Within five minutes of playing Super Mario Maker, I truly understood how inept I was at the Mario “genre.” Sure, I have played Nintendo titles for the vast majority of my life. Yet, when sitting down with what should have been largely familiar, I found myself lost in the complexity of Super Mario Maker. The title is truly one of deceit, as those who think they know what to expect are more likely to be blown away by Mario Maker’s new features than find comfort in its design. Truly, Mario Maker is one for the shelf of each Nintendo fan’s home.
One of the concerns I had initially was that an 8-bit Mario style may not translate that well to a larger, high-definition TV format. I feared that the games would look a little bit aged, and not in a good way. Fortunately, I was enamored by Mario Maker’s crisp colors and excellent graphics. Even when blown up on a massive 70-inch television screen, Mario Maker’s visuals were truly those of beauty. This high fidelity translated back equally well to the New Super Mario Bros U levels, which were as developed as in the last New Super Mario title.
Although I lacked any creative sensibilities, creating any sort of level I wanted was both quick and easy. I could easily elongate, or shorten the course, creating a course-length of my choice. I could also add in various enemies, enlarge or minimize them to my will, and even add in new 8-bit items that were not even invented thirty years ago.
Once a level is complete, players can upload their creation to Nintendo’s servers to be downloaded by others. Nintendo has introduced a voting system to ensure the best levels get voted up, while bad levels do not make it up very high onto the rankings. This ranking system is integral in shaping the creative community that will inevitably fuel Mario Maker.
Nintendo also restricted the upload of unbeatable levels onto their servers, as players will be required to complete their own levels before adding theirs to a server. Unfortunately, the game does not incorporate any sort of video functionality. This seemed like somewhat of a missed opportunity. In Super Meat Boy, for example, repeated deaths could all be recorded to show others how to complete the title. It is a shame that Super Mario Maker, which relies so heavily on its social sharing, lacks any sort of video capturing or uploading.
In conclusion, Super Mario Maker this year is a vast improvement to anything we saw playable on the show-floor last year. Mario levels are intuitive and easy to create, while playing through user-created levels is a challenging and rewarding process. All those even remotely interested in checking out Mario Maker should definitely do so, as the game holds nearly limitless content and replayability. More importantly, Super Mario Maker gives players a look into the development of Super Mario Bros.