Super Mario Maker 2 is a sequel to the massively underrated Wii U title, Super Mario Maker. The concept is simple; you are given the complete tools to make your own Mario level and share it online with the world. A new story mode with over 100 Nintendo-developed levels also offer hours of fun. Is this Switch sequel a worthy successor, or user-generated shovelware?
Building the Castle
There a few modes of play in Super Mario Maker 2, but one of the first focal modes is the Story Mode. Like other Mario adventures, the story here is light and services the gameplay. After completing construction of Peach’s Castle, the whole project gets accidentally wiped out by the “Undo-Dog”. In order to build each structure, Mario will have to complete jobs (aka levels) to gain coins. There are over 100 unique jobs to complete, most of which are delivered by the various construction Toads working onsite.
The levels in Story Mode range the entirety of Super Mario Maker 2‘s possibilities. Each level has been made with the in-game editing tools, and as a result, highlight some of the coolest things you can do with the level creator. There are various game styles, including: Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, New Super Mario Bros., and more. The inclusion of Super Mario 3D Worlds brings in some new power-ups and mechanics, like cat-suit Mario and the switch block.
Story Mode is tons of fun, and each level contains something new. From puzzle-solving to airship auto-scrollers, the variety of level design is exceptional. Even disregarding the plethora of content outside of the Story Mode, there’s plenty of single-player fun to be had.
Make Your Own Mario
Of course, one of the biggest draws to Super Mario Maker 2 comes from the ability to make your own custom Mario levels and share them online with the world. There are a handful of tutorials that teach you the basics of level creation in Super Mario Maker 2, but the general concept is pretty simple. You can choose from an assortment of blocks, enemies, and obstacles, laying them out in whatever fashion you deem appropriate. The kind of level you make is completely up to you; you can fashion an ultra-tough platformer, a combat-based boss rush, a brain-scratching puzzle level, or anything in-between. Ultimately, these level creation tools in Super Mario Maker 2 have been crafted to allow for full creativity without needing to spend hours experimenting or figuring things out.
Once you’ve created your first level (and you can beat it yourself), you’ll be able to upload it online for other players to try. In the “Course World” mode, you can select from an ever-growing collection of user-made levels. If you don’t want to search for a specific level, you can also sort through the latest levels, most popular levels, and newest levels uploaded. It’s great fun to check out the vast assortment of creative levels that have been made by the community.
Play With Pals
As is traditional with most Mario titles, Super Mario Maker 2 offers plenty of content to play with your friends. In fact, besides the Story Mode, nearly all of Super Mario Maker 2‘s content can be enjoyed in cooperative play. When browsing levels in the Course World mode, you can download them to your local storage to play offline. After you’ve downloaded a good selection of levels, you’ll want to navigate to the “Coursebot” mode where all your levels are saved. From here, you can play the user-generated levels with a pal (and it only requires one Joy-con per person!). Besides the local coop, you can also hook up with other Mario Maker 2 players with online matchmaking.
In addition to working together with other players to complete levels, you can also face off and prove your skill in the new multiplayer mode. In this mode, you’ll compete against other players to finish the randomly selected level first! Playing as separate character, you can sabotage each other if you want. With fun new multiplayer levels being created every minute by the community, you’ll never run out of fun Mario content to enjoy online.
The Bottom Line on Super Mario Maker 2
Super Mario Maker 2 is a great mixture of user-generated content and quality Nintendo-authored Mario levels for both solo players and group play. Even after clearing the hefty Story Mode, you’ll have untold hours of fun with level creation, online multiplayer, and local cooperative play. Even if you don’t consider yourself a creative type, you’ll be surprised at just how easy and intuitive the level creation tools are to use.
If you have any doubts about buying Super Mario Maker 2, just ask yourself this question: “do I enjoy classic Mario games?”. If the answer is yes, then you should do yourself a favor and pick up this wildly imaginative Mario title. It’s great for prolonged gaming sessions and for short bursts of fun, making this an ideal game to play during a lunch break or on the bus/subway. With a plethora of great platforming content and endless community levels, I’m sure we’ll be playing Super Mario Maker 2 for a long time to come.