This Mario Maker 2 Creator Builds Levels to Teach the Game's Toughest Tricks

I've been having an absurd amount of fun with Super Mario Maker 2 on the Nintendo Switch over the last couple of weeks.

I've completed the game's Story Mode, uploaded a course of my own devising, and ranked up a couple of times in the Multiplayer Versus mode. Still, my favorite aspect of the game has definitely been conquering difficult courses created by some of my favorite Super Mario Maker content creators.

The only problem is that I'm not that skilled just yet. Sometimes, I have to know when to throw in the towel during a stage that's simply above my skill level. Other times, it's taken me upwards of an hour to finally master the more tricky elements of a course. But when I finally do beat those levels, it always comes with a massive rush of satisfaction.

Last week, for example, I beat a level by streamer Ryukahr called "Hot Sponge." Even though he moves through it effortlessly in his upload video, it took me about 40 minutes to make my way through his gauntlet of challenges. It's so easy to be too slow in the first section as you race the P-switch timer, and the second, vertical area was an auto-scroller, leaving me in the dust again and again. The third and final boss section against a Boom-Boom looked innocent enough, but the two-state platforms and a floor of spikes did me in more times than I'd like to admit. Even though it's not an expert-level course in the grand scheme of things, completing it at long last felt like a triumph.

But this week, a different set of levels demanded my attention. I discovered that content creator and speedrunner GrandPooBear created a couple of levels designed specifically to teach other players some of the trickiest techniques frequently utilized in kaizo levels. This is particularly necessary because of major changes between the first and second Mario Maker titles. Not only are the physics slightly altered between the two games, but some moves were rendered impossible, while other new ones were introduced.

I decided to start with his first level, "Tech Talk: Shell Jump Into Me," which, judging by the title, would focus on shell jumps. This trick allows players to pick up shells and bounce them against walls at the perfect time, allowing them to jump off the shell as it falls, in order to make it to previously inaccessible heights.

I was also an avid player of the first Mario Maker game, but anytime I'd attempted shell jump training levels, I'd die constantly and quickly grow too frustrated to continue. But I had a feeling things might be different this time around.

As soon as I started the level, I noticed a feature that would save me time and time again. The course allows you to wear a shelmet, which for the purposes of the level allow you to take a hit without dying. Already, I felt way better prepared to take on the challenge ahead.

The first setup was pretty simple. There was a tall wall on the right that couldn't be scaled by normal means, requiring the implementation of a shell jump. Indicators used a blue box to show me where to toss the shell, and an opening to show me in which direction. While I definitely didn't get it on my first try, I did accomplish my first-ever shell jump in 40 seconds flat. That made me feel pumped and ready to take on whatever came next.

The next jump was similar, except my goal here was to clear some distance with my shell jump. According to GrandPOOBear, these jumps are actually simpler than the first one I'd done, but it took me a lot longer to master it. One-way items prevented me from cheating with a regular shell jump, but a handy door brought me back to the start of the challenge to try repeatedly until I finally succeeded.

Right after that, I faced the most complicated setup so far. This time, I had to jump out slightly before throwing a shell to the left, making it ricochet off a wall so I could land on it lower and hop to safety. I don't know how I did it, but it only took me about a minute to figure this step out.

I was thankful there was a checkpoint after those first three tricks, because the next section felt like a doozy. This one required dropping a shell at just the right point, then touching it as I fell to make it bounce twice before it landed in exactly the right place to get me to the next spot. It looks simple in the video, but it didn't feel like it at the time.

I didn't quite understand how or why the next trick worked, even as I pulled it off. Apparently, shells now hug diagonal slopes, making this kind of movement possible.

The last trick in this area was a basic shell jump, but out of a claw. It took me a few minutes to get the claw momentum, but eventually I had that, too. I was feeling pretty darn proud of myself at this point.

Then the last section included something I'd seen a hundred times before but hadn't ever dared to attempt. I immediately recognized it as the setup for a double shell jump, which involves throwing one shell up in the air, successfully pulling off one shell jump, and then catching the other falling shell mid-air and doing a consecutive jump on that one. I was a little scared that I would get stuck here forever, but I felt encouraged to at least try.

Here, I died, and failed, and then died again, dozens and dozens of times. Sometimes, I felt like I was getting closer to my goal, and other times I felt like practicing poorly was moving me farther away from it. But then it finally happened. After nearly 40 minutes of attempts, I'd finally landed my first-ever double shell jump. I can't believe how straightforward it looks in the video, because I can tell you it absolutely was not.

Then, with the level's goal in sight, I got trolled like no other.

However, in less than 10 minutes, I'd managed to nail that coveted double shell jump yet again, and this time I even managed to stick the landing.

What felt so special about clearing the level is that earlier that day, I wasn't sure I'd be able to do a single shell jump on my own. But GrandPOOBear's level made them feel natural, slowly helping me build up my skills and putting my abilities to the test in tougher and tougher situations until I felt like I could do anything that was thrown at me. I did my first shell jump and my first double shell jump in the same day, and that felt incredible.

Once I was done with that, I was eager to try out GrandPOOBear's next tech course, "Tech Talk: New n Old Item Tricks." While I made it through the spring drop jump section now problem, I timed out a number of times on the P-Switch drop section, and then it was time to go to bed. I still have a lot to learn about Mario Maker and all of its kaizo tricks, but I'm much better equipped than I was even yesterday. I can't wait to see more, and I hope there are more Tech Talk levels to come.

Want to try out these levels yourself? Here are their level codes:

  • "Hot Sponge": 91C-MPM-7LF
  • "Tech Talk: Shell Jump Into Me": 9MD-144-RJG
  • "Tech Talk: New n Old Item Tricks": W48-R91-JCG


Still not used to the SMM2 lingo? Click HERE for some of the most useful Mario Maker terms you may want to know.