The Final Super Mario Maker 2 Update
The news that Super Mario Maker 2 will imminently receive its final update was a welcome reveal, at least in the opinion of this secluded scribe. While the world around us has changed and people are staying at home, nearly everybody and their grandma has become utterly enraptured by the escapism provided by Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Unfortunately, the game never resonated with me, and as such, I’ve felt a little isolated (pun very much intended) from not just the game of the moment, but the discussion that it has created. Twitter is rabid with Animal Crossing tidbits, with folks discussing turnip prices, sharing videos of their islands and just generally being utterly smitten with the game. To be totally honest, I felt like Nintendo had abandoned me in my time of need.
I woke up to the announcement, but not Nintendo’s trailer itself, but to a video of your Editor in Chief, Abram Buehner, as I embarked on my morning Twitter perusal. His reaction to the Super Mario Maker 2 update energised me in a way I haven’t experienced in quite some time. At this point, I hadn’t even seen the video, but the reaction of another human, who – for different reasons surrounding Animal Crossing – feels similarly to myself, triggered something in me. Watching the almost five minute trailer further cemented what I had already assumed, Mario Maker 2’s final curtain call would not only provide the content that the title requires to feel like a true evolution of the Wii U’s inaugural offering, it would provide me with the game that would define my self-isolation/quarantine/ lockdown.
Before we get to the real meat and potatoes of the update, it’s worth noting how opulent the new ability unlocks are. In their own right, just releasing them all would have been notable and furthered the experience of Mario Maker 2. The arrival of classic power-ups such as the Frog Suit, Power Balloon, Super Acorn and Boomerang flower, along with a selection of hoods that would make the Green Arrow… green with envy will take the levels of creativity afforded to the community to new heights and the SMB2 (Super Mario Bros. 2) mushroom will add an entirely new layer of complexity to proceedings. My main takeaway, even at this early stage, was just how much more these new abilities offer.
It would have been perfectly acceptable to simply offer these new suits with their core abilities from their respective base games. However, Nintendo has added to them in ways that will propel the Super Mario Maker series towards the upper echelons of video game excellence. The humble frog suit now sees Mario able to run on water as well as swim below its surface. The SMB2 mushroom completely changes the dynamic of the game and allows our portly plumber to land atop enemies, without causing damage to them. What this means is that everything from Goombas to Bullet Bills can be used to potentially traverse tricky trials as well as being picked up and thrown. As the trailer reveals, this could have some interesting implications for the way in which we approach not only designing courses in Mario Maker 2, but also in our approach to completing levels.
As well as the new abilities for Mario to discover, new enemies have also been added including the Koopalings. Seeing Lemmy, Ludwig and Morton portrayed across a whole spectrum of graphical styles is a sight to behold and being able to experience their eclectic personalities across an infinite range of settings will surely add further intricate levels of depth to Super Mario Maker 2. In fact, wouldn’t it be nice if we could add them to levels that act as the end of worlds! You know what? That’s one helluva segue.
A Whole New World
In my review of Super Mario Maker 2, I enjoyed my time but yearned for the ability to link levels via a simple interface and create worlds. The eldritch gods of Nintendo must have been aware of my many sacrifices in their name and have not just delivered a simple course maker, but have instead provided an unprecedented tool kit to create unique and inimitable worlds, full of customization and character. The GUI looks incredibly simple to use, with levels being littered throughout pre-designed maps. With incredibly basic terraforming options, bridges and hills can be added to provide potential obstacles whilst navigating these new and endlessly exciting user-created game worlds. As well as the layout of the worlds that you’ll create, there are aesthetic touches too, such as hills and rocks, which all further add to the overall level of charm.
Make no mistake, this is the big one. The Super Mario Maker community remains one of the most creative groups of individuals on the internet and with the world set to change forever, even after some semblance of normalcy returns to proceedings, the toolset that Nintendo has put into millions of hapless, housebound will provide so much for so many. With this being the final update, it does beg the question though, what was the final skin?
Nintendad Coffeehouse DLC
Written by Abram Buehner
Just as Super Mario Maker 2’s DLC update expands upon an excellent foundation, I couldn’t help but attempt to be the written equivalent, jumping in at the end of Kieran’s fantastic discussion to add my two cents. During these, admittedly bleak, times of isolation, escapism has been essential for maintaining sanity. As Kieran alluded to, I didn’t get bitten by the New Horizons bug, even though I adored New Leaf and the GameCube original. As such, I’ve spent the past week and a half of my quarantine in Midgar, captivated by the sights and sounds of Final Fantasy 7 Remake, which has spoken to me in a deep and resonant manner. As I inch closer to the finale with only three chapters left, though, I found myself on the precipice of losing that escape which has tethered me to a sense of excitement during these doldrums.
As such, this final update for Mario Maker 2 comes with exquisite timing. I love this game. Like Kieran, I issued it high praise when I reviewed it before my time at Nintendad. It is a game of unbridled creativity paradoxically saddled by constraints that made the sky feel just beyond the limit. Finally, though, this final update to the game shatters that last barrier and cements Super Mario Maker 2 as the game it always should have been: the uncompromising pinnacle of thirty-five years worth of 2D Mario adventuring.
I’m going to submerge myself in this experience, finding solace and enjoyment in the rich, player-created landscapes of the Mushroom Kingdom. I can’t wait to dive in and create my own world. I can’t wait to hop online and experience the creativity of others. More than that, though, I’m excited to see the wonderful Super Mario Maker 2 community revitalized. From level creators to content creators, it’s hard to find a more dedicated and talented subgroup in the Nintendo ecosystem, and finally their game is getting the shot in the arm it needs to confidently assert its place as a top-tier Nintendo Switch title once again. Tomorrow is going to be excellent.