Super Mario isn't appealing to its many players solely because of its accessible mechanics or even Nintendo's family-friendly style. Each of the Italian plumber's classic 2D adventures has given birth to its own ROM community, letting people create wonderful and often absurdly difficult levels. Nowadays, however, if you bring unshakeable patience and can master some precise controls, Super Mario Maker is the best place for you to be a creative Mario fan. As with its predecessor, Nintendo has built a common platform for all of its passionate fans to create and share, and now after playing the second game on Switch, we've once again fallen in love.
Super Mario Maker 2 expands this central concept with a new-found focus on multiplayer, more tools, and increased possibilities for detail-loving architects, as well as a broader introduction to everything new players need to know. Now the game has a classic story mode, during which Nintendo demonstrates with great care the endless creative potential of its platformer. The premise is quite simple: the Undo Dog accidentally destroys Peach's castle and the Toad construction workers must rebuild it. Unfortunately, they lack the necessary cash, which is why we run and jump across more than 100 of Nintendo's tutorial levels. Not all of them are necessary to complete the game, however, you might find a few surprises if you're up to the task.
We want to praise how fantastic most of these missions are in terms of how they're designed. There are speedruns, puzzle levels, coin hunts, survival and precision challenges, as well as auto-scrolling and classic sidescrolling levels. Of course, the developers aren't as mean as the demanding community levels often tend to be - these courses are designed for a wide audience.
If a section is still too demanding, Luigi can help us with some handy items. We can use his items to damage boost Mario until the end of the course or let our green brother finish the level for us. In fact, this whole section of the game is only really there to explain the controls and give us a few ideas for our own courses. And yes, Nintendo needs this incredible range of examples to show those ideas off because there are five Mario generations in here.
At the heart of Super Mario Maker 2 is Course World, which requires an active Nintendo Switch Online membership. There we find both the fantastic and the crappy levels shared by players from around the world. We can dive into both cooperative courses and competitive levels, and thanks to some extensive filter settings, we can search Nintendo's online servers for courses that suit our tastes. Popular and new levels are also displayed there, while the best builders and players are presented to us via the rankings. Another addition is the comments section, which can also be hidden if you don't want people to goof around while you play.
The 100 Mario Challenge from the original has been heavily modified for Super Mario Maker 2. Whoever plays the Endless Mode chooses one of four difficulties and must clear as many levels as possible within a limited number of lives. There are only five lives available on Easy and Normal, while we can restart 15 times in Expert, and 30 times in Super Expert. It is also possible to earn extra lives in the levels so as to not break your chain.
Building our own courses forms the basis for the third pillar of Super Mario Maker 2. Initially, we must choose one of the Mario engines to create our own level with. You can choose from NES games Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World on the SNES, and the Wii's New Super Mario Bros. U. The new addition is Super Mario 3D World, Mario's great Wii U adventure that introduces a new perspective and several unique components. Unfortunately, it incompatible with the older 2D adventures, because most elements work differently to the latter's 2.5D world.
Certain objects built in this engine behave differently, often constantly alternating between the background (which is pure illustration) and our base architecture (where we play on). Unfortunately, it is not always apparent when these objects have made the transition and thus constitutes an obstacle to overcome. In a way, you simply have to learn which phases you have to avoid, which is why additional clarity would have been helpful.
Choosing the right engine is incredibly important to the flow of a level as it determines Mario's movement, the behaviour of our enemies, and the functionality of certain items. For example, in Super Mario Bros., Mario cannot pick up a turtle shell, because he always kicks it away. The important spin jump came with Super Mario World, while the Wii introduced the helpful wall jump. If we change the engine, a level may not automatically be clearable anymore.