although Super Mario Maker 2 was the first game in the decades-old Nintendo series to support online multiplayer, the feature premiered in late June with a curious twist. The owners were able to jump online and play a slew of custom levels in both versus and co-op modes, but only against strangers.
Shortly before the game’s launch on Switch, Nintendo acknowledged how crazy this sounded and promised that friends would eventually be able to mate in these online modes via friend lists. In the months that followed, Nintendo remained completely silent…until the wee hours of Tuesday night, when the game’s 1.1.0 patch went live.
We can confirm that Super Mario Maker 2 now works just like almost every other online game we’ve ever played. We were able to contact people we knew on a Nintendo Switch friend list, start a SMM2 session, and play with (or against) named friends. (Only Nintendo can earn a whole article about playing an online game with friends in 2019.)
Part of the news value is how much the game needed this update. Like a Switch game, SMM2Network performance can vary wildly depending on whether players use Wi-Fi (the system standard) or plug in an optional Ethernet adapter. While many genres of online games, especially fighting and shooting, have evolved over the past 20 years to accommodate the realities of online lag and latency, the precise art of Mario-style platforms hasn’t been so lucky.
As a result, it is quite common for SMM2online players randomly matchmake with at least one excruciatingly slow player. In this situation, all players have to wait for each player to receive data packets before jumping, running or doing something in a counterplay. Our routine tests of the game over the past few months have had too many of these hangs to keep up with, usually resulting in half- or whole-second pauses between each frame of animation until the guilty player with a bad connection disconnects.
The patch notes of 1.1.0 also hint at a new online quality of life feature. Nintendo says the game now checks connection stability before starting an online match, and will automatically cancel a match if all players don’t reach a certain latency threshold. This could very well reduce the aforementioned latency pain scenario for future players in random matchmaking, but how well it works remains to be seen.
However, if you want to chat with friends, you’ll still need to jump through the Switch-specific hoop to download and install the Nintendo Switch Online app on an Android or iOS device, after which you can activate your phone’s microphone. Anyway, good news, the NSO app will automatically buzz on your device when you jump in a SMM2 friends-only lobby, and its integration is as seamless as a required, additional online device can be. But voice chat only works in a friends-only SMM2 match, and only with this NSO app.
The biggest additional change in the 1.1.0 patch is a new wireless LAN mode, which allows four Switch consoles in the same room to connect to each other over the same LAN connection, rather than using the Switch’s built-in Bluetooth option. to use. (If you’re wondering, yes, this will likely result in more stable local multiplayer sessions.) Meanwhile, level creators will appreciate a mild control tweak that allows for touchscreen and controller button options at the same time. (You used to have to pick one or the other.)
List image by Nintendo