Super Mario Maker
By Marc Saltzman,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Extraordinarily fun game-maker for kids of all ages.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
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.
Promotes creativity, design, play with personally made levels.
Positive Role Models
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.
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Products & Purchases
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.
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.
Where to Play
Videos and Photos
Super Mario Maker
Based on 6 parent reviews
Jaunty animation meets jazzy songs in Disney classic.
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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?
- Platform: Nintendo Wii U
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions, Math: estimation, Science: energy, physics, Hobbies: building
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, decision-making, strategy, Creativity: imagination, making new creations, producing new content, Self-Direction: achieving goals, time management, work to achieve goals, Tech Skills: digital creation, using and applying technology
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online?: Not available online
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Release date: September 11, 2015
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: STEM, Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: E
- Last updated: January 16, 2022
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