Local co-op for Super Mario Maker 2 was a missed opportunity
One of the most enjoyable parts of the New Super Mario Bros. games on the Wii and Wii U was the option to have up to 4 players playing together, it was fun and hectic as you navigated through courses.
The original Super Mario Maker on the Wii U was purely a single player affair, but on Super Mario Maker 2 for the Nintendo Switch, interestingly there is an option for up to 4 players to play. It sounds good, but unfortunately the concept just sounds better than it was implemented. There's no simple way to play multiplayer on a single Switch console.
For a single player, you can always just go onto the Course World and browse courses, and then pick and choose them to play. It's simple and intuitive. Alternatively, the Endless Challenge gives you a finite number of lives, and you keep getting random stage one after another.
I was quite excited when I saw a course shown by Nintendo at the Super Mario Maker 2 invitational as demonstrated on Nintendo Minute.
Super Mario Maker 2 Invitational "co-op" style course
In this course, it's both players have to actually work together to navigate through the course, you'll have to jump off each other, throw off each other, and so forth, making it a unique challenge. You literally have to work closely with your partner to use advanced platforming skills to survive - this is something that we have not had in any previous 2D Mario game, as all the stages can be completed by a single player.
It's not just simply multiple characters running across the screen at the same time - though this can also be fun too!
Super Mario Maker 2 features a multiplayer option where you can connect multiple Switch consoles locally or online to play together.
That's great... so how do you play local co-op in Super Mario Maker 2 on a single console?
After seeing that it can be done, this is something I started to inquire about, after Googling a lot, it turns out it isn't exactly a straightforward process. There is no way to just browse and choose a level and start it up for multiple players on a single Switch.
This is what you have to do and it's quite convoluted:
1. Go to the Course World and search for a stage
2. Download the stage to one of your 64 slots
3. Navigate to Coursebot
4. Select your stage and be sure to click "Play Together" icon (instead of more intuitively placed the "Play" button or else you'd be playing alone!)
The process is outright tedious. Finding a stage is probably the worst part as there is no easy way to find a "co-op" style stage, there's no tag that you can use to search in the Course World to specifically find these stages. The best way to find a co-op stage is probably to go on YouTube and search for Super Mario Maker 2 videos, and note the 9 character IDs and enter it into the game.
It is likely done this way because stages have to be designed to be beaten by a single player before it can be uploaded. So based on the system, the whole idea of co-op stages does not make sense despite what is demonstrated by Nintendo at their invitational event. As a result, even if you are able to find such a "co-op" stage, it's done as workaround with the game engine.
The way around this is to create stages that have multiple "paths" depending on the number of players that are playing. As long as there's a way for a single player to clear the stage, it can be uploaded, though it doesn't necessarily mean that it's clearable for multiple players as it's never validated by the system!
It's clear that Super Mario Maker 2 wasn't really designed for a local multiplayer experience, and this is disappointing, as one of the major appeals of the Nintendo Switch is to break off a Joy-con to share with a player, or couch experience at home with your friends. The complicated process to play multiplayer on this game is a major oversight from Nintendo, which despite the great creativity and innovation, always seems to do something that frustrates their fans.
The original Super Mario Maker had received many updates over the years, an improved co-op mode for Super Mario Maker 2 that works locally would be something that will be well received and significantly enhance the game and its online community.