Super Mario Maker was one of the Wii U's gems, a popular title that unfortunately lost popularity far too soon due to the small install base of the Wii U and the fact that the console was effectively dropped by Nintendo shortly after the game came out. Its 3DS release did little to revive the game. Which is why it's great news that Super Mario Maker 2 is coming to the Nintendo Switch where its online community will have far more time and players to develop fully, in addition to containing lots of new features and tools for creators to play with.
What's new with Super Mario Maker 2?
Update: June 20, 2019: You'll want a decent stylus for playing Mario Maker 2
According to Kotaku, whenever your Joy-Cons are attached to your Switch, the only way to access building elements will be by touch. For best results, get a capacitive stylus so you can be more accurate in your movements and to keep greasy finger smears from getting all over your expensive screen.
Update: June 11, 2019: You'll be able to play Super Mario Maker 2 online with friends in a future update
During the 2019 Nintendo Treehouse livestream at E3 Super Mario Maker producer Takashi Tezuka confirmed that a future update will allow you to play Super Mario Maker 2 with friends online.
Mr. Tezuka has confirmed that the ability to play online multiplayer with friends is coming to #SuperMarioMaker2 in a future update. Stay tuned for more information to come. https://t.co/oxGuEcJ8Om pic.twitter.com/1AfK1vEGIeMr. Tezuka has confirmed that the ability to play online multiplayer with friends is coming to #SuperMarioMaker2 in a future update. Stay tuned for more information to come. https://t.co/oxGuEcJ8Om pic.twitter.com/1AfK1vEGIe— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) June 11, 2019June 11, 2019
However, this ability still won't be available at launch and we don't know when the update will come.
Update: May 29, 2019: Super Mario Maker 2 will not support amiibo
When speaking with a Nintendo representative GameXplain was told that the new Super Mario Maker 2 will not work with amiibo. This information was omitted from the Nintendo Direct presentation that aired in May. This means there won't be any Mystery Mushroom costumes in the new game, either.
Update: May 28, 2019: Nintendo Treehouse Representative confirms you cannot choose to play online multiplayer with friends
In a press conference covered by Nintendo World Report, a Nintendo Treehouse Rep confirmed that online multiplayer will be restricted to random matchmaking.
This means that the only way to play with friends is to be in the same room, either sharing the same system or with each person playing on their own Switch with local wireless play.
Update: May 15, 2019: Nintendo Direct reveals new challenges, Multiplayer Modes and Story Mode for Super Mario Maker 2
Nintendo Direct's 15-minute presentation revealed a lot of exciting new information regarding this sandbox game. Some of the biggest changes from the original game are the addition of Story Mode, Multiplayer Modes and the addition of new level elements and enemies. There are still a lot of unknowns that we'll only discover once Super Mario Maker 2 comes out, but here's everything we know about the game so far:
What is Super Mario Maker?
Super Mario Maker is a combination of an action platforming title and a creative builder game that allows you to build your own Super Mario Bros. levels using components from the Mario games, and then play levels built by others. The game originally released on the Wii U, and was followed by a Nintendo 3DS release. Its sequel, Super Mario Maker 2, appears to include many of the same ideas and features but has built on the original with even more content and ways to enjoy different unique Mario levels.
What amiibo are compatible with Super Mario Maker 2?
We've recently learned via GameXplain that this level-building sequel will not feature NFC support. This means that unlike the previous game, you will not be able to unlock special items with your favorite amiibo characters. This is especially surprising given that two original amiibo were created specifically for the original game.
How do I play?
There are essentially three ways to enjoy Super Mario Maker. One is to create new Mario courses yourself using the course builder tool, test them, experiment, and then publish them for others to play. Since this element of the game is focused on creativity, there are effectively an infinite number of ways to approach building your own courses. You can try to recreate a course from a Mario game you've played and change it up somehow; you can use a course you played online as a template and take it further, or you can start from scratch and let your imagination guide you.
Super Mario Maker 2 will feature the ability to build courses with the style of multiple Mario games, but will allow you to add items, enemies, and obstacles that may not have been available in that particular style. You can create land and water levels, fill areas with enemies, set warp pipes, create musical levels, shape the ground and obstacles, and make courses of any level of complexity you like. Essentially, the sky's the limit!
When docked and the Joy-Cons are detached from the console, you'll be able to select icons and place elements using the controllers. Most players will likely prefer to create levels in handheld mode. However, once Joy-Cons are attached to your Switch you'll only be able to access tools by touching the screen. For this reason, you'll want to get a capacitive stylus to make sure your movements are more accurate. Using a stylus will also prevent smudge marks from covering your Switch.
The second way to play Super Mario Maker 2 is via Story Mode. The campaign has you completing levels in order earn enough coins to rebuild Princess Peach's castle. You'll enjoy 100 original levels as you make your way through this mode.
The third way to enjoy Super Mario Maker is to play courses built by others online. You will need a Nintendo Switch Online subscription to upload your own courses or play those of others.
How will online multiplayer work?
Super Mario Maker 2's Course World allows you to play with people all over the world to either race or work together to get to the finish line. Nintendo's made it so you can search for courses based off of difficulty and category tags so you can find exactly what you're looking for. You'll even be able to download other player's levels and play them even when there isn't a Wi-Fi connection.
Nintendo initially stated that online multiplayer will be determined by random matchmaking. However, during the E3 2019 Nintendo Treehouse livestream Nintendo announced that a future update will make it so you can search for and play with specific friends. Unfortunately, this ability won't be available at launch and we haven't been told when to expect this update, so it might be awhile. We'll update this information when we learn more.
This means that when the game first releases you won't be able to play with specific friends online. A Nintendo Treehouse Rep stated that this decision was made to keep the competitive leaderboard scores from being compromised. While we can see the reasoning behind this, it's odd that online co-op was ever affected. Either way, we're happy that Nintendo is adding an update so you can choose who you play with.
It looks like Nintendo learned from its Super Smash Bros. Ultimate online multiplayer problems as they've made it so that players only need to rely on the internet connection of the person hosting the game instead of the internet connections of everyone playing. This still isn't fool-proof but it's not bad.
What's new in Super Mario Maker 2?
From the trailer shown during the Nintendo Direct where the game was announced and some promotional images seen since, we were able to determine a few new features that have been added since the original Super Mario Maker:
- Super Mario 3D World has been added as a level style you can build
- Elements from Super Mario 3D World are now available in other styles of the game, including the Super Bell power-up and various themes such as desert, snow, and night
- New themes for levels appear to include floating through space, jungle levels, and cloud levels
- Luigi and Toadette may be playable
- There are new enemies, like the Ant Trooper, Piranha Creeper, Cat Bullet Bill, Banzai Bill, Fire Bro, underwater Wigglers and Thwomps, Meowsers, blue Piranha Plants, and Charvaarghs
- Cranes can carry enemies
- The Moon can be used to change the look and mechanics of levels
- You can control the height and movement of lava and water
- Drive a car through the levels
- Features 100+ original levels for you to play
- Story Mode has you playing original courses in your effort to earn enough coins to rebuild Princess Peach's castle
- Nintendo Switch Online members can play against others around the world in competitive or co-op games
- The Dry Bones shell allows you to temporarily become invincible, even in lava
- Choose where the camera focuses and how fast it moves
- Search other player's courses by difficulty and category tags
- Download other gamer's courses to play even when you don't have an internet connection
- Create levels with a friend on the same screen with couch co-op
- There are probably many other additions as well that we haven't seen yet!
When can I play?
Just the game: Super Mario Maker 2 is currently planned for launch exclusively on the Nintendo Switch on June 28, 2019. It will cost $60.
Game and Nintendo Switch Online Bundle: You can even get a special promotion bundle by pre-ordering Super Mario Maker 2 with a 12- month Nintendo Switch Online membership for $70. If you already have a Nintendo Switch Online membership these months will stack onto your current plan.
A touchscreen pen with replacement tips
You'll want a stylus when playing Super Mario Maker 2 in handheld mode. This particular one has a micro-knit fiber tip on one end and a more narrow-tipped disk on the other for increased precision. It's inexpensive and comes with replacement tips for both ends.
Any questions about Super Mario Maker 2?
Still have questions about the game? Let me know in the comments!
Updated June 20, 2019: Added update regarding the need for a stylus.
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Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.
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