A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Players can learn basics of how to design levels in side-scrolling games. Creation tools and tutorials explain and demonstrate how to plan out and put together courses, encouraging players to experiment and use trial and error to see what works, what doesn't. Players can't model items from scratch or program behaviors, but they will get a sense of what it takes to design challenging but fair game levels.
Creator mode encourages players to be imaginative, build game levels. It also promotes cooperation between players as they design courses together. The moderated community urges players to be positive in their communications and criticisms of each other's work.
Positive Role Models
Mario is, as ever, perpetually upbeat, willing to take on any challenge set to him. Most of the speaking non-player characters are positive, supportive, encouraging.
Ease of Play
The level editor is deeply accessible, can be used effectively with minimal tutorial reference. The levels in the story mode range from very easy to extremely challenging, but players can call on Mario's brother Luigi to ask for key items that will lower the difficulty. Player-created courses are similarly diverse, though you can conduct searches for levels that have been tagged as easy.
Violence & Scariness
Players can jump on fantasy enemies such as Goombas to squash them or kick them off the screen. Cartoonish bombs explode, damaging nearby enemies and player characters.
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Products & Purchases
Latest installment in globally popular Mario franchise, which has video games, toys, movies, books, more. Levels created in Super Mario Maker 2 are pulled from a mix of older Mario platform games. A Nintendo Online membership is required to access online features, including newly created levels from other players.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Super Mario Maker 2 is a game about making games exclusively for the Nintendo Switch. It provides players with tools and tutorials to create, edit, and share their own side-scrolling Super Mario levels, encouraging players to be imaginative while learning the basics of game design. It also allows players to build levels together, promoting a sense of teamwork and cooperation. Players will be part of a moderated community of game makers encouraged to support and provide positive criticism on each other's work through a system of likes and text comments. The cartoon violence is limited to what players encounter in most side-scrolling Mario games, with player characters hopping on Goombas and Koopa troopers, kicking shells off the screen, throwing fireballs at enemies, getting poked by spikes, and being burned by flames. Keep in mind that the difficulty is largely unpredictable, with both Nintendo-designed and player-created levels ranging from short and very easy to longer and extremely challenging. Note, too, that a Nintendo Online membership is required to access online features.
Is It Any Good?
If you ever thought you could make levels just as well or better than Nintendo's designers, this is the game that will let you prove it -- just don't be surprised if it turns out to be tougher than you thought. While Super Mario Maker 2 is just as accessible as its predecessor -- you can create and publish a course in a matter of minutes with minimal instruction -- making a level that's challenging, fun, and fair takes a lot more patience and practice. The good news, though, is that this sequel adds all sorts of nifty new features to fiddle around with. You can add clear conditions to your course -- such as making players collect a certain number of coins or climb a certain number of trees before reaching the finish -- insert tricky new enemies such as the angry sun from Super Mario Bros. 3, create sloped terrain so that you can slide through enemies, and drop in gadgets like a swinging claw to create fun new ways to traverse the environment. And working with friends cooperatively to make levels can transform the experience into something much more social, not to mention give rise to ideas that you might not have come up with on your own. And if you get into a disagreement, you can settle it in versus multiplayer mode, where the winner is the fastest player to the flag.
The real challenge, though, may be getting your work recognized and elevated within the community. With potentially millions of players making and publishing levels, players may find it tough to find an audience for their courses. Happily, the community is well designed and easy to navigate, so hopefully kids will be able to find like-minded players who provide positive feedback that helps them improve their design skills. Plus, players can show a little more of their personality by designing a Mii avatar to represent themselves within the community, which might help them gain fans and create a broader base of players willing to try new courses they create. And if kids discover they have a knack for building levels others want to play, it's not inconceivable that this game could inspire them to pursue game design as a career. Super Mario Maker 2 doesn't just satisfy our urge to play and create, it gives us a small but authentic taste of what it's like to make a living making games.
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