30 years ago, the term “Super Mario” entered households across the world. Here was a plumber, in all of his 8 bit glory, throwing fireballs, stomping bad guys, and ultimately rescuing a Princess in distress. As decades passed, Mario games, in terms of his platforming adventures only, sincerely got better, with a few minor bumps along the way. Now, you can take those 2-D elements (that we either grew up with, rediscovered, or recently played), toss them into a pot, and cook up your own Mario level. You can play it yourself, or even better, unleash it on the world.
When Super Mario Maker arrived on September 11th, you only had so much wiggle room with items. However, 10 days later, there is so much at your fingertips, it not only allows you to be creative, but also work within the guidelines of building a level that Mario players would expect. Sure, you can put 15 Bowsers in a row, but, is that really fun? Or challenging in the atmosphere of how a Mario game would be? No, absolutely not.
However, with true finesse, practice, and even glancing online at examples or at other people’s levels in game, you can make a great level. It should be noted that Super Mario Maker is a teaching tool first and foremost. Yes, you can go hog wild throwing stuff in a level, but I recommend you tackle the 10 Mario Challenge first to see a) what the game will give you and b)how zany the creations will get. Yeah, you will see doors open and close, or koopa troopas that need to be kicked, but what about a rave party underground? Or how about a goomba twice your size? It’s all there!
The “tool kit” is easy enough to use; simply experiment with the menu you are provided on the tablet. Take the stylus, select your item, and drop it onto the level where you want it. Easy as it can be!
Even though there is no 3D landscape, playing within the linear Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, or New Super Mario Bros. backgrounds can be not only nostalgic, but enhance your thinking. What do I mean by that? Well, imagine if you could make a level in Super Mario 64-there’s a possibility you’d get frustrated with the 3D plane. Using 2D is a great way to keep everything simple and structured. Personally, I found myself using the SMB 3 world a lot, and as you play, you’ll probably have a favorite too.
You can also upload the levels you are most proud of and have others try them out. Each time you upload a level, you receive a code that buddies can use to search for your creations. They play them and also can review them, so it is important to be fair in how you lay everything out. However, fair doesn’t necessarily mean boring. There are limitations to how much you can expect people to do as far as level design, so it is important to review your level for too much difficulty. You don’t want people to hate your guts.
Amiibo functionality is also present in the game, and it adds quite a fun presence to the proceedings. Just give it a shot for some alternate entertainment.
The only real flaw I’ve had with the game is placement. The tablet is sensitive, so placing one block might lead to three if you let your hand slip when you don’t want them. Also, placing items was sometimes tricky, and required multiple attempts. Either that or I just couldn’t get something to go where I was placing it. But its a minor gripe I’ve encountered only a few times.
In the past 10 days, I’ve made a DeLorean out of Mario blocks and shapes. I lined a level using nothing but clouds as ground. I recorded my voice and made a Koopa Troopa “talk,” spouting out my recording when you stomp on him. The game is great! The only limitation to Super Mario Maker comes from the creator. 30 years of Mario gaming has been broken up and utilized to be manipulated for your enjoyment. Enemies, platforms, sidekicks, and sound effects are all at your beck and call. Do you have a Wii U? If you do, then get this game and let your mind get super wild.
Super Mario Maker is Currently Under Construction in stores wherever video games are sold
Logan J. Fowler is a senior writer and video game editor on Po-Break.com. He contributes his thoughts every week for Trailer Tuesday and has his own column called “A Link to the Past.” Logan’s “kid at heart” nature has led to his discussion about pop culture that many geeks love to talk about, including superheroes, Super Mario Bros., Pixar, and Muppets, among other things. In addition, one of his first pieces for the site, “Top Ten Comic Book Movies,” was picked as a “Freshly Pressed” piece by WordPress and remains one of the site’s most well-read articles. Currently, Logan works as a Special Education Instructional Assistant at Roosevelt School in Manville NJ. He graduated from Wagner College in 2005 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and in 2007 with a Master of Science in Education Degree in Birth-6th Grade Literacy. He also holds a Teacher of Students with Disabilities Certification from Rutgers. Many of Logan’s friends have said that he moonlights as Spider-Man but this is so not true. Wait, are those police sirens I’m hearing?! Gotta go! -thwipp-