Mario Maker gets a bad rap: according to popular opinion, it's just a repository of terrible Super Mario levels. This misconception, however, ignores the burgeoning scene of inventive designers who are turning Mario Maker into something that inspires awe and wonder.
Honestly, some of the things people are coming up with seem like they should be impossible. And yet! Take this course by RagnarokX, for example. While it's an excellent course in its own right, what makes it special is that RagnarokX developed a full-on checkpoint system. You can see it at the start of this video, but the checkpoint system doesn't get put into actual use until the 7:00 minute mark.
So here's how it works. First, you have to go through the level normally. Once you've cleared enough of the level, you'll come across a password, like so:
With this in hand, you can now take the pipe at the start of the level, where there are music blocks waiting. These music blocks are actually an elaborate lock mechanism, where you'll need to input the "password" you got earlier in the level. Each music block corresponds with the input below, so in this case you need to hit the pow block, the blue skull, and the spiky block.
Once you do, a bomb will drop down and destroy the obstacle standing between you and the warp pipe you want. This level in particular has two warp points, both of which makes dealing the bosses way easier. You don't have to clear every single part of the level on every run. You can simply warp to a later portion of the level, provided you know the password.
Here's what the contraption looks like, big picture:
"I was inspired by a system that reddit user genotaru posted," RagnarokX commented on my video. Argorox says that they tweaked that initial checkpoint system to be more player-friendly, and the result is the build you can see above. It all "took a while" to figure out, but now that someone has done the leg work, hopefully more designers start incorporating this checkpoint system into their own levels — it would make slogging through long courses in Mario Maker way better.
Oh, and this doesn't even touch on the wonderful tiered boss battles that the player incorporates into this airship level. Honestly, you should just give the whole thing a try: 1B6D-0000-00A3-FD76. It's a delight.
Speaking of bosses...I'm very impressed with the ways players are building showdowns within Mario Maker. Here's a level created by B-Bech that is actually a gauntlet of bosses.
First, you spawn on an overworld where you get your pick of power-ups...
With these in-hand, you are tasked with defeating a series of bosses, each with their own attributes and gimmicks.
The only way to beat the level is to kill all of these bosses. Cleverly, the level prevents you from moving forward through a gatekeeping mechanism. From the outset, you can see a path that leads to the way out...but it's blocked by bullet bill canons.
The canons rest on destructible blocks — but the only way to get to those blocks are through the pipes. Thing is, those pipes connect to different boss rooms. Which means that, in order for you to clear the path of canons, you need to defeat every single boss along the way. It's the closest thing that Mario Maker has to approximating Shadow of the Colossus.
You can play this boss rush level over here: 8BFE-0000-0072-6930. Just be warned, it's a toughie!
And finally, I have to give props to players who are even using glitches to great effect within Mario Maker, too. Earlier this month, players found that it was possible to make invisible platforms in Mario Maker via a glitch. Helpfully, GameXplain describes how that glitch works here:
Basically, if you take an invisible block, put it on a track, drag that combination over a cloud, and then make the track disappear, the entire thing will turn invisible while also remaining functional.
I saw this glitch put to great use in Jing's "Splatoon - Inkvisible Avenues" course, which tasks the player with traversing an entire level full of invisible platforms. The result is a nerve-wracking but fun course, which you can see below:
Best of all, the entire thing fits in rather nicely with the costumes it uses, too. Remember the invisible platforms in the Splatoon single-player that you could only reveal with ink? Yeah! Play this level here: 0363-0000-009E-B0CE.
These are just a few of the many inventive, inspired, and straight-up wild courses I've seen floating around in Mario Maker. And the game has only been out for a little over a month. Who knows what people will come up with next?