After years of Super Mario games, some have pleaded for Nintendo to not make a new one, at least not this year. Of course, Nintendo has pretty much responded, “Okay, we won’t be making a new Mario game…you will.” Thus Mario Maker became a thing. What started out as a tool for developers has become its own full-fledged game and tool for anyone to enjoy. Mario Maker is exactly what it sounds like as it allows anyone to create their own Super Mario levels however they see fit. It’s fantastic.
There are almost no limits to what can be done with Mario Maker, and that’s just how I like it. I was toying with it for a bit and decided I wanted to make things a bit tricky, setting a tricky path in the sky to jump across and avoid a massive horde of Hammer Bros. down below. Although, if I really wanted to, I could have put wings on those Hammer Bros. and have them raining destruction from above. Oh, and the Undo button comes in the form of a little 8-bit dog that barks away the last action. Perfect.
Just as well, I could place pipes, blocks, items, etc. anywhere I wanted to truly create a Super Mario level of my own accord, seemingly limited only by the stretches of my imagination. There’s this fairly magical feeling at seeing your own creation come to life, as many people can relate to with the levels they have created before with LittleBigPlanet on the PlayStation 3. The big difference here, however, is that the physics and controls in LittleBigPlanet were nothing short of awful. The tight and expertly crafted mechanics of the Super Mario games make this the perfect outing for creating your own challenges to test and share. In fact, altering the trajectory of the jumping hero opens up even more opportunities; it’s enough to make you sick. The good kind of sick.
Also, if the 8-bit visuals aren’t to your liking, the demo had the option to switch to the visuals of New Super Mario Bros. U on the fly, turning your creation into something entirely different while still remaining exactly the same. Nintendo has since revealed that those definitely won’t be the only two styles that will be implemented as they hope to add in some visuals from other games and series as well. Perhaps Metroid or Kirby even. The possibilities are just endless.
Sure, it’s going to take some work to actually go and build all of these levels. Fortunately, thanks to the GamePad’s touch screen, level-creation is intuitive, fun, and easy to use. I can imagine that half of the fun is going to be in playing other peoples’ levels. I got the chance to try out one of the sample levels that had been built to show off the game, and I was already being shown some ideas and approaches to the Mario formula that I hadn’t ever thought of. By having a community of people creating tons and tons of different levels, the replay value is endless.
Mario Maker feels like so much more than a measly little tool; it’s a deep creation system and laboratory for players to concoct and bring their own ideas to life in an accessible and enjoyable way, all without sacrificing the fun of your standard Mario game. There’s just too much to like, and I can’t wait to see what you all create when Mario Maker is released sometime in 2015 for the Nintendo Wii U.