Mario Maker is great...
But I realized I don’t have time to play it right now, so I sold my copy to GameStop thanks to their current trade guarantee deal on it.
I feel a little weird now.
I usually buy and devour every Mario game at launch. The only exceptions to this are the first Mario Maker, the remake of New Super Mario U for Switch, and now this game.
I didn’t own a Wii U when Mario Maker first launched. I got all I wanted to out of that system in its first couple of years and then sold it. But I had a great time watching videos of people making and playing Mario levels online, and felt like I was missing out.
So, I got pretty excited about the game’s inevitable Switch release and bought it on the spot the other week.
Unfortunately, I could tell by the end of my first weekend with the game that it wasn’t going to be for me, even though I could clearly see it was a quality product.
The story mode has a lot of fun stuff in it. It has a cute 3D overworld with some light progression mechanics, and some fun writing. But the levels are all rather short and basic, and are more designed around teaching you the mechanics of the creation tools and showing you examples of what you might like to do rather than being “proper” Mario levels.
That’s not to say the game is at all lacking in content. The game is packed full of excellent creations made by users. But finding those levels isn’t always the easiest. You can use the endless modes to get a collection of randomly-picked levels that are supposed to be grouped by difficulty, or you can browse the list yourself.
Finding levels made by your friends or popular creators online requires using nine digit codes because of course it does. It’s a Nintendo game after all.
And then there’s the creator. As ever, it’s an incredibly robust set of tools, and it will allow you to achieve some of your fondest 2D Mario wishes. I also love that the moveset and costumes from Mario 3D World are now included.
But as is often the case with these creation-heavy games, I also quickly realized that I don’t have the time to fully devote to this powerful toolset. Sure, it’s fun to mess around with, but if I really wanted to get involved I’d have to dedicate my life to making Mario levels, and I’ve got other stuff I want to keep playing.
I’ve bounced in the exact same way off of Little Big Planet in the past, multiple times, in spite of loving that game’s cheery aesthetic and gameplay. So I’m not really sure why I thought Mario Maker would be different.
I fully recognize that Mario Maker 2 is an exceptional game, and that it’s well made. I just don’t have time to play it to the fullest, so I sold it. Maybe I’ll come back to it later, and in the meantime I’ll keep having fun watching videos of ridiculous levels online.
When my girlfriend asked me why I sold it, I jokingly yelled “I’ll not be taken in by Nintendo’s scheme of trying to get ME, the USER, to make the video game! That’s their job! My labor isn’t free!”
I don’t really feel that way, and I think the joy of creation is a very wonderful thing. But I participate in that sort of joy all the time for my job, and I don’t always want my fun time to require the same level of discipline and critical thought. I want it to be something different.
I’m still really happy the game exists, and I still think it should have been a launch title on Switch.