collecting a number of coins to crossing the finish line while holding an object. Allowing the user to determine the difficulty. And did I mention that slopes are now buildable?

Players can also enjoy courses with up to three of their friends simultaneously. This can lead to hectic runs as players jockey for position on small ledges and clustered stages. It can be fun and frantic, but I recommend checking out stages first to make sure they are likely to be able to accommodate all the extra happenings on screen. While a crowded screen, I can be fun, if players are forced into auto death situations due to lack of space it could just become frustrating.

Despite it being only the first day of release, when I logged into the online mode to see what could be found for original creations, there was a massive library already waiting for me. After just a couple of levels, I could tell that the creative community will be keeping Super Mario Maker fans entertained for a long time to come. It is important to note that an individual does need the Nintendo Switch Online service to access other creators’ maps, or upload their own maps online.

My only real complaint about this entire package the odd decision that Nintendo made concerning its control scheme. When the Switch is docked the player uses the joy-cons to control the creation editor. When the Switch is in handheld mode the control scheme switches over to a scheme that leans heavily on the touch screen. There is no option to switch the scheme over to just joy-cons in handheld mode.

While the touch controls work fine, I personally like to learn how to do a thing one way and stick with it. Having two control schemes forced on me leads to frustration as I inevitably default into whichever scheme I’m not using. Plus, if a player suffers from a disablement that makes the touch screen difficult, or they just hate touch controls, building levels in handheld mode could be a no go.

When all is said and done I feel that Super Mario Maker 2 does an excellent job of delivering both an amazingly deep, and intuitive, creation tool, while coupling it with a fun single player campaign full of classic Nintendo charm.

Super Mario Maker 2
  • 9.5/10
    Rating - 9.5/10
9.5/10

TL; DR

When all is said and done I feel that Super Mario Maker 2 does an excellent job of delivering both an amazingly deep, and intuitive, creation tool, while coupling it with a fun single player campaign full of classic Nintendo charm.