Title: Super Mario Maker 2
Genre: Action, Platformer
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: Everyone – Mild Cartoon Violence
Release Date: Out Now – 28/06/19
Price: £59.99 – Rapid Reviews UK were very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
A game which quickly became my most anticipated Nintendo Switch title of the first half of 2019, Super Mario Maker 2 released to much fanfare and high expectations. A sequel to the WiiU title of the same name – minus the 2 – in 2015, the Nintendo published Mario extravaganza promised creativity, freedom and ingenuity unlike anything seen in a game before. When the review code dropped into the Rapid Review inbox, the hype had reached fever pitch. With little margin for error, especially with the ‘no online multiplayer between friends’ debacle of May ’19, we double jumped right in!
For starters, Super Mario Maker 2 is as good as we thought it would be. Not only that, it’s better. Offering a full 100 level campaign, local and online multiplayer, free reign to build almost anything that your mind can conjure, a platform for sharing your creations with the world, opportunities to test, publish and review others levels, the list goes on. I am in awe of the game that Nintendo has crafted, and cannot recommend it highly enough.
The ‘Story Mode’ consists of 100 carefully curated levels by some of Nintendo’s finest, and provides a fantastic introduction to all that is at your disposal. You are introduced to some of the key characters and tasked with collecting coins in each of the levels to pay for the rebuilding of the castle. The game has a relatively simple storyline, but one that serves a purpose and gives some context as to why Mario is taking jobs from Toad and giving his coins away. The levels are engaging, intuitive and incredibly well-designed, and I loved the variety on offer here. It is mind-blowing to think that this isn’t even the main event of this title, and there aren’t many games that can boast that!
Outside of the campaign, there is the option to make and make you will. Once you have selected a game design and a theme, SMM2 gifts you a blank canvas to craft until your heart’s content. Having watched a large number of videos that showcased all that SMM2 would have on offer at launch, my primary concern was that the interface for design and creating your levels would be overwhelming. While there is a lot of content to choose from, I found my concerns to be unjust as I navigated the toolset with ease. In docked, the game has carefully selected the buttons which best suit the quick nature with which I wanted to make levels and I found it very intuitive.
Around the outside of the screen, you can find all manner of tools to support you in your level design. The top provides quick access to the items you are most commonly using, including enemies, platforms, blocks and the like. The right-hand side allows you to complete tasks such as erasing and resetting, while the left has the option to set a time limit, clear conditions and change the biome. Aside from a few times where I couldn’t move my cursor to the one I wanted, I found the system to work exceptionally well.
Things are even easier in handheld, as the touchscreen becomes the Luigi to your Mario. Many of the early purchasers of the title saw the game launched with a stylus, and while I haven’t been able to make use of myself, I can imagine it is the perfect accompaniment to SMM2. The majority of my time with the game so far has been with the Pro controller, and I am very happy to continue doing the same.
I have spent both minutes and hours designing and re-designing my own levels, taking inspiration from levels from Mario games of old, as well as the story mode itself and others levels online. The objects and items interact with each other seamlessly, and many of the items can be used in multiple ways. You can: hide objects inside ‘?’ boxes; change the shape, size and direction of moving platforms; stack enemies on top of one another, or even plan for the player to steal items from enemies which can then be used in the level. Every time I load the game, I learn something new that I can then implement in my own levels to make them even better.
Where the game truly shines is in its online offering. As long as you can complete the level you have created, you can then upload it into the community and others can attempt to beat it. The levels are categorised by their popularity, how new they are, how often they have been played, and by your favourite creators.
Each level has its own unique 9 character code which can be shared with others so that they can attempt it, and such information is stored about the level including how many people have played it, liked it, beat it and commented on it. Receiving notifications when I loaded the game after a day at work which told me how many more had been on my level was a great feeling, and the social media interactions I have witnessed have shown once again how great Nintendo is. The level code sharing is a little archaic, and the fact that you can’t search for a level by name, i.e. ‘Zelda’ is disappointing, but there are few games which can rival what is available here.
For all the creative nuance and intelligent game design that Nintendo has showcased with SMM2, the online multiplayer is severely lacking. I have had a mixed experience with it so far, as the game has suffered from lagging when connecting with others and the omission of friends playing together online is an oversight that is difficult to ignore. It has been promised further down the line, and there is no doubt the online modes will be patched to improve stability in the coming weeks and months, but it is a shame even to have to discuss this with such a stellar game.
SMM2 is, without a shadow of a doubt, a must-own title on the Nintendo Switch. It offers hours and hours of fun, be it playing through the story mode, accessing other creations online, or making your own. There are very few games, if any, that offer 100 levels in their campaign, but even more impressive than that is the thought that without it, this game would still have been must-own! If you do not already, go out and buy this game…now!
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Super Mario Maker 2 on the Nintendo eShop at the following link, https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch/Super-Mario-Maker-2-1514009.html
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.