What, nobody other than me was asking for this? Well, sorry, but I was so here it is. My last MM2 levels update was last March, and since then I have made several levels. I would, honestly, make more if the game was more lively and more people were playing the game and thus my levels got more plays and clears, like they did when I first started making levels, but it’s fun making and uploading levels regardless. I hope eventually they all get cleared.
Thinking about these stages from the past year, most have more basic theming than my earlier stages, mostly being about jumping between platforms hovering over a void. Some are similar in concept, though each is different in its details. I am fine with that though, since there still are sections with good theming and design, and what makes Mario so, so special is the platform jumping that these stages are all about. I am making what I love about this game.
After Cat Claw Clinging, my next level was Spike’s Peak, which I made in May ’22. It is sadly still uncleared. With a just under four minute clear check time this is another long level, but I loved making it; this is one of my favorite stages that I have made for sure. This is a Super Mario World level, and it’s my first SMW level to make use of more of that games’ unique design elements; Jumps and Flight used the P-balloon, but that’s it. This stage, however, has a lot more, including spin-jumping, Yoshi, and more. It’s not a cape-flight stage but instead is a jumping-between-platforms-while-fighting-enemies stage, but that’s how I like it. There is a P-balloon section, and it’s a bit tricky, but most of the level is standard platforming. I love it.
The theme for this level is that you are climbing up a mountain, so most of the stage is a vertical sub-world. The main world is flat of course, but almost all platforms are uphill slopes, which adds a somewhat original touch to the stage as most platforms have a Spike throwing spike balls at you on top of that slope. Some mix things up for a Hammer Bros. or some other enemy. I love platform jumping and this level does it well, but I also like the variety of scenarios I put in the stage as you go along, each area is different. There is a part where you have to go through a couple of jumping challenges to get some red coins, a puzzle involving spin-jumping on Thwomps in a specific way in order to get to a high platform across the section, that aforementioned P-flight section, and more. At the end there’s a little mini boss fight, but if you have a powerup you can just damage boost through. If you don’t it’s tricky, though. Either way is fine. I think this is a great level and I hope people play it, it’s got good theming and variety while mostly being a traditional jumping-and-fighting stage. It’s a good challenge but is certainly beatable. And yes, there are two checkpoints. This is one of my favorite levels that I’ve made. The code is XLC-RJ1-PYF.
Next, a bit frustrated at how few of my recent levels had clears, I tried to make an easier level in the hopes it’d get cleared. It’s not EASY, mind you, but it is easier… and that paid off, as Blue Cavern does have clears. It has six clears and only one heart, sadly, but I at least like it. I uploaded this level in July ’22. The concept here basically was to make something somewhat like Spike’s Peak but easier and in the game theme I’ve used the most by far, Mario 3. My clear check here was 1:12, so it’s a much shorter stage than Spike’s Peak, but the basic idea of going up sloped or flat platforms is the same. As I was trying to make it easier most of these platforms do not have an enemy at the top, but there are still a few foes to get in your way, and some of the jumps are tricky. Once you get to the second checkpoint, you fight a bunch of enemies on a platform and then take flight with the Racoon Tail. The platform is a bit too short to reach P-speed, though, so you have to run back from the end of the platform, jump a little, turn around in the air, run the other way, and jump off in flight. It’s easy enough once you figure it out, but I wanted a little added challenge there. The flying section’s challenging, as you need to fly through openings in spike walls without touching the spikes, but at its end is the goal. This is a good, solid platformer level in the style I like best: jumping between platforms over a pit, with some unique features. I think it’s good and it accomplished what I set out to do in making something a bit like Spike’s Peak but shorter and less hard. Play it. The code is 5V3-0FP-S9G.
After this, in September ’22 I went back to Cat Claw Clinging’s concept and did something similar to Blue Cavern: I made a second, easier stage in Cat Claw II. As a cat suit level it is naturally a Mario 3D World stage; I love 3D World in this game as a setting, it’s my second favorite setting after Mario 3 for sure! This level is a short, under 40 second long “don’t touch the ground or you lose” level, with the same clear condition as the last one. “You can’t jump” levels with this clear condition are usually miserably boring, but “stay in the air” ones can be pretty good. I think that the two Cat Claw levels are pretty similar in quality, except the first was 53 seconds long and this is 39, and the main things cut were some of the trickier jumps. You won’t find the can-be-hard enemy lineups in this one, for instance. I think this level is good, but it follows the first ones’ format a bit too closely; it’s even got a ‘go through the walled area’ section at about the same point in the course. Even so, it’s a good level and it’s quite unfortunate that it has no clears. The first Cat Claw Clinging has no clears either, still, by the way. Ah well, what can you do? I think these are good levels, there just aren’t enough people playing the game anymore. As with most of my levels it is in that middle ground where it isn’t hard enough for kaizo players to be interested but isn’t easy enough for less skilled players to have a chance at clearing it, but I’d think that there would be a fair number of us in this category, people who may enjoy watching the top players play kaizo levels on Twitch or Youtube but aren’t good enough to have much of a chance at them ourselves. Anyway, do try this stage, it’s good solid platforming fun / frustration, with a moderately challenging difficulty. The code is N72-G1Q-XWG.
Next, in November I realized something bad, 8 – Your Castle At Last (2-4), a level from the previous article in this series and one of my most involved creations, had some BAD softlocks at the end. I don’t like re-uploading old stages to fix problems in them because it resets the clock on plays and clears and likes and all that and with how few people are playing the game most stages would never get back to their current numbers of likes and plays and such, but in this case, with an uncleared level with softlocks, I had to fix the problem so I did. While re-uploading it after correcting the awful softlocks in the castle at the end I probably should have made the Bowser fight easier — the floor you need to get him to break through really is at least one layer too thick — but I didn’t, to preserve the original idea. Sorry. It IS supposed to be the end of the game, so the final boss should be hard, right? At least for the player it’d be a bit less awful since you’d get a checkpoint right before the fight… it’s mostly frustrating for having to clear the level from the beginning, heh. But anyway, it’s re-uploaded now, identical to before but now without softlocks and with a slightly altered level name. The code is MVS-L49-52G. I edited this code into the first review of the stage as well.
In January ’23 I made my first actual new level since September, Winter Jumping Fun. This is yet another stage in the style of the Cat Claw Clinging levels, so yes it is another 3D World level. There is no clear condition this time, but you will mostly be in the air. It’s an about one minute long stage with a mixture of platform jumping, and jumping to trees and such. I wanted to make another mid-difficulty stage, one that has some challenge to it but is much less of an ordeal than my harder levels, and I accomplished that. Some of this is like Cat Claw Clinging, some like Spike’s Peak with some slope platforms and a jump to a platform directly above the one you are standing on, and the last bit is entirely original with a slight puzzley bit. This isn’t the most original stage for sure, most of my levels are quite thematically similar in being about jumping between floating platforms while maybe fighting enemies or maybe not doing that, but Mario is great first and foremost because of its platform jumping so all I can say is that what I make is what makes Mario great: the rewarding brilliance of the Mario physics, characters, objects, and more, in a setting where the main focus is on platforming. But not many people play Mario Maker 2 anymore, so the level has only had three plays… thankfully one of them by someone who cleared it. Nice. The code is 0Q9-TTB-GHG. Check it out if, as I do, you love Mario because it is the finest platformer game series that exists. (Yes, this game is far from perfect and its physics have some issues such as the horrid spike hitboxes, but overall it’s a truly exceptional engine and concept nonetheless.)
My most recent level is Jumps and Shell Jumps. I uploaded this stage in early April this year. I decided to finally put some shell jumps in a level of mine, since I’d learned how to do this trick a little while back but had held off on putting it into stages since that definitely reduces your potential playerbase, most average players will have no idea how to get past a wall you can only get over with a shell jump. Even so, better or more dedicated players, such as a lot of the people still playing this game, like them and I do find basic shell jumps somewhat fun, so I built a level with some. The basic idea here is that this level is one part a fairly standard stage of mine with jumps between small platforms, and one part standard shell jumps. There are no advanced shell trick jumps here because I’m not very good at all at most of those, just regular ‘throw the shell at the wall with just the right timing to bounce on it and get to the top of the wall’, so this should be beatable by anyone like me with intermediate skill at the game but who does know the shell jump. This is another shorter level and just over a minute; I intentionally made it short to try to keep away from my tendency to make really long levels that I like but many others seem to dislike.
This level is mostly about regular or shell jumps, but there is one section with some P-switches. I thought about putting a P-switch jump in this level, that is a jump where you have to drop a P-switch midair and jump off of it, but those are frustratingly hard tricks to pull off in this game. I CAN do them and did multiple times while working on the level, but I’m so inconsistent at it and find them so frustrating that I decided to back off on that and lower the wall a bit so people like me who aren’t very good at that can find a different way up; it will take a little longer but works much more reliably than those awful P-switch drop jumps. Heh. Anyway, overall I like this level. I don’t think it’s one of my best stages, but it’s a decently solid level and an alright first attempt at a shell jump (/ platforming) stage. It has a clear, which is nice for this year of “who still plays Mario Maker 2 anymore, anyway?”, so I guess making something a bit more technically challenging, as the shell jump is, was a good idea. The code is 9LT-M1G-XGF.
And that’s my most recent stage so far, though I am sure that I will make more levels. I may make my next stage soon, I’m thinking about it. Mario Maker 2, flaws and all, is still one of the greatest experiences ever and I will always love it.