Super Mario Maker Review

It’s time to overload your imagination and baffle players worldwide with Nintendo’s finest level creating tool yet in Super Mario Maker. But even if you haven’t got a creative bone in your body, the game still oozes the typical Mario charm to pick up and play.

Developed under Nintendo’s EAD division and from Mario producer Takashi Tezuka, Super Mario Maker is a pocket full of dreams, desires and wishes for level creators worldwide. Designed both for creating and playing, the game brings so many inventive cards to the table it’s often hard to focus on just a few. With freedom like you’ve never experienced before in a franchise title, Super Mario Maker not only encourages you to think outside of the box when creating levels, it delivers various tools to users with the perfect pace. Over the course of nine days, you’ll unlock four Mario universes and a plethora of objects, enemies and power-ups to satiate your creative hunger. It’s simply the perfect excuse to keep you coming back for more; feed us a little and we won’t just crawl back, we’ll perform a perfect Mario dash with child-like glee.

Similar to Mario Paint on the SNES, the main menu screen within Super Mario Maker is interactive. By using the GamePad, players can touch different parts of the game’s name to unleash items, enemies and other effects, all while able to fully complete the background level. It’s in these small, charming touches littered throughout the game that makes Super Mario Maker exude life and a complete pleasure to watch, play through and create.

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Select your tools from the top bar with your stylus and stick a few enemies in there. Add some wings. Add mushrooms. Wait, are we a chef or a designer?

But in order to become the ultimate level creator, Nintendo won’t just throw players in at the deep end without a floatation device. Instead, you’ll unlock new in-game items and settings by spending between five and fifteen minutes creating a level with those currently available. You’ll be guided through those first tutorial levels and, over nine days, can unlock additional sample courses to play around with. Getting a feel for your surroundings and the different options available to you is key to creating the best levels. In fact, some of the best user-created levels I’ve played have been ones that use just one theme, or focus on finding just one crucial item. Less is certainly more in Super Mario Maker.

Players can choose to design courses in either Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World or New Super Mario Bros. U. There are also six background options available for each game including the overworld, underground, underwater, ghost, castle and airship. At first, the amount of options presented seem just right, particularly coupled with the many transformation combinations offered, but before long you’ll be craving for different Mario universes to invent and explore within.

However, with that said, there are ample choices for creators via 60 in-game items and sound effects. Drag and drop wings on the back of Goombas, Koopas and Piranha Plants or supersize them with mushrooms – instead of Big Macs. Send Mario into sub areas through pipes and doors to lengthen the level, or use power-ups in humorous ways to dash through enemies, and decrease the time limit to really ramp up pressure and frustration.

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Underwater levels are beautiful in a New Super Mario Bros. U design. But er, good luck getting to the goal post!

Stand out from the crowd by recording your own voice in levels, or by using a mixture of the readily available sound effects such as fireworks and laughter to amuse – or annoy – other players. But if secrets are more your calling card, you can also use the mystery mushroom to spoil gamers with up to 100 different character costumes available, though thankfully you won’t have to unlock each one with their counterpart amiibo. And despite showcasing their pixel-led models in the retro levels only, it’s another small but wonderful touch from Nintendo.

When uploading your imaginative creations to the online server, players must complete their courses before doing so, weeding out the impossible levels whilst allowing you to tweak or edit the levels to your liking. At first, you’ll only be able to upload 10 courses but players can unlock more slots by earning medals. When other Mario fans play through your courses they can either leave a comment on Miiverse or reward a star to those they really enjoyed. Quite simply, the more stars you earn the more opportunities you’ll receive to bag a medal. And if you thought a level was particularly good, you can choose to download it to your repertoire to play whenever you wish.

However, it’s unclear at this point how Nintendo select levels for the featured section. How does your ingenious level become noticed in an oversaturated part of the game? For instance, I’ve seen countless creations by those with one or two medals, but not many from new creators. Even my own level was played by just seven users, six days after it was uploaded. It’s a major worry in a game that pushes heavily on its creative elements. Perhaps we need to hit the Nintendo “quality seal” to find an audience.

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Quick, Mario! We need your plumbing expertise to get these levels hooked up. Wait, you’re a builder now? Oh. Well, nevermind.

As levels are uploaded within a few short hours to the server, Course World offers an abundance of user-created levels. Players can scroll through courses by difficulty level, their maker, or through the Featured, Up and Coming and Star Ranking course tabs. But if you don’t fancy choosing any yourself, you can play through randomly selected courses in the 100 Mario run. By playing with either the Wii U GamePad, Wii Remote, Classic Controller Pro and Wii U Pro Controller, take on eight different user-created levels with 100 Mario lives at your disposal. This is a great way to find newly uploaded courses by other users, specifically those that haven’t been highlighted by Nintendo’s servers. There’s even a handy skip option if you’re finding a level too difficult or frustrating.

Super Mario Maker isn’t just a game for creators though as it also offers a 10 Mario offline mode to rival its online one. With over 70 levels designed by Nintendo’s EAD team, you must clear 8 levels with just 10 Mario lives in order to rescue Princess Peach. Super Star Dash, Find the Fireflower, Dry Bones Stampede, and Zig-Zag Lava Bubbles are utterly charming, fun and fresh levels to play through. But since the courses are entirely randomised, you’ll most likely run into the same ones repeatedly and – unlike 100 Mario – there’s no option to skip them. For players, then, Super Mario Maker is extremely light on content. Perhaps a mode similar to those seen in NES Remix placed as a single-player campaign would have given us something extra to chew on.

With longevity for creators, Super Mario Maker is an incredible design tool. But it’s a title that is solely reliant on user-created content, and therein lies its predicament. Truly amazing in short bursts but how long until the imagination well runs dry? Perhaps we’ll need to question how long that piece of string is first, then add wings to it.

8/10

Nintendo of Europe’s Latest Splatfest Pits Singing Against Dancing In Splatoon

Nintendo of Europe has unleashed its next Splatfest for fellow inklings this weekend. The latest competition in Splatoon pits Singing against Dancing, so choose your team wisely, and get your ink bazookas and splat guns at the ready. Simply head on over to Inkopolis plaza to choose your team and gear up with a special t-shirt only wearable during the event.

Those familiar with the third-person shooter for Wii U should know the drill by now. Results will be posted in-game after the full 24-hour period ends. Nintendo of America’s Splatfest has almost drawn to a close, however, and asked players to side with Decepticons or Autobots in a special Transformers weekend theme.

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Devil’s Third Review

Military and melee weapons poised and at the ready, the hyper-violent Devil’s Third brings an interesting twist to the hack and slash come action shooter genre. But its clever changes of pace are often few and far between, with its choppy frame rates, sluggish AI and egregious in-game textures.

From the creator of the modernised Ninja Gaiden series Tomonobu Itagaki, alongside his team at Valhalla Game Studios, Devil’s Third challenges players to die harder with its appealing mix of slick swordplay and linear third-person shooter combat. The game is director Itagaki’s answer to one of Hollywood’s legendary movies, as not only does it combine the greatest action stars from the ’80s such as Jackie Chan, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger in its main character Ivan,¬† it blends them together with killer enemies, extreme yet superfluous stunts for the wow factor, and a ridiculous yet verging on hilarious difficulty scale. And just like an ’80s action flick, its aesthetics are more than a little rough around the edges, often sporting flat and ugly textures in each area, but it doesn’t make the Wii U game any less fun to play during multiplayer maps and its single-player campaign.

Before players let themselves loose in multiplayer mode, Devil’s Third features nine missions across Asia, Europe and America throughout its story mode. Playing as former mercenary Ivan, your assignment is to eradicate the terrorist group you once swore allegiance to and tackle the oncoming chimera virus, while earning the right to both freedom and redemption.

With each mission taking place in a different area, exploration is rewarded for those with curious souls. Up to six trophies can be found within the nooks and crannies of each level, as well as nine easy-to-find instrument war trophies throughout the game. Loot lovers beware though, as Devil’s Third often plants gigantic, unnecessary areas in maps with nothing but grim surroundings. It’s this lack of interaction and in-game detail which is a real disappointment for thrill-seeking collectors.

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The Asian setting is easily the prettiest and most impressive graphical art within Devil’s Third.

There are, however, moments where story mode’s layout and beauty truly shines. The spine-chillingly, creepy hospital halls and chimera-injected citizens patrolling its length throughout mission three replicate enemy Clickers’ movements from The Last of Us, while mission five’s Asian pagodas, shoji screens and blossom trees are highlighted wonderfully under the game’s moonlight effect. Devil’s Third also features some intriguing off-the-wall elements during missions to vary the monotonous shoot and slash mechanic. Players can take control of machine guns and pick off enemies one by one, shoot from the back of a helicopter, and blast through snowy fortresses inside a tank. It’s in these insanely fun moments, often coupled with pertinent music, that Devil’s Third really starts to crank up its gameplay gears.

If you’re unfamiliar with Itagaki’s previous games, Devil’s Third brings three difficulty modes to the table with casual, standard and hardcore. Depending on which mode you choose, each mission will last between one and two hours and supplies plenty of ammunition, so you can expect a fairly meaty single-player campaign. And given story mode’s variety, there are often many weapons littered on the ground.

Arming yourself with a flamethrower is particularly fun against chimera-infected hostiles, while using the rocket-propelled grenade against helicopters and some bosses can turn the battle in your favour. The game also supplies players with plenty of melee weapons, including a Katana, Machete and the Ninja Sword to name but a few. Taking down enemies in a hack and slash style will boost Ivan’s Enbaku meter and make his tattoos glow. Unleashing the Enbaku enables a near invulnerability mode, leading to devastating – and often comedic – finishing blows.

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Touching legs, touching swords, touching finish. Playful fight sequences are just the best, no?

Despite the third-person shooter’s satisfying weapon choice and game mechanics, it’s awash with flaws. An incredibly choppy frame rate combined with sluggish AI can seriously hamper the mood and your in-game strategy. It’s especially apparent in smaller trench-like or sewer areas, where enemies often suffer glitches in between running and shooting, bodies miraculously vanish and then reappear above you, sticking out of a wall, or jammed between a literal rock and a hard place. And there are even times when the frame rate drops significantly between cinematic cutscenes; Ivan seemingly can’t catch a break. Plus when under heavy enemy fire, the frame rate can suffer so greatly it affects your overall weapon aim which features stiff movement, rather than a more natural, fluid motion.

Problems with the mission marker often occur too, with substantial lags between each objective. I’ve often aimlessly – and with great frustration – shot at dead hostiles in order to trigger the next objective, or even walked blindly into the next enemy camp to stimulate movement. Not only will you feel idiotic in doing so, you’ll plaster Ivan with so many bullets in the back, he’ll be walking out with a new blood-soaked tattoo. No “yippee ki yays” or a spare vest to be found around here.

In another hair-raising error, story mode will plant Ivan into enemy saturated ambushes straight off the mark. During the earlier missions, you’ll encounter Big Mouse in an overtly surreal boss fight. Not only is this fight terribly unbalanced with a boss that has no distinct pattern and a dash that outruns your own, you’ll need to obliterate 20 plus soldiers before you are inevitably blown apart. Let’s not even joke here, just sign me up for the Suicide Squad, please. No capes either.

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Get to grips with the multiplayer mode in Devil’s Third, choose your weapons wisely for each map!

In stark contrast to the game’s subpar single-player campaign, Itagaki has given much care to its online multiplayer mode. Players will begin by customising their own male or female avatar as a Gunner, Assault or Sniper, equipping them with armour, camouflage and weapons with load-outs of their choosing. Weapons are only purchasable with in-game Dollen, of which you’ll be supplied with 30k at the start, while avatar gear can only be bought with rare golden eggs received at the beginning of your campaign, or from levelling up.

Golden eggs are, in fact, so rare that they can be bought with real money in the Nintendo eShop – it’s a little unorthodox to see some of the game’s biggest and best weaponry locked behind an insurmountable amount of Dollen, only purchasable if you trade one of your Golden Eggs for 100,000 Dollen or more.

Microtransactions aside, new players can only battle against others in drill matches until a certain level is reached to play in Siege. With a variety of modes from chicken catching to a steal-the-flag Transporter mode, there’s plenty on offer across a range of well-designed maps to tickle those multiplayer taste buds. For the most part, the frame rate during online matches appears to be very stable unlike during story mode, so there’s certainly less frustration when it comes to engaging with the enemy. And if you’d rather seek out achievements during matches, you can keep track of all your kills – whether it’s a headshot, long shot, your kill streak, or a revenge kill – on the Wii U GamePad, along with player statistics. There’s also an in-game chat room where you can type messages to friends as a substitute for voice chat.

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Current power struggles and your faction or clan are detailed in this Siege map layout.

Of course, the real challenge in Devil’s Third is during Siege matches. You’ll need to keep your wits about you here in order to join a clan or faction, or perhaps even lead your own as a commander, wiping out an enemy clan in a fortress takeover or through contributing to your clan’s overall effectiveness by providing extra Dollen. Unfortunately, due to the rather diluted servers pre-launch, I’ve yet to sample Siege mode. And given it’s a large part of the game, it would be unfair to pass judgment upon it at this stage.

In its own right, Devil’s Third has an astute multiplayer experience and features wonderfully wacky drill matches, which are a pleasure to play. Though its single-player campaign doesn’t quite hit the mark, and clever moments are often fleeting, it’s still a worthy game for any Wii U owner. Perhaps it’s the Devil’s multiplayer charm that keeps me playing – it’s certainly not story mode’s horns.

7/10

MNN Is Looking For Two Talented Writers To Join Our Team

My Nintendo News has an opening for two talented writers to join the team. So if Bowser’s fire burns in your belly and you can perfectly pick your words as easily as your mushroom power-ups, we’d love to hear from you. We’re looking for one US and one UK writer to join our (Squirtle) squad on a voluntary basis, so we can keep bringing Nintendo news around-the-clock to our readers. If your written work oozes with Nintendo-like charm and can keep the Boos at bay, make sure to read the following criteria below.

Essential:

  • Must be able to dedicate a sufficient amount of time on a daily, voluntary basis to chase up and write news articles.
  • Have a good grasp of English grammar and syntax.
  • Previous experience using WordPress.
  • Must have written for a news-based website in the past, with previous examples of online written work or a blog.

Beneficial:

  • Be familiar with My Nintendo News and our style.
  • Work well within a team.
  • Have a good nose for news, reporting on the facts and keeping opinion to a minimum.

In order to be considered for one of our openings, we would like to see a recent example of your written work. All applicants should aim to write a 100 – 200 word news post on a current Nintendo article of your choosing and attach it to your email. To submit an application, please use our contact form here and attach any subsequent examples of past work, stipulating your availability.

Thanks and good luck!

Latest US Splatfest Results Are Close Call But Team Marshmallow Wins

Nintendo’s latest Splatfest has come to an end in North America. It was a much closer battle this time around from both Team Marshmallow and Hotdog on Nintendo’s third-person shooter Splatoon, though the former just edged its way to victory with a 256 – 244 winning score. According to the latest results, courtesy of Callie and Marie, the breakdown saw Marshmallow claim victory in terms of popularity with a 64 per cent lead over Hotdog’s 36 per cent, while Team Hotdog topped the wins with 52 per cent versus 48 per cent.

Nintendo of Europe’s Splatfest is still underway and will conclude in the next few hours where either Team North Pole or Team South Pole will be crowned the victor. Last week, the colourful Wii U title had a considerable update which saw the arrival of two new matchmaking modes, new weapons, gear and a level 50 cap for players who have already reached level 20.

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Amazon UK Suggests Fire Emblem Fates Could Be A Single Release For Europe

amazon_listing_fire_emblem_fatesFire Emblem Fates has seen reasonable success in Japan following its two-title release back in June. But according to Amazon UK, the West – or at the very least, Europe – won’t be seeing two distinct titles in the region, rather you’ll be able to opt for the light or dark path in-game. Fans of the series in Japan are currently able to purchase physical releases of either Birthright or Conquest, depending on which path they choose to follow, with only one version unlocking the entirely different storyline in¬†Hoshido or Nohr.

With no official comment from Nintendo of Europe on the game’s distribution, due for release some time in 2016, Amazon UK has stated on their mobile page that Fire Emblem Fates will be its only version release within the market segment. Oddly, you won’t be able to view the notice through a browser, only on an iOS or Android mobile device, as can be seen in the image above.

The ability to choose either path in-game is a smart decision, primarily for ease of use, as well as added value. However, fans have speculated that once you’ve chosen your side, you’ll be automatically locked out of the other. Of course, we can’t be sure Amazon UK’s listing is entirely accurate, but it is certainly a stepping stone to the game’s western distribution. Would you prefer to own both physical editions for the Nintendo 3DS? Let us know in the comment section below.

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GameXplain Highlights Nintendo’s Splatoon Easter Egg With Squid Sisters Theme Song

GameXplain has discovered Nintendo’s rather sneaky easter egg lurking on the seabed floor following Splatoon’s recent update this month. Thrown in amongst two new matchmaking modes, new weapons, gear and an increase to the game’s level-cap, the ever-popular Squid Sisters from the Wii U title are back in the limelight once again in a cleverly hidden section of the August update. Love or hate Callie and Marie during their breaking news speeches, they are oozing with charm when singing to their theme song, particularly if you can tap to the beat as well.

Hidden in the depths of the Private Battle multiplayer password screen, GameXplain highlights how fans of the game can use the numbers to emulate the Squid Sisters theme song – providing you know the correct number order and specific timing. Nintendo’s neat trick can be seen directly in the video embedded above, so make sure to give it a go in between this weekend’s Splatfest.

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