Review: Super Mario Maker

Published October 27, 2015 by Amanda B. Greene

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Super Mario Maker… is hard to rate. On one hand, the creation side of the game is fairly good, despite missing a lot of features from different games in the series. And on the other, you can upload and play levels from players around the world, but there are certain issues here as well. So, further ado, here’s the review…

** Review **

** 7.0/10 **

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Creating Levels

Right off the bat, you start with little to work with (unless you speed up time in the settings). This is Nintendo’s way of helping you get used to the game’s mechanics. By going slow, you don’t necessarily get overwhelmed. But after unlocking everything, I had the opposite reaction.

As I said in the introduction, there are a lack of items in the inventory. Most of the powerups are absent, such as the Frog Suit, Penguin Suit, and so on. A lot of themes are gone too like the classic Desert and Ice backgrounds. So, Mario Maker is not so “Super” after all. I hope that they eventually do some DLC in the near future.

There is a surprising amount of easter eggs and things that you wouldn’t find in a traditional Mario game. Right away, the title screen has some goofy fun when you tap on each of the letters. When editing a level, sometimes you’ll get flies flying around – swat at them to play a minigame. The list just goes on and on… As for unusual additions, sound effects with little visual flair are silly to add in like a creepy heartbeat or some claps accompanied by confetti; another example is the Mystery Mushroom, which lets you use Amiibos as costumes for Mario – they each have their own noises and taunts (acts like a regular Mushroom except for height).

Creating levels is a lot of fun with plenty of room for creativity. I was surprised by how much you could break the traditional rules from stacking enemies to having Yoshi overcome his fortress phobia. It’s exciting to try to come up with original and challenging segments.

Unloading Levels & Playing Others’ Courses Online

This is where some people have issues. After uploading levels, you’ll get notifications as to if anyone has played them, commented via Miiverse, or given you stars. Stars are a way to say that a level is great and you can give out as many as you like; they’re also the only way to upload more than 10 courses. So where’re the problems? People rarely star levels… which is discouraging and disappointing. There is a lack of traffic at times after a short period of time being up.

The search engine could also be better. You can sort levels by doing global or regional, difficulty levels, and then there are three main tabs: Most Starred, Recently Uploaded, and Up & Coming. The community comes up with some great stuff, but it is sometimes hard to find them (mostly due to the shortage of stars for many). The most popular courses are either super-difficult (like Super Meat Bros.) or super-easy (often Automatic/Music), so if you just want to play something in between, it takes a lot of effort. Otherwise, if you wish to look up users (other than the highest ranking ones) or keywords like say “Zelda” then you’re out of luck – you have to write down specific Course ID’s.

Since so much of this game relies heavily on online cooperation/sharing, and yet I found myself unable to fully enjoy either end of the gate. I feel as though I’ve made some great courses, and yet for the amount of traffic I get, there are hardly any stars. So, I hope the community gets more generous – no offense to anyone.

Final Note

Most of my criticisms are more towards the search options and community than the actual game itself. Yes, I made a point of saying that many things from the Mario series are gone from powerups and themes to checkpoints (difficult for long levels), but when you actually start working on a course there is still a lot of elements to work with.

In my first impressions of the game, I said that I highly recommend Super Mario Maker. Do I still keep that same judgment after having more time with it? I mostly do, although I no longer say that all Wii U owners should consider. If you’re highly creative and love level builders, then this is a game for you. If you’re a big Mario fan, then I’d say try it out. Super Mario Maker won’t necessarily please everyone, especially since it doesn’t play like a normal, straight-up title from Nintendo.

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2 comments on “Review: Super Mario Maker

  • Good review. I’ve played it a ton and do agree with you about the search/share could be done differently. If you’re interested, I’ll share one of mine lol.
    THWOMP! (there it is) 1A82-0000-006A-3438 (run!)

    • Thanks! Some of my levels are listed on another blog post: “First Impressions: Super Mario Maker”. There is a link within the “Final Note” section of the review.

      I’ll be sure to play your levels sometime. 🙂

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