Super Mario Maker 2 for Nintendo Switch review: Seemingly infinite fun

Creating a level in Super Mario Maker 2
(Image: © iMore)

Super Mario Maker 2 is a creative triumph. Not only does it stay true to the feel of the original Wii U game, but it also improves upon it. I spent over eight hours testing this game out to get an understanding for every mode and every tool it offers. Without a doubt, that this is one of the most fun games you'll find on the Nintendo Switch, whether or not you're a Mario fan to begin with.

The new Story Mode makes it so you can access levels even when you're without an internet connection, and the ability to play other's games online makes it so you practically have infinite courses at your fingertips. You'll be able to create levels like you've never seen before and then snicker to yourself as you make friends play them. Believe me, you'll find yourself playing for hours whether it's creating or running through a course. This Switch title definitely improves upon the original and will keep players entertained for years to come.

Super Mario Maker 2: Everything you need to know


  • Dozens of creative tools
  • Fun story mode
  • Plenty of online features
  • Download other's creations
  • Always have someone to play with online


  • Can't play with friends online, yet
  • Co-op creation is a bit clunky
  • Online multiplayer can be laggy
  • Need Nintendo Switch Online membership for a lot of features

A creative Mario game with never-ending levels

Super Mario Maker 2: Features

Super Mario Maker 2

Super Mario Maker 2 Toads and Mario in front of princess Peach's castle. (Image credit: iMore)

The biggest way this sequel improves upon the original is with the addition of several upgraded or completely new playing experiences, one of which is Story Mode. Due to a mishap, Peach's castle is suddenly gone and it's up to Mario to earn enough coins to rebuild it. You acquire funds by completing the 100+ levels given to you by the Toad taskmaster and other Mushroom Kingdom inhabitants. You'll be told how much you'll earn from completing specific courses and the level of difficulty to expect.

This game is by no means perfect, but the amount of fun it provides seriously outweighs the bad.

When it comes to creating levels, you have access to hundreds of themed-tools, way more than there were in the original game. Mechanics change depending on the world theme you choose. For instance, Mario can ground pound in the Super Mario 3D World theme, but he can't in the Super Mario Bros. 3 theme. Due to this, you'll find dozens of ways to use the same tools in different settings and situations. You can even co-create courses with a buddy.

Those with a Nintendo Switch Online membership can access online multiplayer, compete for placement on leaderboards, and play courses that others have created. In effect, online access lets you play an endless number of user-created games, since hundreds if not thousands are created every day.

You also get to choose whether you play a level as Mario, Luigi, Toad, or Toadette. Search for other people's courses by popularity, course ID, maker ID, detailed search, or search through the levels you've previously marked to play them again. You can even download other's courses to Coursebot and play them later, whether or not you have an internet connection.

A Mario game with never ending levels

Super Mario Maker 2: What I Like

Mario talking to Toadette in Super Mario Maker 2

Mario talking to Toadette in Super Mario Maker 2 (Image credit: iMore)

As we previously stated, Super Mario Maker 2 offers way more tools and features than the original. There's so much to go through, so we've broken it all down.

Super Mario Maker 2's Story Mode: Everything you need to know

Story Mode: 100+ levels to play

You can pick and choose which levels you complete in the story mode. You can even skip some entirely if you don't like them. The levels are all unique and many are super creative so it doesn't feel like a tedious grind. They kept me engaged for several hours.

I was happy to find that the number of coins you collect within the levels is added to the overall winnings you get for completing the level. This means you can build the castle faster if you're diligent in your coin collecting. You can replay a level once its been completed, although the reward only gets dished out the first time.

Level Creation: So many options!

Creating a level in Super Mario Maker 2

Creating a level in Super Mario Maker 2 (Image credit: iMore)

Unlike the original game, most of the building elements are available to you from the get-go. What's more, you only need to go through the tutorial process if you desire to do so, and it's downright hilarious.

The best thing about online multiplayer is that you'll always have someone to play with.

When I got to the building stage, I was impressed by the sheer number of enemies, items, sounds, effects, and building elements available to me in the editing palette. 've played the game for several hours now and I still haven't used everything.

You can save up to 120 of your unique levels and if you have a Nintendo Switch Online membership you'll be able upload up to 32 of your creations for others to play online.

You'll need to rely on your Joy-Cons or Pro Controller to create and play levels while docked, since you can't very well touch your TV and place items that way. I personally found the Pro Controller more comfortable to use as it responded better to my thumb movements. Oh, and you'll want to remove any rubber joystick grips if you have those accessories attached to your Joy-Cons. Mine got in the way of pressing the - button, which you'll be doing frequently during level creation.

Online Multiplayer: Always find someone to play with

Voting on course difficulty in Super Mario Maker 2

Voting on course difficulty in Super Mario Maker 2 (Image credit: iMore)

The best thing about online multiplayer is that you'll always have someone to play with, whether that be in a cooperative or in a competitive capacity. The biggest difference between co-op and versus is that co-op players get to vote on what level of difficulty the course will be. Whenever there is a tie, it appears that the last vote cast determines the outcome. In either online multiplayer mode you get assigned which character you play as and the levels are random. An indicator at the bottom of the screen tells you how much longer it will be until your round starts, how many players are currently in your team, and how good your internet connection is.

At the moment, players are unable to search for and play with friends online. However, during E3 Super Mario Maker 2's producer promised that this feature would be coming in a future update.

Endless Challenge: See how far you can go

Global ranking in Super Mario Maker 2

Global ranking in Super Mario Maker 2 (Image credit: iMore)

I've always been impressed by the amount of creativity the Super Mario Maker fanbase is able to display and nothing shows it off quite as well as the online elements found in Course World. One is the Endless Challenge, which asks you to complete one random user-created level after another to see how far you can go. Your personal achievements are documented and you get a global ranking.

Don't worry, you get to choose the difficulty level for the courses you play. You can earn additional lives by collecting 1-Up Mushrooms in levels and you can even skip a level if you don't like it. As far as I was able to tell, it looks like you can skip as many times as you want without penalty. Additionally, if you need to take a break or do something else in the game, the Endless Challenge remembers where you left off instead of forcing you to start over when you return.

Additional Online Features: Online interactions

Leaving feedback on someone's course

Leaving feedback on someone's course (Image credit: iMore)

A fun aspect of online play is commenting on other people's creations. You can comment on and rate a course overall, or you can add comments within specific sections of the level. If this sounds terrifying, don't worry, you can disable others from commenting on your own creations.

A Mario game with never ending levels

Super Mario Maker 2: What I Don't Like

As with any game, there's bound to be something that doesn't work as well as other features. Fortunately, the good outweighs the bad in this instance, but there are still some things you'll need to be aware of.

Online Multiplayer: Hardcore lagging

Three players in Super Mario Maker 2

Three players in Super Mario Maker 2 (Image credit: iMore)

I'm sad to report that this game's online multiplayer has some of the same issues Super Smash Bros. Ultimate did at launch. If one person has a bad internet connection everyone playing suffers. It's especially frustrating when doing a versus run since you might lose due to no fault of your own and that loss still affects your leaderboard score.

Co-op Making: All hail player 1

Chances are you probably didn't buy Super Mario Maker 2 specifically for co-op creation, which is why we've given this mode a lot of slack when it comes to the game's overall rating. It's a super fun idea, but the actual experience is limited compared to single player creation mode and feels especially disruptive for Luigi — I mean, Player 2. The second player can place or delete the same items and enemies as Player 1, but they have no control over the course theme, auto-scroll, the timer, course objectives, or even where the camera focuses during course building.

Additionally, whenever Player 1 accesses the search icon or the left menu (which they will do frequently), Player 2 gets grayed out and must sit there twiddling their thumbs until Player 1 is done. Player 2 doesn't cause any disruptions, but their unique menu has them scroll through every item in the library one by one until they find what they need. As you can imagine this can be tedious.

Something especially frustrating here is that players can only use one Joy-Con each. There's no other option. This is bound to be an adjustment for anyone familiar with single-player creation.

Inconsistent controls: Between handheld and docked mode

Using a stylus on Switch to play Super Mario Maker 2

Using a stylus on Switch to play Super Mario Maker 2 (Image credit: Rebecca Spear / iMore)

When in handheld mode, the game expects you to touch the screen and therefore removes some of the button functions. Granted, building via touchscreen is a lot faster than inching your Joystick along, but if you've gotten used to all the button functionality in docked mode then it can be a rough transition.

Another thing to note is that your screen easily gets covered in finger smudges and it can be hard to place elements exactly where you want them. You might want to consider getting a capacitive stylus (it must be capacitive or it won't work) to keep your screen clean and make building easier. I know it made creating a lot easier for me.

A creative Mario game with never-ending levels

Super Mario Maker 2: The Bottom Line

Super Mario Maker 2 is the perfect game for long time Mario lovers and creative gamers alike. It gives you the freedom to make things you'd never see in a traditional Mario game like stacking multiple Bowsers on top of each other or spelling your name out in coins.

This game is by no means perfect and has some clunky aspects to it at times, but the amount of fun it provides seriously outweighs the bad. Even without accessing the online features there is plenty of fun to be had, but online is where you'll have access to a never-ending number of user-created levels. For this reason, we highly recommend getting a Nintendo Switch Online membership if you don't already.

Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

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.