These Super Mario Maker 2 Link Power-Up Levels Show How Ingenious a Zelda Maker Could Be

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Last week, Super Mario Maker 2 finally received its first substantial content update since launch. The headlining addition is the new Master Sword power-up, which transforms the player into Link and grants the hero’s sword, shield, bombs, and arrows. While the update might not be a long-lasting boon for the Mario Maker 2 community, creators are already churning out levels that make us hope for a proper Zelda Maker.

Since the update’s release on Thursday, Mario Maker creators have been experimenting with surprising interactions between Master Sword power-ups and other elements, such as the new spiked balls. Three minutes into a new video by Mario Maker streamer Ryukahr, he plays a level that takes advantage of both. Named “Baller” (F35-FH5-GPF), it’s a deceptively simple course that highlights how Link’s downwards sword strike can be used to pogo across the spiked balls:

The most versatile of Link’s tools might be his bow, which players can fire off at three different angles to attack enemies and activate switches. Redditor Colin637’s “Link’s Archery Challenge” (5P2-XBY-FKF) puts players’ aim to the test under a tight time limit. As a bonus, it also shows off Super Mario Maker 2’s exclusive 8-bit version of the horse race theme from Ocarina of Time.

Think of both previously mentioned levels as requisite training courses for Alex “PangaeaPanga” Tan’s “Link’s Nightmare” (5C5-QC6-5LG), an absurdly hard creation that utilizes close to every known tool and trick at Link’s disposal. Tan specializes in creating Kaizo levels, which take their name and general design philosophy from the legendarily difficult Kaizo Mario World romhack.

In his video showing off the level, Tan makes clearing “Link’s Nightmare” look easy—only it’s anything but, even by Kaizo standards. Since the Master Sword grants so many movement and attack abilities at once, challenging Link levels can require the player to continually juggle those various options—and their unique inputs—from start to finish:

The Master Sword power-up also lends itself well to traditionally Zelda-inspired levels, such as this dungeon stage (KY3-JSH-HPF) that reserves a corner of each room to display a map screen built from course tiles.

These creations only scratch the surface. In time we’ll surely see levels that put Link-only doorways, night theme-enabled walking bombs, and P-Switch nudging (an art known only to Hyrulian warriors) to good use.

While Super Mario Maker 2’s Master Sword might be more of its own thing than a proof of concept for a proper Zelda Maker (or a case for a Zelda 2 Maker), it makes a better case for the idea than the dungeon creator in Link’s Awakening. If Nintendo isn’t taking notes for a real Zelda Maker, then hopefully the community’s embrace of the Master Sword leads to more substantial crossover updates—like adding Samus’s Power Suit, perhaps—in Mario Maker 2’s future.

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