Officially announced back at E3 during Nintendo’s Digital Event, Mario Maker is now a thing and it already looks great. It allows you to make your own levels using the basics: a variety of platforms, Koopas, Goombas, mushrooms, and pipes. It also lets you switch the visual style from the original Super Mario Bros. to New Super Mario Bros. U, though the physics and controls stay the same. The best part is that it’s incredibly easy to use. Using the GamePad’s touch screen, designing your levels to the exact inch is incredibly easy. The layout’s great; it’s simple, straightforward, and easy to find all of the objects available. You can also go from testing your level to editing it instantly with just the push of a button.
This looks to provide a ton of content for a long time; for ten dollars or so, that E3 demo is a must-buy. However, for something that already seems so complete, it is a long ways from release and every interview we’ve seen with the creators indicates that what we have seen so far is little more than a tech demo of the final product. So here’s the question: what sort of improvements ought the final game make on what we have seen thus far?
More Visual Types and Different Physics
Right now, there are two options of visual styles: retro and modern. Unfortunately, when it comes to physics, they both control the same. That’s a bit of a problem because, as great as Super Mario Bros. was, the physics were rather clunky. Later games improved on that immensely and, while the NSMB games’ physics were not perfect, they are far superior and it would go a long ways if Mario Maker allowed both types of physics to be used.
While we’re at it, how about more visual styles? Add Super Mario Bros. 3 in there! Mario World is by far one of the best and most popular games to hack and there’s a reason for that; it’s perfect for this sort of thing. We should get to make levels with these styles, as well as the original and modern — not just in art, but in physics, too. While we’re daydreaming, how about some water levels for all of these different styles?
Tons of Options
We have the basic enemies and objects for a Mario platformer: Koopas, Goombas, Hammer Bros., question mark blocks, springs, mushrooms, moving platforms, and a few others. What we haven’t seen are: angry suns, Lakitus, Bob-ombs, Chargin’ Chucks, Cheep-Cheeps, and Boos — basically, the rest of the Mario universe. Though much can be done with the limited amount of options, having more options means cooler, more varied, more fun, and more creative levels from everyone.
Here’s the thing: they should pack in as much as they can. Not just the obvious platforms and objects, but everything out there. All the different enemies and types of objects from SMB, NSMBU, and any other game styles they include. How about power-ups? More than just mushrooms and fire flowers, how about we get penguins and mini-mushrooms, too? It’s a tall order to ask for so many options, but come on. Just imagine how awesome it would be. The more options available, though, the harder it will be to keep track of everything. If this is done, even with tons of of options, Nintendo will still need to keep the layout straightforward and easy to use.
This is a must: there needs to be enough room to make some sizable levels. They shouldn’t limit the space; it ought to be massive, so that our levels can be massive. There shouldn’t be restricting barriers either vertically or horizontally as to how far our levels can expand, as that would only limit creativity.
Object and Room Customization
This one would be a bit tricky, but I think it could be done. How about some object customization? For example, connecting two warp pipes or choosing how far up a vine will go when you hit a block or controlling moving platforms that move in specific, complex ways. There should also be room customization, like defeating a certain amount of enemies to open the way forward, and the option to add bonus rooms, like caves full of coins and/or enemies. All would be huge additions to making the levels more fun and enjoyable, though the feasibility of adding such features is questionable.
Though the chances of this are next to zero, it would still be fantastic to be able to play through your own levels with a friend — or three — by your side. Not much explanation is needed here; it’d just be awesome to have simultaneous multiplayer. If not that, at least the option for switching off between Mario and Luigi a la the older games should be allowed.
Plenty of Settings
There’s currently only one level setting. For the retro visual style, it’s level 1-1; for the modern, it’s Acorn Plains. There should absolutely be more options in the finished product. For retro levels, there should also be caves, castles, and night. For modern, we should be given full reign: Acorn Plains, deserts, ice lands, beaches, forests, mines, the sky, lava, underground, and ghost houses. If we get different visual styles as discussed in the first section, they ought to all have their own settings. The Mario 3 style gets the settings Mario 3 had, so on and so forth.
In an interview, it was mentioned by one of the creators that they were considering the possibility of adding a music creator for the players to play around with, which would be so, so cool. If given enough depth, it could really make the experiences feel like our own. This would be a huge amount of extra work for the devs, but wow, would it be awesome.
Entire Mario Worlds and Games
Making separate levels will surely be a blast, but you know what would be even better? Making your own sets of levels. Stringing together different levels and settings and then sharing them with the world would be very satisfying and a ton of fun. Hopefully, Nintendo will allow for the option to share not just one level at a time, but a bunch of them combined at once — and maybe even include the option to put together a world map. If this does get included, how about unlockable levels? What if we can place Star Coins in our levels, which can be used to unlock new levels on the world map and really make it feel like a full experience?
Full details on how sharing will work are scarce, but all I know is two things: it should be easy to do and there should be lots of ways to do it. QR Codes a la Pushmo? Yup. Full public sharing through Miiverse? Absolutely. How about sending exclusively to friends? That should be there, too. Perhaps have pages showing all the levels specific users have made and a page showing the best of the best with a ranking system to help other users find the best stuff. We’re finally making our own Mario levels, dang it! We should have plenty of ways to show them off and find other people’s.
That Nintendo Charm
If there’s one thing to separate Mario Maker from the countless level creators, it’s likely going to be the simplicity, ease of use, and legality of the thing. After that, it’s the charm. In Mario Maker, the undo button is an adorable dog. Why? Well, why not? In addition to that, there’s the Mario Paint fly — again, for no major reason. It makes the experience feel less like a tool that leads to something fun and more like something fun in and of itself; in other words, it all feels very “Nintendo.” Hopefully, they keep up these little touches.
A 3DS Version
You know what’d be great? Mario Maker on the go. This is something else the devs seem to be considering and it’d be fantastic to see. More people would get to make their own levels and we’d all get to use it more. Especially if they include cross-play across the systems, this would be a brilliant thing to have. Who wouldn’t want to make craft levels on the go and then get home and play it with their friends on a big TV?
Some of this stuff is all but confirmed, but some of it is highly unlikely, and I do not expect all of what was listed above to be implemented; this is merely a wishlist of what all would be great to see. However, if Nintendo does add all of the above, the game would be worth a lot more than a mere fifteen-dollar download. With the above, Mario Maker could become a game that lasts for years, with infinite amounts of possibilities to keep things fresh — and who could resist that?