Making your own Mario levels and playing fellow fans' creations is a ton of fun so let's see how the formula holds up in this Switch sequel.
For whatever reason, I've never played the original Super Mario Maker. So, when this sequel released, I figured it would be a good excuse to finally dive in and I'm very happy that I did. Considering I thoroughly enjoyed the phenomenal LittleBigPlanet franchise, it was a real treat to see a similar setup within the colourful Mario universe. For starters, the level editor is intuitive and comprehensive. I tried it with both the controller and the touchscreen and let me tell you; using the touchscreen is infinitely more user-friendly so I highly recommend editing your levels while undocked. Being able to create within 5 themes that are based on Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, New Super Mario Bros. U, and Super Mario 3D World is just awesome and the fact that you can adjust high level aspects like win conditions allows you to create unique experiences that'll potentially stand out from the crowd.
Considering I'm not that skilled when it comes to creating levels, I've spent more time so far playing other people's creations. You can do so by searching for individual courses or playing a random assortment of them within the Endless Challenge mode which is my personal favourite way to play. Thankfully, you can select your preferred difficulty and after trying many Super Expert courses, I can easily say that some very talented folks have created many ingenious levels so far. If you'd like a more structured experience then Story Mode will show you what Super Mario Maker 2 is capable of by showcasing its many gimmicks as you try and rebuild Princess Peach's Castle.
One thing that I was expecting to enjoy in Super Mario Maker 2 is its multiplayer component. However, local multiplayer is almost non-existent and online multiplayer is insanely choppy to the point where some matches are downright unplayable. As far as I can see, the only way to play local multiplayer is by downloading courses then booting them up via the Coursebot which is just silly as I would have loved to play Endless Challenge mode with a pal. Back to online multiplayer: you can play either Co-op or Versus modes within Network Play. Both of these have a ton of potential but when the screen slows to a crawl, you'll gladly quit and play another mode.
Although I'm complaining, I can't stress enough just how fun Super Mario Maker 2 is. Whether you're creative or simply enjoy playing 2D Mario games, you'll have hours of fun here. With that in mind, I find a few design decisions to be rather silly. First of all, getting people to play your created courses is nearly impossible without resorting to begging others to try them out and like them which is due to the fact that there's an in-game algorithm that heavily favours already popular courses. This is weird to me because I've had the displeasure of playing dozens of awful courses already that were randomly assigned to me which means that their algorithm doesn't really do what it was intended to do as people can easily like garbage courses and have them become more popular than levels that are truly clever and well-designed. I can't imagine how annoying this is for people who sink hours into creating things that no one plays.
Super Mario Maker 2 does a fantastic job of laying the foundation for a seemingly endless supply of 2D platforming fun. Aside from some major issues with its multiplayer and a few other goofy decisions, it's an overall excellent experience.
- + It's a ton of fun to play through community levels in 5 distinct game styles
- + Intuitive and comprehensive editor
- + Story mode is enjoyable to work through
- - Local multiplayer is limited and online multiplayer is nearly unplayable
- - A handful of silly design decisions