Nintendo today announced that Super Mario Maker 2 is coming to the Switch in June. This sequel to the criminally-overlooked 2015 Wii U game has you building your own Mario levels, sharing them with the world and playing an endless stream of other players' creations. Nintendo was pretty light on the details of just how the toolbox has been expanded, but a closer look at the trailer and screenshots reveals a few secrets that might hint at what we can expect.
What we know
The long-rumored announcement came at the top of the latest Nintendo Direct presentation, where the games giant runs through news and details about upcoming titles. At a glance the basics of the first game are all there – players build their own side-scrolling Mario levels by placing blocks, objects, power-ups and enemies on a grid. All levels can be dressed up like the classic grasslands, caves, castles and underwater locations, in different styles based on Mario games through the years.
During the Direct, Nintendo highlighted a few new features, the most mundane of which is that diagonal slopes are now possible and you pick stuff out of circular menus – most likely to make it easier to navigate using controllers instead of a touchpad.
The biggest new addition announced was a fifth game style, based on 2013's Super Mario 3D World. With that comes new enemies like the Ant Soldiers, which walk along ceilings and drop down at you, and new power-ups like the Cat Suit, which lets you climb walls. It also looks you can now set paths for moving platforms and those Piranha Plants that stretch out on vines.
And that's basically all Nintendo told us, before the presentation merrily danced through a long line of Japanese RPG announcements. So what other details can we squeeze out of the trailer and screenshots? Some really exciting ones, actually.
The first thing you might notice is that on the game's box art, Luigi joins his more famous brother in construction worker get-up. That alone might not mean much, but he's also in the "level" in the foreground, dressed in a Cat Suit in Mario's hands. Look a bit further out and Blue Toad and Toadette are clearly visible.
Could that mean that Super Mario Maker 2 lets you build levels for two, three or four players to run through together? Every 2D Mario game since New Super Mario Bros. Wii in 2009 has had that kind of co-op play, so it makes sense that Nintendo would hand over the tools to make multiplayer gauntlets.
Plus, if you look at the lower left of the Edit screen there's also an icon of two heads. That looks suspiciously like a button to choose how many players a level is for. If we want to get really conspiracy-theory nutty about this, the game's page on the Nintendo website has left the number of players bit "To be determined." The company might be trying to save this little tidbit for a later reveal.
And hey, if Luigi's donning the yellow hard hat too, maybe multiplayer level-building is on the cards as well? We're not sure how that could work exactly, but it's a possibility.
Traditionally, Mario games are just about getting from A to B. But what if it's not all about finding the flagpole this time?
On the lefthand side of the Edit screen, under the timer, is a new icon that shows the flagpole – and in some screenshots, next to that is a picture of a coin with a number. In other images, a coin counter appears in the top-left of the screen while you're playing.
That suggests that you can set the win condition so that a player needs to collect that many coins to finish your level. It's unclear whether that means the level ends as soon as they hit the magic number, or if they just need to find that many before reaching the flagpole, but either way it could be a really interesting way to get players fully exploring your levels.
Outside of Mario Kart games, Mario's main mode of transport is his dino buddy Yoshi. We can't really picture him getting behind the wheel of a car in a platformer game – but in one of these images, there's a Koopa driving what looks like a Jeep.
We're not really sure what to make of that, but that little guy wouldn't be there if that wasn't in the game in some form. Maybe you can stick enemies in cars to give them a bit more oomph? Maybe you can drive them yourself? Or maybe both, like those flying clown face things.
We have plenty of other questions about Super Mario Maker 2, but rather than continue to speculate wildly, all we can really do is wait for Nintendo to deliver more details. And considering the game is due to launch on the Switch in June, we don't really have long to wait.
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