The moment Nintendo announced Mario Maker 2, mouths began salivating at the endless possibilities. The first Mario Maker game offered millions of possibilities. A single new item to the formula instantly grows the possibilities exponentially. The trailer for Mario Maker 2 was jam packed with not just one new addition, but a plethora of amazing new tools for creators. We already have glimpses of slopes, on/off switches, 3D World, whirlwinds, angry sun, snake, variable water level, parachutes, and diverse backgrounds. Each addition will drastically change gameplay and level options for creators.
What else might be on the way for Mario Maker 2? Looking back through 2D Mario games will give us a hint at what might be added. To accomplish this, I will look back and highlight at least one thing from each game to add in the upcoming Mario Maker 2.
Super Mario Bros: Night Theme and Weight Platforms
The original game is almost completely accounted for in Mario Maker. There are only two minor additions to add. The first would be the night theme. This theme would not only change the background to black, but also gives a gray/silver pallet for many of the blocks and textures. A new theme can create a different feel for the stages and allow for new aesthetics.
The only other item I could find missing, was the weight platforms. Mario steps on one side of the platform and it raises the other side while you sink to oblivion. Essentially these platforms act as scales. This type of platform allows for challenging platforming and timing for players.
Lost Levels: Weather and Poison Mushroom
The Lost Levels add difficulty to the original Mario experience. Challenging obstacles can bring new puzzles, trolls, and super expert platforming. Weather could create a unique barrier for Mario to overcome. Wind to push Mario back would surprise and change simple jumps to dodge pits and Goombas.
Most the power ups in Mario Maker grant extra hits and super powers. Adding in the death mushroom will bring a new dynamic to troll levels. Poison mushrooms could be hidden behind other mushrooms, or pop out of a block or cannon surprising players. Creators have done amazing things with a mushroom’s movement for contraptions to unlock new areas. Current levels have also had Mario chase a mushroom to pass a power up check at the end of the level. With a poison mushroom, players could use the same dynamics or have the mushroom chase you. I can just hear the Simpson’s quote now, “In Mario Maker 2, Mushroom chases yoooou!”
Super Mario Bros 2: Everything!
Nintendo added the Super Mario 3D style. Here is hoping Super Mario 2 is the next style to be revealed. The style of Mario Bros 2 is drastically different from everything else out there. The reason for this is that this Mario was not really a Mario to begin with. Mario “Lost Levels” was the original Mario 2. The game was deemed too difficult for American audiences. As a result, Nintendo took the game Doki Doki Panic and changed the sprites to Mario and friends. Presto change-o, we now have a Mario game. It would make sense for Nintendo to ignore this step, but instead Nintendo embraced it when it released Super Mario Advanced for the Game Boy Advance. Welcoming this odd game into the Mario pantheon for all eternity.
The challenge with including this game in Mario Maker, is the drastically different tile set and game physics. The first Mario Maker has each style work virtually the same. Regular Super Mario World speedrunners observe the difficulty to go from SMBW to Mario Maker because of the change in shell jumps, Kaizo tricks, and general platforming. Mario Maker builds each style of the New Super Mario Bros engine.
The addition of Super Mario 3D will require different mechanics and engines. Now that Nintendo has opened Pandora ’s Box, there is no reason why Super Mario Bros 2 cannot be included. Even if it does not, there are a few items and things that Nintendo can steal from this game to include in Mario Maker 2. The safest thing to include would be enemies into another Mario theme. Shy Guy is a classic enemy that would be a great costume change for a goomba. The Ninji, black starlike creature, would also be fun as they can jump up platforms. Being able to pick up these enemies in a Mario World style, would allow them to be used like a shell.
Another simple way to give a nod to Super Mario Bros 2 would be to add in the backgrounds. If the game is too difficult to add, then allow Mario 1 and 3 to have a background from the second game. This would be a fun aesthetic change and not require a great deal of adaption to the game.
The final aspect to include would be different playable characters. In an effort to make all game themes similar, using the multiplayer mode found in the GBA version could be used to add in the multiplayer functionality to the New Super Mario Bros levels.
Super Mario Bros 3: Power ups
The biggest ask, slopes, is already in the game. The angry sun, for better or worse, is in. What more could we ask for from Super Mario Bros 3? Diverse power ups. I am talking the classic hammer suit, frog suit, and tanooki Suit. Each new item unlocks new gameplay possibilities. The frog suit alone could rescue water levels from being 90% garbage. The tanooki suit allows Mario to become a statue and be invulnerable. Levels designed around this effect could present unavoidable obstacles that require the player to become invulnerable at a precise time. Auto-scrolling levels could use this effect for amazing new challenges. The hammer brothers’ suit might not bring tons of new mechanics with firepower serving a similar role. What it lacks in new functions, it makes up for in awesomeness. Before long, you know someone will make a basketball themed level using the hammer throw to snipe things. Kobe!
Super Mario World: Enemies and Bosses
World is a legendary game with a plethora of options yet to make it into Mario Maker. Boss fights in Mario Maker are usually a bland Bowser or Jr battle. Super Mario World gives two great new options that could breathe new life into Boss Battles. Reznor and King Boo. Reznor would allow for a challenging enemy that can only be taken out from below. King Boo would bring a fitting challenge for ghost houses.
Beyond new boss challenges, several classic enemies are absent. The first is the Ground Chuck. ROM Hacks often use Chuck as a barrier to be juked. Others will use his football and baseball throwing skills to climb to new highs or make it across dangerous gaps.
Flying koopalings and bats are two other enemies to add for Mario Maker 2. These two enemies are used constantly in Kaizo hacks to help players cross huge gaps. The original Mario Maker would use Bullet Bills or shell jumps to accomplish this goal, mid-airs, but having new tools would add much needed variety.
The introduction of partial water stages begs for the inclusion of two classic Mario creatures, dolphins and Boss Bass. Dolphins can be their own special brand of hell for many players. The dolphin has unique properties and abilities. The dolphins are a special moving platform that links perfectly with water levels, especially levels that have water only partially filling the screen. Boss Bass could fill the mole-sized hole in our lives during water levels. The unholy trinity of moles, Boss Bass, and angry sun could become a reality! Run now…or they will all get you.
Super Mario Land: Gameboy style, Unique Bosses, and Shoot ‘em ups
One intriguing possibility is the inclusion of Game Boy style Mario games. The first Mario game on the Game Boy took Mario out of the Mushroom Kingdom and in to Sarasa Land. This new destination brought new mechanics and enemies. Using a black and white style with different fire physics and enemies in Mario Maker 2 would be a trip. The retro styles are amazingly fun to play with and reimagine new possibilities. Game Boy “Land” games were the product of the limitations of the original black and white Game Boy. The compact screen changed how levels and jumps had to be attempted. Completely new styles would be a refreshing possibility for Mario Maker 2.
If the style is not included, and it is highly unlikely that it would be, two aspects would be great to include. The first is the unique bosses battles. Admittedly, the first boss is a Sphinx Bowser. King Totomesu stands on a bridge and shoots fireballs at you. Sound familiar? The next several bosses though do present variety. A giant dragon squid, known as Dragonzamasu, who floats up and down in a water level shooting projectiles at you. The next boss is a difficult rock boss named Hiyoihoi. He ended many of my runs with his boulders. The final boss, Tatanga, moves completely around the screen shooting cannonballs at you. The movements and difficulty of each boss would be a great change of pace from the bland Bowser battles.
What makes many of these bosses possible is the “shoot ‘em up” style incorporated into Super Mario Land. Mario enters a vehicle and the screen begins to scroll. Players now can fire missiles at enemies to blow them up. Mario Maker creators often used the fire clown car to achieve this style of game play. If Nintendo embraces this style of Mario game, it could unlock new possibilities for air and water levels. Coupled with the unique bosses, Mario Maker 2’s possibilities become even more tantalizing.
Super Mario Land 2: Coins and Wario
Mario’s adventure in Sarasa land ends when an evil entity attacks the castle. Bowser is back at it again. That is what I thought too, but instead this intruder is none other than Wario! In the first Mario Maker, Wario is a costume for Mario to wear. Adding Wario as a new boss enemy to fight would be an incredible nod to Game Boy’s Land series.
The second component of Land 2 to utilize might already be present in the Mario Maker 2 trailer. In the top left corner, a coin counter is visible. Speculation has run rampant, but what if this is the mechanic used in Mario Land 2. Each boss in the game has a coin that Mario must collect. If Mario runs out of lives at any point then all the coins he has collected are returned to the corresponding bosses. Keys serve this purpose in the original Maker game, but what if a special coin collection system could be added in bosses before a level could be finished. The best representation of this would be to be able to build multiple linked levels in which coins, lives, powerups, and special coins would carry over from level to level. At this point creators could be creators would be not only making levels, but entire games!
New Super Mario Bros (3DS): Mini Mushroom
The 3DS game introduce a brand new style for Mario, “New”. While not super creative on the name, it got the job done. There are many interesting ideas from the series, none are more intriguing than the mini mushroom.
The mini mushroom allows for long jumps, as you float in the air. Players are also able to squeeze into small spaces and mini pipes. These additions would allow for great secrets and challenges in Maker 2. Creators were able to use Lanky Mario’s jump ability and hit box in a multitude of creative ways. The other side of this coin is giant Mario. While different from the large suit we see in Mario Maker, it feels very similar and not as interesting. Having Mario be able to break huge sections of levels seems like a waste. The cheese potential seems high with giant Mario.
New Super Mario Bros Wii: Multi Player
As New Sup grew, it expanded onto the Wii. One of the hallmarks of the Wii game was being able to play the game with four players. Friends became enemies as they could pick you up and toss you into pits. Expert players could carry their friends through difficult sections, literally. Allowing for multiplayer could change Mario Maker from an isolating creation tool to a party game. Streamers could now take on levels in groups. Blind races could literally change into actual races as players could see where competitors were. As Nintendo attempts to build their online service, this would be an essential addition.
New Super Mario Bros U: Moving Landscape and Hidden Walls
In my recent play through of New Sup U, I noticed two aspects to include in Maker 2. The biggest one is moving landscape. Throughout the game land can change shape and move as Mario progresses in the level. Two best examples of this are the large circular hills that move. They hill acts as a curved conveyor belt, pushing Mario along or slowing him down. The second moving landscape is featured in caves. As Mario treks forward, the purple background will move into new positions allowing Mario to pass or blocking his progress. The shifting landscape can allow creators to adapt challenges and change Mario’s speed. This makes some jumps more difficult, or can open up a path that looked blocked.
The second addition is hidden walls. Excuse me now while I argue with myself on why these should and should not be included. One current frustration in level creation is having to use launchers to block the end of a level from spoilers. Being able to use fake walls to cover up contraptions would clean up the aesthetics for many levels. Instead of having players see all the conveyors, munchers, moles and clown cars needed to make a fun contraption work, this would allow creators to cover it up and preserve the beauty of their creation. We must remember the evil side of Mario Maker. Trolls already litter levels with hidden blocks that only creators know where they are. Arg! Adding hidden walls to cover up exits would only further this pain. In the right hands, this tool could be incredible. In everyone else’s hands, this mechanic would add hundreds of thousands of hot garbage levels to the disgusting heap.
Super Mario 3D Land: Wallup and Tail Enemies
Mario Maker has never had 3D Land. There is no telling what the style will function like. The trailer showed off using enemies in the background shooting out, cat suit, and clear tubes. Beyond these hints, we are in the dark. We can assume that a great deal of the game will be included, as this is what Nintendo did previously with other play styles.
The big hope would be the inclusion of powering up the enemies. 3D Land allowed for enemies to have the tail or cat ears. It changed how they behaved in the game. The original Maker used mushrooms to make enemies larger or include wings. If enemies could add tails and cat suits (as appeared in 3D World), then it would drastically change the possibilities. This alone could double the enemy count.
The second thing to include is the Wallup. This enemy is present in many core Mario games and only first entered the 2D relm with 3D world. That sentence is confusing, but just think of a Thwomp that walks on the ground and tries to squish you. Jump on top when it is down and you can escape.
Super Mario 3D World: Rabbit
The final game we will be including (I know there are more, and the 64s, Galaxy, and Sunshines). The rabbit is a fun and unique character to add for Maker 2’s creation community. The rabbit acts like a running question block. It holds a power up, but first you have to catch it. Creators could force you to track down a rabbit in time to be able to pass through a power up check. Troll levels could sucker you into chasing the rabbit only to meet your doom in the process. Trix are for kids!
There you have it. A trip down nostalgia lane. What will Nintendo use from its previous games for inspiration in Mario Maker 2? Comment or tweet me to share your thoughts and hopes for Maker 2. We will find out come June!