Super Mario Maker 2 Review

July 17, 2019

By the time Super Mario Maker was released back in 2015, my Wii U had already effectively been relegated to the closet. While I may not have played the game, I did see a myriad of amazing, creative and dastardly difficult levels that were created by its incredible fans. Come 2019 and a sequel is here, with new parts, a new style and new single and multiplayer modes to boot. Super Mario Maker 2 is a fantastic entry point for those interested in constructing their own Mario experiences, but its short single player experience and virtually unplayable online multiplayer modes hold it back from greatness.

Making is the name of the game in Super Mario Maker 2, so it’s not too surprising that this is where the game truly shines. Gone are a bunch of the apparent limitations of the original, giving you significantly more creative freedom this time around. Vertical levels, auto-scrolling levels with customisable scroll directions/speeds, creatable rooms and the new Super Mario 3D World style are the most notable changes, but they only encompass a tiny percentage of the additions. While this could easily lead to a mess of clutter whenever you need to look for an item to use, the game’s UI does a great job of grouping and parsing them out into easy to track wheels. This makes everything easy to find and select, especially when your Switch is docked, but the lack of a handheld specific UI mode is a bit disappointing. Especially as the Switch’s touch screen is the best and easiest way to place items and design levels.

Jumping into the building system itself, Super Mario Maker 2 is an incredibly flexible game that really facilitates creation. Starting with an initial tiny bit of stage, you’re totally free to dabble and create to your heart’s content. Want to create a slow-burn platforming experience that requires precise timing, but not pinpoint platforming skills? You can! Want to create an elaborate puzzle stage that eschews platforming entirely in favour of experimentation? Totally doable. Want to create a slapdash race that requires incredible speed and decision making? Why not! Through the myriad items, alterable time limits and objectives that you can set for levels, Super Mario Maker 2 really is an amazing creation tool. Even if there still isn’t an easy or simple way to share your levels with your friends.

Does all of this freedom sound a little daunting to you? Would you prefer some structure or maybe a tutorial? Well, that’s where Super Mario Maker 2’s story mode comes into play. Princess Peach’s castle has been destroyed and it’s up to Mario to solely fund the rebuild by taking on odd jobs from some shady characters posting on a job board. Each of these odd jobs involves jumping into a short level and completing the objective the job giver has set. These can range from carrying a rock to the end of a level, to collecting 50 coins, to simply managing making it to the end of a level. The more difficult the level, the more coins you’ll earn and the faster you can begin your next building job. There’s a massive variety in the level design, keeping things fresh and interesting as your progress through them, but their relatively short length stops any of them from being particularly memorable. Their short length is potentially due to them effectively being a practical learning tutorial, as many of the levels focus in on gimmicks tied to singular items or design, basically teaching you how you can utilise them when building your own levels. You’ll be able to easily rebuild the castle within 5-6 hours, so don’t go in expecting a lengthy campaign filled with themed worlds. If you’re after the type of single player experience you’ve grown used to from Mario games, you’d be best looking elsewhere.

The final big addition to Super Mario Maker 2, and the only one to truly disappoint, is the new competitive online multiplayer. Without the ability to compete against friends – this is coming in a future update to the game – you’re pitted against other players online in different tests of skill. Competitive Mario sounds like something that could be utterly amazing, but its implementation is so poor in the game that I can’t suggest trying it out in any way, shape or form. Assuming you can get past the connection drops outs – which are only triggered after waiting an uncancellable 30 seconds – you’re faced with lag so bad that the game is unplayable. There was more than one occasion where the lag and latency I faced were so bad that I could count for a couple of seconds before my controller input triggered on screen. Nintendo has become known for issues with netcode and online connectivity over the years, but this is easily their worst effort in recent memory.

In the end, Super Mario Maker 2 excels at its baseline principle – being an amazing vessel for your Mario creations. Beyond this, the additional trappings of the game leave a bit to be desired. There’s the incredibly short campaign that is really just a tutorial to show you how different items can be used and the continuing lack of easy ways to share levels with friends. Worst of all, however, is the online competitive mode that is nigh on unplayable thanks to some of the worst lag and latency I’ve experienced in a game to date. If you’re looking to get down and dirty with creation or play some great fanmade levels, Super Mario Maker 2 is for you, but I would otherwise suggest holding out a little while longer.



- Myriad of options for level creation
- Single player campaign works well to show how items can be used for your own creations
- UI is fantastic for creating on TV
- Heaps of amazing levels created by fans


- Single player campaign is short
- Still no easy ways to share levels with friends
- Online modes have some of the worst latency I've ever seen

Overall Score: