Super Mario Maker Review – Let’s Get Making
When Super Mario Maker was announced two years ago, I was instantly in love with the idea of playing Super Mario stages created by players. At the same time, I wasn’t very interested in the actual creation of stages: designing a good stage requires time and effort and I wasn’t really sure I would be motivated enough to work on a course for long periods of time. As soon as I got my hands on the game and played through the short tutorial, however, I realized I was very, very wrong. Super Mario Maker is an incredibly addictive experience that takes you in and doesn’t let you go easily.
As the name implies, Super Mario Maker allows players to create Super Mario Bros. courses. The game’s editor is incredibly easy to use, with all the important features being immediately accessible on the four sides of the screen. The upper side features the different objects, which aren’t all available at the beginning of the game, the lower side the stage’s total length, the undo and reset commands and the ghost and sub-level features once unlocked, the left side the four different game styles based on the original Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros. U and the extra sound effects, and the right side the eraser, which allows players to delete anything they have placed, and the Coursebot, which is used to save the current course, save and upload it or load another course. As stated above, using the editor is incredibly intuitive so it won’t take long for players to get used to it.
The Super Mario Maker level editor allows players to push the boundaries of what is possible in Super Mario 2D games. Almost all objects can be used in ways that have never seen before in previous Mario games, like stacking enemies, making them bigger, placing them on springs and music blocks, placing objects inside pipes, giving them to Lakitu so that they can be thrown down in place of the regular Spinies and more. There are so many ways objects can interact with one another in Super Mario Maker that it’s impossible to list everything that can be done and keep it brief.
Even though the possibilities are really vast, the lack of some important objects ends up limiting what can be done in Super Mario Maker. The lack of checkpoints is the most glaring omission, especially if you want to create longer and more complex courses: I’ve played a couple of nicely designed Metroid style courses that ended up being more frustrating than they were supposed to be due to the lack of checkpoints. I still pushed through because I really liked them, but I’m sure not too many had the same patience and drive. A course that cannot be completed is a course that doesn’t get rated so it’s easy to see how the lack of checkpoints can be damaging in the long run.
Once you are done with the short but informative tutorial, the 10 Mario Challenge mode becomes available. In this mode, players have to complete 8 stages chosen among the ones included in the game. Playing this mode a few times can be very helpful if you have no idea on how to design engaging courses, as it features courses with unique gimmicks like the “A P Switch Journey” course, remixed Super Mario classic courses and other rather unique ones that stimulate players’ creativity. Once completed, these courses are added as Sample Courses to the Coursebot so it’s possible to modify them and learn more on how they have been designed in the level editor.
Once the 10 Mario Challenge has been cleared at least once, Super Mario Maker finally opens up in all its glory, allowing players to finally access the Course World. In the Course World, it’s possible to play the 100 Mario Challenge, play individual courses created by others and check out the highest rated creators. Course sharing is incredibly simple: all players have to do is access the Coursebot in the course editor, select save and upload, clear the stage once and give it a final name. Once uploaded, the stage will be available for play both individually and randomly as part of the already mentioned 100 Mario Challenge. Playing stages individually works nicely enough, but there are a few issues. For starters, it’s not possible to search for friends and check out their stages in a quick way. Second, it’s not possible to comment a course without giving it a star automatically, something that can prevent some players from giving suggestions for courses they haven’t exactly liked.
Checking out single stages is definitely fun, but playing the 100 Mario Challenge is a whole other thing. In this mode, players have to complete a set number of courses created by others without losing more than 100 lives. The 100 Mario Challenge comes with three different difficulty levels so that players aren’t forced to play harder stages if they don’t want to. And even if players end up finding a course they don’t particularly like, it’s possible to skip it at any time. Playing and completing the 100 Mario Challenge on any difficulty level will unlock a variety of costumes that can be accessed through the new Mystery Mushroom object. If you have any amiibo figure, you will also be able to unlock the corresponding costume by scanning the figure. These costumes also come with different course clear music and sound effects so they’re perfect to create themed stages like Donkey Kong, Pikmin, Sonic the Hedgehog courses and more.
With the game obviously relying on user created content, how much fun is to be had in Super Mario Maker ultimately depends on the quality of the stages. Things, unfortunately, aren’t exactly good at the moment, with too many low-quality stages. In the first few days, I was able to complete the Expert 100 Mario Challenge without too many problems – stages were challenging but mostly fair – but I haven’t been able to do so again due to the amount of badly designed or almost unplayable luck based stages that have been uploaded in the past few days. When you get stages where the player get assaulted by a huge number of enemies falling from the skies or others where enemies are placed too close to the starting point, the only thing one can do is skip them. The increasing number of “auto” stages is also showing the limits of the current rating system, as these are usually the highest rated stages you will find. They are fun, in their own way, but they should never take precedence over courses that are actually played. These issues can be easily fixed by creating separate categories for these types of stages so it’s up to Nintendo to do something about the matter and improve the experience for those who want to play courses without having to deal with the craziness of some design choices.
Super Mario Maker is, without a doubt, the killer app the Wii U console needed from the start. If the game launched alongside the console, things would have been very, very different, as the game appeals to a really varied crowd, from the old school Super Mario fans to the constantly growing young Minecraft crowd. The Super Mario Maker experience is masterfully crafted and incredibly addicting thanks to the huge amount of possibilities allowed by the level editor and a pretty much endless number of courses. The current issues of the game, such as the lack of certain important objects and the excessive amount of luck based and auto courses, all have some sort of workarounds and can easily be fixed in the future so they don’t impact the experience negatively too much at the moment. If you own a Wii U and love 2D Mario games, do yourself a favor and get the game: there’s no way you will be disappointed by Super Mario Maker.
PS5 Alone in the Dark Reboot Stars Jodie Comer, David Harbour This Halloween
On October 25, 2023, THQ Nordic’s Alone in the Dark reboot will star Killing Eve’s Jodie Comer and Stranger Things’ David Harbour. Comer will play Emily Hartwood, while Harbour will play Edward Carnaby.
The demo, loosely based on the 1992 original, is available for download from the PS Store. This prologue, starring supporting character Grace Saunders, is inspired by Alone in the Dark 2’s Jack in the Dark demo and allows you to explore the Derceto Mansion.
The showcase didn’t focus on combat, but previous showings have shown a frantic over-the-shoulder shooter, and developer Pieces Interactive promises a variety of puzzles. Depending on how much guidance you want, you can adjust the difficulty.
We’re excited about the final product. Alone in the Dark hasn’t been respected in recent years, despite its huge influence. A compelling reboot that updates the 1992 classic looks to put the franchise back on track.
Warhammer RTS Realms of Ruin Masses for PS5 Invasion
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin, a new real-time strategy game where players command one of four warring factions, is coming to PS5 in the grimdark future.
PlayStation’s strategy gaming renaissance makes us feel like we’re living in the best possible time for console gamers who love command. Realms of Ruin could be a cool addition if it succeeds. As fans know, Warhammer games are unfortunately inconsistent in quality, so we’ll reserve judgment until we see some gameplay.
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin: your thoughts? What do you think of Age of Sigmar’s controversial rebranding in general?
One of PS5’s Worst Games Is The Lord of the Rings: Gollum
According to Metacritic, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is the worst-rated game of 2023, setting a new low for AAA releases. OpenCritic’s story is similar. See our video or written review to understand why.
Only eFootball was more universally hated. Balan Wonderworld and Babylon’s Fall are other villains in that awful rogue’s gallery.
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