Nintendo knows how to pack a ton of information into a short video, and today's Super Mario Maker 2 Nintendo Direct was no exception. In the course of 15 minutes, Nintendo showcased a truckload of features in this Switch sequel to the DIY level creator, and might've also teased us with a chance for even more surprises. In case you missed the livestream and don't have 15 spare minutes to watch it - or just need a concise recap after that windfall of fresh info - here are the biggest new takeaways for Super Mario Maker 2 before it launches for Nintendo Switch on June 28.
4-player multiplayer lets you play competitively (or cooperate)
In terms of this Direct's announcements, multiplayer strikes me as the biggest addition in Super Mario Maker 2 that should add tons of value. If you have fond/fevered memories of the multiplayer from the New Super Mario Bros. series, you already know how chaotic things can get when Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Toadette are all running wild on the screen at once. Now you'll be able to play with up to four players at once in Super Mario Maker 2, either as a race to see who can reach the finish pole first, or as a cooperative team where one successful player can make everyone a winner.
You'll even be able to build levels with a friend in splitscreen play - but unfortunately, it doesn't look like splitscreen competition will be an option. Multiplayer Versus and Multiplayer Co-Op are both online modes, and the only way to play with friends locally in Nearby Play requires four Switch consoles and four copies of the game. That said, only one person needs a persistent internet connection if all the other conditions for Nearby Play are met, so that's something. In Multiplayer Versus mode, you can pick a difficulty and take on a gauntlet of randomly selected courses with your group, and your win-loss ratio is even tracked to give you a letter grade Versus Rating. You just know that's going to stoke the flames of competition even further amongst friends, and the possibility for intense photo finishes instantly makes me think of the Nintendo World Championship 2017 finals.
Story Mode offers levels that both challenge and teach you
The original Super Mario Maker might've felt a bit aimless when you first picked it up - you either got straight to building your own levels, or you dove headfirst into the totally unpredictable world of online uploads. But Super Mario Maker 2 will ease newcomers and returning players alike into its creation systems with a full-blown story mode, featuring "many examples of expert course design" crafted by the pros at Nintendo. You'll challenge over 100 levels in the pursuit of coins, which you need to help rebuild Princess Peach's (suddenly missing) castle brick by brick. These levels will teach you how each new building block is intended to be used, or even some applications that might not have occurred to you before. There are even NPCs to chat with along the way, including characters from the UI like the eraser and the Undo Dog.
New themes, new music
Variety is the spice of life, and Super Mario Maker 2 is heating things up with even more level themes and tracks to use in your creations. We got brief glimpses of the additional themes for desert, snow, forest, and sky levels, and Nintendo took this opportunity to let us know that legendary composer Koji Kondo has spun up some fresh songs for Super Mario Maker 2. Those themes also have a day/night cycle now, thanks to the Moon. We knew the Angry Sun from Super Mario Bros. 3 would be in this sequel, but the Direct gave us a look at its powerful Moon counterpart. Its presence can change a level's properties, like low gravity or dim lighting, and touching it when it swoops down will clear all the enemies on the screen instead of killing you like that pesky Sun. If you'd rather not have the Moon present in your levels but want the nighttime aesthetic, you'll be able to unlock a night mode in a still-undisclosed manner.
Tons of new objects to play with, especially in 3D World
The sheer number of added features that got rattled off in the Direct is staggering, but I'm going to try to summarize them all in one go. First off, we knew about the addition of slopes for sliding (great for racking up 1-UPs on a series of enemies), custom camera scrolling (now with scroll stopping and vertical scrolling) and the Angry Sun. Super Mario Maker 2 will also let us play with Snake Blocks that follow a set path; On/Off switches that can change block existence, tracks, conveyor belts, and more; completely new Seesaws with logical to-and-fro physics; Swinging Claws where you control your momentum; water levels featuring H2O or lava that can rise and fall as you see fit; giant Banzai Bills from Super Mario World, with red variants that home in on you; a Dry Bones Shell that lets you play dead or swim through lava; Big Coins worth 10, 30 or 50 coins; Twisters that keep you afloat; falling icicles; diagonal conveyor belts; Red Yoshis that spit hot fire; parachutes that slow the fall of an item or enemy; the lovable minibosses Boom Boom; and new sound effects including spooky snippets that'll surely get a lot of use in freakier levels.
But wait, there's more! The new Super Mario 3D World style packs even more stuff into your Super Mario Maker 2 toolkit. The Cat Mario suit lets you scratch, slide, and pounce around levels; clear pipes can transport you or your enemies; wooden crates can be used as floating platforms on water or lava; the Warp Box will teleport you to a new screen; Spike Blocks act as temporarily hazardous platforms; ! Blocks extend when hit or stomped; Blinking Blocks phase in and out just like in classic Mega Man; Track Blocks will automatically follow a drawn path (red) or move when you step on them (blue); Mushroom Trampolines bounce you upward; Piranha Creepers extend in a set path; Skipsqueaks match Mario's jumps; Koopa Troopa Cars let you speed through a level while running over enemies; Carvaargh lava creatures stalk the molten depths; Boom Boom's counterpart Pom Pom makes an appearance with her ninja stars and doppelgangers; Banzai Bill can fly towards the camera destroying the environment in his path; and finally, Cat Bowser even makes a furry, spiked appearance.
Besides objects, Super Mario Maker 2 now lets you tinker with objectives. The added Clear Conditions let you set a certain goal - collecting coins, defeating all enemies, reaching the end as Super Mario, and more - that the player must fulfill before they can beat the level. I can only imagine how much fun expert Mario Maker builders will have with setting some seemingly impossible Clear Conditions - successfully reaching the finish line may not be enough to win anymore.
Are more Game Styles on the way?
If you skip to where the 3D World info extravaganza starts (around 8:58 in the video up top), there seems to be a hint at more new content when switching over to the 3D World game style. In the 'Game Styles' window of the UI, 3D World is listed under 'Extra Game Styles,' and there are two big hints that more might be on the way. Firstly, the use of the plural 'Styles,' and second, the convenient blank space next to 3D World when all the styles above it come on rows of two. It's unlikely that this is a mere slip-up, as Nintendo has teased us like this before with 'accidental' reveals, as with the Stage Builder in a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate trailer.
Since the first game, players have been pining for the unrepresented art style and level designs of Super Mario Bros. 2, the Western reskin of Doki Doki Panic featuring a playstyle and enemy designs unlike anything else in the series. Though nothing's yet confirmed for Super Mario Maker 2, there's a chance that the 'Extra Game Styles' could incorporate styles like SMB2 or even aesthetics we've never seen before. Could it be DLC, free or otherwise? Or is this entirely an invention of hopeful Nintendo fans? Time will tell.
More options for Online and buying
To cap things off, we have some new additions to the online systems and purchasing options. Ambitious stage builders can make the most of Maker Profiles, which let you customize your Mii's look with cosmetic gear, earn medals, and accrue Maker Points. Comments can now be added to sections of a level you're playing, Dark Souls style, either with cute preset images or custom drawings (which will hopefully be heavily moderated). You can also add helpful tags to your creations when uploading them so people know what to expect.
Super Mario Maker 2 will launch on June 28 for $59.99, but you can also buy it as a bundle with a year's subscription to Nintendo Switch Online for $69.99 (a $10 discount). Existing subscribers can also take advantage of a new game voucher system, where you pay a flat $99.99 for two tickets that let you buy two eligible games from a growing list, including Super Mario Maker 2. Lastly, you can tune in to the Super Mario Maker 2 Invitational 2019 on June 8, ahead of the E3 convention.
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