Nintendo’s next big release has hit store shelves today. Super Mario Maker is a game where you can create, play, and share your own Super Mario levels. With easy to use tools, anyone can make an entertaining level for others to play.
The game starts off by throwing you into a level that is incomplete, once you get to the point where you can no longer continue, an on-screen notification pops up prompting you to finish creating the level. This is where the tutorial begins. At the beginning you are limited to very few tools and environments to use and play with. This can be extremely frustrating due to the fact that the game is very self-explanatory and is very easy to learn. I consistently wanted to do things with the levels I was creating, just to find that I don’t have the tools to do that yet. In order to unlock everything faster, you have to play the game until you receive a notification, usually after 5-10 minutes of active level editing, that there will be more content in 24 hours, turn your game off, go into system settings, change the time 1 day forward, and boot the game back up. This procedure has to be repeated several times to unlock all of the creation tools.
You can create levels from 4 different Mario games. The original Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros U. Each game behaves like its original port, for example, in Super Mario Bros, you can not pick up Koopa shells after you jump on a Koopa, however, in the other three, you can. The creation tools are easy to use and are very straight forward. I was surprised at just how easy it was to make an enjoyable level, as well as how much fun it is creating levels. You can upload your levels to the internet for others to enjoy as well. Each level uploaded is also given a special code if you want to share your level with your friends so it will be easier to find.
Despite all of the praise, it does fall somewhat short on my expectations for a full, $60 retail release. There are countless times I was editing levels, and thought to myself, “Man, it sure would be cool if I could…..”. For example, if you could create an entire 2-D Mario game, not just individual levels. In a normal Mario game, you have to be wary of coins and how many lives you have left, this is completely absent in Super Mario Maker and in my opinion, a huge missed opportunity. The game has a surprising lack of content with the entirety of the game being composed of the level editor and playing levels uploaded by other players. I feel as though games like Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker and Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, both retail, $40 releases, offer far more content that doesn’t rely on other players creating and sharing levels. One thing I do need to mention is that the game does come with a pretty nifty art book that is cool to look through, so if you are a fan of art books for games, that can potentially help justify the extra $20 compared to other light releases for Wii U.
The Amiibo functionality in this game is pretty cool, and you don’t have to worry about losing your saved Amiibo content for other games, such as Super Smash Bros. When you scan an Amiibo while editing a level, a costume of the Amiibo will shine down as it descends from the top of the screen. You can put it in different blocks or just leave it out in the open. When you start to play the level, it will appear as a mushroom with a “?” on it. As you have probably guessed, when Mario picks it up, he becomes the character the Amiibo was.
Super Mario Maker is a great game, despite its lack of content on-disc. If you are a big fan of Mario, this game is definitely worth picking up, but if you are a more lukewarm or casual fan of Mario, you will still enjoy the game, but may question the price tag.