We’re going rattle off a series of mini-reviews to make up for lost time this year, starting with Super Mario Maker for the Wii U. These will be shorter and less complete than our full reviews.
If you ever played a Mario game, at some point you surely thought to yourself, “I bet I could make a great Mario level.” The time to put that to the test has come, and it turns out that some people make evil Mario levels.
My level making portion of Super Mario Maker is easy to use, intuitive, and somehow both impressively comprehensive and woefully incomplete. You can select from various side scrolling Super Mario themes (omitting, unsurprisingly, Super Mario. Bros. 2) and multiple world types including underground, ghost house, and airship with which to make your level. The level types (save for underwater) are purely cosmetic but the themes are game changers. You can’t pick up shells in Super Mario Bros. 1, and you can’t wall jump unless you’re using the New Super Mario Bros theme. Everything nails the look and sound of each theme and world type, from the sounds to the graphics to the controls, making this a Mario fan’s playhouse.
While that’s fun in and off itself, you can spend at least as much time playing the many levels other people have shared in the 100 Mario Challenge. Some of the levels are really clever, others visually impressive, and there are those that seem half-finished or rushed, but the most insidious of the lot are incredibly difficult, even for lifelong Mario vets. Requiring pixel-perfect moves and perfect timing, you just know that its creator had one lucky run (you have to prove your own level is beatable before you can share it) and uploaded, chuckling to themselves whenever they see the abysmal completion rate.
Super Mario Maker is a good reason to buy a Wii U. If you like Mario games, fancy yourself the next Miyamoto, or just love playing an almost endless stream of 2D platforming levels using the most iconic gameplay in the genre, this is for you.