What, it’s an actual… update on the site? Why yes it is. Once I started not updating the site for a while, I started worrying more about it and that led me to do what I usually do in such situations, ignore the issue. Of course this doesn’t solve most problems, but I do it anyway. For pretty much the whole last year and a half I have been meaning to make a bunch more posts about Mario Maker on this site — one about the “final update” when Nintendo abandoned the game less than a year after its release, one about my levels once I started making them for MM2 in mid 2020, and more. And today I finally wrote one of those updates, about my levels.
Before I begin, I will be using a lot of Super Mario Maker terminology in this article. Sorry about that, for those not familiar with the terms. I will try to describe what things mean. Please also read my previous Mario Maker 1 and 2 articles on this site for more on how these games work.
And well, I’ve finally gotten to making that second one, about my levels. I started making levels for Mario Maker 2 in June 2020, right as Nintendo abandoned the game with the “final update”, and have made nine levels in the eleven months since then. Additionally, I made three Mario Maker 1 levels in the month before uploading to that game was shut down in March. They aren’t entirely original — I took a VERY long MM2 level I made (that remains uncleared) and broke it up into three reasonable-length levels for the first game — but I had a lot of fun making those stages and they aren’t the exact same as the MM2 original, so they certainly count.
My levels come in two types, the numbered levels for my Super World, and other one-off stages I make. So far I have five super world levels and four other stages. The numbered super world stages are all Super Mario Bros. 3-themed, while the others have a variety of themes — two are SMB1, one SM3DW, and one SMW. The Super World is basically a series recreating the levels from one of the games I designed on paper as a kid but never had been able to actually play before. It’s a really cool project that I will complete; there are three more levels to go to make the full eight of the original design. I went with the SMB3 theme for them because it seemed the most appropriate given what Mario I’d played the most back when I thought up those levels in the early ’90s, and it was definitely the NES games, I had limited access to the SNES that decade. For my other levels I use other themes. The themes are different in looks but also in gameplay, as each one has different features that only exist in that theme, so it’s nice to make levels in a variety of themes since they definitely play differently. The most recent level I just uploaded today.
How good are these levels? I won’t say that they are the best levels ever, but I like them. I think most of them are good, and I hope others do as well. Whether you like them or not depends entirely on what kind of Mario levels you like to play. I’m only moderately decent at the game, but like to challenge myself by making levels that I find hard. My goal was to make Expert-difficulty levels, but I guess most of the levels ended up above that because they have low clear rates. I can’t do the tricky techs like shell jumps and such, though; they’re challenging but normal levels anyone should be able to clear with enough patience. For context, in the Ninji Speedrun competition levels that Nintendo made themselves, I usually ended up either at the top end of the two-star times or the bottom of the three-star time. The three star time is Nintendo’s top rewards bracket, but the best players got times far better than that. As in, I’m okay at the game but no match at all for the top players. I’m fine with that as this game is great for Mario players of any skill level.
Lastly for the introduction part, all 12 levels I will mention in this article still are up and playable. My first MM1 level got quickly deleted because not enough people played it, but I have not had this problem in MM2 or with my three late MM1 levels; between more people playing MM2 and that I advertised the stages slightly more, they thankfully have stayed up. I hope it stays that way.
With that said, my first Mario Maker 2 level, in June 2020, was a port of my old Mario Maker 1 level that I wrote an article about several years ago on this site. Yes, I made a Mario Maker 2 version of Airship Attack.
Game: SMM2. Level: Airship Attack. Code: VMG-62B-9XG. This SMB1-theme level is an adaptation of my one 3DS/Wii U Mario Maker stage, with some improvements based on a few comments I got from when the SMM1 version was available. I really like the stage, other than that I messed up the screenshot that shows with the stage… bah, that bugs me every time I see it! The level is a Mario Maker level for sure, I made it challenging and kind of annoying in that classic Super Mario Maker way. It’s not a troll level or such though, this is a legit platforming stage with a series of setups to get past. I think it’s a pretty good and well-balanced stage overall. The hardest part of the level is about halfway through, where you have to use a moving platform to get through a small hole in a wall of spikes. This part is tricky due to numerous fireballs to avoid on top of the spikes, but I like it quite a bit anyway. I like all of the changes I made to this stage versus its original version; I made a few rookie mistakes in the SMM1 version that are fixed here. If I ever remake this level yet AGAIN, someday, in addition to fixing the screenshot location, I’d also add a second checkpoint right near the end. If you die at the end you go back a long, long way, and I should have put in that second checkpoint. But it’s a good level as it is, and I’ve had fun with it each of the three or four times I’ve remade the level now across different versions of the game. This version of the level has clears and likes, which was great to see. This is still overall maybe my favorite Mario Maker level that I have made, probably due to it being my first one.
Game: SMM2. My Super World Code: 2D4-L46-SJG This incomplete Super World has five main levels now, consisting of the first five of the eight levels of that game I mentioned earlier that I “made” as a kid, plus several of my other levels added in as optional stages.Â Each level has a bossfight against a Koopa Kid at the end. All numbered levels use the SMB3 tileset. The basic story here is as follows. The original game as I said above, was called “Castle Siege: Knights of the Golden Sword”. It has eight levels and gameplay-wise is a cross between Mario and a beat ’em up like Golden Axe with an ’80s to early ’90s Castle Lego-inspired set of weapons and such. Which would it have ended up as back then I’m not sure, but elements of both are clearly present. These Mario Maker levels obviously are all Mario and no Golden Axe, since this isn’t a beat ’em up. It changes the gameplay but that’s fine, my goal with this Super World is to make a Mario version of Castle Siege. It fits well, and I’m glad I started this after the “final update” because the Koopa Kids and Bowser are a perfect fit as bosses of the eight levels, much more so than just the three bosses of the base SMM2 game would have been or some creations of my own or such.
Super World Stages:
Game: SMM2. Level 1-1: Volcano – 7N5-3JC-V2G – This is my easiest stage by a lot, it’s fairly short and straightforward: go up, then go down. That’s not to say that the level is easy because there are a lot of enemies here who are trying to kill you, but your task is straightforward and the level is not especially long. Apart from the boss, which is the first of the Koopa Kids, this is quite faithful to the original design. Just make sure to dodge the hammers at the start… heh. A decent number of people have cleared this level and it has some hearts. If I made more level of this difficulty maybe my levels would be more popular, but no, my other stages are mostly quite a bit tougher than this one and you can see the results in clear percentages and number of plays. This one is the highest in both counts. This level may be Normal difficulty, I’m not sure where the dividing line is in terms of completion percentage.
Game: SMM2. Level 1-2: The Mine – VD5-Y7T-6XF – This level is a simple maze in an underground mine. I made this harder than the original concept by requiring that you get three coins in various corners of the stage. I can see why some people would find that annoying, but I like the change because the “maze” is pretty simple, the level needed something to make it more interesting and substantial. This is supposed to be an eight-level adventure, and that requires trickier stages than it was on paper. There’s a reset door at the end if you didn’t get all three that goes back to the beginning. The three coins are in some corners of the map. You CAN get all three in one pass through the level if you take the correct route, the reset door is not required. Here’s a hint to the sequence if you want it: The first coin is in the first pit, and the other two on the upper route. Avoid the lower route where the screen in the level-image screenshot is.
Game: SMM2. Level 1-3: The Lake – M0Y-WKB-SJG – This is an underwater frogsuit level. It’s kind of long I guess and is mostly a ‘keep moving and dodge the stuff’ stage, but the frog suit is so much fun to use that I liked making it for sure. Just try not to lose that frogsuit. Versus my original design this level has the same basic layout, but I made the later two thirds of the stage have spikes for walls in order to increase the challenge a bit. The boss fight at the end is also original, and I like it. However, other than my very long level The Castle, this level has the fewest clears and the fewest likes of any of the levels I have made, which… really, is wrong! Sure, the level is a bit long and you do mostly just hold right or left while avoiding oncoming enemies, but I really like the challenge of trying to not get hit. The frog suit is a fantastic powerup which makes for some fun avoidance-based gameplay and that is what you do here. I think this really show the bias people have against water levels, but come on, with the frog suit they can be pretty good! I would honestly rank this as one of my favorites of my levels.
Game: SMM2. Level 1-4: Enemy Camp – FWD-PNJ-84G – In this stage you come down out of the mountains, fight your way through an enemy camp, break through their siege lines, and enter a captured castle at the end. Yes, it’s a key part of your journey! So, back in the mid ’90s, I redrew the first four levels of this game to add specific enemy counts to the stages, make everything look better, and such. I did not redraw the later four levels, though, so adapting them will require a lot more new content than these do. So, this is a perfect stopping point for world one. Of course a lot is new due to Mario Maker 2’s mechanics and stuff I added to make the levels a bit tougher and more interesting — there are new machinery parts mid-level for instance, more enemies, and such — but still it’s much more faithful than the later ones, levels six and seven particularly, will be; those will need a lot of work. The level is rough around the edges and some of the machinery parts could be refined for sure, but it’s good enough for a one-day Mario Maker project so I’m publishing it. Once made, I had to clear check it, though, and that was the hard part, this level took me a couple of hours to clear. Other players won’t have as many problems of course because you get to use that checkpoint. The level has some clear and likes, and that’s great, I really like the end moment of the stage particularly as you reach the castle, so it’s nice that some people have experienced it.
After that level in about November, for a December level I took a break from the Super World to make a new level that isn’t one of the Castle Siege remake stages.
Game: SMM2. Level: Piranha Castle. Code: XS5-V6R-WKF What did I make? After some thought, I decided to make a challenging but short platforming level with a more intense pace than most of my stages. This is a short level, but every bit of it requires precise commands to get through as you avoid lava, piranha plants, and fireballs. This is no elite precision level, it is approachable, but it’ll definitely take practice to complete! It uses the 3D World theme, which might be my favorite theme in the game. You’ve got to get through a fireball and piranha plant-infested castle, good luck! This is another level that’d be much easier if you could use the checkpoint than when I had to clear it from the start, that requirement is kind of cruel. But anyway, the level’s a fun challenge. There is a coin trail to help, follow it! I have just one note to help players, you need to walljump immediately at the exit of all clear pipes so hold back in the pipe then jump. Make full jumps after each clear pipe, cutting the second one off slightly early so as to avoid the spike wall. In a creation note, the fireballs after clear pipes can’t kill you if you make a full, correct jump; if they could it would be random chance and I thought that would be unfair. I put thought into this. One interesting thing about this level is that it has dramatically more attempts than any of my other stages, but has a similar number of footprints, likes, and clears. This shows that some people really got into it and died a lot but kept coming back. The mark of a good difficult level indeed.
My next level after that, completed in late January 2021, is one anyone other than me clearly considers much less good. Well, I at least like it, sorry about that.
Game: SMM2. Level: 2-1: The Castle. Code H19-G58-WQG. So in the original Castle Siege “game”, level five was the longest and most challenging looking level of the eight. I put off starting work on it for a while because I knew it would be that, but in mid January finally got started. It really probably should be the last level of the Super World, but I put it at level five so here it is, surely the longest and hardest level of my Super World in the middle of the world. Oh well; I want to stick to the order and layouts of the original designs, and I’m doing that. This level took a lot of work — I spent several weeks in January working on and tweaking this level. Unfortunately, with how long it is very few people have seen almost any of that. It wasn’t deleted, but only got eleven footprints and no hearts or clears. I’m not surprised by that but it is kind of too bad, there’s some cool stuff in this level if you get far enough… and some pretty challenging stuff, but hey this is Mario so that should be expected.
Anyway, after a lot of tweaking I finally managed to make the level something I could upload. Versus my first design, essentially I left most of the section up to the first checkpoint unchanged (apart from some alterations to make the first screen a lot easier), but kept adding in powerups and such to the later two third of the level. So, really the hardest part of this stage is the first third. Once you get to that first checkpoint it gets a lot easier, I think. There are definitely hard parts later on, but a few things are cheesable and there are regular powerups so with a bit of practice it’s not too bad. After finally clearing from the start last night, I cleared from both checkpoints pretty quickly.
I am thinking about making a harder remake of this stage without the compromises — fix the things I know you can cheese, put back in that one really annoying enemy at the beginning, make some of the jumps later one harder that I eased up on, maybe get rid of the checkpoints, and such. Perhaps. That would take forever for me to upload though so I’m not sure if I will. So far I have not. I did do something else, though — I made three levels that break this level into parts, with a full level for each of its three checkpoints. I made those three levels in Super Mario Maker 1, though, and have not ported them back to SMM2 yet. I will probably do that eventually. More on these levels soon.
I also broke one part of this level out into a dedicated stage — after coming up with a pretty cool idea for how to do a tower0climbing section that’d be a lot more interesting than ‘just go up a vine or platform’, I decided to make a full level dedicated to just that idea. More on that below. I quite like that part of this stage and I’m glad I thought to make a much more accessible version of it.
But yes, this level is hardest in its first third. I know that having a level be hard at the end is best in a normal game, but honestly for Mario Maker this way is a lot more tolerable for the creator — after all, it’s easy to restart a clear attempt when you keep dying at the beginning. But if you keep dying at the END of a hard level, over and over and over again? That would be incredibly frustrating in a much worse way. If they make a Mario Maker 3 I’d love to see them come up with a solution to fix the “levels are way way harder for the creator than anyone else” issue, if indeed it can be solved.
As for the level, the first third is somewhat precise platforming, as you jump over enemies and between vines over spikes. The second third has you traveling through the great hall, kitchen, and first tower of the castle. The kitchen and each tower room has a little puzzle in it for you to solve in order to proceed. Two parts in his section gave people trouble, so while I changed them in the SMM1 remakes, so far I have chosen to not re-upload this stage so instead I should put a few hints here. First, one of the tower rooms has an off-screen thwomp. Pay attention to the arrow made of coins over a switch on the floor you need to hit at the end of a room, it is a warning. And second, in the kitchen, keep moving! If you stop in the middle of the meat grinder — that is, underneath the munchers only being kept away from you by P-switch blocks — Boom-Boom may hit one of those P-switches. You are supposed to keep moving here, that’s what I always did while uploading, so do so and make that second jump. With that done, it’s on to the last third of the level. Here, in probably the easiest third of the stage, you travel over the top of the castle, up the second tower, and then down into it to fight the boss. You can cheese some of this section of the level. I think I came up with a great room for a battle against Roy Koopa; this is one my best boss fights for sure. My clear check time was 5 minutes and 31 seconds, and you could finish it faster than that but it’s going to take a long time regardless. I hope there is someone out there takes on the challenge of clearing this stage in full; the parts are cleared, all three of those SMM1 levels have clears, but not the whole thing here!
In February I made a shorter level.
Game: SMM2. Level: The Climb. Code: NPV-G19-V5G. This is that level that breaks off the wall-climb portion of The Castle into its own level. This version is longer than the equivalent portion of The Castle, as you have a full-height vertical sub-world to climb up instead of just three or four screens as it is in the original. This is a simple and focused stage — you learn the tech, and then repeat until you reach the top. The tech in question is going up a vertical wall using alternating alternating donut blocks and falling icicles. It’s a neat trick.
I think it is a good level, though it’s not as thematically interesting as my past stages, I think, except for some theoretical existential meaninglessness if you want to read way too much into a Mario level. While making this level, I was thinking about the journey you take in the stage. You see, you basically just go up this wall until you hit a pipe which spits you out near where you started, making the whole thing pointless except for the knowledge you got past this wall, but sometimes that’s just how it is. Maybe I’ll made a third version of this idea where you go up a wall like this then reach the top and jump down off the other side, but for now it’s a somewhat pointless, if entertaining, endeavor…
Anyway, the level is only a bit over a minute long and is pretty easy once you get the rhythm of the jumps down. I think it’s fun, if unchanging, as the spacing stays the same throughout. Versus the version in The Castle, this version is kind of harder and kind of easier. One the one hand, it’s longer — The Castle’s version is four screens of climbing, while this one is twelve screens. There also isn’t the blooper that The Castle has, so you can’t skip a jump by hitting it instead. There are no regular enemies this time, unlike the one of the Castle’s version. However, this version is also easier because there is a midway checkpoint and I put the Link powerup in at the last minute, which gives you an extra hit; in The Castle you just have regular powerups which make you larger, and I find it impossible to not get hit when large when climbing these walls. Plus you don’t need to deal with the sometimes tricky jump at the top of the tower in The Castle, much less the rest of that stage.
So, this level, The Climb, should be fairly simple, as I said, once you get the jumping rhythm down. Hopefully it’s fun, though. The level has four comments, which is more than most of my stages, so a few people found it interesting at least.
So, one way to tweak The Castle would be to put a few fixes into the stage. It would still be a very long level with only two checkpoints, though, so I decided to take a second path — make three levels based off of each third of the level. However, since I only have one Switch I can’t really do that easily, I need something to recreate it from after all. I guess I could film the screen or something but haven’t done that.
Instead, I started remaking it in three pieces in Mario Maker 1 on the Wii U. I have now completed and uploaded the first two parts, and I would very much appreciate it if people gave them a try. I’ve had fun with this and challenged myself with tweaking levels, and hope others can experience them as well.
My main takeaway is that I hadn’t played MM1 in a while, and this effort has reminded me of how much better MM2 is than the first game. I mean, making these levels is fun, but I keep running into ‘I wish I had that in this one…’ moments. Sure, creation is a lot better on the Wii U Gamepad than it is on the Switch, but the vast number of things you can put in your levels in the second game that don’t exist in the first one much more than outweigh that. I had to change a lot of things in these levels, this second one particularly, because of all the things MM1 doesn’t have. I made it work, but overall I like the experience better in MM2. The biggest loss are on/off blocks and P-switch blocks, I think, not having those really makes a lot of things harder. I miss Boom-Boom way more than I would have thought, though, along with Spike, slopes, vertical levels, and more. Hammer Bros. are also MUCH more aggressive in the first game than the second, which makes getting past them much much harder in these stages than in the original SMM2 version. Despite how tedious making levels with a controller can be, overall SMM2 is a better game even for creation because of how many more items are available to you.
Remember, these are both Mario Maker 1 levels, not 2.
Game: SMM1.Â Level: The Castle, Part One – 28C1-0000-0424-6ACF
This level gets to the first checkpoint of the Switch stage. This is a stage full of somewhat precise jumps. In parts you move quickly and in others slowly, but either way it’s all about learning the jumps. It’s mostly the same as the original version, apart from slopes being replaced with stepped blocks and a Spike having to be replaced with a second Hammer Bros. I uploaded this stage quite quickly and definitely had fun with it, without the rest of the level this part’s a fun level, I would say!
This makes a good standalone stage I hope people like. I should have put a midway checkpoint in this level, and if/when I make a SMM2 port of this level I will do so, but it’s a challenging but doable stage as it is, you just need to learn the jumps. It will probably take a while because this level demands some precision, but you can do it! At least one person has finished this stage, maybe more. Naturally a lot fewer people play Mario Maker 1 in 2021 than Mario Maker 2, but at least a few people went back to the game in its closing weeks to play the many new levels like mine that released before the shutdown.
Game: SMM1. Level: The Castle, Part Two – 8C47-0000-0424-940C
As in the original level, this one is a stiff challenge. You go through the great hall and kitchens and then up and down a tower. It took me a while to upload this one, but it’s up now. I had to make a LOT of changes to this level, as anyone who’s played the Switch version would understand — replacing missing enemies with other ones, figuring out how to make all of the on/off and p-block sections at least kind of work without those things, deciding what to do about the vertical sections without a game that allows vertical levels. The on/off and p-block sections have been replaced with various things – key doors, P-switches, and a spring, specifically. I had to mix things up in order to keep the level flow mostly the same, where in the second half of the stage you have to go across each tower room, activate something, and then return back to where you started to proceed. It works now, though it’s not quite as smooth as it is in MM2 on Switch due to having to use P-switches and what that does to the coins. The vertical fall section’s not as good now of course, but there’s nothing that can be done about that. There are now two two-screens-down jumps instead of one four screen one. It’s probably even easier than it was in the Switch version though, just jump over and you’ll be fine.
I did make one change to this level that players will like — I added a midway checkpoint. I can’t do this in the full MM2 level since you can only have two checkpoints per stage, but here it’s separate levels, so I put one in at the halfway point. Clearing the level from the checkpoint is challenging because you have to fight a Hammer Bros. as small Mario, and yes that killed me a lot while uploading the stage, but still I think it’s a great addition which definitely makes the level a little bit easier; sure that enemy is tough, but that’s less frustrating than having to start over every time! Maybe I should have put in two checkpoints, but one works well I think for a level this length. The level did get a completion eventually, though I think it was the last of the three to be finished.
Game: SMM1. level: The Castle, Part Three: Final – E186-0000-0424-F18D
This level had to be fairly heavily modified from the original final third of The Castle, but I made it mostly work. I did a few things to make this harder than the original, but more to make it easier so overall this is probably easier than the SMM2 version. On the harder side, you can’t skip the first section of this level anymore; you’ve got to work your way over the battlements. This is challenging, but with practice I figured out how to get through well. On the easier side though, I put two checkpoints into this level. And yeah, that sure makes this level a lot easier! This one shouldn’t be too tough to clear really, there is a Bowser fight at the end but it’s fairly straightforward. I put a message at the end before the goal congratulating the victorious.
As for changes I had to make because of parts that aren’t in the first game, they are pretty significant. The largest changes are that vertical levels aren’t in SMM1, and there are no icicles either. Both of these things really hurt this stage, but I think the solutions I came up with work. It’s not quite as good a level as it is in SMM2, but this is still a solid level I think.
This level almost immediately got three footprints and one completion. No star then, but a quick completion was a surprise, that’s nice to see. It’s obvious a lot fewer people play SMM1 than the first game, which is understandable. A few more people have played it since.
It’s been a few months, but yes I finally made another Mario Maker 2 level. It’s a pretty tough level but definitely beatable, just learn and make the jumps and you’ll be fine!Â My original concept was ‘a super annoying troll-ey level full of softlocks where you can’t die but will have a hard time winning’ but I didn’t follow through, fortunately for anyone who plays the level. Well, I did follow through, except not for the “softlocks” or “troll-ey” parts. “You can’t easily die but may have a hard time winning”, though? Yes, that describes this level well.
What I made is a fairly precise platformer level with small platforms to jump between, including note blocks, donut blocks, timed P-switch sections, and lots of required use of momentum to make jumps. There is also one puzzle near the end, and there are two checkpoints. Below you is not death pits, but ground that lead to reset doors or paths that send you back to the last checkpoint. At first the level didn’t have the reset doors but while working on the level today I changed course and added them in order to have a much more fun and playable stage, instead of an intentionally bad one. I had some fun with the level once I added the reset doors, it’s frustrating but in that good ‘I want to learn this jump’ way that Mario’s controls make so special. There are three or four jumps in this level that gave me more trouble than the rest of the stage, but it didn’t take too long to upload really, you can just keep trying so long as time remains after all.
As with many of my levels I think getting to the first checkpoint is one of the harder things in the level, though what I would call the hardest jump is late in the second checkpoint’s section. I used coin trails to show where to go for a few off-screen jumps, so if you miss them first try lining them up without the coins can be hard. It’s definitely possible though, I’ve done it without the coins for all of them.
There are no enemies in the level other than a couple of tornado things which cannot hurt you because the concept was ‘you shouldn’t be able to die’. However, I did have to add a spike in the sub-world to let you die because of one puzzle near the end that irreparably breaks if you get certain coins. I decided on keeping the puzzle over keeping the total no-die thing. On that note, the levels’ description text is “Live. Jump. Repeat.” which is a reference some may some may recognize. I think it’s fitting.
You can definitely do better than my clear check time, I got through the first section really quickly but did fall down a bunch in the middle section. You can also do worse, though — I had less time left on the clock in the time I cleared the level from the first checkpoint than the time I cleared it from the start. Heh. The level only was uploaded hours ago and it already has a like and clear! Pretty cool. It took the person quite a while, almost 24 minutes (versus my clear check time a bit over 3 minutes), but that’s the kind of level this is so that is to be expected, the level took hours to make and upload. It’s really cool to see a quick like and clear, I wasn’t expecting that so soon.