Super Mario Maker really is the next step for Nintendo. What else could please fans more than giving them the tools to make their own Mario game? If they clamor for more, more and more, it should be the perfect solution to give a chance for people to put their money where their mouth is, we’d all assume.
In more ways than one, that might prove to be Nintendo’s best decision to date, given how well that game has been showing since its debut at last year’s E3. This time, we finally had a chance to mess around with it, and truth be told, a show floor demo isn’t nearly enough to give proper judgment on just how big this thing could be once it’s finally out later this year.
Our limited time with Super Mario Maker started out with us choosing a map to play on. The cheerfully knowledgeable Nintendo rep helping us out with the all-in-one Wii U demo kiosk suggested we try out a level based on The Legend of Zelda, so that’s the one we jumped into. To our surprise, it proved to be one of would possibly be one of the most difficult Mario levels I’ve played, not considering the infamously tough Japanese equivalent of Super Mario Bros 2.
In it, jumps were deviously placed, and instead of a straight run stage that would be reminiscent of the original Super Mario Bros, we were dealt with obstacles that required careful observation and the use of things we would otherwise take for granted, like a turtle shell, which is usually just kicked away on our merry way through the game.
After giving that level a go, which we were told will be included in the final game — as well as many different previously constructed stages, like the ones from Nintendo’s World Championship held before E3 in LA — we were introduced to the game’s creation suite. Right away, I felt right at home, given my time the now ancient Mario Paint on the SNES.
The entire interface for Mario Maker is extremely simple and easy to grasp. It’s all a matter of dragging and dropping items from the Wii U’s gamepad to the screen. In a way, this game does justify what many consider the Wii U’s weakest aspect, its controller, and turns into the next step of what a mouse was back in 1992 with Mario Paint.
It’s all extremely easy to use, with titles showing all the possible bricks and items you could place on any stretch of a level. You can place all sorts of items yanked from practically all wakes of Mario’s many iterations — Super Mario Bros 2, excluded, sadly — and add them to your level. If you dig the idea of putting a cannon in your course, you can make it extra tricky by making it launch enemies straight at unsuspecting players.
There’s even the added layer of being able to pick which style you’d like to go with, from the first Super Mario Bros, moving to 3 and into World and the most recent ‘New’ series. The differences go beyond the cosmetic layer, though, since every style comes with its unique properties. Say, you make a stage in Super Mario Bros 3‘s title set, you’ll be able make use of the P meter as it would work in the game it’s based on, or in Super Mario World‘s case, the cape and its possible use to break level design and continuity.
There’s even an option to switch these styles on the fly while playing through a stage, which was teased during one of the game’s demo videos. Sadly, we did not get the chance to see that in action, but as you can probably attest, I’m very well interested in trying it out in the full game.
The possibilities truly sound way too good to be true for level design masochists. So Nintendo is cutting your party short by making it that so before you can even publish anything to the outside non-Mario world, you have to finish a run through your own level.
It’s an exciting time to be into games when a big publisher like Nintendo gives its fans an opportunity to come up with their own in an entirely legal manner. It’ll certainly be fun to witness all the spectacle once Super Mario Maker makes its way through the warp pipe in September. Entertainium we’ll be there to catch it, for sure.