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With only six weeks to go before launch, Super Mario Maker 2‘s new and updated features have mostly emerged thanks to tiny teases. That changed on Wednesday with a whopper of a Nintendo news video that revealed, among other things, the series' first-ever online-versus mode—and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the series' first online-subscription requirement for some of its content.
The game will launch on June 28 at a standard $60 retail price, though Nintendo will also sell Super Mario Maker 2 as a $70 bundle with a 12-month Nintendo Switch Online subscription code. If you're already a paying NSO member, that code will stack on top of however-many months you've already purchased (currently $4/mo or $20 for a 12-month subscription).
That bundle will hit store shelves for good reason, as Nintendo will gate much of the original Wii U game's content behind a paid-online requirement—including the ability to upload custom-made levels and to search for and download other users' creations. Should you wish to play a slew of custom levels offline, SMM2 will support offline play for any levels you've already downloaded to your Switch. As of press time, Nintendo did not clarify whether the game will require any routine online check-in to access those downloaded levels after, say, being offline for over a week or canceling a NSO membership.
That bad news is washed down to some extent by the surprise announcement of versus and co-op modes, which Nintendo once declared would never work online in the Super Mario series. Up to four players can either compete or team up to tackle whatever objective is attached to a given SMM2 level, whether it's as simple as reaching the goal first or additionally racking up custom requirements, like coin pick-ups or 1-UP mushrooms. Both modes include a New Super Mario Bros.-esque physics system, which means each of the four players can shove or bounce off other players.
These modes will also work via local networking… with a bizarre catch. One of the Switch systems in local versus or co-op play must be connected to the Internet and confirm NSO credentials. At a bandwidth-starved gaming or comic convention, this could put a real damper on the seamless local-multi fun we're accustomed to from Nintendo. (No other Nintendo Switch game currently requires such an online check-in for local-multiplayer modes.)
In very good news, the level-building possibilities in SMM2 soundly surpass the stuff of the 2015 Wii U original. The above gallery catalogs the bounty of updated features. It includes basic building blocks like slopes, animated “snake” platforms, and on-off switches; level-altering tweaks like auto-scrolling world movements, varying water levels (which can also be applied to lava and poison pools), and physics-altering “nighttime” modes; and a surprise Super Mario 3D World palette, which adds so many game-altering options that it cannot simply be applied as a re-skin to retro Mario levels.
For players who abhor online play (and enjoyed the 3DS version's utter lack of online options), Nintendo will ship a campaign mode with over 100 levels designed by Nintendo staffers. These are joined by a range of familiar and brand-new melodies, including a few new songs composed by series legend Koji Kondo.
We'll get to see more about Super Mario Maker 2 soon enough: on June 8. That's when Nintendo will host an “invitational” competition at that week's E3 conference. Nintendo didn't announce any public way to take part in this contest; instead, its players will be “invited” as per Nintendo's discretion. But based on the competitors at its E3-timed competitions last year, we expect some of the world's best platformers and speedrunners will take part in this contest, as well.
<em>Listing image by <a href="https://www.nintendo.com/">Nintendo</a></em>