Super Mario Maker Review
Super Mario Maker Box Art
System: Wii U
Dev: Nintendo
Pub: Nintendo
Release: September 11, 2015
Players: 1 Player
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080i Comic Mischief

Beyond the terrain pieces, items, and enemies, backgrounds and game styles can also be unlocked. You'll eventually have Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros. U to play with, which can be swapped at any point during the creation process. Doing so can easily change the dynamic of the course. All the set pieces may align, but control differences such as the inability to carry shells in the 1985 style, or wall jumps only possible in the New Super Mario Bros. U, can completely alter how you approach your design. Then there are the backgrounds themselves. Eventually you'll have the Overworld, Underground, Underwater, Ghost House, Airship, and Bowser's Castle themes to play with. These work across all game styles, which makes putting the Ghost House or Airship into the original Super Mario Bros. theme a surprise that has never been done before, complete with a new 8-bit musical score by renowned composer Koji Kondo.

Super Mario Maker Screenshot

Once you are satisfied with your creations, you can upload them for the world to enjoy. However, an editing eye and some restraint is required for your designs. It may be tempting to create an insanely difficult level, but bear in mind that you must beat your own course before it can be uploaded. My sift through many media created courses in the pre-release version has already displayed the toxicity that will undoubtedly be found after the full release. I have seen shameless plugs to personal websites using Brick Blocks, as well as impossible courses where the creator has placed an inconspicuous Warp Pipe at the beginning of the board that takes you directly to the flag. Yet beyond the brazen and mundane, there was an equal number of ingenious designs worth awarding a star and a Miiverse compliment to the author. Gaining repute from cherished designs increases the limit of courses you can have uploaded. Browsing the course selection or taking on a 100 Mario Challenge allows you to build a track sheet of user created content. You can even download ones you like and edit them yourself. The interface is very intuitive and navigating the modes and features couldn't be simpler. The only snag is that the game relies heavily on the touch screen, and your attention will likely be diverted to the blinking low battery light long before you are ready to stop creating.

Super Mario Maker plays a Warp Whistle directly to the right hemisphere of the brain. With fond memories of Mario platforming and an ingrained understanding of its elements, whether you're piecing together a masterpiece on the GamePad or concocting design ideas when not playing (which will happen, I guarantee), it's hard not to imagine yourself as the next Shigeru Miyamoto. A few barriers stop you short of having complete freedom, and I'm concerned about some unsavory designs players may upload. But with inspiration for a clever design striking often and constantly pulling you back to the GamePad, you'll be amazed at your own creations, as well as ones you'll find in the global community.

Sean Engemann
Contributing Writer
Date: September 2, 2015

The layout is perfect and there are a few new 8-bit surprises, but for the most part this is all purposefully recycled material.
One of the best uses for the GamePad to date. It is essentially drafting paper to create your own Mario game. But all that stylus work guzzle up the battery.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Like the graphics, there are a lot of recycled files. However, the new themes are as simplistically perfect as they would have been if composed in 1985.
Play Value
Aside from a few limitations, the leeway Nintendo is offering is remarkable. Let's show those professionals what an amateur level designer can do!
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Play a near-limitless number of Mario levels created by Nintendo and players around the world.
  • Create your own Mario levels by using the Wii U GamePad controller touch screen to add enemies, blocks, pipes and more.
  • Touch control, instant editing and a robust online ranking and search system makes creating, playing and sharing a seamless process.
  • Transform into different characters at random with the new Mystery Mushroom item. Expand the roster of possible characters by completing 100 Mario Challenge mode or tapping compatible amiibo.

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