Super Mario Maker 2 Review

Creation in games is scary.  All that opportunity and imagination running wild with nothing to control it.  

Despite all the tools and time, creation can often be hampered by an unlimitedness – the term ‘build anything’ is one that always kept me away from games like LittleBigPlanet.  Sure, it’s great that I can create anything but I don’t know what I want to create.  The boundaries never kept me on the straight and narrow when it came to designing something and the tools were always non-user friendly, unless you were able to dedicate a serious amount of time to learn it all.    

The fact is, Mario Maker 2 and it’s predecessor ask you to create one simple thing: a Mario level.  Not a sprawling RPG, a kart racer or a platformer that evokes Spyro – it just gives you the simple Mario tools that everyone knows and says: ‘hey, go have fun building your own Mario level’ and that is why it works so well.  By definition the creation in Mario Maker 2 is limited but that’s why it’s so good.

The sequel to the Wii U hit is excellent because it doesn’t just add new ideas and designs without thought; every new addition has been added with the existing framework in mind.  Every item, from slopes to objectives to cars (yep, cars) just fits so well and is easy to implement, test, complete and then finally upload, ready for the world to destroy your greatest creation in two minutes flat.

Mario Maker 2’s Story Mode is a wonderful addition to the sequel.  Full of fresh ideas and fun that does a great job of encapsulating the entire game, Story Mode sees you ploughing through Nintendo-created levels (using only the Mario Maker toolset) to collect coins and rebuild Princess Peach’s Castle, which has been destroyed by … the Undodog – yeah, not what you were expecting.  There’s a lengthy offline single-player game here, with tens of hours’ worth of levels to play through. Each stage you complete will give you a set number of coins, while any coins you collect in the levels themselves will also be added to your tally at the end. Not all courses are just a case of making your way to the goal, as, like in create mode, some levels will require you to meet specific conditions before you complete them.

When it comes to playing other people’s levels, there isn’t a great deal that’s changed from the previous game.  You’re still fairly limited in how you search and can only find specific levels by entering in a long-winded code from whoever created the level.  There’s no way to search for a name of someone you know and discover all of the levels they’ve created without their specific course or maker ID.  A strange way to handle search in 2019.  Nevertheless, you’ll quickly find the most popular courses of the day in the Course World mode, with many being highly intuitive and far more capable of anything then could come up with.

Super Mario Maker 2 will live or die by how well Nintendo is able to satisfy its community.  Be consistently in touch, add new features and allow it to have space to grow and Super Mario Maker 2 has a chance of being vibrant right through the life of the Switch system.

For those looking for more of the same or just a nice 2D Mario game to plough through, Mario Maker 2 is exactly what you’re after.  It’s a shame you can’t use touch controls while using the game on the TV (you can in handheld mode) but the creation mechanic works nicely nonetheless.  Super Mario Maker 2 is a fine game and one that is sure to last for hours if you really want it to.

Super Mario Maker 2 Review Conclusion

It’s more of the same but when the same is actually pretty good then there’s no need to complain.  Super Mario Maker 2 builds on the original in satisfying ways and the more complete Story Mode is a welcome addition for single-player gamers.

4/5

We tested Super Mario Maker 2 on the Nintendo Switch after receiving a code from the publisher.

Super Mario Maker 2 is available now on Nintendo Switch

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