**Take note, Washington Post**
I’ll skip the mechanics of making a Mario level… Everyone else who’s already posted a review has done that. It’s easy. My five year old can do it with minimal training and no tutorial. This shouldn’t be the hard part, though. The hard part is putting an enjoyable level together.
As a published author (don’t bother holding your applause), I have a certain amount of creative thought process at my disposal. Sure, I can make any level hard by tossing a bunch of enemies or large pits, but I’d rather make one that unfolds as you play it. There’s not enough in there to tell a full story via a Super Mario Level (as I heard some egomaniacs say… Can you believe those egomaniacs?!), but there is enough to make a level that’s both challenging and fun to play through.
Mario starts his walk under the serene blue sky. A Goombah walks towards him, malice in his heart and ill intent on his mind. Mario has no choice. He leaps in the air, aiming his size twelve and a half work boots towards the earth, and smashes the Goombah into a bloody pancake. He thinks he is in the clear, but as he leaps over a green pipe, he sees the landscape ahead of him. Koopa Troopas walking back and forth and Piraña Plants popping out of pipes, ready to bite his nether regions. He thinks back to a time where he was a simple plumber, but those days are sadly in the past. There is only one thing that concerns Mario now: Being super and smashing the ever-living fuck out of Bowser’s ass.
Now that’s the setup for a fucking Mario level!
My daughter and wife are also an accomplished Mario Makers as well. My daughter creates out of pure sadism, challenging me to beat her impossibly hard levels. One minute I’m on an airship, and the next I’m underwater, battling a Bowser with wings. It’s bad enough that Bowser is underwater, but why does he have wing?! You’re a twisted little girl!!!
My wife’s Super Mario sadism is much more precise. She’ll give you a sense of security before sending you down a pipe without any hope of escaping her torturous maze of hellish terror on the other side. The only reason I can beat the level of hers I posted is because I saw her make it. I know where the pipe is that leads to the end!
Now on to the blooper reel that is the menagerie of uploaded levels on the Mario server…
I will agree with that Washington Post douche (the one who overuses the word “antithesis”) on the amount of bad levels uploaded into Nintendo’s servers, though. There’s countless Rude Goldberg-esque “Don’t Touch Anything” levels, where a trampoline is fired at Mario, bouncing him around the screen like loose change in Michael J Fox’s pocket. I swear I got three of these the other day in the 100 Mario Challenge.
There’s also those levels where there’s piles upon piles of bad guys. One of the features of Mario Maker lets you make one bad guy piggy back on top of another. Imaging a Goombah riding atop a Hammer Brother! OK… That’s not too horrifying, but you get my point. I actually saw a Hammer Brother riding a giant Koopa Troopa like a horse the other day. Now that looked cool. What I’m talking about is something like twenty enemies, all piled upon each other and bumping around like the world’s most overcrowded Koopa-esque orgy, making it virtually impossible to pass without dying the most horrible of deaths.
There’s also the insanely difficult. Some makers will put the word “hard” on their description, so you know what you’re getting into. Making an impossibly hard level isn’t a bad thing if you’re looking for the most hardcore of players to take on your course. I’m a medium-core kind of guy, so something with a large fun-factor appeals to me more than flailing about over lava or spikes, wondering when my body would be burned to death like the time my pop tarts got stuck in the toaster.
Also, fuck water levels! There, I said it.
To ensure you play some of the levels listed above against your will; Nintendo created the aforementioned “100 Mario Challenge”, where you have one hundred lives to finish sixteen randomly chosen levels. You do have the option to skip a level if it’s annoyingly hard or you’re just not feeling it, though. You just won’t get any wasted lives back (not even your own… OH!). The game does make the maker complete their own level before posting it, so every level is actually beatable.
Nintendo did actually put in a limiter on posting levels if you totally suck. You can only post ten levels until you earn fifty stars. Once you hit fifty, you can post up to twenty levels. I’m assuming this number keeps moving. I just hit fifty stars with my ten levels, so I’ve upgraded to being able to post ten more. Maybe I can post thirty levels at a hundred stars. Oh, the places I’ll go!
There are ways around the level limit (like anything). Just find five friends who have it, post ten levels, and have them star each one. Bam! You get fifty stars, but you take the fun out of trying to make decent levels, you troll fucks. You can also delete your old levels, keeping the stars earned from said level. This would take longer, but you’ll be able to keep creating and posting. I was able to get this with my ten levels (one is my wife’s and one is my daughter’s), without trolling Nintendo or their online community to do so. Yay me.
So what’s your best bet to have an enjoyable experience playing Mario Maker and not just making? If I have to tell you, you’re an idiot. Take to the internet, dorks! Post your creation on Twitter, and hashtag that bitch up. Join a Mario Maker community or two. There’s plenty out there already.
OK… Now I have to plug the community I joined (MarioMade.com). Not because I have to, but because I’ve actually had a great time playing the levels posted, and they’ve enjoyed mine (so they say). You can pick and choose what you play (rather than the random dumpings of the 100 Mario Challenge), you can star those people from the site, and you can reply directly on the site so others can see what you thought (rather than leaving those sometime annoying in-level messages). I’ve had a ton of fun with these levels, and they’re good people.
I’ll post a link to my levels from MarioMade.com if you have Mario Maker, and you’re interested in playing them (I recommend my toilet-themed level called “Go Flush Yourself!”).