Mario Maker Review (UK)

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“I stole this outfit from Ronald McDonald’s corpse!”

You probably already know what Mario Maker is about. If you don’t, the name says it all. But maybe you’re wondering if it’s as intuitive and user friendly as we’ve come to expect from Nintendo. Good news for you: it is. We were creating a brand new Super Mario level within seconds of firing the console up. That’s not a figure of speech either. Seconds!

After the title screen the game dumps you in a NES-style Mario level and sets you loose to play. Run with the D-pad, dash with B – so far so familiar. The graphics have a smooth, HD look and Mario has a kind of drop-shadow effect we don’t remember seeing before but other than that it’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect.

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All the world’s a stage, Mario…

So anyway, your gaming instincts kick in and you hop the gaps, punch the blocks and make a final leap for the flagpole. Except you realise mid-air that you’re probably not going to make it. Some idiot designer made the gap too big and you’re about to plummet to an early death in the mysterious abyss at the bottom of the screen.

The game pauses and switches to editor mode. By way of tutorial, you’re tasked with filling that death-gap, then switching back to gameplay mode and clearing the level. And that’s about all the guidance you get, a complete godsend after Wario Ware DIY and its seemingly endless tutorial mode. Adam, with his hummingbird-like attention span, still breaks out in a nervous sweat just thinking about that one.

Game creation is a stylus-only affair. You’re free to doss about, drawing blocks, adding coins and enemies, and stretching or rotating level furniture like pipes and the like. If you make a mistake you can use the eraser tool to rub it out. We cracked up when we went to “erase” Mario and he started shitting himself.

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“Don’t-a kill me, wahoo!”

The Ninty magic is back in full force. Everything is done in that tongue-in-cheek silly way that Wario Ware players will find familiar. Old NES sound effects and remixed Mario music accompany every tweak and edit, proving that Nintendo are masters of audio design as well as visuals.

You can create levels in the style of the original SMB, Mario 3, Mario World and New SMB, and switch between them at any time. Gimmicks or items that were previously game-specific will cross over (with one or two exceptions), sometimes taking on new forms in order to fit in visually. It’s amazing how switching between styles can breathe new life into your levels.

The game will occasionally throw some curve balls, and enemies or items will behave in unexpected, hitherto unseen ways. For instance, you can put Goombas underwater or suspend Chain Chomps from moving platforms. If you so choose, you can add decidedly odd HD effects that clash with the pixel artwork.

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You pressed paws! Arf!

The game, outside of the editor, is pretty barebones. Features like uploading and playing pre-loaded levels are accessed from a small drop-down menu in the corner. What this means for you is that there’s no loading and jumping from screen to screen. It’s all business, all the time. Even the title screen is completely interactive and lets you immediately start making new levels.

Our one complaint is that the game gradually drip-feeds new items and level styles depending on how much you’re using it – and no, you can’t leave it running overnight to unlock everything (we tried). You might be absolutely sick of the sight of it before you unlock the clown car or the Princess Peach costume. The popular consensus is that it takes 9 days to unlock everything, and as far as we know that’s the official word from Ninty.

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Adam had to be restrained by seven men once he learned that ‘the pony bums’ weren’t an available item

But…! Stay your hands, baying hoards, before you storm the Kyoto headquarters and demand Miyamoto’s head on a pike: There’s apparently been a patch released in time for the UK launch. No one is quite sure what exactly the criteria are now, but one thing’s certain, the game breaks its own ‘one update a day’ rule. Fantastic!

To sum up, the game is presented with all the finesse you’d expect from a first-party Nintendo title. It makes any game you’ve ever played on your PS4 look like a Sega Saturn tech demo, and it’s so polished it’ll make Mr. Sheen mess his pants with envy.

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You can remake Alex Kidd in Miracle World!

The interface is so intuitive that you can do anything your heart desires without so much as thinking about what button to press or where to click, and the game will constantly charm you with its creative flair and neat little touches. You can effortlessly switch between the different game styles depending on what kind of nostalgia hit you’re looking for, and you’ll probably surprise yourself when you unleash the game designer hidden inside.

TMW Rating: – 4/5

The game loses one point for not having a “Mario 2” mode. Nintendo’s staff evidently don’t consider it a ‘true’ Mario title, along with the rest of Japan, and its unique mechanics (such as not jumping on enemies) wouldn’t fit with the rest of the game. But to the western world, that game was the real deal and we loved it more than the first. Still, there’s a lifetime’s worth of play in here.

“Gradually drip”

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TMW Special: Top 5 Moustaches

Here at TMW, we’re all crazy. But the fun kind of crazy, not the sad kind. Well, we’re still getting Adam tested, so don’t quote us on that.

Always one to take a joke way too seriously, and tenacious enough to see it through to conclusion, Adam went ahead and actually wrote a list of the top 5 moustaches in popular culture. Between working a real job and writing for this website, we’re amazed he still manages to squeeze in just eight hours a day of looking at pony bums on the internet. What a champ.

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Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus Review

You wait thirty years for a new Ultra Magnus toy, and then two come along at once. It’s Ultra Madness, I tells ya! [Fired. – Adam]

If you ask us, it’s IDW comics who can take most of the credit for the boost in Maggie’s popularity. In their re-imagined Transformers universe, Ultra Magnus is a costumed character played by many different people over the years to carry on the legacy of an indestructible lawman. Kind of like when your class hamster died and the teacher replaced it with an identical-looking one on the sly.

“Sniffles, NOOOO!”

It’s this modern version of the character Hasbro have delivered in the new Combiner Wars line of toys, in lieu of bringing over the expensive – and retro-tastic – Masterpiece figure released in Japan earlier this year. As such, the diminutive Minimus Ambus – the ‘real’ Transformer at the heart of the Magnus armour – is included in the box.

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Chaos Control

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There’s a new Smash Bros out for Wii U. This is a pretty big deal, as developer Sora have proven to be masters at squeezing gaming goodness out of new Nintendo hardware. So naturally, when faced with the Wii U’s fancy touchscreen controller, both they and the fans decided it would be better to just use the old Gamecube controllers instead. Controllers which, may we remind you, debuted 14 years and two console generations ago. Only in the topsy-turvy world of Nintendo does this make sense.

That’s an awfully short cable. You’ll get eye strain sitting that close, m’lad.

Never one to miss a trick, Nintendo decided to do a cheeky re-issue of the ‘cube controller, this time tarted up with a little Smash logo on its pretty face. It can be yours – bundled with Official Nintendo Wii U Controller Adapter™ of course – for the modest sum of £54.00 and change. Incidentally, that’s more than half of what a brand new Gamecube (with game) would have set you back in 2003. How times change.

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Top 5 Weirdest Cartoon Songs

nametagLUKEWe watch a lot of cartoons here at TMW. And, while we’re not easily impressed (except by shiny things, pop-up books and hand puppets of course), for some reason we love it when cartoons spontaneously bust out a musical segment in the middle of a show. Animation is already an intensive, laborious process on its own without trying to cram an original song in there, so we salute the creators who put in that little bit of extra effort for no other reason than it seemed funny to someone at the time. Here are some of the best examples:

1. The Amazing World of Gumball: She’s a Lady

How_Embarrassing There’s a new girl at school. She’s a transfer student from Europe, and is fitting in quite well – despite having an unpronounceable name and wearing a wedding dress to class every day. That’s all because she’s beautiful and the students and faculty of Elmore High School can’t help but bend over backwards (literally) for her. What they don’t know is that “she” is actually perennial misfit Gumball Watterson, who wore a dress to school that day after his father destroyed his original clothes in an attempt to wash them. After rebuffing the affections of his own brother, Gumball kills off his female alter-ego by having her head explode as she ascends towards the sun – in front of a crowd of shocked onlookers. Yes, this is a kids cartoon.

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Masterpiece Soundwave Review

If you’re a fan of the Transformers cartoon series that began back in 1984, chances are you had Decepticon baddie Soundwave knocking around in your toy box. Well, we’re here to tell you that you didn’t.

Because, really, that wasn’t Soundwave. It was obviously supposed to be him. But there was something… off about the whole figure. In fact, many of the early Transformer toys suffered a similar discrepancy between the screen and toy versions. We still get night terrors thinking about the toy of Megatron. That was scary in a wholly unintentional way.

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“Perfect”

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