'Super Mario Maker 2' Hands-On Impressions: Better When You're Not Building

When Super Mario Maker was released for Nintendo Wii U, it was a revelation for fans of the Mario series. Not only can you play through levels created by others, you can make your own.

So there was a lot of excitement when Super Mario Maker 2 was announced, especially now that it's releasing on a far superior console in the Nintendo Switch. The ability to create your own Mario levels on-the-go with a revamped online hub and tons of single-player content, including a story mode, should have fans of the original or those who missed out excited.

Add a bunch of new tools and levels and there's almost too much content. Almost.

I had an opportunity to try out Super Mario Maker 2 and while the level-building feels largely the same, the single-player content is where this title can shine.

super mario maker 2 multiplayer
Nintendo

BUILDING LEVELS IN SUPER MARIO MAKER 2

How players create their own custom levels is the core feature of Super Mario Maker 2 and many of the mechanics from the original game return in the sequel.

The ability to place, drag and undo mistakes is simple - especially in handheld mode - but some of the inputs aren't as intuitive as they probably should be. This is especially true when playing in docked mode and using a Pro Controller.

If you're looking to click a certain tool from the top bar you'll need to hit the D-Pad and not the analog that controls your cursor. It's not a big deal, but it takes some getting used to. It is great to see how the level you're making is progressing on your television but I felt more comfortable playing in handheld mode and using the touchscreen to place blocks and enemies.

Players should expect to take some time to learn and get used to making the most out of this feature. To help you do so, Mario Maker 2 includes tutorials that teach you basics and advanced tips for level building. I didn't have time to dig into the tutorials but it looks to be pretty comprehensive.

Some quality of life improvements, like the top bar being populated by the most recently used tools and being able to pin a particular tool, will make building easier and faster.

The addition of so many new tools in Super Mario Maker 2 makes it feel like a true sequel. The on-and-off switch is a great addition to this title and will likely be my go-to new tool when I'm building some levels.

Being able to create day and night versions of stages - complete with varying effects - will be cool. It's also ingenious to add a win condition feature. Not only can you challenge others to get past your level, you can set parameters such as defeating enemies or collecting a certain number of coins. These new criteria make getting through these custom stages a challenge.

It's also great that virtually all the tools are available when you first play the game to give players the maximum resources to create the stage of their dreams as soon as possible.

SUPER MARIO MAKER 2 STORY MODE

When Nintendo announced Super Mario Maker 2 would have a story mode I was excited. This world, that's seemingly separate from the other Mario games, is intriguing but from the short time I had with this feature, there wasn't a lot to sink my teeth into.

The story is that Princess Peach's castle has been destroyed and Mario needs to do jobs to earn coins. What follows is players talking to one of the Toads or other characters around the area to complete jobs and collect coins to pay for the repairs.

Players can go back to old jobs to grind out coins but they won't receive the "completion bonus" once it's been hit. This does seem like a bit of a grindy process but, again, I did not spend enough time with it to say that for sure.

OTHER SINGLE PLAYER CONTENT

While the inclusion of a story mode will be interesting to explore, I had the most fun playing through pre-built levels created for this event.

Seeing how the new tools can be used to build a stage was great. Flying around in Bowser's clown plane, traveling through clear pipes and so much more were on display. It was a lot of fun while not being too challenging.

And then four of us at the event jumped into local multiplayer. No one does couch multiplayer better than Nintendo, and being able to go through some of the most outrageous levels created with up to three other people is an experience.

We didn't get to do any versus multiplayer, but we were tasked to help each other defeat bosses and collect the coins needed to complete the level while inadvertently hopping on each other's heads and figuring out how to get out of a pipe maze.

I feel this is the experience many players will enjoy most from Super Mario Maker 2. Being able to create your own stage and go into it with your friends - or sit back and watch them fight - will be a lot of fun.

Super Mario Maker 2 is scheduled to release June 28

'Super Mario Maker 2' Hands-On Impressions: Better When You're Not Building | Gaming