Back in 2015, I spoke about Super Mario Maker, a game where you get to create your own levels for Super Mario Bros. I called it “more of a tool than a game”. I had a ton of fun with it, even though I never really made anything I thought was good enough to share. Now, its sequel, Super Mario Maker 2, has been released for the Nintendo Switch.
My biggest problem with the original was that there wasn’t much to the game except making levels, and playing levels others had made. In this sequel, though, there’s a story mode that has more than 100 levels, all crafted by experts at Nintendo, each featuring different things you can make yourself with the stage builder. It’s a lot of fun, and even the hardest stages don’t feel unfair.
The stage builder itself is mostly the same as the original’s, but you have nearly all options unlocked from the beginning instead of having to unlock them. That means if you have a vision, you can jump right in and start making courses. The editor has an incredible number of options, but it’s presented so intuitively that it’s hard to feel overwhelmed.
My favorite mode is the Endless Challenge. You choose a difficulty level, and then play stages built by other players until you run out of lives. I really like playing the Easy courses - sometimes all I have to do is run from one end of the course to the other, but other times they have really clever designs that don’t have to be punishing to be fun.
Mario Maker 2 took nearly all my complaints from the first game and addressed them so completely that I think it’s possible Nintendo’s listening to me talk right now.