The original Wii U game launched back in September 2015 and absolutely nailed the basics, providing an intuitive interface with incredible depth, couched in that trademark Nintendo charm. Players of all abilities were able to create their own Mario levels and switch at will between four game ‘palettes’ spanning the plumber's illustrious 2D career, from the original Super Mario Bros. to New Super Mario Bros. U.
Although it was an absolute treat for Wii U owners (and later 3DS gamers), there were a few issues that players ran into, and wish lists soon started cropping up full of potential features to add to the game. Nintendo implemented some of these – checkpoint flags, for example – but anyone hoping for new game ‘palettes’ or slopes to slide down was left disappointed.
Fast forward to 2019, and it seems many gamers’ prayers have been answered. The very first seconds of Mario Maker 2’s reveal highlighted the most requested feature of all: frickin' slopes. It went on to detail a whole lot more, including a Super Mario 3D World ‘skin’ plus associated elements, Desert, Snow and Jungle levels, Angry Sun guy… the list goes on.
Of course, we Nintendo gamers are a demanding bunch, and seeing all these new additions has only fired our imaginations up even more. So, let’s stoke the furnace a little and talk about what else we’re hoping to see revealed in the upcoming game; things that’ll make it feel like a real sequel and not something that could have been DLC or included in the ‘Deluxe’ Wii U port that many people expected.
We’ve divided our list into three sections: 'likely', 'possible' and 'not-in-a-month-of-Sundays'. That last section features some really outlandish ideas, but let us dream!
Toad And Toadette As Playable Characters
Thanks to the above promotional image, it’s a pretty safe bet that we’ll be able to play as Toad and Toadette. Although we’ve yet to see Luigi in-game, his prominent placement in the promo art makes him and his fluttery jump a dead cert, too. It will be very interesting to see if their different characteristics affect each character’s ability to complete a level. Perhaps there’ll be sets of levels that can only be completed using Luigi and his special jump, for example. While we confess we’re not the biggest fans of the Toads outside of a Mario Karting or Treasure Tracking context, variety is never a bad thing. Perhaps Toadette’s special abilities from New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe will also be in evidence here.
Switch’s focus on local multiplayer means it would fit very nicely and open up all sorts of exciting potential for co-op or competitive play. Imagine a simple level with switches that you must hit to let your partner through, or alternatively, obstruct their progress. Whether this will extend to four-players is another matter, but if the original game taught us anything, it’s that people can construct some incredible contraptions from the tools they’re given. The thought of four-player levels displaying the sort of ingenuity we saw in user-created levels from the last game is tantalising.
The Mario series has always been filled with incredible power-ups, but they can often be quite hard to come by. Think back to Super Mario Bros. 3 – the Frog Suit and the Hammer Suit were fairly rare finds, and more often than not we’d run into a goomba and lose the thing the moment we found it anyway, so it’d be fantastic to have access to these in Mario Maker. Items from later games would be great, too; the Tiny Mushroom would make for some intricate maze running, although it would probably need a host of miniaturised elements to go with it and the Giant Mushroom would perhaps cause too much mayhem. The Double Cherries from Super Mario 3D World would be a riot, though, and we’d love to see, say, the Bumblebee Suit from the Galaxy games. Who knows? If Toadette features in the game, perhaps the Super Crown will be amongst the new power-ups, too.
Moving swiftly on, let’s have a look at things we think are possible, though less certain than the above…
New Skins/Styles/Palettes/Themes/Whatever You Want To Call Them
The four game ‘skins’ in the first Mario Maker gave an excellent overview of the plumber’s career, but almost immediately we began imagining other styles. Super Mario Bros. 2 (or Super Mario Bros. USA as it’s known in Japan) is the obvious missing link for players in the west, and while we appreciate it was a mechanically different game, those mechanics aren’t strictly necessary if we just wanted the ‘skin’. Of course, implementing the vegetable digging and throwing mechanics of Doki Doki Panic would be amazing, but we’d take a SMB2 palette if that were the only option.
Elsewhere, how about a Game Boy theme aping Super Mario Land or Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins? The latter would probably be easier to implement, and we’re not sure we really want an accurate reproduction of Super Mario Land’s ‘interesting’ physics. For the time, it was an incredible approximation of the original NES game on the diminutive Game Boy, but the sequel did a much better job of capturing the look-and-feel of the series on the portable. We got the cute Plane Mario costume in the original game, but a complete palette would be great.
Lastly, a Super Mario 64 skin would surely be a winner. Yes, it’s a 3D game but so is Super Mario 3D World and that’s already in here! The crude 3D polygonal style of the mid-to-late ‘90s is back in vogue and it would be a wonderful nostalgia trip to bounce on little angular goombas and watch them disappear with a wisp of smoke, perhaps while the Bob-omb Battlefield music plays in the background.
We’ve seen gravity switches and zones in previous Mario games, and we think they’d fit in very well in Mario Maker. Zones could be ‘painted’ onto the background and there's all sorts of potential in throwing shells at just the right angle to negotiate a fiendish gravity well, hit a switch and open a door or some such thing.
Worlds And Maps
Ah, this is the biggie. After slopes, it was this that people were clamouring for in the original game – the ability to string four levels together and make a proper ‘World’. Without it, the levels are individual curios, but the inclusion of this would mean people could really make – and share – their own Mario ‘games’. Adding a World Map would be the icing on the cake; adding multiple routes, secret exits, Toad Houses, Hammer Bros. encounters and those card matching games would be a dream come true. Perhaps all of this is too much to hope for, but it would be wonderful.
If we’re able to link together levels to form ‘Worlds’, it would be nice to be able to add a micro-narrative to our creations. Freeform text opens a Pandora’s Box of unsavoury possibilities, so we doubt that will happen – but why not a Dark Souls-style set of jigsaw words and phrases that could be plugged together and assigned to NPCs or ‘?’ Blocks?
Importing Wii U levels
After the countless hours we invested in the original game, it would be excellent to salvage our creations and import them into the new game. While some people may still have their Wii U readily available, many more will likely have packed the console away. Technically, linking to an old Nintendo Network account should be easy enough, and while the engine might have changed substantially, it surely wouldn’t be impossible to convert those old files to run in the new game, even if it required players to recomplete old stages to authenticate them.
Without knowing more behind-the-scenes technical details, it’s tough to know, but Wii U gamers would be very appreciative to be able to access their previous masterpieces on Switch.
Music Creation Tools
Finally, expanded tools for music creation would be something special. The original game had limited functionality, enabling you to assign tones to in-level note boxes which led to some impressive auto-run musical creations. We’d like to see that go a step further and be able to create our own themes in a Mario Paint-style editor. Of course, we’re not suggesting we could create anything near the level of Nintendo’s composing wizards – we’re no Koji Kondo, that’s for sure – but we’ve been practising with our Animal Crossing town theme and we’re ready for a broader palette. Who could resist a Mario X Daft Punk crossover?
So, that’s the end of the credible ideas. Now it’s time to go off the deep end and dive into pure speculative lunacy. There’s virtually no chance we’ll see any of these, but we can dream.
The Completely Outlandish
Let’s kick off this last little section with a couple of ‘skin’ or palette ideas. Yoshi’s Island still stands up today as one of Nintendo’s best-looking platformers; we adore the look of it, and it would make a wonderful addition to the line-up. Of course, it would probably mean we’d need the egg throwing mechanic and whining Baby Mario, too; perhaps too much of a price to pay, but it would look lovely.
The last style on our list is a Paper Mario palette. Even more so than Yoshi’s Island and Super Mario Bros. 2, the gameplay here would not transfer in any way, but Paper Mario’s 2D aesthetic is gorgeous and we’d snap it up.
While we’re on the topic of Paper Mario (and while we’re really getting into cloud cuckoo territory), can you imagine rotating the whole world 90° around the Y-axis? We still remember the first time that happened in Super Paper Mario and it was an incredible moment. The gameplay implications would make it almost impossible here, but let’s just ruminate on that for a moment…
Brain scrambled? Don’t worry – our last one is something less mind-bending, although the sheer amount of work involved probably makes it prohibitive. Imagine the Mystery Mushroom costumes – those 8-Bit characters you unlocked through challenges or tapping amiibo to the GamePad – that carried across the art styles. In addition to 8-Bit versions, you’d have the 16-Bit version of Samus, Sonic and co. in the Super Mario World palette. What about the 3D versions in the New Super Mario Bros. palette and beyond? That alone would be over 150 fully animated 3D character and vehicle models. We’d also want all the new amiibo that have come out in the interim. Oh yes, you see now why this is in the final section. Ah, but what a beautiful dream!
Phew! That’s it for our far-reaching (and increasingly outlandish) round-up of expectations for Super Mario Maker 2. Which of these do you see making the grade in the final game? What have we missed that you think would make a great addition? Let us know in the comments below.