Mario Maker Spotlight: Jan. 21

Looking for a fun Mario Maker challenge? Try these levels on for size:

Normal: Googie’s Super Wario Bros (2004) (9802-0000-0268-EB1D)

Let’s start with a ROM hack throwback, shall we? This one is inspired by a Wario-themed mod of the original Mario Bros., but it adds authentic costumes and removes some of the nastier traps. It’s a nice shout-out to Mario Maker’s deep roots.

Expert: Ice Floor Castle (DFEC-0000-02E1-103F)

Bowser’s decided to ice Mario for good this time! Spikes and firebars await the poor souls who don’t stick their landings, and the boss battle adds an interesting twist to the mix. (Hint: Don’t kill the boss when you reach him; instead, try and get him to clear a path for you.)

Super Expert: Super hell castle (C63D-0000-0223-D8EE)

That ice castle wasn’t enough for you? Well, how about trying this course on for size! Bowser’s cranked up the heat this time, and you’ll have to dodge spikes, bullets, and fire of all sorts if you want the princess back. Good luck!

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Mario Maker Spotlight: Jan. 14

Looking for a fun Mario Maker challenge? Try these levels on for size:

Normal: Petey’s Peculiar Pipes (B6AA-0000-019C-FF11)

A straightforward pipe-and-P-switch maze, with a tricky Piranha Plant section thrown in for good measure. One piece of advice: The pipe you’re looking for to advance is usually hidden behind another pipe, so keep your eyes peeled for pipe openings that are just barely visible behind other obstacles.

Expert: [1YMM] Fungal Fortress (1BD2-0000-02A5-F949)

A cool key-exploration level that uses Goombas in a lot of neat ways to set up its challenges. Be careful when you reach the boss, as there’s a Fire Piranha Plant underneath you to keep you on your toes!

Super Expert: Ludicrous Lithomancy (EE5B-0000-02E8-3873)

This level’s designation isn’t official yet, but given that it took me an hour and a half to beat it, I’m assuming it’ll get the Super Expert tag. It’s a well-designed gauntlet, involving spiky track rides, vine-climbing shenanigans,  and lots of Thwomps! Be sure to take your vitamins before challenging this course.

Mario Maker Spotlight: Jan. 7

Looking for a fun Mario Maker challenge? Try these levels on for size:

Normal: 8-2 (36E6-0000-02C1-0300)

A decent puzzle level with some nice platforming challenges. One tip for this one: don’t get too caught up in the pipe-choosing section—instead, look for potential alternate routes in the area.

Expert: Lavender Town’s Pokémon Tower (5646-0000-01EF-1755)

Why should Red and Blue have all the fun? Mario takes a stab at climbing a 2D Lavender tower in this level. Patience is key here—the level is fairly long, so don’t lose your Pokémon costume because of a rash decision! (Also, the boss fight makes a lot more sense now that Marowak has an Alolan form.

Super Expert: Make your decision! (147A-0000-0222-C217)

This level earns its designation through some really tough opening challenges and an insta-death decision at the very end. Red/Down/Left was my path to victory, but no matter which way you’re going, you’ll have your work cut out for you. Good luck!

Mario Maker Spotlight: Dec. 17

Looking for a fun Mario Maker challenge? Try these levels on for size:

Easy: Mario Teaches Math?! (B2A4-0000-011B-E896)

Time to drop some edumacation on your butts! The problems are pretty simple, but watch out for the modular division question at the very end!

Expert: Spin jumps are important! (6EBF-0000-0071-F05F)

Be prepared to put the ‘jump’ in Jumpman here, because these spin jumps are long and tough! The creator was nice enough to put a net under the first few, so take your time and get yourself used to the challenge.

Super Expert: P-Block Panic! (2A39-0000-010D-4E63)

Boogie2988 issued a Twitter challenge for this level roughly a year ago, and it’s still only got 58 clears. It’s a tough combination of precision jumping, P-switch timing, and one massive YOLO jump at the end. Good luck!

Mario Maker Spotlight: Dec. 10

Looking for a fun Mario Maker challenge? Try these levels on for size:

Easy: 脱出ゲーム「連鎖」 Linkage (20E0-0000-02C9-9311)

Sure, this one’s compact and easy, but it’s also a nifty puzzle level that can help teach players how to chain power-ups and items together to create tricky levels of their own. Try this out, and think of ways to make your own puzzle levels while you play!

Expert: 地下の大砲拷問部屋  Artillery Room (AEE1-0000-02C9-944A)

Now this is a cool design! You’re trapped in some rather claustrophobic spaces, with nothing between you and certain death but a couple of wacky beetle shells. Use you blocking well, and then make a break for it when you get the chance!

Super Expert: why? (6A03-0000-0054-01D0)

This level is pure freakin’ insanity, comin’ at you live through the power of the Internet courtesy of Boogie2988. The best advice I can give here is the same thing Cipher told Neo: You run. You run your you-know-what off.

Mario Maker Spotlight: Dec. 3

Looking for a fun Mario Maker challenge? Try these levels on for size:

Normal: Raising the Fire Bar (F472-0000-00BC-2CD4)

There’s nothing like a fire bar obstacle castle to start things off! If you can time your jumps right, however, this course offers some surprising potential for speed-running.

Expert: Frosty Tower of Bones (4686-0000-0259-EB74)

You’d better have your ice skates ready for this level, ’cause you’ve got an army of skeletons and grinders coming for your sorry butt. Can you slip n’ slide your way to the goal?

Super Expert: Wiggler hill (3B36-0000-0199-501A)

Don’t let the innocent look of this level fool you: You’ve got a lot of spikes, Munchers, and large gaps to cross between here and the goal, and nothing but a bunch of semi-cooperative Wigglers to bounce on. Good luck!

Super Mario Maker For Nintendo 3DS: Is It Worth Buying?

Porting a game from a home console to a portable one inevitably forces companies to cut features or otherwise compromise to compensate for the portable device’s lack of horsepower. Ideally, this can be done without harming the very aspects of the game that make it fun. Whether or not you should but Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS depends on exactly what of those aspects make the game fun for you.

First things first: If you own a Wii U and aren’t interested in taking Mario Maker on the go, ignore Mario Maker 3DS and buy the home console version instead. The Wii U version is vastly superior in nearly every way:

  • You can share your level creations with people all over the world, as opposed to sharing them with just the 3DS owners in your neighborhood. (As someone who has shared over 30 courses on Course World, this is a total deal-breaker for me.)
  • You can use Mystery Mushrooms to play as over 100 different characters, rather than just playing as Mario. (This may not sound like much, but from personal experience, “non-Mario” Mario Maker levels seem to get better reviews than regular levels. Plus, it’s the only way you can play as Luigi!)
  • Course elements are unlocked through beating the included (and sometimes difficult) Mario levels, which means less-skilled players may be unable to access the entire tool palette.
  • While Mario Maker 3DS has a more-developed tutorial system and appears to focus more on making good levels as opposed to just making levels, the first bullet point above means your audience for your “good” levels is very small. It boils down to the “tree falling in a forest” argument: If you make a good level and no one can play it, does it really matter how good it was?

That said, if you own a 3DS but not a Wii U, there are a few compelling reasons to pick up this game:

  • If you enjoy playing Mario levels but aren’t interested in making them, you should definitely consider buying Mario Maker 3DS. Because the game allows you play (most of the) levels created through the Wii U version, Mario maker 3DS is essentially an infinite Mario game.
  • If you enjoy making levels but only care about sharing them locally with your friends, you should think about buying this game (but only if your friends have it too), as it lets you collaborate with (or troll) said friends to your heart’s content.
  • If you want to test your skills against the official Mario developers, it might be worth picking up this game. The built-in levels include a number of Medal Challenges that up the difficulty considerably.

Overall, while I won’t be touching Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS with a ten-foot pole this holiday season, I can definitely see why others may feel differently. Super Mario Maker is one of the best games on the Wii U, and porting it to the 3DS allows Nintendo’s handheld-only fan base to experience the same magic. Play this on the Wii U if you possibly can, but if you can’t, give the 3DS version a try.