Mario Maker (Hands-On) (Wii U) Preview

By Jorge Ba-oh 05.07.2014 3

Review for Mario Maker (Hands-On) on Wii U

Ever wanted to create your own Super Mario Bros. levels? Nintendo finally have the answer with a new app/game designed for the Wii U in mind known as Mario Maker. In a post-E3 session last week, the Cubed3 team got to grips with the new game and how the concept comes together on the GamePad and TV screen.


 

There's something quite special about the world of 2D Super Mario Bros. platfomers that has captivated fans both young and old in what's coming up to almost three decades. Nintendo set a lot of conventions for what's now a standard in platforming game design - running from left to right to reach a common goal, avoiding obstacles, pounding enemies and collecting coins all the way. Despite the advent of smartphones and tablets, players still have an affinity with the Super Mario Bros. series, whether it's a Virtual Console classic or part of the New Super Mario Bros. range.

Whilst Nintendo has raked in thousands of well-earned dollars in releasing numerous Mario games, there have been a few things missing that fans have been requested on many occasions: online collaborative play and a level editor. Perhaps the easier of the two from the Japanese studio was the level editor, where players can use preset blocks in the Super Mario Bros. art style to forge tricky and sometimes impossible levels for friends to play through.

Screenshot for Mario Maker (Hands-On) on Wii U

The demo provided access to the very first set of tiles to play with; taking a leaf out of the first world in the very original Super Mario Bros. with Goomba, Koopa, brick blocks, green pipes and moving platforms on offer. To begin with, the slate is clean apart from the porky plumber himself and a bright blue sky. In order to build a side-scrolling world, quite simply use the GamePad touchscreen to drag and drop elements on the stage. Interactive blocks can also be used as well, from question mark boxes, coin blocks and moving platforms to make things that bit more animated and almost boundless in design.

Enemies can also be thrown into the fray in their droves, with little to no restrictions on placement; with even wings added to make the challenge that bit more difficult. Want to scatter about a horde of bumbling Goomba creatures? It's possible, and can even border on sadistic, by removing the ground all-together and only having flying foes.

Screenshot for Mario Maker (Hands-On) on Wii U

Levels can take some time and thought to put together, but fortunately the play button can be switched on at any time, allowing creators to try out sequences before putting together those final touches. Mario himself can be plopped onto any part of the level, to streamline the process instead of having to take it from the start each time. Interestingly, a motion-trail also highlights any problems with jump distance, or the route taken to Mario's perilous demise.

There's an uncertainty on how much depth there'll be in the final release, though, whether players can create sublevels, or hidden areas, however, but the currently available crop of tools can devise some fairly complex and challenging beasts. It's certainly credit to Nintendo's designers for past Super Mario Bros. titles just how much work and planning goes into building these iconic stages.

Screenshot for Mario Maker (Hands-On) on Wii U

Nintendo will also be introducing different graphical styles in the final release, one of which includees the more modern New Super Mario Bros. skin, yet still offers the same set of block/sprite driven elements for easy building. It'll be interesting to see just how much customisation there may be when the game comes out; whether Nintendo introduces sprite sheets and items from other franchises, or creates completely brand new looks for Mario and friends.

The main and most important aspect about Mario Maker would surely come through sharing these creations with others, friends and fellow players. Nintendo have been, at time of writing, quiet about the social potential for the Wii U game, but with Miiverse on the rise, there should surely be the option to share via the network - this is still to be confirmed, however.

Screenshot for Mario Maker (Hands-On) on Wii U

Final Thoughts

Mario Maker as a tool is certainly shaping up as an essential title to have for Mario players - an easy to use interface, the option to make stages as complicated as possible and the potential for different environments and art styles. All that's really needed is an easy means of sharing these creations with friends and other Mario Maker players.

Developer

Nintendo

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (3 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop

Comments

Darkflame (guest) 05.07.2014#1

This is an excellent idea, but all depends on the queries you mentioned - how good will online sharing be is THE main thing here. 

Additionally, it would be nice to be able to make whole "campaigns" and not just levels. 
Unofficially, you can do this for mario world with the stunning;
http://fusoya.eludevisibility.org/lm/

it would be nice for Nintendo to try to offer at least some of the same flexibility in a easier, more mass market package.


Additionally, it would be nice to be able to make whole "campaigns" and not just levels. 
Unofficially, you can do this for mario world with the stunning;

Definitely agree - it looks good, and there is potential, but I too wonder whether people could make and share whole Mario challenges with at least 5-10 stages tops.

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

ever since i saw little big planet, i have been suggesting this.

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