Super Mario Maker 2 may be just over a month away, but today's Nintendo Direct broke down all the gameplay additions and features coming to the Switch sequel. From feline Bowser and offline play to full-on multiplayer battles, it seems like this Mario Maker isn't just a polished port.
What's returning is still all the major beats of Super Mario Maker you would expect. A terrain editor, the ability to share and upload levels for others to play, and all four of the same Mario titles: Bros., Bros. 3, World, and New Super Mario Bros U. You can place items (or enemies) in blocks, test your course, and flip between biomes and game settings at will. So what's new? Well, a whole lot.
Slopes and Other New Level Tools
Slopes make a triumphant return, with options for varying degrees of severity to ramp up or slow down Mario's skid to the bottom. Several different block types are making their debut, including on/off switches, snake blocks (with determinable trajectories), seesaws, swinging claws, and the angry sun. This celestial being of pure fire is really ticked.
You can make greater changes to your worlds as well, by creating water levels that rise and fall, vertical scroll levels that force Mario to climb ever-higher, and an interesting tool called the scroll stop, which stops curious players from peeking through walls by running against the edge of them. It'll be so much easier to hide all the surprise rooms now!
Mario can actually hop into a Dry Bones shell, not only allowing him to basically boat across lava, but also sink into an invincible (but immobile) pile of bones for a short period of time. Creepy. There are also big coins of varying denominations and a the big ol' Banzai Bills, which can be made into homing missiles.
Sound effects are back in, with a plethora of new additions like a pig oink and a dramatic cut to black and white. A number of other new enemies and obstacles are coming too, like the Twister, Red Yoshi, Boom Boom, and icicles. And you can set new clear conditions, like "defeat X number of Dry Bones."
A New Mario Maker 2 Story Mode
If this is a lot, don't worry. You can make levels with a friend, both editing at the same time. But if you want a crash course, Nintendo is including a story mode to walk you through the basics.
The story mode is based around a palace that is slowly rebuilt using coins earned by completing levels. It features levels made by the Nintendo development team designed to teach you cool tricks, while also giving you a basic rundown of Mario techniques. Plus, plenty of Mario characters show up to give you tasks to do and parts of the palace to rebuild.
Story mode was first introduced in the somewhat forgotten Super Mario Maker for 3DS, which former editor Jeremy Parish seemed to like a lot. It's exciting to see it returning on the also very portable Nintendo Switch.
The New Super Mario 3D World Tileset and Online Mode
In the meantime, the New Super Mario 3D World tileset makes its debut in this game as well, and it changes a lot. While it's too different from the other games to let levels directly port across, all the gameplay mechanics from 3D World seem to have made it over, like clear pipes and catsuits. Most importantly, there is feline Bowser.
Of course, where the real Mario Makin' happens is online, and there are a lot of nice quality-of-life improvements to the online experience. Being able to download levels to play offline, and create local lobbies with friends (provided one has a stable internet connection) are nice ways to foster more group dynamics in Mario levels, especially alongside the new multiplayer mode. Up to four players can either compete or cooperate through levels, playing as Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Toadette.
There also new creation tools, letting users tag their work with phrases like "speedrun" or "Auto-Mario," a popular online variant where you simply had to hold right and watch the spectacle play out. Super Mario Maker 2 will also be part of Nintendo's new voucher program, where you can get two games for a discounted price. So if you're late to Breath of the Wild or Smash Bros., you actually lucked out a little.
There is a lot of new stuff in Super Mario Maker 2, which is exciting on its own but even more intriguing to see where creators can take it. Considering the massive puzzle levels and clockwork machines players developed on the Wii U version, it's going to be really great seeing what can be done with Super Mario Maker 2 when it lands on the Nintendo Switch on June 28.