Review: Super Mario Maker 2 (Switch)

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I have a little something to tell my readers before I start to review today’s game, Super Mario Maker 2. I went to college to study game design, and I found that my specialty was in level design. As such, one would figure that I would have played Super Mario Maker, and its more recent sequel, Super Mario Maker 2 not long after they released. Perhaps I felt I was ready for more robust level editing tools, or more likely that as a player, I prefer to play well-crafted game ideas than to play with a level editing tool.

A lot has changed since then, and today I am a video game blogger, yet I can’t help but feel nostalgic for the time that I aspired to design levels professionally in the game industry. So with my experience with designing levels in the past I will look into whether Super Mario Maker 2 makes the cut as a level editing tool, or if budding level designers should look elsewhere. So, let’s take a look.

MarioMaker2Edit
This is the editing screen in Super Mario Maker 2. 

Super Mario Maker 2 is mostly a Super Mario game level editor. It features ways to create and share Mario levels based on 5 different 2D Mario games, including Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, New Super Mario Bros., and Super Mario 3D World. Each of these templates feature a different look and some variations on game physics and elements from their respective games. Four of these templates can be freely changed between each other, while the fifth one based on Super Mario 3D World will erase all of your previous editing work if you switch to or from this template. I suspect this is due to there being a lot of unique pieces in this game’s template. This is a slight bummer, but not a complete deal breaker.

From tinkering around in the level editing mode, I found that it was best to play in handheld mode to craft your levels. This game is most convenient to play with the Switch’s touch screen and with a compatible stylus, as trying to drag and duplicate objects without touching the screen is cumbersome and somewhat confusing. This is a little bit of a shame, but I suppose if I spent more time with this mode I could become comfortable with it.

Thankfully, this game has a few tutorials, as well as some pointers for making your own levels. From the looks of it the game does a good job of coaching would-be level designers, but nothing guarantees that new players will look at these tips before they start tinkering around. Thankfully, the creator has to be able to complete the level before it can be uploaded, otherwise the online features would be flooded with literally impossible levels.

There is a story mode in this game as well, but it mostly gives the player some ideas of how some level elements work, or even interact with each other before they start making their own. The story mode is mostly just playing levels for in-game coins to rebuild Peach’s castle. There are some new power ups to place in your levels as a reward for playing this mode, but if you want to get right into things right away, you certainly can do so.

If you are more interested in trying out levels made by other players, this game does offer limitless user levels to try out. There is the endless challenge, where you try to play as many levels in a row with only a handful of lives. This mode does offer four difficulties, so you can play at your own skill level.

MarioMaker2Challenge
A look at endless challenge in Super Mario Maker 2.

Alternately, you can browse individual levels, though the search features oddly can’t have you search by the level’s name. You would have to look for a neat level either through adjusting a lot of filters or to put in a specific level code. This method doesn’t make a lot of sense. At one point, in order to find a neat level I found in endless challenge, I had to hit the like button after completing the level, then I had to search for levels I liked, then I found that particular level. If I didn’t do that on my first encounter, I wouldn’t have found it again to download it.

MarioMaker2Search
Super Mario Maker 2 does feature popular levels, but the search methods are a little unconventional.

The game also features some multiplayer co-op and vs. modes, though as of this writing, I have yet to try it out. The game is currently at version 2.0.0, which added speed-runs and a power up that allows you to play as Link from the Legend of Zelda in the classic Super Mario Bros. template.

All in all, Super Mario Maker 2 is a game that gives you more value the more you put into it. If you only play the story mode, you won’t get much out of it. You may get more out of playing other player’s levels, but these range wildly in both quality and difficulty. You will get the most out of this game using all of this game’s features, particularly if you create your own levels too.

Recommendations:

  • Play this game at your own pace and in the way you get the most fun out of it.
  • Try each mode, and use the modes you get the most fun out of.
  • Complete story mode for some new power ups to use in your levels.
  • Build your own levels, play other levels, and share these levels to your heart’s content.
  • Also use a stylus in handheld mode to make levels more comfortably.

Pros:

  • A solid level editor.
  • Features nostalgic graphics and music.
  • Essentially offers limitless content.

Cons:

  • Searching for user levels isn’t intuitive.
  • Some of the level editor interface is initially clunky.
  • Multiplayer mode might not draw you in (this is debatable, as you can ignore the mode entirely).

Verdict:

8.5/10 A solid level editor *

* Super Mario Maker 2 is a game that gives you more the more you put into it. Those hooked on user created content and level editing mode could see a score as high as 9.3/10. Players that encounter poorly designed player created levels, or who just play the story may only see a score of about a 7/10. This is a very wide range so you should consider these factors before buying this game.


And that was what I make of Super Mario Maker 2. Did you like this game? Did you play both the original too? Which one was better, and why? Do you have any levels worth showcasing? Would you like me to create and share my own designs? Give me suggestions on where to start in the comments section below! If you enjoyed this review, click that like button, and share this article on social media. You may also subscribe via email or through WordPress to keep up with That’s All Games. Until next time, have fun gaming!

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