Yes, I’m back to another one of those. I may be the only one who cares about my descriptions of my Mario Maker 2 levels, but I still think this is one of the greatest games ever made and don’t plan on ever entirely stopping playing it so long as it is supported. I did take a break from it last month, as I played several modern games one of which I will review, but I’m back to Mario Maker again and made another level.
Before I begin though, I AM playing Atari 5200 games and am working on the next update for that summary list. I was too busy with those modern games to get this written this month, but it will happen soon. I played several games today for it, in fact. I had forgotten about the fully analog controls in 5200 River Raid… interesting.
But on to Mario Maker 2 level descriptions. As I said in the title, I have four. They are from June, July, August, and October.
In June I made The Climb – Versus. Code 124-T1P-XNG (Theme: Mario 1)
This level is a second take on my level The Climb from a bit ago. I thought that the level’s ‘climb as you jump up around dropping ice blocks and donuts’ concept would work great with multiplayer, so I made this level that does exactly that. It’s the same basic idea, but with four sections for multiplayer versus play and more variety as you climb — each of the four routes up the level is broken into several sections, each a bit different. First you climb with static icicles, then with donut blocks, then finally with dropping icicles. There are powerups to give you extra chances, though I put more at the bottom of each path than the top. The level has eight plays and no hearts, though it does have two clears. Disappointingly, it hasn’t been played in multiplayer versus even once. I know it’s hard by multiplayer versus standards, but still, it’d be nice if it was. I think this level is probably overall better than the original version of The Climb because of the added variety as you go up, but with way fewer plays and no hearts I guess players disagree?
Oh — for design reasons, two of the four paths are jumping along the right side of the shafts, the other two on the left side. I wonder which way people find easier… I found it easy either way, though — while working on and clearing this level I played through all four paths, to make sure they worked, and didn’t die even one single time. I’ve clearly played my ‘the climb’ concept enough that I find it easier than most.
In July I made my next level. This one finally continues my super world, at long last! 2-2: Bombardment Hills. Code 43Q-GC6-5JG. (Theme: Mario 3)
For the few of you who played The Castle, don’t worry too much; while challenging, this level is short, not long, and is nowhere near as hard as that level is. This is a one minute long speedrun of sorts. Basically, you’re running to the right mostly at full speed, jumping over spikes as you go, while a whole armada of Lakitus try to kill you from above. If you stop for more than an instant, they’ll get you. So yeah, the level is frustrating and can seem unfair based on Lakitu ‘where are they throwing the spikes’ RNG, but with practice I figured out how to fairly consistently get through. Most of the level is done without a powerup, as I couldn’t think of a way to give you one that wouldn’t make it possible to probably damage boost up and take one of the Lakitu clouds, something that I don’t want to happen until the end of the stage. There also isn’t a checkpoint because I can’t think of a way to have the Lakitu cloud chase work from halfway; I’d need a second Lakitu cloud, and that would hit the enemy limit and then they wouldn’t throw many spineys if the first cloud was still on screen. The level is short enough that it’s very beatable in one shot, though; it is only a minute long, again, and that includes the boss fight at the end. As for that boss, I thought of several things, but ended up going with something that I think works pretty well — it’s a fight in a clown car against a Koopa Kid. Take out the Lakitus as well for some lives, and then relieve yourself of their attack. The fight can be a bit tricky but hit those question mark blocks, they have mushrooms in them!
The other thing I did not do in this level is put a coin trail along the way telling the player what jump heights they should be using. Perhaps I should do that, to save the significant amount of trial and error it takes to get the jumps down since they are NOT all max height, but I chose to leave it up to the player; I don’t like too-heavily-indicated levels really, unless the indicator is necessary. And that’s why there is a coin trail at one point in the level, for one truly blind fall. I had to indicate that, so I did. Otherwise though, learning those jumps is the point of the stage. You either like this kind of level or you don’t. I’d say I’m on both sides of that one; I mean, I like this type of level so long as it isn’t too too hard (I’m no Team Precision player to say the least!), but it certainly can be frustrating, particularly if certain spinies keep killing you. For a small hint, small hops on the uphill slopes are a very good idea. That’s the only way I found to survive one particularly annoying spinie on a steep uphill early in the level, for instance.
Overall I think this level turned out well, it fairly accurately reflects the original design I drew back in the early ’90s — remember the eight numbered Super World levels (of which this is level six) are based on paper designs of mine from my childhood. This level was a ‘run and jump over the spikes while a cloud chases you shooting lighting bolts at you’ concept. I think a bunch of Lakitus stand in well for an angry cloud.
The third level, from July, is a 3D World level about walljumps. Appropriately, I titled it Walljump Land.Â As the name suggests, this level is all about jumping from wall to wall.Â Specifically, this level is about walljumps in narrow vertical shafts. This is all about quickly jumping back and forth between two sides of a vertical path, avoiding spikes along the walls by jumping to the other side as necessary. The level only took me about a minute and a half to clear so by my levels’ standards it’s on the shorter side, but it’s a fairly intense stage due to how I mix up the jumps. I change the distances between safe spots on the walls frequently through the level, and have a section late with timed switching block walls as well.Â It’s fun stuff, but I found it difficulty. I eventually decided that it was too hard, so I caved and added powerups to the level; I’m not good enough to do this without them, or with only one at the start or such. I am sure anyone else playing it will also appreciate the powerups. At the bottom and middle of the subworld I even put in pipes giving out infinite powerups, if you want to drop back down to get a powerup again. As a result, the level is a good challenge but not TOO hard. I think this is a good level, and there are a few bits which show off why 3D World is unique, including a section where you have to spin jump for extra height; I know this is only my second 3D World level, but I love the 3D World style!Â I think this level works well and hopefully is fun. The level code for Walljump Land is WDC-7N2-0SG. Oh, yes, this is another level of mine with no regular enemies. You certainly can die though, it’s filled with spikes to avoid with your wall jumps.
After that aforementioned break, I came back to Mario Maker 2 recently and over the last few days made a new level. It is the seventh level in the super world numbered levels series, and is titled 2-3 – Ocean Crossing. This level finally adapts the seventh level of that childhood game concept of mine to Mario Maker. This one was always going to be the hardest level to make, because the level concept and map are not nearly as polished as levels 1 to 4 are since I didn’t redo it later as I did with those stages. Additionally, the basic concept of this level is something that you can’t do in Mario Maker 2, so I basically had to make a new level with few connections to my original idea apart from the basic concept of “you’re crossing over water while avoiding obstacles and fighting enemies”. The original idea was that your characters would be in little boats, perhaps a bit like the Ninja Turtles in Turtles in Time with their little hoverboards in the Neon Night Riders bonus level, fighting against enemies in their own boats and jumping over rocks and whirlpools that would get in your way. Well, you can’t do a whirlpool in Mario Maker really, there are no water currents in this game. The original Super Mario Bros. in 1985 has water currents, but this game does not! It’s one of the things they really should have put in at some point, but never did. Unfortunate. You also can’t make little boats that track the player. However, I can make a level vaguely thematically similar, as there is a level theme with a water surface available at least, the Forest theme, so I can make SOMETHING set on top of the water. It just won’t be the level I imagined. This level is the least like its source material of all seven so far, and I’m sure level 8 will not be this different either. And yeah, I don’t like that; while I do think I made an interesting level, I kind of want to try again sometime at making something more like the original concept, though I have no idea how, with Mario Maker 2’s limitations, you would reproduce it.
Basically, while thinking about what to do for this stage over the course of this year, I had two ideas for this level: either a frog suit level about challenging jumps, or a poison water night forest level about jumping from boat-like platform to boat-like platform and rock to rock. The poison water concept makes sense because the original idea would not have had you swimming in the water, but considering that my Super World’s numbered levels are all Super Mario Bros. 3 levels, and the frog suit is pretty great, going for the frog suit option was an easy call. So, this level, 2-3 – Ocean Crossing, is a frog suit level. There are two parts to this level, challenging jumps on the water’s surface as you try to get over various barriers, and fights on a pair of enemy ships. I tried to have obstacles appear at roughly the spots I drew whirlpools or rocks on the original level map, but otherwise this is all new. Having the enemies have some large ships is a new idea too, actually. That seems like an idea I should have had back then, but didn’t. This level took me about 2 minutes 20 seconds to beat, so it’s decent length. It has two checkpoints and is pretty tough; it took me a few days of trying to finally complete the stage. I did edit it as I went though, mostly to make some things easier where I was really having trouble, so it’s not quite as hard as that suggests; I greatly reduced the difficulty of most of the most frustrating jumps. If you know your frog suit jumping distances, this level should be fun, I think. If you don’t, well, here’s a good time to learn them! You can take damage in many areas and keep going, damage-boosting your way past some obstacles, but there are a few points, mostly in the second half of the level, where I require you to keep your frogsuit. This level is all about learning the jumps, and given the very controlled way the frog suit moves and jumps, that is quite doable. I do not put indicators in the level and I would like to know if people think I really should use them, but… I had to learn these jumps through practice. Isn’t learning that what a level like this is all about? Everything is visible, there are no blind jumps here.Â It’s just about positioning. (Yes, I know I’ve been a bit inconsistent with how I indicate jumps sometimes and not other times, but I do put thought into when I use indicator coins and when I don’t. I just don’t really know whether other people think I should use more or not.)
As for the two ship battles and the boss, I did put a lot of difficult enemies on them, most notably a bunch of Hammer Brothers, but hey, you’re nearing the end of the game, I wanted it to be harder. I did ease up a bit, though — the final ship now has two good powerups, while at first there was only one regular mushroom. That was not enough, so I improved the powerups and removed some enemies. I tried a lot of things for the final battle against Morton (since I used Ludwig in level six, 2-2), and ended up going with a partially submerged one, appropriate to the level. I strongly recommend killing all enemies above before trying to fight him. Oh, and story-wise, while making this level I thought up the idea that these two enemy ships are filled with treasure looted from your castle, which you will soon return to. It’s a nice idea which fits the game well I think. And yes, there are plenty of coins to get in both ship holds. Overall, what do I think of this level? I like it. It’s not my favorite level of mine, but I like the challenge and the frog suit. The level code for this level, 2-3 – Ocean Crossing, is VCW-1D6-NYF.
On a somewhat unrelated note, here’s a secret… what is the level of mine that I go back and play the most often? It’s …