Super Mario Maker 2 review – whether you’re building or not, this is a joy

Jun
26

Super Mario Maker 2 review – whether you’re building or not, this is a joy

Fireballs through pipes. That was my first idea. It was inspired by a level in Super Mario Maker 2’s story mode in which I spawned a fire flower and then blitzed a room of Koopas by bouncing hot death through the pipes they had been using to travel around in and mess me up. When it was all over, I suddenly thought: what if you had a level, right, where Mario couldn’t really move very much, but he had all these pipes which he could launch fireballs down? What if there was a way to have him sort of play this pipe organ of glorious Mario murder, cleaning out the level and perhaps bringing the exit straight to him at the end of it?

This is the first idea I have ever had for a Mario level. It’s the first idea I’ve ever really had for anything, if I’m being honest. And the key is that it didn’t come out of nowhere. The story mode in Mario Maker 2 – a wonderfully frothy collection of over 100 scattershot challenges that takes its cues, I gather, from a similar addition to the 3DS Mario Maker port – gave me the idea. It made me think about the possibilities inherent in the pieces of Mario without me even realising that’s what I was doing. It gave me a prod in the right direction and I barely noticed it even as I started to move.

Mario Maker 2 has a lot of stuff that other content creation games don’t. It has a pigeon that helps you through the tutorials. It has an undo button that is also a dog, and a clean-slate button that is a rocket. But the core thing it has, its unfair advantage in the marketplace, to use the chilly language of VCs, is this: you understand its world from the off. You know how things work. You know what Mario can do and you know how the creatures and objects around him behave. So when it comes to making things yourself, the gentlest of nudges is all you need.

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