For the less creative of us gamers, a title like Mario Maker shouldn’t be anywhere near our radars. Before E3, I only had passing knowledge of it and honestly wasn’t too excited to try the game out. However, after seeing the wealth of features it offers and how accessible the package as a whole is, it’s definitely become a title to watch closely.
The name of the game is literally the name of the game, giving players the chance to build their own original Mario stages however they see fit. Assets from major outings in the series, including Super Mario World, Super Mario 3 and the original classic, all make appearances and can be placed anywhere in a level with the touch of a stylus. Everything is controlled via the touch screen, making it incredibly easy to hang platforms in the sky, attach cannons to the ground and choose what fires out of them and even how fast they fire. Every tiny detail is customizable, giving each created level a truly unique feel.
Some little secrets are sprinkled throughout the game as well, including the ability to change character skins. One level that I played found Mario transforming into Link for a stage, complete with the ability to hold up the Triforce with pride.
The interface that you work with to create levels is what truly makes Mario Maker shine, though. Everything is streamlined to make the creative process easy, accessible and addictive to use. Each stage is presented as a grid, making precise placement a breeze. At any point during creation, you can play through the level you’ve created, testing each and every new obstacle you add. This transition is seamless with absolutely no loading, keeping play testing from feeling like a hassle. Mario even leaves a visual trail of his movement which you can use to gauge jump distance and other factors.
Levels created by the community are watched by the moderators, but the difficulty level displayed next to them is actually decided by the amount of players that are able to complete the stage, making the listed difficulty more objective and easier to understand. Based on the demo I played, the developers have been hard at work creating their own levels, ranging from easy tutorials to a fascinating automatic level that requires no input from the player to get Mario through to the end.
Like I said before, I had almost no interest in Mario Maker until I took the time to try it out. The process of having an idea and then translating it to the screen is so quick and seamless that it’s impossible not to get addicted to throwing levels together as quickly as you can. Even if it didn’t have your attention before, be sure to keep an eye on Mario Maker. It just might be your kind of thing.