Mario Maker got a lot of hype before it came out, but I’ll admit that I didn’t buy into it for a while. Like Splatoon, Mario Maker honestly didn’t catch my attention. It looked…okay, but I just skipped every video that Nintendo posted about it. I actually didn’t see more than a minute of any Mario Maker video, it just didn’t look that good. I’d buy it…someday. Gradually, the game got more and more press (I skipped the Nintendo World Championships, although I finally watched it about a week ago) and my cousin also got hyped about it. I figured that I’d get it for my Birthday (Which is about 6 months from now) but this is the kind of game that you want to have right away. The hype for it won’t die out anytime soon, but right now is when all of the activity is. Part of the fun is also playing levels made by your friends and vice versa so waiting would hurt that give and take a little. So, a little while ago, I felt sick on a Thursday and decided that I couldn’t make it to classes that day. While feeling sorry for myself and snacking on some munchies, I decided on a whim to go to Best Buy and get the game. (Along with the Gamer’s club) It’s definitely been worth the purchase and the game is a blast. Certainly one of the best Mario games of all time by default with how much replay value there is and how much effort was put into the game. That was a long intro, but I wanted to give some background info on this title. I seriously wasn’t sold on it, but the game turned out to be excellent and I’ll still be playing it weeks from now.
There’s no story mode here at all. One of those would be cool, but I’ll admit that it makes little difference to be for a Mario game. Yes, a story mode would be a good thing and it would help the game out, but it wouldn’t actually affect the overall score and it’ll barely be missed. The gameplay is why Mario games are so good and this one has the aesthetics of 4 different Mario games. Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros. Right off the bat, I have to say that it’s impressive that the developers were able to incorporate all of these themes. It’s incredibly impressive that you can switch between these layouts at will as well. It feels like you’re playing multiple games and with fans already recreating the real levels from the original versions, it’s really like you own 4 whole Mario games along with infinite levels to spare. If you were wondering whether 60 dollars was overpriced for this game…don’t. Of course, with the Best Buy Gamer’s Club, I’ll never need to shell out another 60 again with the 13-15 dollars off each game.
There’s a lot to talk about for this game so let’s start with the technical part. The soundtrack is easily 5 stars. I would love to be able to pick which music would play in your custom stage, but it’s fine. You will barely even be able to tell which tune is playing because it so perfectly fits with the gameplay. The classic themes that you would expect from the Mario games are present and you’re even able to recreate music themes from many other franchises, which fans show off in their auto play levels. It’s really cool and shows that I still have more to learn about this game so that I can fully use the utilize this sound editor program.
As you would expect, the graphics are excellent. I know that Mario’s cartoony style is supposedly a lot easier to make impressive when compared to realistic graphics, but it doesn’t take away from how good it looks. I consider Super Smash Bros for Wii U to have some of the greatest graphics of all time after all and it’s a good part of why the game is so fun. Playstation All Stars could have learned a thing or two from the series…okay, maybe a few dozen things. On a technical level, Mario Maker cannot be beat.
You may be aware of this, but Mario Maker has 100 playable characters in the 8 bit style. Each character has a taunt, run animation, and a change in direction animation. Even while jumping, each character has an animation like Toon Link, who takes out his Deku glider from the Wind Waker games. Again, these little things are very impressive when you consider how many characters are in the game. Sure, some of them are a little uninspired like the mystery block, but fans will still have a kick out of this. It’s the ultimate Mario game with all of these details and as many people have said, the New Super Mario Bros Games could really end after this. Hey, I’ll still buy a new one as the professional levels are still a lot of fun, but anything they could do (almost anything I suppose) we can now do as well.
There isn’t really a main menu here, which I think is a little sad, but it’s not much of a factor. The main mode that you will be spending time in is Course World. This is where you can look up any course that has ever been made. You can search them by difficulty or just input specific stage IDs that you can find on the Nintendo Life website, which has a listing for just about all of them. (That the users upload of course, it’s voluntary) As mentioned earlier, it’s a lot of fun to play levels made by others and to trade tips. I’ve played a lot of levels by Destroyer14/Destroyer_199 and we try to make levels that the other can’t beat. Destroyer has succeeded so far so I need to make an impossible level that’s still fair. (Meaning, no invisible block spamming)
Another mode is the 100 Mario Challenge. It allows you to play 8 levels on easy and 15-16 on Normal mode. It’s a good way for the game to randomly give you a few levels to defeat and you have 100 lives to achieve this. There’s also hard mode, which is incredibly difficult as you would expect. The incentive to play this mode aside from finding new stages is that you unlock characters this way if you don’t have all of the Amiibos. I’ve unlocked around 15 characters so far and while I don’t think I will be getting all 100, it is a fun little incentive. There’s also the 10 life Mario challenge. The fun part about this mode is that you play levels that were pre set into the game. These are more or less professional which is nice. They’re a lot easier than most of the levels that you’ll see on the 100 Mario version, but then you’re rewarded for beating all of them with the 4 World Championship levels from the Nintendo event. Those are decently tough and one of them in particular was quite the challenge. Naturally *cough* I beat them all and unlocked the Skinny Mario variant!
The game keeps track of how many stages you’ve played, your number of tries accumulated through those tries, and the lives that you’ve lost. It’s a fun little statistic as you will try to get the numbers as high as possible. Not necessarily the lives, but even that I don’t mind getting as high as possible because it shows just how much you’re playing. Some levels I’ve played about 100 times before finally defeating, but it feels so satisfying when you finally beat a level that stumps you like that. The game also keeps track of how many stars (likes) you’ve gotten from the other players, which is useful because it affects how many stages you can upload. Initially you can upload 10 stages and that number doubles once you hit 50. The maximum amount is 100 stages at 5000 stars. That should take a while, but if you’re good at social networking, it shouldn’t be a problem. There are many people who will be glad to play your stage and star it if you do the same. There are also simply so many players that there’s a good chance people will get to play it. I doubt I’ll make 100 stages as I have the most fun simply playing the levels, but I’ll work to at least get 100 stars eventually. (I’m at around 6. I’ll start farming for them once I upload 10 stages.)
The game is called Mario Maker so I should talk about the stage creation part a little. It’s quite good and a staple for how all games should go at this mode. Of course, you’d need a high budget to recreate what Mario Maker has done. You can really do just about anything with the items that you are given and there’s a nice variety of them. You can throw a bunch of Bowsers at the opponent and have hundreds of blocks in the stage. You can alter the length of the stage and the possibilities are just so great. Whether you make a boss level, a puzzle one, or just an ordinary stage, you can make it all. I do have a complaint or two with this level. I feel like you should be able to zoom out so that you can look through your stage a little easier. It can be a little time consuming to look around , but this is just a bit of a nitpick. Considering how great the stage builder system is, it’s not much of a flaw. I just feel like you could improve it a bit that way, it would certainly make things easier for me.
It’ll be interesting to see what Nintendo does for this game as far as DLC is concerned. There is a lot that can be done, which includes more stage objects and enemy types. Adding slopes would be cool as well and who knows, maybe Nintendo will add some characters like Luigi and Toad for the modern layout. I could really see that happening since it wouldn’t be too hard to bring in their character models. Wishing for Sonic or Pac Man in the modern version would be wishful thinking at this point, but you never know I suppose. I doubt that I would buy any DLC for this game, Super Smash is really the only one where I take that plunge. Still, there’s always the chance if it’s big enough I suppose.
For those saying that the Wii U has no games, it may be time to finally quiet that tune. The Wii U may be an inside joke as every third party takes shots at it, but that hasn’t stopped Nintendo from assembling some great first party games. Super Smash Bros, Mario Maker, and Hyrule Warriors are all star material. Those games are incredible and alone make the system worth purchasing. Throw in New Super Mario Bros U, Super Mario Bros 3D World, Sonic Lost World, and the other games, then the Wii U is a very good purchase and worth your money. It can easily hold its own against the PS4 and Xbox One in terms of quality. I’ve spent more time on the Wii U at this point than I have for most of my other consoles with Super Smash Bros rapidly approaching 1000 hours. (Best game of all time) This phrase is thrown around a lot, but Mario Maker is worth buying the Wii U console for.
Overall, Super Mario Maker is a game that has lived up to the hype. Yes, it’s partially very hype inducing for me because my cousin owns the game and that sparks a nice competitive edge to the game. To an extent, all games are better with friends. It’s why you spend so much time playing the multiplayer aspects of a game. I still play Super Smash Bros just about every day with my brother and my cousin. In this case, you can think of the single player as a multi player mode in a way since everyone makes their own levels. You’re able to make 100 levels even if you can’t upload them right away, you can just store them offline until you get the medals. You’ll definitely find inspiration to keep on making more and more levels. This is a game that will remain relevant for years to come and I don’t see it really stopping until the Wii U servers are eventually taken down, but we won’t have to worry about that for some time now. If you haven’t picked this game up yet, then I highly recommend it. While I didn’t jump onto the Splatoon hype train, I jumped onto this one and I’m staying aboard. I highly recommend doing the same!