And while Super Mario Maker 2 does indeed have its own story mode — Mario is tasked to rebuild a castle by earning coins completing levels for Toads and other Mushroom Kingdom folk — filled with courses crafted by Nintendo’s expert game makers, it’s quite unlike what we’ve experienced in past Mario platformers.
It contains endless hours of fun for fans of the iconic plumber, including: a lengthy story mode filled with Nintendo-made courses that act, more or less, as both tutorial and inspiration for what you can make yourself; a level editor that provides players with even more items, themes and tools to create the Mario courses of their wildest dreams; and a smartly designed and moderated community that makes it easy to find, share and provide feedback on your favourite levels.
Much like my drawings and stories, I’ll make these courses without expecting them to ever be seen by more than a few people. (If my experience with the original Super Mario Maker taught me anything, it’s that getting your levels noticed and elevated within the community is perhaps the game’s hardest challenge.
By my count there were two significant problems with 2015’s Super Mario Maker, which was less a game than an astoundingly accessible game creation tool that allowed players to quickly design and share their own side-scrolling Mario levels.
But my reason for playing Super Mario Maker 2 isn’t to work through its only so-so Nintendo-made levels (though I have), or even to find and experience the handful of brilliant levels the community will eventually produce (which I will).
Super Mario Maker 2 provides players all the tools necessary to build the side-scrolling Super Mario platformer levels of their dreams.
What need do players have of future side-scrolling Mario adventures — a staple of Nintendo’s game library for decades — when they have access to essentially limitless player-designed levels in one game?
And in that, at least, Super Mario Maker 2 does share something in common with the many Super Mario games that inspired it: In the end, I played those for no other reason than personal satisfaction as well.