Now updated with the Master Sword, the Super Mario Bros. 2 Mushroom and much more from the final v. 3.0 update!
The sheer number of possibilities and combinations available to creators in Super Mario Maker 2 is a little mind-boggling. The deluge of options including terrain, items, enemies and gizmos can be overwhelming to new players, and there are likely properties inherent to certain elements that even veterans aren't aware of.
With that in mind, we've put together the following guide concentrating purely on power-ups. These items enhance Mario (or your chosen character) in some way, bestowing unique abilities and enabling them to negotiate terrain and traps that regular old Mario couldn't handle without the pep of a power-up.
Ranging from the common Super Mushroom to the mighty Clown Car - and including the mighty Master Sword from The Legend of Zelda - the list below gives a rundown of each power-up's ability and/or limitations. Our lovely video producer Alex covered this very topic in a video (see below), but if you prefer text over those new-fangled 'talkies', or you simply want to check an individual power-up, this guide is for you. If you want to see any or all of these in action, be sure to check out the video.
Here we go!
You're almost certainly familiar with this one, but we can't leave it out. The most basic power-up, the Super Mushroom allows you to take one hit of damage, gives you the ability to break standard blocks and makes you twice as large as normal (turning you from regular Mario into Super Mario, in fact). Your increased size means you can't access small holes, although you can run and duck to slide under low blocks, so keep that in mind.
Additionally, in the Super Mario World game style the Super Mushroom gives you the ability to destroy normal blocks underfoot simply by tapping a shoulder button to Spin Jump.
Eating the Fire Flower ('eating' - is that what Mario's doing with the assorted plants and random stuff he finds in boxes?) allows you to shoot a bouncing fireball by pressing the run button. This fireball will dissipate on impact and will destroy most enemies.
The fireball will also ignite the fuse of any Bob-omb. However, Buzzy Beetles, Dry Bones and Munchers are unaffected by the fiery ball o' death the Fire Flower produces (Munchers, in particular, are stubborn opponents, although that does make them a very interesting element to incorporate into your courses, as we'll see later on). The Fire Flower also enables you to take two hits.
The imaginatively named Big Mushroom makes you big, blowing up regular Mario's sprite to the height of Super Mario while also adding double the girth. Overall, he resembles the huge Classic Mario amiibo released for the plumber's 30th anniversary and even though he's simply an enlarged version of his regular self, this bruiser packs quite a punch.
Exclusive to the Super Mario Bros. game style, it allows you to break spent '?' blocks and hard blocks from above or below simply by jumping on them or headbutting them.
The big mushroom also allows you to withstand two hits of damage before losing a life.
Really? Blimey, you are new to this Mario business. The 1-Up Mushroom bestows an extra life (or 'Mario') on the player. It has no other positive effect and arguably isn't even a power-up, but it looks like the other mushrooms and an extra life is always a plus, so we've included it for the sake of comprehensiveness. You're not getting a picture, mind.
Shoe Goomba (or Kuribo's Shoe)
This green shoe is a particularly useful item. It comes containing a Goomba (or Kuribo in Japanese, hence the original name) which you'll have to bop to get rid of. Once vacated, you can hop across previously fatal objects and enemies such as Thwomps, Munchers and Spikes. You can defeat Piranha Plants and Lava Bubbles as if they were Goombas simply by hopping on them. Hitting any of the shoulder buttons while airborne enables you to leap from the shoe for extra height.
That's not all, though. By making a Giant Shoe Goomba (simply drag a Super Mushroom onto it in the editor to 'embiggen' it), you also get a powerful Ground Pound (by hitting down in midair) capable of destroying even a mighty Muncher!
Finally, you can also change the Shoe to the Stiletto (simply hold down on it to select the alternative). This gives you the ability to destroy blocks, Thwomps and even Bullet Bill Blasters with the Ground Pound, and you'll also be impervious to Grinders (although you can still take damage from the sides or above). Nice!
Super Star (or Starman)
Yep, another famous one. The Super Star power-up, or Starman if you're old-school, makes you invincible and deadly to all but the mightiest enemies. No, those hardy Munchers won't be harmed if you touch them, but on the other hand, they can't harm you either. This means you can safely walk across them all the time the power-up (and its toe-tapping tune) lasts.
As catchy as the music might be, don't let the Starman blow your mind - this little guy won't make you impervious to death via bottomless pit, so mind your step and don't get carried away.
DO-DO-DO DO DO DA-DO DO, do-do-do do do da-do do...
Exclusive to the Super Mario Bros. 3 game style, the Super Leaf transforms you into Raccoon Mario. This gives you the ability to slowly float downwards while airborne (tap the jump button repeatedly).
Tapping the run button lets you spin and knock enemies beside you with your tail (also letting you destroy normal blocks and activate '?' blocks). Munchers are, of course, impervious to your deadly tail, but Munchers can't fly, can they! Well, unless you put wings on them.
By running at full pelt for a short while, Raccoon Mario can temporarily take to the skies, making this an extremely versatile power-up. You also get your standard two hits of damage.
This variation of the Super Leaf can be found in the Super Mario World game style and, true to its name, it enables you to fly with a cape. Slowly descents are now achieved simply by holding the jump button (a little easier on the digits) and although you take off in the same way as you do using the Super Leaf, it's possible to maintain your flight indefinitely by carefully timing left and right hits on the left stick or D-pad to dive and pull up repeatedly. It takes some practice, but once you've mastered flight with the cape, the (Super Mario) world is your oyster.
While in flight, holding the direction you're facing to dive bomb into the ground will unleash a POW block-style shockwave that can even kill those pesky Munchers. Powerful little number, the Cape Feather.
Yoshi (Yoshi's Egg)
Yoshi is a powerful companion with a variety of attributes. He can gobble most enemies or projectiles (even through walls), and if they leave behind a shell he's able to spit that out. He's also able to walk on top of Munchers, Thwomps, Spikes and the like.
By mixing a Yoshi Egg with a Super Mushroom in the editor, you'll get Red Yoshi. Instead of ingesting enemies with the aid of his enormous tongue, this brand of dinosaur spits unlimited fireballs horizontally (with the same damaging properties as a fireball from a Fire Flower). If you happen to be Fire Mario when you mount your Jurassic steed, Yoshi will spit three fireballs rather than one. Sweet!
Yoshi is impervious to Grinders underfoot and taking a hit while riding him will make the dinosaur scamper away, although you're able to jump back on him if you're quick. You can also leap off him in midair by hitting a shoulder button for extra height. Thanks Yoshi! Sorry for punching you in the face all those times.
Unique to the New Super Mario Bros. U game style, pressing a shoulder button with the Propeller Mushroom headgear spins you upwards sharply - very handy for quick ascents to higher platforms.
Those blades on your head will destroy normal blocks above you and holding down after this will drill you down through normal blocks below as well. You descend to the ground slower than usual after spinning upwards, too.
The Propeller Mushroom provides the now-standard two hits of damage. You know the drill by now.
Unique to the Super Mario 3D World game style, the Super Bell transforms you into the adorable Cat Mario. While in this furry form, Mario can swipe crates, normal blocks and '!' blocks by tapping the run button.
Cat Mario can also run up and grip onto semi-solid platforms and also scale normal walls (although you'll slide down these after a moment).
Pressing any of the shoulder buttons midair will send you into a diagonal downwards dive in the direction you're facing and you get the standard two hits before losing a life.
Shell Helmet (or 'Shelmet')
Is it a power-up? Is it an accessory? Whatever the nomenclature, it's a handy little pick-up that enables you to survive all sorts of nastiness falling from above that would otherwise deal a dose of death.
You'll find the Shell Helmet by holding down on a Buzzy Beetle and selecting the pop-up option. You can get this on your head by jumping into it as it falls from above - the only way to wear this in the Super Mario Bros. style where you can't hold shells - or by pressing down while holding the shell.
While wearing it you'll be impervious to attacks and projectiles coming from directly overhead. Lava Bubbles and Thwomps can't hurt you and you can even push the latter higher than their original starting position. Munchers can also be pushed up from below, although they'll still munch you from beneath, given the chance.
Spiny Shell Helmet
Alternatively referred to as the 'Spiny Shelmet' (or 'Spelmet' if you really want to compound your portmanteaus), this variant is accessed by holding down on a Spiny rather than a Buzzy Beetle.
It offers similar protection but with added attack power. All the previously mentioned enemies will succumb when they strike down on the Spiny Shelmet and it can also be used to break hard blocks above you, although Spike Traps can't be destroyed with a spiky Shelmet.
You can't fight fire with fire, after all.
Dry Bones Shell
An alternative available when you hold down on a Dry Bones placed in your course, the Dry Bones Shell is a serious bit of kit. Once you're in it (either jump straight in or pick it up and hold down), you're essentially impervious to damage from below.
Yes, yes, so how's it different to the Goomba Shoe or Yoshi, then? Ah, try jumping in lava with either of those and you'll meet an instant fiery end. Doing the same while riding in a Dry Bones Shell will turn the same scenario into a pleasure cruise in what is essentially an indestructible, bony boat.
That's just the beginning, though. The shell protects you on the sides as well, and holding down while stationary will turn you into a pile of (dry) bones which is entirely invulnerable to any damage, as if you weren't even on screen. This also allows you to pass through grinders unharmed.
On top of all of that, it gives you one additional hit if you somehow manage to get hit from above.
Koopa Clown Car
Technically an enemy, jumping into this flying contraption gives you full 360° movement across the screen simply by pushing in the direction of your choice, although it will gradually descend towards to the ground without any directional input at all, so you'll need to pay attention while piloting the Clown Car.
Enemies can be defeated by landing on their head thanks to the propeller on the vehicle's underside, although the Clown Car offers zero protection from the sides and doesn't give you any additional damage hits, either.
Just when you thought everything gave you an extra hit!
Fire Clown Car
The Fire Clown Car variant (hold down on the element in your course to select this alternative) is essentially identical control-wise but in addition to its wicked paint job, it also enables you to craft horizontal scrolling shmups in Super Mario Maker 2.
Hitting the run button in the Fire Clown Car shoots a fiery shot out horizontally from the Clown Car's 'mouth'. We're not entirely sure if the vehicle is sentient or not, but Mario's always had a lassez-faire attitude to the rights and privileges of the various beasts that occupy the Mushroom Kingdom, so why start worrying now? You're riding in the brain cavity of a floating clown head - end of.
Most importantly, holding down the run button charges the shot and releasing it unleashes a super powerful blast which destroys hard blocks. If you've recently devoured a Fire Flower, the car will fire a triple shot which is similarly 'embiggened' by charging. And on the subject of embiggening (where did this word come from?), if you jump into the Fire Clown Car while inside a giant shoe or stiletto, your projectiles will also grow in size accordingly, resulting in some devastating triple charge shots.
Another enemy, you can get this by one of two methods; either jump on the Lakitu riding his fluffy cloud or simply hold down on a Lakitu placed in your course.
The Cloud has very similar movement and dexterity to the Clown Cars (and also skirts the existential abyss by having a happy little face). The Cloud, though, isn't affected by gravity and will stay put without needing directional input to maintain altitude.
However, it obviously lacks the explosive firepower of the Fire Clown Car and it's only a temporary vehicle, too. Once it begins flashing, make sure you jump to safety before it disappears and goes to the great cloud... place in the sky. Otherwise known as 'the sky'.
Hmm, just where do dead clouds go?
Koopa Troopa Car
Exclusive to the Super Mario 3D World game style, you'll have to bosh the occupying Koopa Troopa on the head to steal his ride, but once the driver's seat is vacant you're able to hop in and burn some rubber.
The car moves automatically in the direction you're facing and you're able to defeat the majority of enemies by simply driving into them or jumping on their heads. You can also use springs to bounce the car back in the opposite direction without damaging the bodywork.
The car will also protect you against Spike Blocks, although avoid driving into walls. It gives you three hits of protection but the third hit will unfortunately destroy the automobile entirely.
The Master Sword from The Legend of Zelda
Coming via an update and only available in the 8-bit Super Mario Bros. Game Style, collecting the Master Sword transforms Mario into Link; multi-talented musician, friend of fairies, scourge of Ganon(dorf) and general Hero of Time.
So just like the Link Mystery Mushroom from the original Mario Maker then, we hear you say. Oh no. Oh no no no. You see, the Master Sword not only bestows the Hylian one's boyish good looks on the plump plumber, but also gifts him a variety of abilities usually reserved for an epic quest through the land of Hyrule.
The ability to stab enemies directly in front of you is a given seeing as you're now brandishing a sword, but as Link you're also able to fire arrows either straight, or diagonally up or down. The projectile's flight decays as it flies, creating the opportunity for puzzles where you must shoot over a block to hit an obscured object such as a switch or a coin.
Additionally, Link has access to Bombs which do exactly what you'd expect them to - they blow stuff up - and he also possesses a Shield, meaning he can deflect and defend himself from projectiles. The Pegasus Boots enable a Dash Attack and he can Down Thrust with the sword. Throw in all the interactions with the Shell Helmets, the Clown Cars and other gubbins above, and the addition of the Master Sword looks to be the biggest game-changer we've yet seen in Super Mario Maker 2.
In order to select the Master Sword, place a Super Mushroom in your level and then change its type to the sacred blade infused with the spirit of Fi. Remember, though, that it will only appear as an option in the 8-bit Super Mario Bros. Game Style.
And here is a brief roundup of all the power-ups that came to the game in the final v.3.0 update:
Arriving in update v.3.0, the SMB2 Mushroom transforms you into Super Mario Bros. 2 Mario and enables you to ride on enemies and throw them (in the Super Mario Bros. game style only).
The Frog Suit (which is only available in the Super Mario Bros. 3 game style) enables you to swim with ease and run across the surface of water.
The Power Balloon is only available in the Super Mario World game style and enables you to float through the sky, not unlike the Frog Suit in water.
The Super Acorn turns you into Flying Squirrel Mario. Only available in the New Super Mario Bros. U game style, you can glide and hang onto walls indefinitely using this power-up.
The Boomerang Flower enables you to throw a boomerang (natch) at enemies and is only available in the Super Mario 3D World game style.
Fire cannonballs using the Cannon Box and hold down the button to charge your shots. Only available in the Super Mario 3D World game style
Using the Propeller Box you can race upwards up to three times higher than a standard jump. Holding down while in mid-air causes you to rush down faster than usual. Only available in the Super Mario 3D World game style.
Red POW Box
Put the Red POW Box on your head and you can let rip with a POW-erful strike that hits a whole bunch of blocks overhead up to three times. Only available in the Super Mario 3D World game style.
Wear the Goomba Mask to disguise yourself as a humble minion of Bowser and fool enemies into thinking you're one of the gang.
Bullet Bill Mask
Wearing the Bullet Bill Mash enables you to fly horizontally for as long as the timer allows.
Super Secret Spoiler-y Unlockable Power-Ups
Below we've sequestered two unique power-ups only available by playing through Story Mode. If you're not bothered about minor spoilers (you've probably seen these before anyway), carry right on. If, however, you're super determined to discover them for yourself, away with you to Story Mode!
Still here? Of course you are...
First up, it's the Super Hammer. Another unique item for the Super Mario 3D World style, the hammer breaks through all types of blocks. It's also pretty deadly against enemies, making short work of Thwomps and the like.
Holding up and pressing the run button enables you to summon up to five crates from thin air which you can use to climb or make platforms to protect yourself from Spike Blocks. Handy! You can throw the crates around and destroy them at will.
This is a pretty special power-up that opens the door for new types of level ideas, much like the last item on our power-up round-up...
Finally, we have the Super Ball Flower. Exclusive to the Super Mario Bros. style, it's an alternative for the Fire Flower (hold down on a Fire Flower already in your course to select it). Nabbing it will turn Mario (or your chosen character) Game Boy green harking back to Super Mario Land on Nintendo's first handheld games console.
Although superficially similar to the Fire Flower, the Super Balls continue in one direction until they bounce off a surface or hit an enemy. They can also be used to collect coins of any variety and to activate P Switches (although not On/Off Switches).
And, as you probably expect by now if you've read through all of the above, it gives you protection from two damage hits.
All this is immaterial, though, because the Super Ball Flower is without doubt the finest power-up on this list by virtue of the Birabuto Kingdom theme it plays while you wield it. Everyone's always screaming for objectivity - here it is! The Super Ball Flower: objectively the best Mario power-up in Super Mario Maker 2, and indeed in any Mario game, ever. Yep.
Thanks to user LavaTwilight for pointing out a couple of the Fire Flower combos we'd missed. Let us know if you've got any questions regarding any of these in the comments below and we'll do our best to answer them. Also, feel free to share your finest course creations with the Nintendo Life community.