Super Mario Maker 2 – REVIEW (Switch)
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Super Mario Maker 2 – REVIEW (Switch)

October 15, 2019

Super Mario Maker was uniquely magical. It paired an inventive idea–making your own
Mario–with a powerful and wonderfully simple interface. And wrapped it all up in a delightfully charming
and bizarre package. It basically poured an entire Mario toy box
onto your lap and asked you to go nuts. Want to stack a Bullet Bill on top of a Monty
Mole…with wings? Sure, why not. What happens if you give a Mushroom to a Wiggler…and
place him underwater? Only one way to find out! Aaaah. The possibilities seemed bound only by your
imagination–and the 100 enemy limit. I became obsessed, sinking over 800 hours
into all kinds of random creations, whether it was remaking Arcade Classics like Frogger,
or basing levels on classic Disney rides, or exploring Bowser’s, uhh, throne room. I even have the dubious distinction of creating
the level that’s killed more Marios than any other. Umm, sorry Mario. Needless to say, I was stoked for Super Mario
Maker 2–after all, it’s Mario Maker, but with more. More tools, additional level themes, a full
Story Mode, multiplayer, online, & the list goes on. And hey, now you can wear a catsuit while
driving a car! What’s not to love? But can it recapture the magic of the original,
or was that lightning in a bottle? The answer, for me at least, is surprisingly
complicated and will likely depend entirely on your expectations and experience with the
series. Especially since Super Mario Maker appeals
to people for different reasons, whether it’s as a Creator, like myself, or as a Player,
or somewhere in between. And as one who played the original mostly
as a creator, there’s a lot to be excited about in Super Mario Maker 2, as every new
object opens a cascading range of possibilities. Slopes are a subtly fantastic addition that
make courses feel more organic, while providing more options to control enemy placement–even
if they can be a bit clunky to place due to them being handled more like a platform than
terrain. The new custom scroll option provides more
control over the presentation of your stage, with the Scroll-Stop ability being especially
useful, helping to conserve real-estate resulting in bigger levels, while also allowing you
to better frame specific sequences of your level. And I absolutely love some of the new objects,
such as the On/Off Blocks, which I’ve had a blast with and have already put to good
use, such as in recreating the You Vs. Boo stages from Super Mario Bros. Deluxe. Hey, someone had to do it! And then there are the new level themes which
might be one of the highlights, whether it’s desert, snow, or jungle, you likely won’t
have any trouble finding a theme to match your needs this time around. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention
the fantastic new music too, both during gameplay for styles where these level themes never
existed, but also especially when creating a stage in them too. Just listen to how happy the Sky editing theme
is for SMB. Or how soothing 3D World’s desert is. I love them all so much. And speaking of level themes, each one also
has a night version in the Retro styles, which not only lends each a different look, but
also unique gameplay attributes, whether it’s reversing gravity when underground, allowing
you to swim in the air of a castle, or turning power-ups against you in the ground style. I’ve only begun playing around with the
possibilities and I can only imagine what the community will end up doing with them. But of course, the star of the show is the
brand new Super Mario 3D World style, which gives 2D Mario his largest repertoire yet,
including long jumps, backflips, rolls, and more, along with introducing entirely new
objects and mechanics like the cat suit, koopa troopa car, Clear Pipes, or even enemies that
attack from the background. Mario has never felt this acrobatic in a mainline
2D before and it’s an absolute blast to play around with. Clambering up trees, pouncing through the
air, and taking a car out on a joy ride are pleasures I didn’t know I needed in Mario
Maker. The new enemies open some creative possibilities
too, whether it’s jockeying for position against a literal Bully, or using a Bonsai
Bill as a drill to open a path for you in real-time. Taken altogether, 3D World definitely stands
apart from the other 4 more retro styles….perhaps a little too much. As the 3D World style essentially exists in
a vacuum, forcing you to commit to either it or the Retro styles before you even get
started, as swapping styles at any point wipes the slate clean, forcing you to rebuild the
entire level from scratch. It’s a bit of a buzzkill, as Jon’s fiance
can attest to when she quit out of frustration after realizing the power-up she built her
level around was found in a different style. And the issue is compounded by the fact that
3D World is missing Mario Maker staples like Tracks, Vines, and even stackable enemies-which
is particularly baffling considering the 3D games are the ones which introduced that feature! Even some of the new elements like the Angry
Sun, Dotted Blocks for the On/Off Switch, and Night themes are missing entirely. And that feature goes both ways, with elements
in 3D World, such as on/off Spike Traps or Ant Trooper enemies being exclusive to its
style. Now this oddly disparate featureset doesn’t
ruin the game. At the end of the day, there’s still far
more content to play around with than before, but it does chip away at the more relaxed,
laissez faire approach of the original, which went out of its way to ensure every object
had an equivalent in all 4 styles, whereas now, being forced to rebuild a stage from
scratch feels oddly punished. On the flipside, while the 4 Retro styles
are still fully intercompatible with each other, even some of the new elements feel
oddly restrictive, whether it’s how the new Goals feature is limited to just one at
a time, or how the Angry Sun is more like the Lonely Sun with how just one is allowed
per area with zero ability to customize him The user interface is still wonderfully simple
on the whole, but it too has seen a few tweaks. The biggest change comes in the form of selecting
objects, which are now organized in a series of wheels by category. It’s ideal for a controller and can be faster
overall if you know what you’re looking for, though as one who sometimes has mad creator’s
block, I do miss being able to lay everything out at once as on Wii U to help spur some
ideas. One welcome tweak is that you can now simply
long-press on any object to bring up all of its alternate forms, instead of having to
shake them or drag a power-up onto them, which is both faster and easier to keep track of. Now how you control the interface has seen
pretty significant changes, especially since the original Super Mario Maker has the distinction
of being one of the few games to realize the potential of the Wii U GamePad. I rather enjoyed the interplay of creating
levels on the Gamepad and then testing them out at TV scale. But obviously, things had to change for the
Switch version due to its single-screen focus and the results are a bit of a mixed bag. Editing stages in TV mode with a controller
is just a few hairs short of a total disaster. It works, sure, but it’s slow and very awkward. Selecting objects is tedious, requiring menu
shortcuts and multiple button presses, and dragging the sluggish cursor around the screen
isn’t an experience I’d wish upon my worst enemy. Mercifully, handheld mode makes editing far
more pleasurable, with the touchscreen providing instance access to most of the main functions. Although I do still recommend getting a capacitive
stylus as it’s both faster and more precise than your finger and brings the experience
that much closer to the Wii U original–even if it falls a little short. Editing a stage feels far more cramped than
before, as the menus obscure nearly a quarter of the work area, as compared to none on the
Wii U’s Gamepad. And while you are able to temporarily hide
them with a button press, it’s a clunky workaround as this only offers temporary respite. Annoyingly, the button shortcuts for Deleting,
Selecting, & Copying objects are now toggles instead of just holding the button like in
the original–and bafflingly, Selecting & Copying have been assigned to the same set of triggers,
requiring you to toggle through one to reach the other. I still screw it up after dozens of hours
with the game. And as one who isn’t a huge fan of playing
my Switch in handheld form, I miss being able to instantly test my stage on the TV with
a proper pair of speakers– I really have no idea why a gyro-based pointer isn’t an
option for editing on the TV, but cis la vie. But perhaps the most disappointing aspect
of the interface is the lack of meaningful quality-of-life improvements. Filling your stage with terrain still gets
tiresome, requiring multiple passes to fill it all in, making me long for an auto-fill
option. Tweaking the layout of your stage is also
still a pain, and requires painstakingly dragging small sections over one by one. Although to the game’s credit, the new Zoom-Out
feature does at least allow you to select 2 vertical screens’s worth–even if it won’t
let you do much else. And finally, there still isn’t a way to
copy segments between the primary and sub-areas, which is a drag if you realize you need to
swap them during the creation process. So that’s editing, but if you’re more
on the Player side of the spectrum, then you might be happy to discover that SMM2 has an
entire single-player story mode, in which Peach’s castle has suddenly disappeared
and Mario’s left to clean up the mess, by what else? Paying for its reconstruction by playing through
over 100 Nintendo-created concoctions to earn some fast cash. Now the levels themselves run the gamut from
your standard Mario fare, being competent but forgettable, to the incredibly clever,
such as having to choose which item to carry with you to solve a series of room-based puzzles,
or exploring a desert temple built entirely around tilting platforms puzzles. While it’s far from essential, the Story
Mode will give you at least a few hours of quality content, along with some humorous
dialogue, while also possibly giving you some ideas for your own level creations. But bafflingly, these courses exist only within
the confines of Story Mode, as there’s no way to import them into the creator to tinker
with them yourself or see what makes them tick. In fact, the game offers no pre-built templates
at all, beyond the random selection the title screen gives you. Even the Wii U offered a selection of Sample
Courses to get you started, but here you’ll find yourself starting from a fresh slate
which is a bit disappointing. Now when it comes to finding stages created
by others, the process has never been better, as you can now filter levels by the tags creators
assigned them, meaning if you only want to play underwater levels featuring puzzles made
by someone in Europe, you totally can–at least if you’re playing by yourself. Because Super Mario Maker 2 also introduces
multiplayer for the first time, both local and online. Which should be freaking awesome, on paper,
but it’s hamstrung by a series of bewildering design choices that might just test your patience. But on a core gameplay level, the multiplayer
in all its forms delivers a similar level of chaos as the New Super Mario Bros. series,
allowing players to bounce and bop each other all over the place, often to hilarious results. It can be a really great time if you’re
playing with the right group of friends–which of course, is impossible to do online at the
moment since the game only pairs you with complete strangers. Now Nintendo has said they’re looking into
addressing this with a future update, but we don’t review games based on promises. Which means the only way to play with friends
is either on the same system, cooperatively, or via Local Wireless, which annoyingly requires
one of the players to have an internet connection. And that’s because, whether you’re playing
online or locally via wireless play, there is no way to choose what levels you play. Instead, the levels are chosen completely
at random–and since every stage in Super Mario Maker 2 technically supports multiplayer
whether the creator intended that or not, you’ll often end up playing stages that
were clearly never designed with multiplayer in mind. And while this can lead to some pretty funny
situations, it’s a novelty that I imagine will wear thin pretty quick. So yeah, if there’s multiple Switches involved
at all, you’re at the mercy of the random selector, which is super lame. In fact, the only way to play stages of your
choosing with multiple people is by doing so on the same system. And even here there’s a catch, because instead
of just looking up a level and clicking Play, as you’d expect–because that’s how it
works when you’re playing by yourself–you instead have to manually download every stage
to your console first. Which quickly becomes a tedious process, especially
when you consider you’ll likely want to delete them too at some point to make room
for more–assuming multiplayer holds your interest for that long at least. So this all was pretty frustrating for me
to discover, as I have a couple of levels designed around entirely around Versus idea,
in which every player has their own screen–and yet, there is no way for me to play them with
multiple people without hoping it randomly pops up. Ugh. I And finally, we have the matter of the overall
presentation. Because while it is mostly polished, it also
feels a little vanilla. The original Super Mario Maker was weird,
and it knew it. It delighted in the bizarre, as was made clear
the moment you started up the game. And most of that quirky personality has been
stamped out of the sequel: Whether it’s the weird start-up sequences, title screen
easter eggs, startling death animations, or random fly swatting games–it’s almost all
gone with little new to replace it. Now these details obviously aren’t essential
in a gameplay sense, but they went a long way in making the original Super Mario Maker
feel special, whereas now it feels a bit more corporate. Almost as if it were New Super Mario Maker. And that’s also not to mention the missing
amiibo costumes, which seriously bums me out as one who was a fan of picking just the right
one to match my level’s theme in the original game. And this has gameplay ramifications too, as
it gave small Mario brick-breaking abilities, something that can’t currently be replicated
in SMM2. So that brings us to my overall thoughts,
and, I’m still trying to work it all out myself. On the one hand, there’s straight-up more
content here–and a lot of it is really is quite fun. The Super Mario 3D World style truly is a
joy–even with its limitations–and there’s something hilarious about trying to outrun
a poisonous 1Up at night that has the determination of a Terminator. Yet, I just didn’t find myself as enamored
with the entire package as I did the first time around. Rather than finding myself in awe of the possibilities,
I instead was butting up against its limitations far more than before- And when combined with my frustrations with
the controls and interface, baffling multiplayer system, and overall lacking personality, SMM2
simply didn’t resonate with me on quite the same level as before. Now don’t get me wrong: Super Mario Maker
wasn’t perfect either, but I was a lot more willing to overlook its issues back when everything
was entirely fresh, than I am now, four years & 800 gameplay hours later. And there just isn’t enough here to make
up for the frustrations and how familiar it all feels But since I very much doubt most people played
the original for anywhere close to that long, if at all, you very well might not share many,
if any of these same issues. And I truly do hope that you are able to experience
the same sense of delight that I did the first time around, because Super Mario Maker 2 might
very well be the better game. It just wasn’t the better experience for
me—-at least, not yet. So for right now, I like Super Mario Maker
2. And just as my thoughts on it have steadily
improved over the past 3 weeks as I’ve better accepted the game for what it is rather than
what it isn’t, I wouldn’t be surprised if that continues to grow, alongside the community
that’s sure to build up beside it. And with that, thank you for watching, and
make sure to stay tuned to GameXplain for more on SMM2 and all things Nintendo Switch.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. jeebus, whenever someone points out the nitpicks, they get called out for disagreeing with an opinion.
    this is a big reviewer, and way too little people actually watch videos fully. so if they're only able to hear complaints before inevitably clicking away, they'll think the game is bad.

  2. Thank you for the honest review. While Mario Maker 2 is great, it’s nowhere near as good as it could’ve and should’ve been.

  3. Having now played this, I see exactly where Andre is coming from. The maker portion of the game is borderline broken compared to the Wii U original. I’m so frustrated that it’s this difficult now just to create a simple level. I wish I hadn’t bought this.

  4. Me, basically the entire video:
    “Well, that’s just like, your opinion, man.”
    This is just one big ass nitpick. For every one who’s feeling a little disheartened, pretty much everything he mentions will not affect your game experience noticeably.

  5. One thing I don't understand is why they didn't have motion control as an option when creating a level. The switch can clearly have a pointer like the Wii, and it would make it much easier. Otherwise, this game looks great and I really can't wait to get it!

  6. What a true, great review from the perspective of one who's played the first game like so many of us. He addresses the limitations, the differences between original and sequel. And I conclude that Nintendo has some work to do to really call this a sequel.

  7. Anyone know if you can un-like a level? (As in undo the like you gave, not to be confused with disliking a stage)

  8. Somethings are missing but the game easily has more options and possibilities than the first one. I prefer editing on the Wii U but over 2 is better.

  9. Didn’t have time to watch this but anyone know if you can download levels and play them offline in handheld mode where you don’t have internet?

  10. For me, this is good, for I never had a Nintendo Wii U. The Nintendo Switch is a real Nintendo Machine, the WiiU was trash from beginning to end, the whole Wii series was trash.

  11. why dont sega do this kind of shit with the sonic franchise . . . they should go back to its original roots 2d. . . make a game like mario maker but sonic style that would be dope as fuk ! 🙂

  12. I dont understand all the thumbs down.

    I can see the message youre trying to pass with this review.

    I think a good bunch, if not most of your criticisms are "youll get used to it" things, as a lot of it has simply a lot to do with the change from Wii U to Switch.

    It looks like if you dont agree with the mainstream youre automatically the bad guy lol. I just purchased this game and did not have a Wii U to enjoy the first one… so I am extra hype hahaha

  13. Obviously it’s a good game lol
    It’s Mario=Nintendo a good quality platformer
    I know what to expect

    At least GameXplain is honest with this review unlike the corporate
    IGN Money Takers lol 💵💵

  14. They didnt mention the game's most gigantic flaw: It's almost impossible to get your levels noticed without asking people to play them directly, if you're not already a Youtuber that does these. The first game didnt have this issue at all, but the second one…. yeah, expect your levels to get zero plays unless you can convince someone to try it via the level code. The game seems to ignore them until they get at least one like, which cant happen if nobody can try them…. That's VERY frustrating. Going to kill the experience for some players, I bet.

  15. Wow, the multiplayer sounds so messed up. Yet another Nintendo game not reaching its full potential because of baffling design decisions. I was on the fence about SMM2 but now I know it's definitely one I'll skip.


    Man you cannot please Nintendo fans these days. I just wish people would stop being so bothered about small things and just appreciate the game for what it is.

  17. It could've retained the Wii U's ability to stream wirelessly via the dock to the TV. Could've been interesting. The pro model could've used the Tegra 3 and been able to stream 2 – 4 games to multiple docks (or 1 dock with a cable splitter / multiple cable ports) but uh.. that would've been too ambitious.

    Edit: This entire video is one man expressing how I feel about Nintendo all the damn time.

  18. not gonna lie I kinda don't like this game I miss amiibo costumes along with the other secrets in the game ):

  19. Great game. The only things I want to see added are turn off multiplayer for levels and placeable lava/water/poison blocks. Also where is the ice flower for Mario brothers U?

  20. I feel like this review was trying way too hard to look for negatives, which is something I don’t expect from Gamexplain. This is probably the first bad review I’ve seen from this channel, and I hope this amount of nitpicking isn’t going to be a thing on this channel from now on, because it’s kind of embarrassing.

  21. GameXplain please try my level! 🙂

    1-1 Endgame

    Bowser travels through time to confront Mario where it all began: 1-1


  22. Easy but fun koopa car based ones CKDO : Q0F 6TB J1H KART_ON : RNH NGV 58G KART_ON 2 : The Fall : F79 115 G1H

  23. What I want more than anything is more multiplayer based creator options, like being able to set spawn points for players or making items and interactibles that only affect certain characters. You’d have to beat the level from all four perspectives to upload but it would MASSIVELY improve the multiplayer capabilities.
    Here’s a few ideas:
    1. Spawn points. These could be limited only to the spawn chunk but still could be used to make starts less clunky, and separate players for more unique levels. Imagine a level that randomly places one player as a power role who can control aspects of the level from above!
    2. Player exclusive mechanics. Attach the mechanic to an enemy to make them target that player, or they can only harm that one. Make a On/Off switch variant that shuffles the players. Imagine a mini game where four players are trying to compete for survival against a bowser that’s constantly switching its target!
    3. Make the option to disable player interaction, so a creator can ensure their level is enjoyed the way it is intended without trolly teammates/competition

  24. I don't know why everybody hates TV mode I think it's better than handheld mode because you have a bigger screen and a cursor to be more precise with where you place objects

  25. If they made it so you could do your own maps (almost like your own mario games) it would be worth it implementing stars and/or starcoins since they can be used to unlock new levels. I haven't played any online levels yet but there isn't really a purpose of the coins themselves in online single levels. And being able to have game overs in a collection of levels or a map somebody else has made would solve that to an extent if I don't mistake.

  26. I bought a Wii U specifically for the prequel to this game. I know there's a lot of frustrations, but I'm picking up my copy of this game tomorrow and I really hope to create play and have fun in more ways imaginable than before. I had to see your review before I picked it up and thank you for every criticism praise and enjoyment that you get because you're an expert and I really do appreciate your reviews especially on this matter. Kudos cheers thank you

  27. While there is a lot of criticism and nitpicks in this review, that just means he's real passionate about MM2, and wants it to be the best game it can be.

  28. Nintendo games always have weird multiplayer limitations. Play the mario maker on 3ds it’ll piss you off. It’s still an awesome game though. It’s hard to hold it against the game, like just because my brain thought it up doesn’t mean it’s supposed to be in there. I wish BOTW had couch coop, but I wouldnt score it a 8/10 because it didn’t

  29. 2DY-XH0-2MF – "Literally Walk on Walls!!!" A unique Mario Maker 2 Level in which rooms rotate and you walk on all 4 walls. I had to duplicate the rooms 4 times each to make this illusion work. It's not hard and has checkpoints!

  30. What a.. weird review.. I mean yeah SMM2 is different, it simply adds additional content on top of a already fun packed game on the Wii U / 3DS. What more do you want?

  31. If there were more than one angry sun people would spam them. And you don’t really need more suns to begin with.

  32. I'm glad that 3dworld does not have night theme because if it's so good I doesn't need what the other have ha ha 3dworld no night theme for you

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