There are three core elements that need to be broken down when talking about Super Mario Maker 2. Luckily, for me, every one of them is absolutely great. Super Mario Maker 2 brings in a new Story Mode for players to enjoy, one of the best level designers available and the unforgettable online mode to stress over. The newest Mario game for Switch is a total joy every step of the way.

Super Mario Maker 2 isn’t just Mario Maker on Switch. This isn’t just the same game that was held back by the lackluster Wii U. Super Mario Maker 2 is the full realization of its predecessor and so much more.

Super Mario Maker 2 adds a few things to make this perfect idea even better. There is something new for everyone in this game. Most notably is the story mode for those of us who don’t want to twist our controllers into plastic pieces from the unbelievably tough online courses. Players can enjoy a full story mode, that could be its own stand-alone Mario game, completely offline.

The story boasts over 100 levels to complete Princess Peach’s castle. Basically, this prick of a dog comes in a destroys countless hours of word from different Toads. The dog successfully blows up the castle leaving Mario and his Toad friends to rebuild it. But, you can’t build the castle without coins. You’re tasked with completing level after level to gain coins and rebuild the castle to its former glory.

Super Mario Maker 2 Screenshot

The story, admittedly, isn’t complex but it’s not trying to be. It is, however, way more fun than it has any right to be. I’ll double down saying that I would buy a Mario platformer that consisted only of these campaign levels. They are immediately fun and fresh, which is huge for a Mario platformer because it seems like it’s all been done before.

One element that makes it fresh is the newly added completion requirements. Some levels can only be completed by finishing some task, completing some challenge or by doing less. One example you see of this early on is a course that requires you to beat it without jumping. More specifically, you can’t land after some kind of movement. So you fail the level if you leave the ground by jumping or falling and landing back on the ground. But the level is so cleverly designed it becomes an added puzzle in a genre that is always looking for a fresher take.

Another thing I genuinely enjoy that was added to Super Mario Maker 2 is the on and off switches. You’ll see plenty of level designers online use these in great and sometimes frustrating ways.

The way the story mode shows off the new elements available to course builders shows off the charm and uniqueness this Mario game has. I’m not a huge platformer fan myself but the creative possibilities of this game make it so appealing to me because everything feels new. And that is one of the biggest compliments I can give to this game. It takes an age-old formula and breathes life into this character that we’ve seen run right and jump for years.

The drawback to the campaign mode is that if you die enough, Luigi will pop up and offer assistance. Eventually, you’ll see the lesser plumber pop up and want to throw him headfirst through a wall after you make the same mistake. He can be helpful, I guess, by offering up items for you to place on the course so can you complete it.

Super Mario Maker 2 Screenshot

The theme for Super Mario Maker 2 should be how it’s expanding on the fun factor of Mario games. Another new way to play Mario Maker is with the added multiplayer modes. So now you can experience punishing levels online with your friends. Really, you’d all just be racing to your deaths, but it’s more fun with friends! As cool as that is, the cooler multiplayer addition is being able to make a course with another player. Super Mario Maker 2 introduces co-op course creation which has to be a huge time saver for those dedicated level designers online.

I’m not much on designing levels. I’d much rather play the insane levels people can come up with. With that said, Nintendo made level design and creation much better with this iteration of the game. In short, everything is unlocked from the start so you can create whatever frustrating experience comes to mind. Joy.

All previous themes made their way to this game which includes Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros 3., Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros. And new to Mario Maker this time around is the Super Mario 3D World theme. This means you can include a catsuit in your levels which opens up all kinds of new possibilities for getting around each level. Plus, Mario looks so damn cute in that suit.

One of the drawbacks in creation mode is, it’s all touch screen when the Switch is undocked. It still works fine but you’d like the process to stay the same from docked mode and undocked mode. Although, you can use a certain stylus for the Switch and it makes building easier and quicker. But, I wish there was a sense of consistency.

Super Mario Maker 2 Screenshot

For most players — I believe anyway — time with Super Mario Maker 2 will be spent trying newer and harder player-made courses online. And let me tell you, people are not holding back with this game. Which is, of course, no different to the first title but the creator pool seems notably bigger with this new title

I’ve been spending a lot of time playing through the courses on top of the popularity boards. And what I love about this game is the sheer creativity of other people. Everything feels new with each level. No longer am I trying to make Mario run to the right quickly while jumping on small enemies. I’m now learning through trial and error and seeing what people are coming up with.

I know the experience is very similar to the first title but having played both, there is a real fresh, special charm about Super Mario Maker 2. It’s the perfect Mario game to me, or at the very least it’s everything I want out of a Mario game. Mario has seemingly been through everything and yet Super Mario Maker 2 is here to give us the tools to offer up new experiences for the world’s most famous plumber.

Super Mario Maker 2 is a total delight in every way. The game has something for everyone and is quickly cementing its way as one of the best Nintendo Switch games available. The only time I didn’t enjoy the game is when I was playing some overly hard level that was made purely to test my patience. And, even then, I was having a blast with the game. Super Mario Maker 2 has that Nintendo charm and polish that makes anyone who has invested time in the Mushroom Kingdom smile with glee.

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