Super Mario Maker Review

Before we get into the review, I wanted to say something that doesn’t factor into the review score, but I felt should be mentioned.  I think Super Mario Maker is the wrong game to come out nearly 3 years into the Wii U’s lifespan.  This is the kind of game that should have been a launch title, demonstrating excellent Gamepad usage while reminding people of the history of the very mascot that makes up the primary gaming face of Nintendo.  But moving on…

Super Mario Maker is one of the most literal game titles ever.  You make Mario levels in one of 4 styles: Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros U.  But does this creative community tool factor well into gaming, or is it really just for those that have both a love for Mario and a knack for technical creativity?


I probably don’t have to explain 2D sidescrolling Mario gameplay to you.  What IS worth explaining is level creation.  First things first: I understand that they wanted to ease players into the tools, but the method of unlocking through time progression just seems unnecessary.  In fact, they patched it themselves to speed up unlocking tools just prior to launch, but even at the faster rate, I still felt held back so much so that I went ahead and changed my Wii U’s system date to speed up my unlocking rate to basically every FIVE minute notification.  Moving into level creation itself, it’s actually surprisingly simple.  Perhaps not everyone’s going to create amazing levels like the Japanese players tend to, but while the toolset LOOKS limited, it provides enough depth and nuances to accomplish things you never thought possible.  Within its simple interface is enough to keep you occupied for hours, and sometimes to create a decent level, you have to be ready to put in HOURS.  My levels aren’t anything close to the definition of decent, but just ensuring some of them were properly challenging took me a significant amount of time.  This also plays into the iterative process, which is you testing your own level, sometimes over and over and over again.


Here’s the toughest thing to gauge when it comes to creative community tools.  One could say that it’s up to the community to provide nearly limitless content.  But the truth is, even after playing tons and tons of levels, there is something to be said when it comes to the words “too much Mario”.  While there’s a challenge mode that randomly picks levels for you, or you can surf them yourself, I admit that I started to feel a bit of a drag on what I can best describe as “2D sidescrolling Mario burnout”.  After playing a masterpiece like Super Mario 3D World as a person who grew up with 2D Mario games, the nostalgia DID eventually wear thin, and no level of creativity could fix the feeling that I’ve been here before, albeit without such hilarious and devious contraptions afforded by creative freedom.


In terms of interface?  It’s really rather simple, clean, and well laid out.  The Gamepad’s touchscreen and stylus combination make this an excellent example of how the Gamepad can give a particular experience to a Wii U owner that the other two consoles this generation cannot.  Sure, there’s other creative community tools out there for those platforms, namely Minecraft and Little Big Planet 3, but in the end, the ease of creation is massively improved by an interface that is more intuitive and easier to navigate.  The game’s graphics themselves, however, are just full, widescreen replicas of their older counterparts, with the New Super Mario Bros U graphics obviously being identical to its Wii U counterpart.  Nothing great; nothing wrong either.  But there IS one thing that served to make my hours pass by easier: the music during level editing.  The remixes provided based on your graphical style and level background provided remixes so good that they often even affected my mood.


As I mentioned earlier, the creation tools provide enough depth and nuances to do new things to the 2D Mario universe, and while not nearly as deep as other popular creative community tools out there, namely Minecraft, there’s enough here to foster and build a level that is brimming with creativity not normally associated with 2D Mario games.  Add to that a clean interface, an excellent example of intuitive Gamepad use, and wonderful background music, and it’s definitely a warm welcome to the Mario lover who dreamed of making his or her own levels.  Unfortunately, it isn’t without a couple drawbacks, namely a post-patched yet still unnecessary time-locked toolset, and the inevitability that, even as a person who loves Mario, there is a point at which the limitless levels just can’t stop the feeling of nostalgia from eventually wearing thin.

I give Super Mario Maker… a 9/10.

Check out ZyroXZ2 on YouTube for more gaming videos layered with sarcasm, and sometimes humor.  Mostly sarcasm.

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About The Author

Jason (ZyroXZ2) created a gaming channel on YouTube centered around Nintendo to show his love and support for them and their latest console... And also because he's sarcastic and loves to make people laugh while in deep thought. People can do both, right?