Super Mario Maker Review

Super Mario Maker is now available on the Wii U and is doing a fine job of juicing the imaginations of Mario fans from around the world.  The title explains the game quite clearly in that the ultimate goal in Super Mario Maker is to create your own 2D Super Mario Bros. levels using all of the assets from all of the previous Mario 2D games. Items for creation come from the original game on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario World (SNES), all the way up to the latest Super Mario Bros. U.  Super Mario Maker uses a drip feed style of handing you new assets to use in creating your levels to keep younger players from being overwhelmed with all of the tools being available at the start. So this means that those that are keen creators that want to get straight into making the most elaborate Mario levels will feel some frustration as the game will make you wait a total of 9 days before you can have access to everything the game has to offer. There are workarounds that have been discovered which revolve around changing the system date in your Wii U. That does work but for me, I am happy to progress through the days to unlock the assets in my own time. 

As you start to play the create a level part of Super Mario Maker you will start off with a few bare essentials with the original style of the assets along with those from the Wii U version of Mario. As you continue to place blocks you will have delivery trucks drive across your screen to drop off more items or assets for you to use and place into your levels. This paces the game well and helps to learn how things work at a steady pace.

 As you play and make your own levels you will soon learn the trials and tribulations of a game level designer. Ideas that you thought would be amazing sometimes just won't work for one or many reasons. However testing out your game has been made Super easy with a "Play" butting permanently sitting in the bottom left hand corner. Simply press that and the level becomes playable like a finished product. Here you can try out that part of the level that you've just created or try the whole level by pressing "Select" on the game pad. You have the power to place Mario anywhere in your world and start the level from there to test it out at your own pace.

 In Super Mario Maker, you don't have to follow the traditional rules of the Mario games. For example you can cause havoc by putting anything you like into a "?" box to surprise the unwitting player. You aren't stuck by putting only power ups in boxes or blocks, you can also put enemies into those boxes. If you use a cannon you don't have to make it shoot cannon balls, you can make it spew out coins or 1ups if you like. Break the rules, this game wants you to.

Using the Wii U stylus and game pad make Super Mario Maker unbelievably easy to use for just about anyone having a go. Intuitive interface design means for instant abilities to make simple levels to lead you to some really creative masterpieces. Using a simple grid system and a drop down list of assets to use the game gives you what you need with more than an accessible format. I bet the game designers wished they had this in 1985.

If you don't like to create your own content, but love playing Mario's side scrollers then Super Mario Maker still has a lot for you. You can play challenge modes called "10 Mario Challenge" or for a harder go you have the "100 Mario Challenge". In these modes you are given 8 levels on easy and 16 levels on normal settings to complete within the confines of either 10 or 100 lives. The levels you play are randomly chosen from the already thousands of levels created by the users of Super Mario Maker around the world. The levels are set out on a classic path from Princess Peach's castle all the way to Bowser's castle with the mission of finding and rescuing your damsel in distress. Just like in the original games, she's always in another castle.

Uploading your own levels is part of the fun because it gives a sense of achievement when other players take the time to play your levels. For this reason there are essentially an unlimited number of new Mario levels for y to play on. Like any game with a level creator the potential "DLC" is unlimited. For a massive fan of all things Nintendo and especially Mario, I find Super Mari Maker to an essential part of my gaming library.

Just quickly, the addition of Amiibos is pretty neat. I picked up the classic Super Mario Amiibo which when used while creating a level will drop a unique item into the game. This Amiibo will add a giant Mario mushroom which will of course turn Mario into a giant level wrecking machine. Other Amiibos will grant you skins to use such as Link and even Sonic. I even played a remake of the Green Hills Zone from the original Sonic the Hedgehog. Simply brilliant.  If you've made some levels share them with us and we will play them.

All versions of Super Mario Maker come with an art book. You can download a FREE digital version HERE!

Thanks everyone for checking out this review, now go get Making.

~ Lucas Aurelius (LewkOne)

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