Back in the day you had to wait patiently for years for a new Mario game to come along. Mario Maker on Wii U changed all that, putting the power in your hands to create your own Mario games and share them with the world. Mario Maker 2 sprinkles magic dust on top of this to create one of the best content creator games ever.
The glue holding the game together is the story mode. Here you’ll need to work to rebuild Princess Peach’s castle from scratch by earning money for ‘tasks’ ie: completing levels. What this really does is teach you how to build interesting levels and nudges you towards the new ideas that this sequel has up its sleeves. The first and most fun of these is sliding down slopes. It’s simple yet very effective in clearing enemies and it’s…well, just plain fun!
There are loads of other new bits and pieces that expand your own ideas including the (rather annoying) Angry Sun from Super Mario Bros 2 that sweeps down to attack and the rising waters from Super Mario World that remind me of urgent Sonic the Hedgehog levels and prove just as lethal.
Themes can be chosen from all the main Mario 2D games, including the new Mario 3D World themed blocks, unfortunately all in 2D though, rather than allowing you to create big isometric worlds. Go classic with the original Super Mario bros or right up to date with New Super Mario Bros and 3D World, the choice is yours. The new 3D World blocks are a real game changer as they have their own phyiscs and benefits. Building the same level with these instead of, say, Super Mario Bros 2 blocks will make the level feel very different, but with fences and cat suits included, among other things, the options for exciting new levels really open out.
While the story mode gives you plenty of ideas, it’s worth downloading the levels created by others to get more of an idea of what is possible with a bit of imagination and a large toolkit of blocks and enemies. There’s a whole wealth of levels out there that all feel very different to each other. The best ones are as much of a joy to play as some of the levels from Nintendo, which is saying a lot.
While it doesn’t differ a huge amount from the massively-undersold Wii U game and borrows more ideas still from the 3DS version, Mario Maker 2 is the best version of this wonderful Mario playground so far and is a must for any fan of Nintendo’s famous mascot.