Super Mario Maker Preview

LittleBigMario.

Super Mario Maker isn't the usual Mario title; it's a level designer, and so far the combinations have been insane in the membrane. The tool editor lets you design short or long levels with graphic sets from the original Super Mario Bros., the smash '90s hit Super Mario Bros. 3, the SNES launch title Super Mario World, or the redesign for modern consoles, New Super Mario Bros.

Multiple Mario universes can cross with the tap of a button. While I was building my demo level, I dropped a Blooper in the sky because reasons obviously. With a simple tap, my 8-bit Blooper was floundering around in the sky in three dimensions as I changed the entire level from original SMB to New SMB, converting everything around me.


While the level creation is fun, the highlight of the demo was playing everyone else's levels, ranging from nostalgia-inducing lovefests to bat-sh*t insane torture chambers. As I was play-testing one underground level from the original SMB, a mushroom with a question mark popped up. Not having learned my lesson from poison mushrooms in Super Mario Bros 2: The Lost Levels, I quickly snatched it up and turned into an 8-bit version of Link. Yes, friends, amiibo functionality somehow made its way into Super Mario Maker, along with a new 8-bit Mario.

One of the best parts of Super Mario Maker, oddly enough, is the Miiverse integration. If people like your level, they can vote it up and favorite it. If there's a challenging portion of a level, they can drop a comment, such as the note I left during a mighty pit failure, “WTAF yo.”

The best and also most shameful part of Miiverse integration comes through the taunting red X's that mark where you (and everyone else) biffed it. I learned this as I had managed to get through a vine-ridden stage, doing my best impression of Tarzan, jumping for the goalpost and being shot down by Bullet Bill. My shame was short-lived, as hundreds of red X's sprang up. It's humiliating and encouraging at the same time, as most great things in life are.

Honestly, I've never been much of a “creator” in the gaming sense. I'm the one willing to take all the stock parts and put together something relatively not ugly. But other people are, and that gets me excited for the upcoming experiment Nintendo's ready to put forth.