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- Super Mario Maker 2
One of the highlights in Super Mario Maker 2 is being able to play 2D stages in the Super Mario 3D World art style. However, it’s not just a visual change because there are a number of new elements that make it play quite differently from any 2D Mario game. Due to this, 3D World levels are counted as a separate category from the other four games as they are incompatible with the others (which can all be switched to mid-creation). While it’s great to play these types of levels by other players, it has become clear that a “Super Mario 2D World” is the route Nintendo should go down for its next proper 2D installment.
It’s a bit of a strange place to draw inspiration from since, as the name suggests, 3D World was a 3D platformer on Nintendo Wii U. There is a good reason why the mechanics are able to transition so well to the 2D space, though. Rather than focusing on exploration like Super Mario Odyssey, the Wii U title and its 3DS predecessor was more like the original 2D games in that players went through a linear 3D level and then moved onto the next one. They were bite-sized environments that were more like playing the original NES game in 3D.
All of the elements that made 3D World unique are present in Super Mario Maker 2‘s course style. There are the interactive clear pipes that allow the player to choose what direction to go in order to avoid enemies and pick up collectibles. The Cat Mario power-up is a joy to play as in 2D as climbing up walls offers up unique platforming opportunities for players that can avoid taking damage. It all translates to being a fantastic game no matter how many dimensions it is in.
The Super Mario 3D World stages are fresh
Another advantage to the style addition is that it features a lot of enemies that aren’t typically seen in 2D Mario games. Rather than Buzzy Beetles, players can take on various forms of Ant Troopers and Skipsqueaks. There’s also the new koopa car, which allows for Mario to go joyriding through levels and for there to be vehicle levels in a 2D Mario game. These changes make the levels feel all the more creative as you’re dealing with different types of challenges. Not to mention the inclusion of the bully (best known for their Mario 64 appearance), Charvaarghs (the giant lava dragons that are also in Captain Toad), Pom Pom (the female ninja mid-boss) and chasing Porcupuffer enemies that are all fun to deal with and defeat.
Beyond the enemies themselves, there are also a lot of new items that make it more fun to interact with the environment. The warp box is a great addition that works a lot like the warp doors that are in all styles, but with the key difference that it disappears after one use. This allows for one-way travel and is a great way to limit opportunities for the player. Additionally, there are exclamation boxes that creates new blocks, crates that can be tossed into lava to act as a platform, trees that can be climbed, and bouncy mushrooms that act as trampolines. It’s simply a world that is more enjoyable to be in than the traditional styles since it offers more options to the player.
One other plus to the Cat Mario power-up is that there is a great boss for players to face off against at the end of levels, Meowser, who is the hilariously named Bowser variant with the cutest whiskers. It’s a much more interesting battle than his regular form as he’s much more mobile being able to climb walls. You can’t easily get away from him and his deadly fireballs, which makes him a lot more fun to overcome as a player.
Making Super Mario 2D World just makes sense
The biggest complaint players have had about the New Super Mario Bros. series is that it has ironically felt dull and a bit lifeless. This hasn’t hurt the series all that much as they’re still excellent platformers for the most part, especially Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, but Nintendo is definitely at the point of diminishing returns.
A change is needed sooner rather than later, and Nintendo may have already created the perfect framework for another 2D Mario thanks to Super Mario Maker 2. There is already so much artwork that can be reused, and it’d make even more business sense if they release a 3D World port on Switch, which seems like an inevitability at this point considering how many Wii U games have received new life on the system.
One of Super Mario 3D World‘s biggest selling points was that it was the first 3D Mario game to feature actual multiplayer. While it worked pretty well and was a natural evolution after how well it worked in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Mario‘s brand of multiplayer just works better in 2D. Even with the more streamlined levels it was difficult to keep everyone on the screen at all times and it’s too easy to get in the way of other players. If Nintendo wants multiplayer to continue being a selling point for Mario, then it makes sense to stay 2D. This could also be the first 2D Mario game to feature online multiplayer that doesn’t suck.
Nothing prints cash quite like a 2D Mario game and if Nintendo wants to keep the series feeling fresh without doing a complete overhaul then a Super Mario 2D Land would make all of the sense in the world. It features plenty of fun mechanics that most Nintendo fans haven’t played a ton of since the Wii U flopped and controlling Cat Mario is just as much fun in a 2D space as it was in three dimensions. There is simply too much potential and work already done for it to not happen at this point.