Thursday, April 14, 2016

Pipes and Plumbers

I don't own a Wii U, but I have a brother that does.  Recently, I had a chance to sit down at his place and try it out.  None of the games made much of an impression on me save one, Mario Maker.

I'm a big fan of games that let the player make their own levels (link), and Mario Maker is no exception..  The tool set is robust, yet easy to learn.  Level testing is also a sinch.  Sadly, the system by which user-created levels are found, shared and filtered leaves something to be desired.

I found myself wishing for an over-world map so I could combine levels into a mini-campaign of sorts...and in the game's defense there is a challenge mode where-by players can enjoy a sequence of levels customized by choosing one of four options, "easy," "normal," "hard," and "expert."  The problem was when I tried "hard" most of the levels were really just logic puzzles.  Meanwhile "easy" resulted in levels that were a joke, auto-win scenarios that either required me to simply hold right on the D-pad or (in some cases) do nothing at all.  Don't get me wrong.  These "bot" levels were impressive from a design standpoint, but the act of actually playing them was rather dull (at least for me).  Perhaps if there were some include/exclude filtering options using tags, I would have enjoyed that aspect of Mario Maker more.  As is, the level tagging system felt clunky and underutilized.  In truth, the kind of levels I really wanted to play were the more traditional kind you might find in a classic Mario Brothers game.  Since I didn't find many levels like that though I made a few myself.  Here's the names and ID codes:

Mushroom Heights

Air and Sea

Double Trouble

Cave Coins

Turtle Terrace

By all means check them out if you have a copy of Mario Maker and like levels that aren't heavy on the gimmicks.  They're also pretty forgiving so finishing all five shouldn't require a major time investment.  "Less frustration, More fun," was my motto while making each one.  If you have any similarly themed levels you'd like to share feel free to post them in the comment section bellow.  I'll give them a try on my next visit to the Mushroom Kingdom.

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