Super Mario Maker 2 has come out and answered a lot of prayers for fans of the original game. There’s slopes, there’s rising lava, there’s more control over the camera, more funky effects on different levels, and so much more. On the whole, it’s a great sequel – just catch our review here – and part of that is because there’s now multiplayer, both in co-op and in versus.
But it’s confusing as anything to get to and, now with the game out in the wild for the past week, there’s some rather fundamental problems that have become very, very clear. A lot of what I’m talking about here is to do with multiplayer versus, but can also apply to multiplayer co-op as well.
So here’s seven things I want to see Nintendo fix or add to Super Mario Maker 2 Multiplayer:
1) Just sort out the insane lag!
Lag is the number one issue that I have with Super Mario Maker 2 Online. It feels like there’s roughly a 1 in 3 chance that the level will load in and you’re left with lag that’s often a horrendous stutter as the game plays in fits and starts. Occasionally that resolves itself if another player gives up, but it’s bad that it’s there to begin with.
Other times, there’s just a few much smaller stutters. That’s not so bad, you might think, but just the occasional lag spike will send you to your doom if you can’t judge a jump correctly and you’re battling a level that requires a bit of precision.
So yeah, the net code, the host selection, the matchmaking. All of this needs to be improved by Nintendo and as soon as possible.
2) Let people finish!
Multiplayer Versus in Super Mario Maker 2 is all about the winner. Get to the end, touch the flag pole and bask in the glory of the words “You win!” popping up on the screen. But unlike, for example, Mario Kart multiplayer, there’s barely any time given for other players to cross the finish line. It varies as well, so sometimes it’s done and dusted in an instant, other times there’s a few moments.
Just adding a simple 10 seconds at the end of a level would really help players in a close, but not close enough second or third get that satisfaction of actually completing the level.
3) Podiums should mean prizes too
That black and white win-loss feeling also comes as the game hands out ranking points. Win and you typically get somewhere between 100 and 150 points (what determines this isn’t clear), but lose and you drop a handful of points, around 10-20 usually (what determines this also isn’t clear).
With a little more time given for people at the end of a level, the game could also award proper positions for second, third and fourth, and could even reward players a little for coming second, if they manage to cross the line.
4) Put Multiplayer Versus levels first
Now that we’ve cleared some fairly big picture stuff, let’s get into the nitty gritty. Level creators can happily assign a Multiplayer Versus tag, but what’s the point of this if these levels aren’t then prioritised for, you know… multiplayer versus?!
I’m not saying these should be all that you ever see, because there’s plenty of fun to be had in racing through a standard level, but this tag signifies that someone’s put the time and effort into creating something specifically for versus. My own level creation Goombarena – Course ID: 53Y-WMD-F3G, if you’ll excuse the shameless plug – is based on arena-style battles for four players, and I don’t see that often enough in Versus.
Oddly enough, I feel that I’ve seen as many Versus tagged maps as I have Music-tagged maps, and these should absolutely, categorically not be put in front of a group playing versus or co-op. They’ve been designed purely with a single player’s path through a level in mind, so where’s the competitive edge when you’ve been boxed in by moving blocks and only the lead player can possibly win?
Better yet, don’t just filter out Music tags, but let people tag their levels as being specifically not suitable for Versus.
5) Let completion requirements be per player
This is one for the builders out there. Victory requirements are a weird mish-mash of individual and universal. If it’s to defeat a boss, for example, then whoever lands the final blow gets a finish flag above their head and has to race to the end while the others try to nick it off them by bouncing on their head. It can be quite fun in this particular situation, but it doesn’t really encompass what every designer is going to cook up.
It’s the same for collectathons, where the person to grab the final gold or pink coin can then finish the level, but think of more maze-like levels filled with pipes and warp doors. These can have people just goal hanging waiting for others to do all the work and then try to steal them at the end. There should be capacity to make it so additional players can complete the objective, so if the coin target is 30 and there’s 120 possible coins, a second completion flag could pop for a player at 50 or 60 coins. For pink coins, then, it could be purely individual, so each player has to go and collect all 5 coins and without a flag that can be stolen.
6) Ghost races
Without a good way to test levels for multiplayer outside of grabbing some friends locally, there can sometimes be levels that, you know, just don’t really work that well. Helping make more levels more suitable for Versus would be ghost mode, where you only see the ghosts of your opponent in a separate instance of the level where you have your own blocks, enemies and so on. It’d be a more pure, less madcap take on Versus, but for levels otherwise not suited to four players, a great way to make them viable.
7) Level selection
A lot of multiplayer games out there have map selection between rounds, and while that can lead to Nuketown getting picked seven times in a row in Call of Duty, that won’t happen in Super Mario Maker 2. This would add a little more time between rounds, and the game is already wasteful as it goes through matchmaking every time, but it would let players themselves weed out some of the times where music levels crop up, or vote for an easier platforming level if that’s what they’re really after.
And yet through all of these problems and niggling issues, I’m still having a blast with Multiplayer Versus. Sure, I complain profusely when levels aren’t designed for multiplayer, or when the lag kicks in, but it’s my go-to mode in Super Mario Maker 2’s Course World. Of course it’s also horribly broken at times, and I really hope Nintendo are hard at work trying to fix some, if not all of the problems above.