You don't need to look hard to find courses themed around other games in Super Mario Maker 2, but the next update will definitely lead to an explosion of levels that blur the lines between the Mushroom Kingdom and Hyrule. On December 5, a significant content update to Super Mario Maker 2 will add a Master Sword power-up that transforms Mario into Link.
The new Master Sword power-up goes several steps beyond the amiibo costumes that could be used in the original Super Mario Maker. While those cosmetic changes worked well for themed courses, Super Mario Maker 2's Master Sword actually changes the player's moveset. As Link, players can slash, dash, block with their shield, do a downwards stab, shoot arrows, and drop bombs.
With all these abilities, courses designed around the Master Sword item can stand to be significantly different from the millions designed around regular Mario power-ups—we could probably see our first Zelda Kaizo stage before the end of next week. The Master Sword can only be used in stages using the original Super Mario Bros. theme, though.
All the available themes are receiving some new enemies and course items in the update as well. Pokeys and Spikes are joining the basic enemy pool, and all themes are receiving P-Blocks—think of them like On/Off blocks that are tied to a P-Switch's timer. Since the Super Mario 3D World theme is still a bit of an outlier moveset-wise it'll be the only one to receive the new Dash Blocks, while all other themes receive Frozen Coin Blocks.
Lastly, Super Mario Maker 2 is getting a new online mode in the form of Ninji Speedruns. These timed challenges will let players compete for the best time through a course, with everyone else's runs being displayed in Meat Boy-esque fashion with Ninji ghosts.
When Nintendo added the ability to play online with friends in October, the company promised more parts and items for Super Mario Maker 2—hopefully there'll be more additions like this down the road. We're about to get Link, so why not power-ups for Samus or Kirby?