Super Mario Maker

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Super Mario Maker Game Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Extraordinarily fun game-maker for kids of all ages.

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 32 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Though Super Mario Maker likely wasn't designed to be an educational game, players will in fact learn (or sharpen) their game-design skills. They'll select themes, place objects on the map, adjust gameplay mechanics, and then -- through trial and error -- play through their creations. Gamers can upload their games for others to download, play, and rate. This game encourages the use of embedded digital tools, which are simple to use thanks to the game tools that make creating levels a breeze. Super Mario Maker manages to draw kids of all ages into user-made levels of the world's most famous plumber and teaches them something about game design along the way.

Positive Messages

Promotes creativity, design, play with personally made levels.

Positive Role Models & Representations

You play mustachioed plumber Mario, who sets out to rescue Princess Peach. Not much is known about Mario -- this game isn't about story -- but he fights evil to rescue an old friend, so he seems like a good role model.

Ease of Play

Surprisingly intuitive; many on-screen (and animated) tutorials. Easy to learn the mechanics of level design.

Violence & Scariness

Very light cartoon violence, such as jumping on turtle shells to knock them over, tossing fireballs at enemy mushrooms, man-eating plants. Combat isn't realistic, graphic.


Lets you create levels that look, play like those in previous Super Mario games. Works with optional amiibo characters you can buy at retail, online stores.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Super Mario Maker lets gamers create and share their own Super Mario games. As with the games they're based on, this new title is a 2-D arcade game with platforming elements, where players travel from the left side of the screen to the right to navigate the levels, stomp on enemies, and work toward rescuing a princess. If anything, Super Mario Maker encourages imagination and design as players make their own worlds to play in. There isn't any controversial content parents need to worry about; violence is limited to jumping on cartoonish enemies or throwing fireballs at creatures such as man-eating plants. Parents should be aware that created levels look like older games in the Super Mario franchise, which could build interest in those titles. Players also can use amiibos for specific created effects; amiibos can be purchased at retail or online stores.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBlabbit Wabbit . May 8, 2018


Its great to play other's levels but people leave inappropriate comments on miiverse on a kids game.
Adult Written bymattmorgan February 24, 2017

Incredible creativity, learning from others, trial and error

This is an amazing game for kids. The idea, basically, is that you create your own Mario stages, and share some of them. But what's mindblowing is that wit... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byBrusslesSproutsReyn December 3, 2015

Finally Making Your Own Levels!

I can't praise this game enough. While missing a few things that are key to the Mario franchise, I still think this game is 101/100. If you have a Wii U or... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byShibas_Hack_Inu September 19, 2017

Great game for all ages inspires creativity

I think Super Mario Maker is a great game for kids of all ages. It helps them brain storm, imagine scenarios and inspires creativity. I think lots of kids would... Continue reading

What's it about?

Most games let you play content created by other people, but not Nintendo's latest for the Wii U console. As the name suggests, SUPER MARIO MAKER lets you design, create, and share your very own Super Mario adventures with easy-to-use digital tools. There are 60-odd playable Nintendo levels, too, in case you don't want to make your own games right out of the box. As with past and iconic two-dimensional Super Mario games, you'll mostly run from the left side of the screen to the right, leap across platforms, break open power-ups, climb into pipes, and jump on enemies to destroy them. Gamers can choose from the past Super Mario games to start with as a template -- such as the classic Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario 3D World, or the newest New Super Mario Bros. U -- and after they've designed their world, they can play it through, hand the controller to a sibling or friend, or upload the level to an online community. You can, of course, download other creations -- not unlike other games that blur the lines between gaming and designing (such as LittleBigPlanet and Project Spark).

Is it any good?

Not only is this game fun and accessible, but it lets you play a near-limitless number of Mario levels created by Nintendo and players from around the world. You too can try your hand at making Super Mario adventures to play and upload. The stylus and touchscreen on the Wii U GamePad controller works very well for the task at hand, as you add backgrounds (such as an airship, an underwater scene, a castle, and so on); environmental items such as girders, blocks, and pipes; enemies; and other objects. You can mix and match some (but not all) elements between games, such as a power-up from a newer Super Mario game added to the original 8-bit Super Mario Bros. Or you can tackle the 100 Mario Challenge mode that makes you play randomly selected levels made by other people. There also are secrets and other Easter eggs worth discovering.

It's not a perfect 10, mind you -- your hands are tied in some areas, such as only using Nintendo's art and music assets instead of uploading your own -- but Super Mario Maker is an engaging and exciting package nonetheless.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about games that encourage learning with technology. How well does this title straddle the line between playing games and creating them? How do you feel about sharing levels you've created with others?

  • Talk about consumerism. Since this is the latest installment in a massively popular franchise, do you think its release automatically promotes other games in the series?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love platformers

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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