Mario Maker 2 arrived early so I have been able to sink enough time into this charming sequel to one of the Wii U’s greatest games. I feel like putting ‘game’ in italics though as what this actually feels like is Mario Infinity. You should never need another Mario game if you utilise this one correctly.

This is basically the tool kit to make your own Mario levels as before but now we have a few more eras thrown in. The Mario’s from the 3DS look particularly lush and show how far the game has come. Unlike before we have a decent story mode built in of 100 levels that deal with the rebuilding of Peach’s castle. They are just there as a showcase and inspiration for your own creations but they provide a good challenge and show amazing creativity even from early on. This is very welcome for the single-player and serves as a good gateway into the addiction of the course world of created levels and your own creations.

Mario Maker 2 Arrows
Are the arrows helpful or not?

Despite the story mode the real appeal of this game requires an online connection and opens you up to the amazing but often malevolent world of people’s online levels. With an expanded toolkit the devious nature of good designers is there for all to see. A huge arrow pointing a direction to go is not always put there for the good of the players’ health. One of the first levels I tried had a clear path to go that you usually followed with muscle memory. Sure enough at the end of this path, there was an impossible jump that exposed the correct way to go further above.

This online trickery is what took on a life of its own in the first game and with the expanded sequel having a much better online infrastructure and a much larger install base there’s no reason that Mario Maker 2 shouldn’t become an even more populated and lively community. Even playing before official release there were plenty of user-created levels available all of which were at a higher standard than what I could do myself.

Here is where the real challenge of the game lies. Are you going to be good enough to make a level that can stay on the online servers? This time in anticipation or perhaps because of criticism levelled at the previous game, Nintendo has tried to implement quality control on the levels. Basically, if your level isn’t popular enough, it will drop away after a period of time. You are also limited to 32 uploaded levels.

Making a level is very intuitive but from experience, it is best to have an idea before you go in. This includes which Mario game you will set your level in and what kind of level it will be. A short speedrun or a tricky multi-layered effort with stringent clear conditions? The endless choices are yours. My first level started as Mario escaping falling beetles. It evolved into a kind of precision jump on top of this all based in the Mario 3 world. After making obviously you have to clear it yourself before uploading. In all, it is a wonderful mechanic. If you fancy a crack at it the code is CJ2-5DY-XNF.

So there you have it, a whole lot to get your teeth into wrapped up in a high-quality Nintendo package. If you lime Mario and even more difficult platformers then this is a must for you. If you fancy yourself as a level designer be prepared for some rejection as the online competition is fierce.

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