It's a wonderful time of year. Summer is in full blaze, the heat bearing down upon us, and so we retreat inside, to the comfort of air conditioning and the soft glow of our Nintendo Switch. It's that time of year for making Mario levels in Super Mario Maker 2, and even in the nascent days of course creation, there are some stellar creations floating around out there.
A good few of us have been playing in our spare time, and while this is only a smattering of what's out there among the hundreds of courses already uploaded, these are the ones that have caught our eye. Our own Mike Williams recorded himself playing through them so you can get an idea of what each one is like, especially on the difficulty scale. (Sorry, Mike.)
Here are the courses we think you should be checking out this week:
Shrine of the Sacred Stiletto
Celeste developer Matt Thorson has made a number of different levels, but the Shrine of the Sacred Stiletto stood out due to how much it feels like a Celeste game within Mario. It starts with a fairly basic tutorial of the mechanics you'll be using—namely, the shoe—before giving you a clear flag and laying out several challenge rooms. Each feels like a sequestered screen from Celeste, imposing a new twist on you to up your mastery with the level's mechanic. It's a great early use of the changes to room limitations and the addition of red coins to create stages within a level.
Bad Time Forest
It's hard to make a list without mentioning one of Dan Ryckert's levels. The Giant Bomb editor also has a side hobby of enraging Super Mario Maker players with the levels he concocts, bolstered by his rivalry with Waypoint's Patrick Klepek. But Dan finds ways to build in small puzzles and sequences of events that need to be completed, like a Machiavellian lockbox. It's evil, and I love to loathe it.
Mario & The UFO Catcher Factory
We have to shout out one of our own, as Caty's level makes use of the claws and moving platforms to do some narrative work. Mario, trapped in the crane game factory, trying to escape, and maybe not waiting long enough after the Thwomp dropped. (That's a free tip for you.)
Galoomba Speedrun #2
Not quite an auto-runner, this one requires pinpoint speed and timing. But this speedrun course is also a cool example of a rising trend in Mario makers who are building some of the more difficult courses; they notate different areas where you're supposed to do certain actions using the line tool, so you can kind of sight-read and glean the movements you're supposed to be doing on the fly. It's a much more approachable course than some of the kaizo levels, and still makes you feel pretty cool.
Double Dare Mario
The course maker here uses the goal objectives to recreate the Double Dare television game show inside Mario Maker, and it seriously works. Diving into a sea of mushrooms, breaking down walls, and hopping across pits all feel like the real end-of-episode obstacle course run, metered by a ticking timer. This is a fun one to show to friends and watch them try to suss it out, as it's challenging without being mechanically overwhelming.
Follow The Coins
Another fun runner level, this one is a lot more straightforward than the Galoomba speedrun from earlier. You basically follow the coins... for the most part. While it's fairly straightforward, it's the end of the level that really makes use of all the new tricks and tools in Super Mario Maker 2's arsenal to end on a high note.
That Goomba Had A Family
Narrative levels are an odd duck in Mario Maker, but every once in a while, one comes along that really nails it. Chris Kohler over at Kotaku made this one, starting simple enough and then really going places. I'd feel a little bad for spoiling the twists and turns in this Mario course, or even that a Mario course has twists and turns, so I'd just say check it out. It's not that hard of a level, and it's pretty worth seeing through to the end.