Super Mario Maker 2 Reviews
Mario is a video game icon not only because he’s a plucky and affable dude, but because he’s the face behind some of the best platformers of all time. Nintendo has carefully guided his adventures for decades, but something happened in 2015: It gave players the keys to design and share stages in Wii U’s Super Mario Maker, and the Mario we thought we knew took on a whole new light. He was no longer a laidback high-jumping hero; Mario became a hardened speed demon, a death-defying daredevil forced into unruly gauntlets crafted by evil geniuses who know his every hop, skip, and jump like the back of their hand.
With the Wii U and 3DS versions of Mario Maker abandoned by Nintendo at this point, Super Mario Maker 2on Switch brings us back to that heady time from years past. The game itself is largely familiar, though the more you play and create, the more you notice all of the little additions tucked inside and appreciate how they elevate the potential for creativity in new ways. Mario Maker 2 is a robust level creation tool and a fantastic open-ended platformer that will no doubt spur a new era of competition among players and creators alike. But so far, it’s amazing what the right players can do when given the tools to craft Mario’s world.
The intuitive drag-and-drop system is back–you don’t, however, have the luxury of a built-in Switch stylus, so consider buying or devising one before getting into the game as using your finger alone can cause you to occasionally misplace objects. You can create while your Switch is docked, though ultimately that should be a last resort considering how quickly you can place objects in handheld mode, even with the lack of stylus. Picking and placing ingredients for your level, or painting wide swaths of land, is a quick and painless process, and there are intuitive means of copying, pasting, and undoing your work as needed. You are once again given access to the components of games including Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros. U, along with their numerous enemies, objects, and mechanisms. You select a game theme and work within that toolset, but you can easily switch to another one on the fly and retain most of your work–only occasional elements aren’t transferable.
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Mario's past adventures collectively offer a deep well of ideas to pull from
Intuitive level creation makes the iteration process more fun than is typical of trial-and-error processes
A seemingly endless stream of custom levels from other players ensures that you've always got something new to play
Story mode gives you an inspirational glimpse into what Nintendo would do in your shoes
Sharing and discovering new levels online is straightforward, but not without deeper options for those that want to search for their favorite levels
Not being able to play with friends online at launch is a glaring missed opportunity
Lag frequently ruins the online multiplayer experience