Super Mario Maker might actually be bad

I'm holding out hope that the community will improve their level building, but right now the game is rough around the edges.

It's early; it's only been a few weeks, but I can't help but worry about Super Mario Maker.

The idea, in theory, is great. A community of people making Mario levels sounds amazing. The problem is that so many of the levels are bad. I begin to play the 100 Mario Challenge, and Easy mode is far too easy. Normal is also easy, so I move to Expert, and the difference feels monumental.

Levels that don't require skill, but rather the patience of a Buddhist monk, begin to make me frustrated and angry at the game. The majority of the levels that I end up playing aren't actually difficult, but obtuse or simply unfair.

The moment when you begin a level and see what seems like thousands of enemies surrounding you is overwhelming. And don't even get me started on the levels in which you are essentially forced to lose at least one life, since the designer decided to put an enemy so close to you at the start of the level that you can't avoid a death.

These levels are not challenges, but rather shrines to trolling. That is what Super Mario Maker is when you play the "higher difficulty" levels.

Hopefully this is just a phase, and good levels will overtake the bad ones, but it will take a community effort to give stars to well-designed levels that offer real challenges, not arbitrary and petty ones.

I realize that it's still early. Maybe the community just needs to practice building levels. I'm not good at building levels myself, so who am I to complain? Well...as someone who bought Super Mario Maker I am not overwhelmingly happy with the product.

Perhaps giving power to the people just wasn't a good idea. Perhaps a regular Mario game designed by Nintendo themselves would have been better. I love the idea of everyone creating their own levels, in theory, but when most of those levels are bad, I feel like the game is just a lost cause. Only time will tell where Super Mario Maker ends up in terms of the quality of the levels. But right now the game is frustrating.

Am I the only one thinking this? Let me know in the comments if you have been playing Super Mario Maker and what you think of the levels being made.

Published Sep. 26th 2015
View Comments
  • The Soapbox Lord
    Featured Contributor
    It is too early to make claims such as this. Obviously games such as this depend on the community and take time to flourish.
  • Larry Iaccio
    Featured Contributor
    You took the words right out of my mouth and I 100% agree with you. Easy & Normal 100 Mario challenge is just basically me breezing through the levels to unlock new costumes.
    So when I play expert for a good challenge, I find myself nearly hurling my controller across the room out of frustration more than actually enjoying myself. Hordes upon Hordes of impassable enemies, jumps that aren't clearly defined or nearly impossible, and incredibly long stages that are incredibly challenging from beginning to end (dying at the end of one of those stages without a checkpoint is enough to make me turn off the game)
    Now I don't think this makes the entire game bad (I still love the game) it just makes me wish there was a better way of getting rid of those levels in expert mode.
    P.S. I'm assuming they randomly choose levels based off of clear rate percentage so it makes sense why so many expert levels suck
  • David Fisher
    Featured Columnist
    I think the problem is that there's a very thin line between a "good" level and a "hard" level. I know they aren't exactly on the same scale, but it's a paradox. See, good level design is completely different from simply making a difficult stage. If a player cannot for the life of them discover "how" to beat a stage, then it's bad level design - even if it's "beatable" and the stage is "difficult".

    Good stages don't kill you by placing an enemy so close to spawn that it hurts (this is something Nintendo has never done, even in its hardest worlds). That would simply be bad level design. The same goes for hidden off-camera obstacles that the player cannot possibly imagine being there unless they had died there before. That is also bad level design.

    There's a very thin line... but I'm sure people will figure out - eventually - that a level that just kills you a lot doesn't mean it's a difficult level - it's an unfair one.
  • Elijah Beahm
    Featured Columnist
    It's going to be like Littlebig Planet, ModNation: Racers, and inFamous 2. It'll be rough at first, but some really good designers will make some excellent levels. It's just the way of UGC.
  • Durinn McFurren
    Honestly, I have not bought this game yet, basically because I feared what you suggest: most levels would be pretty bad. The truth is that good level design takes a certain kind of skill, regardless of what game you're designing.

    Hopefully, after a little time, we might find some good level creators who consistently put out interesting, fair levels, or maybe some creators will even team up to help each other. At that point, maybe I will give it a try.

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