Super Mario Maker is a wonderful game. A level editor that allows fans to create their own Mario levels in a way that’s both accessible and deep. It has allowed for many people to showcase some amazing creative potential, and could have a strong impact on Mario’s future (I imagine the next time we see a 2D sidescrolling Mario title, that Mario Maker’s influence will have Nintendo rethink how to approach the 2D Mario formula).
But with the good comes the bad. And when you hand gamers the ability to make (or break) Mario’s rules, sometimes that leads to the really, really bad.
Of course not every Mario Maker level was destined for greatness, but if someone makes a basic, forgettable level, that’s no unforgivable sin. But then there are levels that are just sloppy, broken, and trollish.
The following five things fall into this category, and are annoying trends I’ve seen in far too many Mario Maker levels already. Simply put, if you want your Mario Maker levels to be any kind of decent, avoid these terrible tropes at all costs!
5: Trampolines as far as the eye can see!
Okay, so there are actually a number of good levels that exist floating around the Mario Maker servers that utilize trampolines and springs as their motif. Even some that place these springs by the dozens to slow Mario down and get in his way can still be decent. It is possible to take the concept of “a lot of springs” and make a good level out of it.
But that’s when people actually have some kind of method to the madness. More often, you’re likely to see a level that just randomly threw springs and trampolines every which way, placed even more of them on top of one another, stacking more still on top of those, and perhaps placing a small army of enemies bouncing around just to make things more frustrating.
This seems to be one of the go-to level creation methods for troll Mario Maker players. It’s easy, lazy, and frustrates players to no end, without providing any real fun.
4: Blind Jumps
Blind jumps. Enough said, really.
Not being able to see where Mario is about to jump, and not providing an arrow, coin, or any other indication that I’m not just about to jump into an abyss is a huge no-no. The player should always have some sense of knowledge of what is a bottomless pit and what isn’t in a platformer. If they don’t, you just turn things into a random guessing game. That doesn’t make your level difficult, it makes it terrible.
Super Mario Maker provides more than enough tools to give players a sign or a hint of what lies ahead. Use them. Otherwise, your level is destined to be skipped over and never given a star.
3: Instant death right out the gate
Here’s something you’re bound to come across way too often when playing the 100 Mario Challenge on expert difficulty. Levels where the player is immediately killed by a Goomba placed just over Mario’s head at the start of a level, or a trampoline instantly falls and pushes Mario off a cliff as soon as the level begins. If you move quick enough as soon as the level loads you can avoid these hazards (though you’ll most likely hit an invisible block and be killed by an enemy or fall off a cliff nonetheless), but why would you? When a level loads up, you’re just waiting for it to load, and expect to start moving afterwards. How on Earth is the player just supposed to predict that a level will unfairly kill them right after the loading screen?
I’m sure the trolls who make these levels think themselves mighty clever (despite the fact that they all do it, meaning none of them are even creative about it). But if you run into one of these levels in the 100 Mario Challenge, skip it immediately. If you happen to select one of these levels through other means, quit it and never look back. They’re awful.
2: A prison of invisible blocks
Here is an excruciating annoyance for any respectable Mario Maker player. I have played a depressing amount of stages where Mario will fall into a little pit that shouldn’t be difficult to jump out of. But jump once and, uh oh! There’s an invisible block. Jump again, and another invisible block. This of course continues until there’s simply no escape, and players are forced to either quit/skip the level (the wise option), or retry the level and avoid falling in that spot. Though I don’t know why anyone would want to retry such a stage, considering it takes the concept of trial-and-error, and turns it, once again, into something random and poorly-designed.
Worst of all is that the trolls who make these levels, without fail, put that laughing sound effect into every block, effectively making fun of you for falling for their trap. But how could you not? Were you just supposed to magically know you were falling into an inescapable, level-breaking prison? There is literally no way you could predict that.
Hopefully Nintendo can somehow patch this up and prevent invisible blocks from completely boxing players in. Then maybe the real level designers playing Mario Maker can have a good laugh.
1: ENEMIES EVERYWHERE!
I fully understand the enthusiasm people have to pit Mario against a literal army of Goombas and Koopa Troopas in a way that he never could before. The problem is that it seems to a lot of people, the idea of an “army” means throwing enemies into every inch of the screen without any finesse or planning, and giving players zero breathing room. Worst of all are the people who spam Lakitus and place them high enough to be out of view (which, once again, makes things random). It’s such a pain playing a level that’s cramped with Hammer Bros. and flying Cheep Cheeps, and just when you think you have an opening, a flying, giant circle of Boos falls from the sky and kills you. And don’t even get me started on Blooper spamming in underwater levels.
There are other annoying reoccurrence I’ve noticed in Mario Maker, but these are probably the worst. Even if you aren’t the best level designer out there, you’d be wise not to follow suit with these terrible tropes, lest your level becomes utter crap.