Have you ever read Philip Zimbardo’s book The Lucifer Effect? It concerns the scenarios and variables that lead to good people carrying out acts of unspeakable evil, something that appears to have afflicted a large portion of the Super Mario Maker community! Get ready to play some of the hardest, most sadistic platforming levels since the NES days. And probably just as likely, prepare to create some truly heinous levels designed to induce baldness in all that play them.
Mario himself looks on decked out in construction attire (try not to think of The Village People)
The course world takes you into the hub of the game, where you can view your own stats - how many times your level has been played, completion percentage, etc. - or delve into one of three options: makers, courses and 100 Mario challenge. The presentation throughout is sublime; soft yellow and blue banners, sky-at-night backdrops, men doing press-ups in the loading screens (oo-er! - Ed.) and the full range of classic music from the series.
Makers is a showcase for all the users creating levels, put into specialist categories such as highest ranked, (you have the option to comment on and “star” every user created level you play) upcoming creator and new user. It’s a really clean way of presenting you with new courses to try, and to be inspired by. Some of the classic Nintendo themed courses created by the community are fantastically nostalgic; from levels based around the Zelda universe (complete with music and Link sprite) to attempts to recreate the original Metroid. Alongside these are auto-pilot levels (don’t press a button, just sit back and watch the show), to head scratching puzzlers and levels overflowing with peril.
Courses is much the same as the above, the difference being that the levels themselves are put into the categories of highest rated, newest etc. This is a great place to start when delving into the user created community, as you can blast through many different levels, with varying play-styles, in a short space of time (providing you can complete them, of course!).
The 100 Mario challenge tasks you with completing as many levels as possible, with your 100 lives. This works in much the same way as the 10 Mario challenge, but with one major difference: the courses you play here are all user created. It’s really good fun for the most part, until you get stuck on a particularly sadistic level - something that has happened to me multiple times already! An especially nice touch here are the credits - the user’s names scroll down in place of the likes of Miyamoto-San!
Now on to the main event: creation. For years, Mario enthusiasts around the globe have prayed to the gaming Gods for a comprehensive level designer - they’ve finally answered the call. Super Mario Maker’s level creation tool is packed with classic enemies, power-ups, blocks and scenery spanning the entire lifetime of the 2D games. These items unlock over a 9 day period, along with a choice of graphical styles - Mario Bros, Mario Bros 3, Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros U - and the ability to add personal touches, like custom audio.
It’s a brilliantly designed tool-kit offering hours upon hours of experimentation and ultimately, great fun.
There are a couple of minor niggles though; you can’t easily search for a friend’s course, instead having to use a rather clumsy 16-digit level code. The code system isn’t great here, as it isn’t with adding friends on Nintendo platforms, but here’s hoping our pleas are heard and any future editions of Maker will feature something all-the-more streamlined. The only other issue was the original lack of checkpoints, though Nintendo have recently addressed this with a patch.
I can’t help but be left with the feeling that if this had been ready in the first year of the Wii U’s lifespan, sales figures might read differently, and that’s a shame. To anyone with a Wii U or thinking of getting one: pick this game up - there are endless hours of fun here that shouldn’t be missed.
Are you a Mario Maker creator? Why not leave your course code in the comments section below, and be sure to check out our Pass The Controller themed level: D327-0000-00A5-DF6C