I ended up doing a lot of shuffling around at this top end of my list, even as I was writing the earlier parts. I’m not giving anything away, but this has been such a strong year for games and I only managed to play half of what I wanted to get my hands on in the end. These top two were very difficult to pick from, but number two doesn’t mean first loser in this case by any means.
While I’m going on opinion here, I’m hoping that nobody can argue with me about this next title deserving its place on the list.
#2 Super Mario Maker
Played on the Wii U | Released 11th September | Developed by Nintendo Internal
For a long time, this game was number three, swapped with Fallout 4. But as I was working through this list something occurred to me. While I enjoyed my time with Fallout, there came a point I was done with it. I put 80 or so hours into it, I’ll go back to it when they release expansions and I’ll go back to it and start a new character at some point eventually. But there will be a point where I’m finished playing it. Super Mario Maker is a game I can’t see myself ever putting down for good.
It’s a concept that is amazingly simple as it is brilliant. Those original Super Mario games are ingrained into my mind. Even as someone who grew up as a Sega kid, I’ve spend hours playing the old Super Mario games. As a result, jumping into the creation tools of this game isn’t totally unknown, functions of certain enemies and particular tiles is ingrained into my mind making creation in this game easier than other, similar, games.
Super Mario Maker isn’t a game, it’s a resource. A never ending supply of Mario levels that can provide experiences from exhilarating roller coaster rides, to classic Mario experiences, to soul destroying factories of death. It’s by far the best game Nintendo have released all year, maybe in a few. And while a cynical person could mock Nintendo for re-releasing an old game and then telling their players to do all the legwork in level design. I think Super Mario Maker is a stroke of genius in a yellow box.
I was intrigued by Super Mario Maker ever since I saw it at E3 last year, it’s a game with far more depth than anyone could have realised. Play is split into building and playing. Playing is as simple as looking for a friend’s level code, to following a known creator to playing random selected levels in the 100 Mario challenges where stages are sorted by their completion rate.
This was actually pretty limited for a time, disappointingly so, but Nintendo have been patching the game. They have added better search options. As the game ages, the number of levels is ever Increasing. Personally, I don’t want to play the automatic levels or the music levels, I want to play the game. The newer options show that Nintendo are continuing to support the game and listen to what players want.
That’s only half of what there is to the game though, because the game’s building tools are incredibly easy and fun to use. Using the gamepad touch screen to drag items into place using a tile based system is far more intuitive than anyone could have expected. And experimentation is good too, most items have alternate forms created by shaking a held item. On top of that most things can be combined or stacked for all new and unique effects.
Super Mario Maker is a great time. As someone who grew up playing platformers, this is a real treat as it is essentially an unlimited supply of Mario levels. It’s not just that though, it’s access to the inner working of the minds of friends, other game developers and celebrities who create their own levels, readily available to people like me. And I will make it a point of honour not to be beaten by the wild machinations of a mad genius.
So, with that out of the way, there’s only one game better than Super Mario Maker this year…