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Super Mario Maker 2 Review - Making More Mario

Gaming article by Dan Hodges on Sunday, July 7, 2019 - 12:00
Review
Developer
Nintendo
Publisher
Nintendo
Release Date
June 28, 2019
Platforms
Nintendo Switch

Nintendo could’ve just been a simply ported Super Mario Maker to the Switch and called it a day. After all, the Wii U arguably hampered the success of 2015’s breakout level-editing hit. A port would have brought many more players into the fold and not busted the bank. Instead, Super Mario Maker 2 delivers a fresh batch of creative Mario goodness with some smart changes, an expanded set of creator tools, and much more content to dive into at launch.

The brand new story mode steals the show here. Super Mario Maker 2’s biggest new addition is a fully-fledged campaign (that can only be tackled solo) featuring over 100 hand-crafted levels. The premise is simple: a very clumsy dog blows up Peach’s castle and it’s up to Mario and his team of union workers to rebuild it from scratch. There’s not much of a story to speak off, but this lengthy and varied series of challenges will test every inch of your Mario skills, from dastardly deeds of dexterity to brain-teasing trials.

 

This new mode is a fantastic addition that provides much more to do right out of the gate. It’s great to see Nintendo getting weird with their own level editor, creating some bizarre and manic levels that you’ll surely think came from the sadistic mind of a player. The fun variety of eccentric characters you’ll come across along the way serve to further bolster the quirky and uniquely Nintendo charm.

Creating Cruel Challenges In Super Mario Maker 2

super mario maker 2 level editor
Here's the bit where you make the monstrous levels so your friends hate you.

Although the story mode lets you sink your teeth into bizarre and convoluted 2D Mario immediately and ensures you won’t be waiting six months for players to populate the game with their nightmarish machinations, that hellscape is still there. We’re barely a week in and Super Mario Maker 2 is already populated with plenty of cruel creations. If you didn’t play the original, you might not be ready for the abominations people make. The tools for creating levels are extensive and elaborate, meaning you can pretty much make whatever your twisted mind can think of. And believe me, people do.

 

With a myriad of changes, Super Mario Maker 2 gives you even more options during the creative process. The inclusion of Super Mario 3D World as a theme, which comes with new environmental themes and power-ups, is perhaps the most exciting addition, but there’s a lot more. I’m far from a Mario expert, so many of the changes go beyond what I’m capable of bothering with, like altering water and lava levels or many new enemies that I’m not familiar with. But it’s all there, and if you’re a keen Mario aficionado you’ll surely get a kick out of the many fresh additions. 

As with the original Super Mario Maker, you can spice up your challenges by adding goals for the player to complete before reaching the end. These objectives allow you to expand the focus of your level into more than simply getting to the conclusion. You can make the challenge to gather a certain amount of coins, or crossing the finish line carrying a P block. They add some greatly appreciated depth that keeps the game fresh and exciting.

 

Trying To Play Together In Super Mario Maker 2

super mario maker 2 coin
Toad gets it.

If you’re going to dabble with the game’s level editor, you should consider getting yourself a stylus. Of course, you can work the creative aspect of Super Mario Maker 2 with a controller or with your clumsy human fingers, but you’ll have a much better time with a stylus in hand. The creative aspect may not be for everyone, though. Despite being immensely satisfying if you put the time in to learn its quirks, learning how to manipulate the environment and enemy behaviors, for some playing Mario excites them more than making it. If that sounds like you, this game definitely still has you covered. There are enough Nintendo-crafted levels to fill a full Mario game, and their creativity is consistently excellent.

As you might expect from Nintendo, the multiplayer aspect of Super Mario Maker 2 is convoluted and inconsistent. While you can now create levels with a friend, you can only do this locally. This makes sense, I guess, since that's certainly the most optimal way to work a complex level editor. But it doesn't make sense that you can't play with your friends online. You can tackle user-created levels with two people, but only if they're in the same room. As of the time of this review, there's no way to play online with your friends.

It's not a big enough problem to ruin the game, and there's more than enough solo content to make up for it, but it's still a little disappointing. Similarly, the options for finding other player's levels could be tighter. It works, but you don't quite get the refined search options you'd like. It's also a shame that you can't tackle the story mode with another person. Unfortunately, this new addition is a solo-only affair.

Super Mario Maker 2 Review | Final Thoughts

super mario maker 2 level
The cranes are a very fun addition.

Ultimately, Super Mario Maker 2 is a refreshing way for Nintendo to port their wonderfully creative new franchise, whose previous entry spawned some of the craziest and most strikingly original 2D Mario has ever seen. The addition of a fully-fledged story mode provides much more to do at launch, as well as providing an essential learning curve for newer players. If you enjoy challenging, imaginative, and consistently brilliant platforming, Super Mario Maker 2 has it in an abundance that’s only going to grow larger and more impressive as the months go on.

 


TechRaptor reviewed Super Mario Maker 2 on Nintendo Switch with a copy provided by the publisher.

Review Summary

8.5

Super Mario Maker 2 is much more than an enhanced Switch port. Featuring a lengthy story mode, a myriad of smart additions, and more ways to create nightmarish abominations and call them Mario levels, this is some essential Mario that Switch owners won't want to miss.

Pros

  • More Mario Maker
  • Story Mode Is Varied and Extensive
  • New Additions Keep Things Fresh

Cons

  • Playing With Friends Is Harder Than It Should Be

About the Author

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Dan Hodges

Staff Writer

Dan is a lover of games, music, and movies from the UK. He can usually be found buried in RPGs, shooters, roguelikes, and sometimes World of Warcraft, but he'll play anything he can get his hands on really.