Mario Maker made almost too much sense when it was announced earlier this week at Nintendo’s Digital Event for E3. It’s taking a beloved franchise and putting it in the hands of both creative young children and devious platforming masterminds. As a survivor of the lost levels, I knew I had to give it a try—and lo and behold, Nintendo let us build our own little slice of chaos on the show floor.
The game is controlled almost entirely via the Wii U GamePad. Beginning in “Edit” mode, your resources are aligned on the top of the screen. Pipes which, once added to the map, can be lengthened or shortened, classic enemies like Hammer Bros. and Koopa Troopas, coin blocks, mushroom blocks—you name it. Just highlight the block you want, and put it anywhere on the grid outlined for you on the screen. It’s that simple.
On the bottom of the screen, you can press a dog’s face to “undo” your last action or, if you want, press the trash button icon and completely reset your canvas (using an animation drawn directly from Mario Paint). To test your level, you can press the director’s marker board icon, which will immediately load the level you’ve created. If you fall of an edge or hit an enemy, it’ll show you the path you took through the entire level and revert back to “edit” mode. Better yet, you can scroll Mario to any square on the map and have him start there.
Perhaps the coolest feature in this early demo, though, is the ability to switch between the 8-bit Super Mario Bros. style and the contemporary New Super Mario Bros. aesthetic. All you do is hit an icon in the top left corner, and bam—you’re in. Your assets change to those found in New Super Mario Bros U, and we were informed that we’d be seeing more than just the ability to edit variations of both games’ World 1, Stage 1.
I ended my session with Mario Maker watching another Siliconera staff member create an army of Mushroom Kingdom baddies to jump through. There was one icon, though, that confounded us—wings. Whenever placed on the map, they’d just fly away… and then we learned that they could be put on enemies.
We could make piranha plants fly—and fly they did!
Unfortunately, with just two foul steps, we died, instantly. We expect to see more levels available for editing at the time of release, as well as the ability to share levels you’ve created online, or with friends, at the very least. There’s no confirmation yet, but, that’s the talk of the town in Nintendo’s booth.
I’m excited to see what people come up with, and I sure hope it amounts to more than just elaborate reconstructions of particular genitalia.