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Review: Super Mario Maker (Wii U)

Super_Mario_Maker_ArtworkSuper Mario is to video games as David Bowie is to, well, everything. They’re both icons in their respective fields, they, they’re both timeless, and they’ve both had movies that have done terribly in the box office. Sure Labyrinth is a considered a cult classic while people try really hard to forget the Mario movie, but needless to say, both Bowie and Mario have inspired several to follow in their footsteps.

Nintendo helped shape how video games are commonly made today, be it a 2D platformer, to expanding into the Third Dimension with our Italian-Japanese hybrid plumber. Sure the general consensus now is that Mario titles are geared more towards a younger audience, but at the core, Nintendo has achieved more with Mario that any other video game company has with their respective titles (no offense, other video game companies).

So you can imagine my sadness to see that Nintendo has fallen short in the console wars ever since the debut of their Gamecube console. Now hold on just a sec, Nintendo fans. I’m in no way stating that the Gamecube is a terrible console or that there aren’t great titles on there, but that was the point where Nintendo began prioritizing creating their own original games rather than allowing others to help them like they did with their previous consoles. Sony (the only other competitor at the time) was fine with allowing their console to be handled by whatever designer had a good idea, while Nintendo seemed to have more integrity saying: “Hey, I can do this myself. Just watch.” And it somewhat backfired.

Sure the Wii’s sales were off the charts, but once the appeal died down, people began to realize that Sony and Microsoft had all the games people really wanted to play, because there were simply more titles. I have a lot of respect for Nintendo, as they’ve produced some of my favorite series, but I can definitely see where they’ve made some mistakes. I’m desperately hoping things improve for them, as I would love to use my Wii U more often.

Sidetrack aside, Mario has been one of my favorite video game series for a long time now. Super Mario World was my first game, and continues to remain on my top ten list of games (Mind you, Super Mario World, is quite old now and the levels are a bit predictable after playing the game a thousand times, but I still love it!).

As a child, my biggest wish was that I could one day work for Nintendo to help design a Mario game for others to play. Since I don’t speak Japanese, have any real programming skills, or possess that special creativity they’re looking for, Nintendo decided to do me a favor and spare my feelings over a rejection letter, and gave me and everyone else the opportunity to be a part of the team with their latest title Super Mario Maker, and it’s amazing.

The title pretty much says it all. You have the ability to create your own levels that can contain whatever you want them to in your favorite 2D Mario platform titles. The styles vary between the original NES version of Mario, Super Mario 3, The New Super Mario Bros, and Super Mario World. The tool list has essentially every single obstacle you can get in those titles to allow creativity to flow through you as you make revisions to the classic levels you’ve always enjoyed, but want more from. Or you can devote yourself to designing levels of pure rage and despair. You can even submit your levels online for others to play, and try out levels others have created! Nintendo smartly implemented a system that forces you to beat your own level before submitting them for others to play, so nobody can be the ultimate troll. Needless to say, that doesn’t stop people from trying though.

While the game doesn’t start out with all of the tools or styles right away, through the use of the level creation, or simply waiting, one can eventually unlock all the tools to help expand their arsenal. One of the big things I wish Nintendo had added to the game however, was the ability to create more than just levels for others to play. Creating your own version of a world map with several levels to go through would have been another exciting way for Nintendo to help players get their creative juices flowing. Hopefully this is something they can eventually add to the game later, as I think it would only help expand the game’s awesomeness even further.

Since this is a title that focuses solely on the user’s inspiration, the lack of a story is perfectly fine, as you’re mainly purchasing this title to create an endless amount of levels, or play them. One can just imagine they’re trying to save the Princess from Bowser, rather than actually needing to see it. This also makes side-quests nonexistent too, as you’re tasked with creating secrets within your own level to help others get through them.

The fact that you can make as many levels as you want, or play as many levels as people have submitted, gives this title a high re-playability factor, as it’s essentially a Mario title with an unlimited amount of levels.

While I don’t own any Amiibos, because I think the market for them is ridiculous, I have seen that players have the option to utilize those to play as other characters. Allowing people to play as different characters is fantastic addition to the game. Sometimes you need a break from being a plumber!

I’m in love with the title and really hope Nintendo finds a way to expand this through DLC, as they wouldn’t need to make any additional versions of this. One of the other things I really wished for was the ability to dive into Mario 2 or even Yoshi’s Island. While both of those titles are completely separate from the traditional Mario platforms, and rely on a whole different kind of architecture in terms of programming, it’s still something that could definitely benefit Nintendo. If at all possible, I think Nintendo could also benefit from adding a handheld version of this game as well. Whether it simply allowed players to go online and download levels, or maybe a limited version of the home console version, it could give players the desire to take their creativity on the go, rather than just keep it at home.

So all in all, I would definitely recommend this game to others, and it’s a great game to play when you’ve got company over too. Any thoughts on the title? Please leave a comment and thanks for reading!

Gameplay: 10 Story: 0 Re-playability: 10 Side-quests: 0 Overall Score: 9