5 Common Mistakes SUPER MARIO MAKERS Make In Level Design
Super Mario Maker is the first time in a long time I've actually sat and played my Wii U long enough to make my GamePad battery die. In addition to the awesome level creator I toil endlessly in, I also play a ton of user-created levels. I've played some really good ones, and some really, really bad ones. In hopes of perhaps brightening the quality community-wide, I have written some common complaints I've uttered before hitting the saving grace that is the "skip" button.
**Videos alongside the reasons are not necessarily examples...just something to give you some ideas**
You Don't Have Enough Power Ups
This is by and large the most common mistake I see from level to level. People typically drop a mushroom or fire flower in the first couple steps and then nothing until the end. This gets especially problematic with the users who make their level the maximum length extended further by rooms that are also the maximum length. I find that a simple rule of thumb is if you have a group of three or more enemies in a frame coming at your potential player...drop something for them to stand a chance.
If It Took You Multiple Tries To Complete It...It's Too Hard
For those that don't own the game, to upload a level to the community you must clear the level yourself. The issue with this is there is no cap to how many attempts a user gets before they can clear their level. This leads to impossi-levels that mainly rely on luck rather than difficulty. The most frustrating one I remember playing was a level with no enemies until the very final frame — where the axe to end the level was in the middle of three flying Mega Bowsers and the cap for enemies in a level. The only way I was able to beat the level was by essentially breaking it by smashing the roof and maxing out my power ups so I could phase out the max amount of times to reach it.
It wasn't fun...it was stupid. Don't be that guy.
You're Trying Too Hard To Be Innovative
It's cool to see the ways people can edit levels to turn Super Mario Bros into something entirely different. Making something like you see in the top user-created levels is not without struggle. It requires endless toil, hours of editing, and even more of play testing. So essentially what I'm saying is: you didn't create a work of art in 15 minutes.
And that's fine! Not every level has to be groundbreaking!
In fact, I often star the levels that look indistinguishable from what I'd see in a regular Mario game. My hope is that these levels become the unsung heroes of the franchise. Sure, it's fun to get an occasional puzzle or curveball, but ultimately I bought this game to play Mario. My hope is Nintendo begins to single out levels that in general just show great game design and package them into adventures for those who own the game!
Only You Know How To Beat Your Level
So you made the ultimate level. Once the character begins, they are instantly bombarded by eight Goomba that drop from above, and if they don't hit that hidden block on the far left corner in two seconds, it's game over. You know what I do when I experience levels like that? I'll give you a hint...I don't spend fifteen minutes figuring it out.
A lot of level designers make the fundamental mistake of forgetting that we aren't in their head when we're playing. We don't know what you were thinking when you made the level, and what's obvious to you may not be obvious to us. This isn't to discourage you from throwing a challenge to make us think, but give us a hint!
Your Level Is Far Too Long And Boring
Just because you can make a level that takes a majority of the 500 seconds to complete does not mean you should. I've played through some agonizingly long levels that were long for no other reason than they just were. What's worse is typically these levels are often the ones who break common mistake number one (not enough power ups) and one death and you're back to start. You're taking something fun and making it a chore. Think before you create...would I want to play this?