I spent an hour playing the crazy upcoming ‘Super Mario’ game where you can play unlimited levels and create your own — here’s what it’s like

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In “Super Mario Maker 2,” players can play through endless, player-created “Super Mario” levels — or create levels themselve
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Nintendo

What’s better than a new “Super Mario” game from Nintendo? An infinite “Super Mario” game that allows you to outright build your own levels!

That’s the promise of “Super Mario Maker 2,” the more fully-featured sequel to cult classic Wii U game “Super Mario Maker.”

The new “Super Mario” game is scheduled to arrive in late June, but Nintendo offered press an early hands-on of the game at a New York City media event last week attended by Business Insider.

Here’s what it’s like:


In “Super Mario Maker 2,” you can play through levels that look and feel like levels from the original “Super Mario Bros.”

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Look familiar? Not so fast!`
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Nintendo

And levels that look and feel like “Super Mario Bros. 3.”….

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Nintendo

And ones that look and feel like “Super Mario World”…

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Nintendo

And “New Super Mario Bros. U”….

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And even “Super Mario 3D World!”

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Let’s be clear: This stuff plays exactly like you expect it to play after years of playing “Super Mario Bros.” games.

I mean that in a very positive way, of course – Mario games feel great, and each generation comes with its own distinctions. “Super Mario Maker 2” stays true to your memory of those games, but subverts it in subtle, interesting ways.

It’s at the core of the “Super Mario Maker” games: The fascinating blending of various Mario generations into something new. New enemies showing up in classic “Super Mario Bros” levels, as if they were always part of the original game, is fascinating and bizarre. How would a wiggler, from “Super Mario World,” act in “Super Mario Bros. 3”? That’s the kind of thing “Super Mario Maker” answers, often in delightful ways.

There’s also just the base level fact that it’s 2019, and Nintendo is releasing a brand-new game for the Nintendo Switch with new levels built out of classic “Super Mario Bros.” games.


Let’s pause for a moment and discuss what “Super Mario Maker 2” is actually about.

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The creation suite is robust, and overwhelming at first. Best to go through the training first!
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Nintendo

As the name implies, “Super Mario Maker 2” is a game about creating “Super Mario” levels. The game offers a complex array of tools to do so, and then allows creators to share those levels online with friends and strangers alike.

It is, for all intents and purposes, an infinite “Super Mario” game.

There are some major additions to the creation tools in “Super Mario Maker 2” that make it more elaborate than its predecessor. The addition to a “Super Mario 3D World” theme stands out as biggest new addition, but there are dozens of smaller things – from enemy types to level themes to completion conditions.

The long and short is this: You’ll be able to finely-tune your creations more intricately than ever before.


But that was also the case with the previous game, “Super Mario Maker” — it was a game about building “Super Mario” levels and sharing them. What that game was missing, however, was the equally complex story mode in “Super Mario Maker 2.”

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Nintendo

The main story mode in “Super Mario Maker 2” is an adorable, lengthy lesson in level creation. The idea is simple: Learn about different types of levels and scenarios by playing through a series of Nintendo-created levels.

The premise is that Mario has been tasked with rebuilding Princess Peach’s iconic castle, and he’s taking on various projects from Toad to complete the process.

What that means for you is a lot of playing through Nintendo-created “Super Mario” levels across the generations of Mario games – from the original up through the most current iteration of 2D, classic-style Mario games.


The story premise is intended to offer a structure for learning how to create your own levels — a kind of compilation of ideas for players to experiment with.

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Also, it’s adorable — think of this area as a world map of sorts.
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Nintendo

Perhaps most importantly, the story mode provides a structure for learning about Mario level and play design.

This is a crucial component of any game that is more tool than game – stuff like “LittleBigPlanet,” that are primarily tools for creating games.

Each level offers a look at different types of things that can be done with the game’s creation tools – like adding Bowser, or making the level auto-scroll, or using switches that activate various things in the level.


It’s also just a core section of game that anyone can enjoy.

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Notably, the chain chomp seen here wasn’t actually part of the original “Super Mario Bros.” Elements from varying generation of Mario appear in every generation in “Super Mario Maker” games.
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It’s entirely possible you don’t want to create any levels. That’s understandable! You buy games to play them, not to make them!

In this regard, there appears to be an abundance of content to enjoy even if you’re not into creating levels.

That starts with story mode, but extends into the massive online section of the game.


Some of the best fun to be had in “Super Mario Maker” on Wii U was found in the incredible creations of other players. That is likely to be the case in “Super Mario Maker 2” as well.

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Nintendo

The version of the game I played at a recent press event couldn’t access the expansive online section because the game isn’t out yet. There are no players yet to populate its online section.

But if the first game was any indication, I expect “Super Mario Maker 2” to have an even more robust online mode that allows you to drill down into exactly the type of level you want to play.

Some of this was demonstrated, albeit in a simulated format, at the event I attended: I could filter by level type and generation of Mario game and a variety of other factors.


One last thing: There’s a totally sweet little go-kart, seemingly ripped from a 2D “Mario Kart” game that never came to be.

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Nintendo

“Super Mario Maker 2” arrives on June 28 for Nintendo Switch — check it out in action right here: