Super Mario Maker
Game review on Wii U
Kris Godwin / Sun 15th Nov 2015
1156 views / 25 bites
OVERVIEW Since 1985, the Super Mario series has provided countless joyous memories for a generation of gamers. Now, to celebrate 30 years of one of the most venerated franchises in video gaming, Nintendo has finally surrendered their magic powers of creation to you - the people.
STORYLINE No story to speak of (unless you count 'Peach has been kidnapped!'). The real plot here is player-made. In a way, narratives are built through gameplay, rather than via pointless exposition. It's videogame storytelling in its purest, most distilled form!
Super Mario Maker is a game that is truly custom-made for the Wii U.
SMM's creation tool emphasises on fun and ease-of-use, as it gives you all of the necessary tools to make your own 2D Mario levels, and the whole thing is executed brilliantly.
Upon starting the software for the first time, it eases you into its suite of instruments by asking you to 'fill in' the missing pieces of a sample level. After accomplishing this, the main menus become open for perusal, which include the editor, online and 10/100 Mario game modes.
Let's start with the main crux of the package; the editor. In a move that has seen some controversy, not every tool is open to you from the beginning. Instead of overwhelming players with too much stuff, Nintendo has seen it fit to have things gradually unlocked over a period of time. I didn't see this as a major drama to be honest, as I'm someone who isn't particularly adept at level design; I actually appreciated this move.
In regards to the actual creation process, it is - to put simply - dazzling. Wii U's gamepad really comes in handy here as the touch controls are far more intuitive than similar games that use traditional joypads. Placing items, enemies and obstacles is a breeze, and jumping in and out of your level is remarkably painless. You can choose from four different graphical styles (Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros. U) and multiple level styles (classic, underground, underwater, scrolling, etc.); each of which offer an amazing amount of creative opportunities.
You can do an inordinate amount of stuff with what's on offer. Stack two Bowsers and give them wings? Go for it! Have cheep-cheeps shoot out of cannons? Why not; construct a hellish maze of morphing coins and bricks? Oh, you devil!
There's also a wide array of sounds and visuals effects at your disposal, and you can even record your own using the Pad's microphone. Of course Amiibos come into play - with every single one producing a new costume for the 8-bit creation mode, and the special edition Mario Maker Amiibo produces gnarly new effects.
Venturing into the online mode allows you to play uploaded courses, and download them to your heart's desire. Initially, you're restricted to how many you can contribute, and the only way to increase the limit is to beef up your reputation. This is done by earning coins from impressed users, and you must be able to complete your level before you can make a contribution. As expected, less savoury folks have managed to exploit this system, but Nintendo should be able to combat this, hopefully.
GRAPHICS Considering this is a game based on past 2D platformers, Super Mario maker isn't the most visually intensive title out there. It is nevertheless charming, and does its job very well. The simplicity allows the possibility for very busy scenes, and it all looks so clean and pleasing. A joy to look at. Plus, you can use a cat paw as an avatar!
AUDIO Sound is wonderfully pleasent. There are the classic Mario beeps and bops you know and love, plus original samples that are genuinely funny and wacky. There's also the aforementioned recording capabilities, and each Amiibo costume has its own audio effects!
VERDICT To sum up, Super Mario Maker is another fantastic title for the Wii U. Its existence represents a culmination of three decades' worth of cultural impact that Super Mario has had on people, and is the ultimate birthday present. The most pertinent question now arises... Where does Mario go from here? Either way, here's to another 30 years!
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