Super Mario Maker was released last week to mark the 30th anniversary of the landmark Super Mario Bros. It’s the NES classic we all know and love, and with this Wii U exclusive you’ll be merrily informed the Princess most definitely is in another castle. Multiple castles. In fact, more castles than you can be bothered to count.
I’m willing to bet Super Mario Maker offers the most times “super” has appeared in any video game ever. Anyone taking to this game must be aware there’s a strong possibility of a super overdose, that’s how serious the situation is. Thankfully, the game packs one almighty entertainment punch as an ailment.
Making Things Super
The Wii U exclusive, quite literally, allows players to make levels from the games (insert “Super” as required) Mario Bros, Mario Bros 3, Mario World, and New Mario Bros. Now it’s been out for a few days gamers have already gotten to grips with Super Mario Maker and have been uploading thousands of courses.
Simply put, the wealth of features is staggering – Nintendo dug deep and compiled an intricate amount of detail. All the familiar elements of the games (I’ll presume for the sake of this piece you, dear reader, have played the games) are packed up, but with a vast selection of new options and possibilities.
You name it, it’s in there, and this opens the door for some truly bizarre level design. If you want to design an utterly insane Super Mario Kart themed 60 second time limited sprint starring Shulk from Xenoblade Chronicles, replete with fanfares, giant goombas, half a dozen Bowsers, enormous fish, and an army of rampaging koopas, you can do. Only your imagination can hold you back, but even then amiibo open up new features.
However devious, annoying, warped, difficult, or outright weird you want to be, the game accommodates your desires. The real beauty of it all, however, is its accessibility. Prior to its release Super Mario Maker’s critics have pointed out there have been level editors online for years. This is indeed true, but not a single one of them could possibly dream of offering this level of interaction, ease of use, and complexity. Designing courses via the GamePad (arguably the best use of the controller to date) is so intuitive and natural it’s as if you’ve been doing it for years.
Players don’t even have to make anything if they can’t be bothered. Laziness is catered for in abundance – you can take to any newly designed course as you wish, or try out other features such as the 100 Mario Challenge feature, which provides 100 lives and lets you complete a set batch of levels to save the Princess (this can be stunningly difficult in Expert mode).
If the fear of the blank canvas strikes you at first, once you’ve stuffed a few pipes and blocks into your design, it’s not difficult to start building on your course and making it increasingly detailed.
Whilst all this is amazing, the most immediate problem is the lack of features initially available. After three days and 10 hours of play I barely have access to the multitude of items which will eventually be available (it takes some 9 days for everything to get to you).
This isn’t essentially a bad feature – Nintendo designed the game for longevity and you receive updates slowly but surely. However, many frustrated Mario Makers simply stuck the calendar date forward on their Wii Us to open up the vast array of options straight away. In essence, then, including the delay was pointless, but it doesn’t hinder enjoyment of the game’s early stages.
Super Conclusion 64
What Super Mario Maker offers is worrying longevity, accessibility, innovation, and all of it set within the familiarly brilliant world of Mario’s 2D platformers. Am I a gushing sycophant, drunk, or blinded by my initial excitement? I’d like to think not. Having played these games for going on 30 years, Super Mario Maker is at once familiar yet unique, and it takes an established formula and adds a new element of insanity.
Obviously if Mario’s not your thing then this won’t appeal. First-person-shooter fans, or anyone seeking the next GTA clone, need not apply, but for Mario’s millions of followers this is a wonderfully crafted title which packs in years of playability and giddy escapist fun.
It’s glorious, and makes for another high quality exclusive for the Wii U. The console’s now an essential purchase for gamers, so if you’ve not picked one up yet now’s the time. As you might have guessed, it’s available in stores now at an affordable price. 5/5 – huzzah!
Super Mario Maker
5 out of 5
by Alex Morris