Super Mario Maker is a game made to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Super Mario Bros (first released 13th September 1985), which gives players the opportunity to make, play and share, created Mario levels.
Super Mario Basics
For those not familiar with Super Mario then the objective is to get to the end of the screen (by moving right) whilst keeping Mario alive by avoiding traps and enemies within the 400 second time-limit. The overall objective is to rescue the Princess. The controls are easy to learn and understand – making Super Mario a game for all ages. Left or right on the directional pad makes Mario walk left or right, A makes Mario jump, B Mario throws a fireball (if that power is enabled), if in Super Mario mode then down on the d-pad makes him duck. Then there’s more complex abilities with combinations of interactions such as holding B whilst moving to make Mario run; holding down A whilst jumping makes Mario go higher; running and jumping makes Mario jump further, etc.
Super Mario Maker Designing your own levels
What sets each of the levels apart are the challenges that Mario faces on his journey. With Super Mario Maker players get to create what needs to be overcome: Designers need to think about the order and pace of the challenges (from environment/enemies), as well as how they can be defeated. A good level design will allow the player to build up their skills and give them choices on how to overcome things and use their rewards.
Levels are made using a simple to use, tile set editor and in celebration of 30 years of Super Mario, can be based on one of four previous 2D Mario titles (Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros U) and one of six level themes (overworld, underground, underwater, castle, ghost house and airship). Many aspects of this game are also heavily influenced by Mario Paint, such as the icons and even a mini-game.
When starting the game for the first time, you’ll be given a basic tutorial on how the level creation works, such as how to place objects, add enemies and put items into blocks. You are able to switch between testing and editing levels at any time, which I feel is good for allowing you to test and alter the level very quickly and easily. The tutorial level is beaten by reaching the flagpole at the end and, whenever you start the game after this, you’ll be on a randomly generated stage which you can play, along with an interactive title screen. You can now also choose continue creating your own stages or check out the other modes this game has to offer.
Creating stages is relatively easy to do, with simple tile set tools that you drag assets onto where you wish them to be utilising the touchscreen of the WiiU gamepad. There are options such as copy/paste, highlight, erase and undo – which all help speed up the process of making levels and allow for errors to be undone without hassle. When creating a stage the TV screen will show the it being created with a hand drawing the objects onto the screen, so other people can watch you build: the hand can be switched to a different skin tone, made into a Mario glove and even a cat’s paw. You can do this by clicking on either analogue stick and the game will cycle through the options. The left stick will make it left handed and the right stick will make it right handed.
To begin with you don’t have many of the assets available to use, but as you play each day, you are ‘delivered’ extra to use; such as more blocks, enemies, game styles and themes (only Super Mario Bros and New Super Mario Bros U styles are available at first in the overworld and underground themes), sub worlds and so on. What I found was good, but I wished I had known sooner, is that you can massively speed up how often you receive new assets by simply using every asset you currently have at least once in a level (unused assets will have a ‘!’ by them). This I feel will appeal to those who really want to get straight into making stages will the entire palette, while the regular pacing will allow for new players to get used to their current tools, instead of presenting them with too much at once.
You can unlock the sound effects frog (with the 6th lot of additional tools) which allows you to drag sound effects into the editor. Sounds can even generate visuals (like fireworks). And you can make your own sound effects. Shake a note block until it becomes a music block – when something bumps it then it will play a note based on the height that block is positioned in. You can then arrange the notes in a way to play songs. This is good if you want to add in some Goombas (brown mushroom like enemies) as they jump in time to the music. Different instruments are used depending on what item or enemy bounces on the block.
Many objects and enemies also have alternate forms, which are obtained by selecting one, and shaking it back and forth on the touchpad. This can be useful depending on how you want the player to defeat the level: For example Bowser’s foot soldiers (Koopa Troopas) are green and you can give them a shake to turn it red. Red Koopa Troopa don’t walk off the edge of the platform but the green ones do. You can jump on them which will make them turn upside down on their head: Then hold Y to pick it up, letting go of Y means you can throw it. If you leave the Koopa Troopa in its shell for too long it will pop back out again.
Certain game play mechanics (such as whether Mario can carry objects or wall jump, the power ups available, the appearance and interactions of certain blocks, platforms and other assets) depend on which previous Mario title the level is based upon, as well as the level theme.
A variety of new game mechanics have also been added to Super Mario Maker:
- You can stack most kinds of enemies upon each other to form a tower
- Mario can now wear shells as helmets; You can also give objects and enemies wings
- Enemies can also be made larger by dragging a mushroom on top of them
- Items and enemies can be put onto rails, or into pipes or inside Bullet Bill cannons or even inside Koopa clown karts!
- You can place springs that interact with almost anything!
Because of all these additions, I personally felt that Super Mario Maker seems to be less focused on creating traditional Super Mario style levels (though you still can if you wished to), as I found there are many more ways you can use these tools in creating exciting new gimmicks. For example I found that Bullet Bill cannons slowly sink in lava, and began to make a stage based around hastily tries to run across a series of platforms made from a line of these as they gradually sink into the lava below.
The coursebot is a hub for all the levels you have created, any sample levels you have unlocked and any levels you have downloaded that other players have posted online. There is also a section where you can play, download and edit (these cannot be reuploaded to be claimed as your own) stages other people have posted online. There are several categories to look at levels posted online, such as the newest, and highest rated, while you can also look at levels you’ve uploaded and levels made by people you follow. You can find specific levels by inputting the level ID, with the idea here being that you share your level ID with others and then they can play your level.
For me Super Mario Maker seems to be something that is different to the norm and an entirely new or at least an unfamiliar experience. While this may seem like this makes the game seem less what it is intended for, I actually find it makes it fit in more with previous Mario games, as they all add something new to the series. A prime example would be when I was browsing through featured levels list; many of the highest rated levels are not original style Mario stages, but are instead music recreations using note blocks. These included music from Super Smash Bros, Legend of Zelda and Pokemon, and while playing them, I felt amazed at how amazing these sounded. However, I do feel that the game could do with some form of filtering system, so players can search for the highest rated levels of a particular type, as those are might be searching for more traditional levels may not be so catered for.
10 Mario Challenge
This has you attempting to beat 8 sample levels in a row, with only 10 lives. Once you’ve played through this mode several times and have beaten the entire sample course catalogue, you will unlock four more stages, which were featured in the 2015 Nintendo World championships: these will appear in the coursebot. Beating all four of these levels will unlock the skinny mushroom power up for the Super Mario Bros theme, which makes Mario taller, thinner and able to jump higher.
100 Mario challenge
This is similar to the 10 Mario challenge, but instead has you consecutively playing through levels that other people have submitted online with 100 lives. You have to beat 8 levels on easy and normal difficulty or 16 on hard difficulty with the toughness of each levels you face is based on the percentage of players who have been able to clear the level. For each time you beat it, you will unlock a mystery mushroom costume, for use in create mode. These are an exclusive power for the Super Mario Bros game style that when collected make Mario look like an object or character from a large number of games. A few of the mystery mushroom costumes are available to begin with, but many, many more can be obtained by beating 100 Mario challenge or by scanning an Amiibo, will unlock the mystery mushroom costume for that character. While the mystery mushrooms can’t be used in any of the other game themes, you can instead use different power ups, such as the Super Cape in the Super Mario World theme. Super Mario Maker is compatible with more than 50 Amiibo – including classic figures like Link, Wii Fit Trainer and Kirby. The special 30th Anniversary Mario Amiibo means that players can take on mustachiped enemies in levels using Big Mario (by releasing a big mushroom).
The Gnat Attack mini game, is a throwback to Mario Paint. It can be started by swatting (tapping on the touchpad) three flies that appear while creating a level: they sometimes appear at random, though shaking a Muncher can also make the flies appear. In this mini game you have to beat three waves, with each having you tap on all of the flies that appear in order to win. Once you beat this mode you will unlock the exclusive Builder Mario mystery mushroom costume.
Overall I enjoyed Super Mario Maker and I highly recommend it to others. I believe that it is a good tool for people to finally be able to create the Mario style levels they dreamed of making and not-so Mario style levels they didn’t ever even think of creating until now, with the many tools available and capabilities to make stages. My only concerns were that there was no search function for looking up levels of a particular variety online and how the game does not tell the player how to unlock more assets, which was frustrating for someone who is creative and really wanted to use everything immediately: it did however, get me to experiment lots more with what I did have though.
Super Mario Maker for WiiU has already sold over 1 million units across the World in less than a month. I feel that this is going to be a very popular choice of gift this Christmas. Fan created levels have been played over 75 million times.
For Further Updates visit: http://www.nintendo.co.uk/supermariomaker
See TiredMummyofTwo‘s Review of Super Mario Maker.
I received a free download code for Super Mario Maker. I was helped to review it by my 3 oldest sons. Most of this review is written from the honest point of view of my 18 year old son who is at University studying Computer Programming and Games Design. No other financial compensation has been given. Images are property of Nintendo and not to be taken.