I have spent dozens of hours playing through hundreds of Mario Maker courses. Here's the cream of the crop.
One of the biggest criticisms I've seen floating around for Mario Maker is that it's really difficult to find good courses. While that may be true, it doesn't mean Mario Maker is completely bereft of great levels. There's plenty of stuff that's worth your time! It's just all hidden among the the countless number of 1-1 remixes.
Here are some of my picks for the best levels Mario Maker has to offer. It's a mix between courses that scratch that classic Mario itch, novelty courses, difficult courses, funny courses, and even some strange courses. You'll find a little bit of everything here.
[Note that courses with a 1 or N/A are the easiest ones, and 5 are the hardest ones within this rubric. Additionally, levels with videos attached are completed -- so if you see something you like, it might be worth not watching the course until the very end, lest you spoil yourself.]
Grottoes and Gravestones
Course ID: 67B0-0000-003B-0150
Why You Should Play It: One of the best ghost houses I've played in Mario Maker, Grottoes and Gravestones asks you to make a lot of careful jumps to avoid fire, spooky specters, and dangerous saws.
Wario Ware, Inc
Course ID: 2b43-0000-0038-3F06
Why You Should Play It: A collection of small mini games, Wario Ware, Inc is one of the most clever creations you'll find within Mario Maker.
Mario Slam Basket Bomb!
Course ID: E354-0000-0033-A15F
Why You Should Play It: It's a version of basketball that can result in your death if you're not careful. Pretty cool!
Waluigi's Tolerable Shipping Company
Course ID: 8BDC-0000-0040-04F8
Why You Should Play It: I think the creator of this level sells it pretty well. Here's how Kajetokun describes it:
Wa! Welcome to Waluigi's Tolerable Shipping Company! Our prices are so average you'll be researching to make sure our prices aren't bad! Shipping so tolerable, you'll be sometimes coming back for more! With our satisfactory rating of 2.9 out of 5 on Yelp, our customers have voiced their approval of Waluigi's Tolerable Shipping Company:
"2-5 business days. I almost thought it wouldn't arrive, but it showed up on the 5th day."
"The box was really mishandled. You could see damage where it was thrown and kicked during shipping. But the product was still fine I guess."
"They sent the wrong package. But I also needed a bike so it's fine."
Come take a tour of the Waluigi Tolerable Shipping Company Harbour, and see us in action!
Super Meat Bros.
Course ID: BA34-0000-0015-F84C
Why You Should Play It: Super Meat Boy, though fast-paced and devilishly difficult, was heavily influenced by Super Mario. Now that influence comes full circle with Andre's creation of a Meat Boy-inspired level in Mario Maker, a course where you'll need to pull off a lot of challenging wall jumps without getting torn up by saws. Good luck!
Waluigi's Unbearable Existence
Course ID: DAF8-0000-0027-7A46
Why You Should Play It: One of the rare Mario Maker levels that's genuinely disturbing and weird.
Panga's Revenge: Skyzo
Why You Should Play It: The creator of the 'hardest Super Mario World level ever' is creating courses for Mario Maker, too. As you might expect, Panga's courses are NOT for the faint of heart!
Hey! Play my rad new Mario Maker level, "Pipeflip Airship"! Code: B73D-0000-0047-2D3F pic.twitter.com/HItmcormkm
— Mark Brown (@britishgaming) September 17, 2015
Creator: Mark Brown
Course ID: B73D-0000-0047-2D3F
Why You Should Play It: It's a memorable airship level that doubles as a mind-bending puzzle.
Course ID: 1079-0000-0023-7EE4
Why You Should Play It: Normally, Mario Maker courses having no chill is a bad thing. Here, KidFlik manages to incorporate the idea of chaos with the actual 'narrative' of the level. It's what happens when you accidentally let the animals of the Mushroom Kingdom Zoo escape. Pandemonium! Quick, wild level.
Easy Pac-Man Deluxe
Course ID: 4242-0000-0046-8267
Why You Should Play It: A short novel recreation of Pac Man...except power pellets are replaced with stars, and ghosts are now spinies.
Darude - Sandstorm
Course ID: D31E 0000 0044 E320
Why You Should Play It: DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN
No but seriously though, Sporky kind of pushes Mario Maker's music tools to the limit here. Awesome.
Mario Gear Solid
Course ID: 6CE8-0000-0046-29D9
Why You Should Play It: Straight up, one of the best user-created courses I've played in Mario Maker. It's a loose take on a Metal Gear Solid theme -- you don't quite have "guards" -- but you do get good puzzles, and a motherfuckin' Hind D. A HIND D!! With an actual pilot!! Play this shit.
Trespass In The Manner U Please
TRESPASS in the manner u please // 3DCA-0000-002B-53B6 // infiltrate the airship via multiple secret entrances! pic.twitter.com/72PfoBDKPc
— David Hellman (@davidhellman) September 15, 2015
Creator: David Hellman (aka artist from Braid, A Lesson Is Learned)
Course ID: 3DCA-0000-002B-53B6
Why You Should Play It: Aside from doing an A+ job on marketing the level with that art, Hellman has created an all around enjoyable airship level. Good verticality, and you can, as the name suggests, explore in the manner you please.
Course ID: Be6A 0000 0043 A967
Why You Should Play It: This one is for you Mario purists, ironically enough. Here you will find rock-solid platforming, along with a great mix of fire and ice elements -- all without becoming a gimmick.
The Cube: 9 Rooms, 9 Challenges
Course ID: 36A3-0000-0038-EC1B
Why You Should Play It: An intriguing concept, this course turns Mario Maker into a series of interconnected puzzles. For those of you that like head-scratchers.
The Goomba: A Sad Tale of Madness
Difficulty: Nightmare Hellscape
Course ID: BDAB-0000-0033-2697
Why You Should Play It: It's one of the most WTF levels you'll find in Mario Maker. Or in anything, period. I think I need some holy water after watching this.
Feelin' Hot! Hot! Hot!
Course ID: 5433-0000-0046-88ab
Why You Should Play It: One of the best castle levels you'll find in Mario Maker. Expect LOTS of fire.
Will You Save Your Son?
Creator: Geoff The Hero
Difficulty: David Cage
Course ID: C046-0000-003F-3825
Why You Should Play It: How far will you go to save your loved ones? Would you be willing to turn into a monster? DUN DUN DUNNNNN!!!
Choose Your Torture Slippy!!
Difficulty: You're going to hell, probably
Course ID: 02B5-0000-0028-8095
Why You Should Play It: Maybe you shouldn't.
ez jumps ver1.00
[Skip to the 12:35 mark to see the level]
Course ID: 3DCA-0000-002B-53B6
Why You Should Play It: Mario Maker's best designers are exploiting the subtle differences in physics between the various games, which this stage does wonderfully. Here, it's all about well-timed wall jumps. While there's little room for error, nothing feels cheap -- it's just hard as hell.