Super Mario Maker 2 released last month to widespread acclaim. Fans and critics alike appreciated the wealth of tools Nintendo implemented. The game remained the top-selling title in the UK for three weeks straight. Since its release, over two million levels have been uploaded. Simply put, Super Mario Maker 2 is a massively popular game that could change the landscape of 2D platforming.
Laying The Groundwork
In 2015, Nintendo released Super Mario Maker for the Wii U. The concept was simple, but captivating: the game offered players the tools to create their own Mario levels. The game was an instant success, and became something of a gaming phenomenon.
Super Mario Maker's interface was easy to use. Using the GamePad, players could easily grab platforms, enemies, and other objects to begin making a level. There were plenty of great tools, and more were added via DLC later on. Nintendo smartly allowed players to design in four different game styles: Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros. U. Perhaps the most important aspect of Super Mario Maker is that it gave players a look into how game design works. For the first time, players could design their own Mario levels, complete with intricate details. Throughout the game's run, numerous fantastic creations were made. Somehow, the sequel was able to do even more.
Improving On The Groundwork
Although Super Mario Maker's tools were extensive, something was missing. Slopes, a common platform type in almost all Mario sidescrollers, was shockingly absent. Also, although there were many new levels being uploaded daily, there seemed to be more of an influx of troll levels. If one doesn't know about good level design, there's a high chance a level is going to be made poorly. Super Mario Maker surprisingly didn't offer players tips or tutorials on how to make quality levels. Super Mario Maker 2 remedies all these issues.
The first thing Nintendo showed for Super Mario Maker 2 was slopes. The company knew what fans wanted to see, and showed it right away. Also, the wealth of tools was greatly expanded, from new objects, to whole new themes. Perhaps most importantly is that Nintendo offered tips and tricks in the form of Yamamura's Dojo. These tutorials are fun to watch, and provide players with expert tips on making levels. Now, players wanting to learn from Nintendo itself could get a peak into the thought process behind making Mario sidescrollers. Not everyone will watch the lessons (and troublemakers will still make poor troll levels), but many have watched them, and the levels are already stronger than what was seen in the first game.
The Supreme 2D Platformer?
Super Mario Maker 2 offers a single player campaign. The beauty of it is that there are over 100 levels made by Nintendo. While most of them exist to showcase a certain item or object, it's great to have Nintendo-made levels. Another thing worth mentioning is the online multiplayer. It's incredibly fun, and has the potential to be one of the greatest online multiplayer experiences. However, Nintendo needs to fix the lag issue, which is preventing the potential from turning into reality.
One of the core aspects of the game is playing other people's creations. Yes, sometimes it can be toss-up of what a player will get. But, as already stated, the level pool is stronger than in the first game. There are many levels that truly feel like they could be official. The best part is that Super Mario Maker 2 is going to be getting great levels for years to come. There will always be something good to play. In that way, Super Mario Maker 2 might be the ultimate 2D platformer.
The Future of Nintendo Platformers
Nintendo will likely learn a few things from Super Mario Maker 2's success. Players love to play wild levels, so for a future Mario sidescroller, Nintendo should play it less safe. New Super Mario Bros. U was well-liked, but many saw it as too similar to the previous installments. The game took no chances and just felt standard. With Super Mario Maker 2, Nintendo can see how crazy levels can be in a good way. Of course, this applies to not only Mario, but other potential Nintendo platformers as well. Kirby Star Allies was a good game, but didn't take too many chances either, as an example. If Nintendo can combine its expert level design with the ideas seen in Super Mario Maker 2's fan creations, a whole new era of 2D platforming can be born.
Go Play Super Mario Maker 2
There are no games like Super Mario Maker 2 on the market. Even if one has no intention of making levels, there will always be great fan creations to play. But, it would be a waste to not try to get into the level making process. Nintendo has done an excellent job at improving upon the first game. With Yamamura's Dojo, creators can apply Nintendo's level design philosophy to make quality stages. If Nintendo can implement the fun concepts fans are coming up with in future releases, whole new types of platformers can arrive.