So it has been a few weeks since Super Mario Maker was released for the Wii U and I feel like I have given it ample attention to give a well rounded review of the whole game. Nintendo has yet again produced a game that is good, but will only get better with time. To give a basic overview of the game for those of you that have not played yet the game consists of a level editor that lets you create your own side-scrolling Mario levels. As well as the level editor you can post your creations online and try out other people’s levels as well. There are also two game modes that consist of a series of randomly selected player created levels that are meant to be completed with either 10 lives or 100 lives depending on the game mode selected, and at any point you can choose to skip a level if it proves to be too difficult to complete.
The main reason to play the game though is the level editor which allows you to mix and match different items, materials and enemies from across the series in any possible combination. It proved to be enjoyable to power up the enemy monsters by giving them super mushrooms, wings, or placing them in crazy positions or on the backs of other enemies. The game lets you create levels using assets from Super Mario Bros 1, Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros. In Super Mario Bros 1 mode you can even create a power-up mushroom that lets you transform into any of your Amiibo or a range of other unlockable characters. You can even share your creations online and get feedback in the form of comments and votes from other players. Nintendo also assured that the levels created would be winnable by making it a requirement that each creator has to complete a run through of their level before they are able to upload their content. If you come across a level that you particularly enjoyed, you can even choose to download and save it to play again at another time. Overall the style and amount of content available made my experience creating levels very enjoyable.
The downsides to this game though can be a little too much for most to accept. The biggest issue of this game comes from the fact that the player is not given all of the building materials from the start of the game but instead has to unlock more content by playing long enough to queue the “delivery” of new content and then wait a day for it to be “delivered”. It can take days to unlock the full content, but extra impatient players can go into the system settings and change the day settings to unlock the content much more quickly. Next downside can barely be blamed on Nintendo but the fact is the levels created by other players fall into two categories: easy to play or pure hell! The easy levels tend to focus more on the showmanship of the creator and less on creating a challenging course to play through, while the levels that are pure hell tend to focus on either 1 mechanic that needs to be executed in rapid succession or longwinded levels where absolutely every item is used at least once throughout the course of the level. The challenge is that you want to complete the level because you know that its creator was able to do it, but it just kills you over and over again. This can make even the most seasoned of Mario players out there seethe with anger and frustration. Also included are pre-made levels that randomly unlock over time but these levels made by Nintendo tend to be far too trivial, sticking to accepted Mario conventions with minor additions tossed into the mix. I get that this game focuses mostly on the ability of the player to become the creator, but it seems that lately Nintendo is focusing more on online functionality and group play rather than building single player experiences anymore. If only they had included a game mode that features a set of worlds created by Nintendo that felt like a natural progression of the side-scrolling series while adding the peculiarities of its level editor gameplay as well.
I personally enjoyed the game, but I could not sit for too long and play Super Mario Maker for hours on end, or even for any extended period of time. Typically I can run through an entire World of any given Mario game in a single sitting, but after playing through half of the 100 Mario game type I was far too frustrated to complete it in one sitting and found myself saving the game half way through to complete at a later date. My review is based on my personal experience with the game and should only be accepted as a suggestion that may aid you in your decision to buy this game. I rate this game 3.5/5 for the following reasons: It features a large amount of content for the player to create any type of Mario level they can imagine of, but other than that I don’t see the reason to justify the price tag of $69.99 in Canada. The majority of the content in this game is the level editor with very little actually being content produced by Nintendo for us to play. The player then has to rely on other creators out there to produce levels that are challenging but not too difficult and enjoyable but not too easy, which is a lot to ask with no real quality control other than the creator being able to complete the level prior to uploading it. The rating I give it though is only temporary and hopefully it will get better with time. My rating of 3.5/5 then is only a jumping off point or a baseline that represents the game at this moment in time. If the price drops on the game it would be a big plus and if more content is released as well then I might bump it up to a 4/5 in the future.