This year Nintendo fans everywhere are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the release of the first Super Mario Brothers game. Wow that makes me feel old, although I must confess I haven’t played any of the early Mario games as I owned a rival console at the time and was somewhat distracted by a small, spinning blue hedgehog! But I digress…
Nintendo are commemorating this great anniversary with the release of a new game for the Wii U – Super Mario Maker. This game gives players the ability to create their own Super Mario levels, which they can then play, and even share with other gamers over the internet if they wish. Nintendo’s tag line for the game is “Anyone can make it, everyone can play it”, which I think sums it up pretty well.
Nintendo sent us a free copy of Super Mario Maker, and their very cute commemorative Mario amiibo which celebrates the little plumber’s 8-bit, pixellated origins. It’s fair to say the whole family have been engrossed in Super Mario Maker since receiving it, and we’ve been having loads of fun with it.
Sometimes games with a design element can be rather complex for young kids (neither have mine have managed to master Disney Infinity’s building mode, for example), but with Super Mario Maker Nintendo have developed a design system which even the five-year-old geekson can master and use with expertise. A simple drag and drop interface on the Wii U game pad means familiar elements of the Super Mario world, like pipes, platforms, Goombas and Pirhana plants, can be easily placed where desired. You can play test your designs “on the fly” and make changes or tweaks there and then, which again adds to the ease of use. Another feature I like is that you don’t get access to all the Mario world components right away – you gradually unlock them as you build and play levels, meaning you’re never overwhelmed with not knowing what everything does.
But don’t be fooled into thinking that because it is simple it is limited, Super Mario Maker only appeals to kids. The geekdaddy has spent many evenings designing his own levels, from the sheer inspired brilliance of “Flappy Mario” to carefully designed “easy” levels for the geekson to play. And this game promotes co-operative play as well, with the geekson and the geekdaughter really enjoying sitting on the sofa with the geekdaddy telling him which components to place where.
Super Mario Maker is not just a great purchase for the die hard Mario fans, it’s perfect for families who want to have fun playing together. The game is available now, and retails at around £35 – as always I recommend shopping around as prices vary between retailers. It’s currently available on Amazon for £32.86 (affiliate link), or you can pay £46.85 to buy the game bundle that includes the Mario amiibo (affiliate link).
Disclosure: I am a Nintendo Family Blogger, and was provided with a copy of Super Mario Maker and the 30th anniversary Mario amiibo for review purposes. All words and opinions are my own. Amazon links in this review contain my affiliate information – if you make a purchase after clicking I receive a small commission payment. I recommend Amazon because I use them myself.