Hello! Thanks in advance for checking out this review! I made a small announcement awhile back that the first reviews I would be doing to revive this blog would be a review on either Splatoon or Terraria… Well, that was back when I was practically addicted to both of those games, and, while I still plan on reviewing them, I think that a game that I’m playing much more right now is better to review. If you’re familiar with my review system, them you should skip to the bold print line below. If you’re not familiar with my review system (which I seem to change quite a lot), then I’ll give a brief refresher: Introduction (a little backstory on how I came across the game, and any previous experiences I’ve had with it), Story (I sum up the story with as little spoilers as possible), Environment (I talk about the setting and feel of the game), Gameplay (I try to explain why the game is fun/not fun and what features it contains), Graphics/Performance (Does the game look appealing? Does it run well?), and Music/Sound (I decide whether or not a game’s soundtrack is worth listening to by itself, and if it fits its setting).
Without further ado, let’s get started!
I heard about Mario Maker when it was announced at Nintendo’s E3 2014 Nintendo Direct, but I wasn’t interested in the game until multiple trailers came out this year that persuaded me to buy the game. What really set me over the edge– well, I’ll get to it later in the gameplay section, but it was huge to me when a certain feature was announced. Anyway, I’ve always wanted to make my own Mario, Zelda, DKC, Metroid, etc. levels, and this is the first time that we’ve (officially) been able to make Mario levels on a Nintendo console. I’ve always been a person who likes to both create and play games/levels in games, and this is a pretty unique game as far as I can see.
As usual, Mario is lying around (doing nothing), and Princess Peach is kidnapped by none other than Bowser!!! In all seriousness, this happens every time you start what the game calls: “The 10 Mario Challenge” or “The 100 Mario Challenge”, which I’ll get into later. Besides that, this game really doesn’t have a story, and therefore I don’t have much to put here.
Moving on, since this isn’t the kind of game that has a set environment, I can’t really muster anything for the setting of the game, so I will talk about some of the special features or small touches that freshen up the experience that can be found in Super Mario Maker.
When you start up the game, you will be greeted with a title card with Mario in his Builder Mario uniform, and the game will give you a unique short opening sequence depending on the day you play; it’s nothing special, but it’s a nice touch. Like with Mario Paint for the SNES (which has heavily influenced this game), you are able to touch all of the letters of “Super Mario Maker” on the title screen, and it will perform a specific action, including: summoning a Yoshi egg or other object, having the “A” blast off into space via countdown, or giving a visual filter to the title screen (which also changes the music a tiny bit). There are many amiibo costumes found within the game, which can be unlocked by tapping their specific amiibo on the Wii U Gamepad’s NFC Reader or by playing certain challenges. Every. Single. Amiibo. Is compatible with this game. Every amiibo has a costume, and they all unlock a skin (some costumes of which have been included in this game before their corresponding amiibo have actually been announced/released). You can only use these costumes with the original Super Mario Bros. theme, but they all have their own specific sound effects (some for jumping, hitting the ground, or even dying). These are but a few of the awesome special touches in Super Mario Maker, and I can’t include every single one on this list. Trust me, however, there’s great features everywhere.
This is going to be a long section, just warning you. As you start up the game for the first time, you are introduced first and foremost with a tutorial of how to place objects and create levels. It’s a nice tutorial, and it ends quickly, therefore I have no complaints here. Your two main parts to Super Mario Maker are creating levels and playing levels, and I feel that this game has almost perfected both of these aspects.
When you first start making levels and after you make something for around five minutes, you will be notified that you will be able to unlock more tools to use and more assets to be able to place by waiting until tomorrow, which allows for the creator of a level to get used to a certain limited amount of objects and tools he can use. Originally, you would have needed to wait a total of nine days to unlock all of the objects and tools to use in making levels, but Nintendo shortened this to as little as less than half of a day if you make levels for a long enough time. If you don’t make levels for long and only make a level for five minutes each day to cue the next shipment of tools/assets, you will still be waiting nine days, but most people won’t be waiting this long.
Once your accustomed on how to make levels, you can easily draw a line of blocks, place enemies, and create the Mario levels that you may have been wanting to make for a very long time in four different game styles (Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros. U). Your creations are only limited by your imagination for the most part, unless you are trying to make a more ambitious level. In this case, the limit on how many blocks (which includes coins), decoration blocks, and enemies that you can place can really put a damper on your imagination, since most levels that I try to make are usually longer than most other levels, and have a small amount of progression. For instance, I wanted to make a large airship level with a sub-level “haunted ship” (ghost house); I decided on making two different “haunted ships” that were both large on scale, but the limits on placing certain assets and the length of the level destroyed that idea. Anyway… I don’t know, but it’s just strange to me that a game about “creating the most ambitious Mario levels ever” has limits like this.
Moving on to the other mode in this game, the “Play” mode, you can play levels that other people have made, including one hundred levels pre-made right on the disc, in case you live in an area that doesn’t receive internet often (or at all) but still want to make and play Mario levels. The pre-made levels are mostly short and sweet, and you can play and beat them all for a special surprise. To play these levels, you can participate in what’s called the “10 Mario Challenge”, where you must play through eight of these pre-made levels at a time with a limit of ten lives at a time. Of course, most of these levels are rather easy, and extra lives are quite common, despite the possibly daunting limit of ten lives. However, most of your time will most likely be spent on the “100 Mario Challenge”, which contains eight or sixteen random levels that community members have created. There are three difficulty modes for the 100 Mario Challenge, including: Easy (eight levels with a high clear rate), Normal (sixteen levels with a medium clear rate), and Expert (sixteen levels of pain and frustration). I will say this now: Expert Mode would be impossible under normal circumstances because of the insane challenge that some of the levels can obtain. However, you are able to skip any levels that may seem too challenging for you (or for anyone for that matter), but you do not skip a level but rather swap to another level, meaning that you still must beat eight or sixteen levels to clear the 100 Mario Challenge no matter what.
In order to unlock the aforementioned amiibo costumes without the owning of any amiibo, you must beat the 100 Mario Challenge a total of ninety-nine times. Yes, you heard that right. To make it more painful, after you beat the 100 Mario Challenge a certain number of times, you will no longer earn costumes from beating Easy Mode and Normal Mode, and you will be restricted to the absolute torture that Expert Mode can be. Of course, these costumes are all optional, and they have no effect on gameplay whatsoever and are only decorative for levels using the original Super Mario Bros. theme.
Of course, you can also play any online level normally by going to the respective menu on the “Course World” menu. I’ve even made four levels of my own, which you can access by searching their ID’s in-game: a level with a lot of trampolines: E1D9-0000-001C-319D; A “de-make” of the Water Temple from TLoZ:OoT: CDDF-0000-0040-16C4; (Shameless plugs… Also, more to come on my Mario Maker profile.)
In terms of faithfulness to its source material, Super Mario Maker gives faithful recreations of the visual styles of each game style it includes. Super Mario Bros, looks like Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3 looks like Super Mario Bros. 3, and so on. I never had the game slow-down on me (even with tons of enemies on screen at the same time), and it just runs well in general.
There are some amazing remixes in this game, and who else would compose them other than the incredible Koji Kondo? This is the first game since The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time for the N64 that Koji Kondo has composed ALL original tracks for any video game. Suffice to say… It’s amazing. Here’s 3 of my favorite tracks:
I think the music from the game speaks for itself enough.
Final Thoughts and Score:
Super Mario Maker is an incredible tool for making the Mario levels that you’ve always wanted to make… for the most part. There are many awesome levels in the online part of this game that truly show the extent that you can go to with your creativity, but I do feel that there are some tools missing and a annoying limit on how many of certain assets that you can place. However, I feel that this game has some incredible charm to it. There’s a ton of content in this game via online levels made by players, amiibo costumes, and even some pre-made levels on the disc already. The game runs fine, looks faithful to its source material, and has an amazing soundtrack, comprised of remixes of older Mario themes.
Overall, I give this game a great 9.0/10: It’s an amazing level creation tool with an amazing soundtrack and friendly interface, but I do think that it limits the player with level creation in certain aspects.
Hello! I hope you enjoyed my review on Super Mario Maker for the Wii U! It took me quite awhile to finish this review, so I wasn’t able to post it two Fridays ago like I said I would. I will be continually working on reviews and other posts throughout the week, so stay tuned. Thanks for reading, seeya!