Super Mario Maker 2: A compendium of glitches and strange behaviors
Super Mario Maker 2 is an incredibly powerful-stage creation engine, but it’s not perfect. However, I would argue that these imperfections are actually what make it incredibly fun to play around with. There are a number of glitches and odd behaviors that make very little sense, yet in the right hands can make amazing levels.
It’s not entirely clear what Nintendo’s policy is on glitched levels. Some levels featuring these glitches have been taken down while others have stayed up since the game’s launch. Use these glitches at your own risk, if you are uploading levels to Nintendo’s servers. However, they are perfectly safe to fool around in local play with your friends.
In Mario Maker 1 certain items seemed truly random. They were rare, but they existed. Clown Cars would travel in random directions when hit by spikes and coins and other objects would fall in random directions when a POW block was hit. This led to the eventual creation of “impossible” levels that couldn’t be cleared unless the RNG (random number generation) was just right.
In Super Mario Maker 2, Nintendo decided to solve this problem by tying RNG to inputs of your controller. This means that RNG in levels is completely manipulatable, and if you know the right way to manipulate it you will always be able to clear levels.
That’s great for speedrunners, but for normal players you can actually create simple devices to pseudo-randomize the RNG seed. All you need to do is create a situation that players are very unlikely to pass through using the same controller inputs. Claws and vines are very good for this, especially if coins and power ups are placed in positions around them. Redundant mushrooms, for example, work very well as different players will go for different shrooms dependent on where they are placed.
Note that going through a pipe resets your RNG so you’ll need a new device to scramble the RNG based on player input if going into a sub-level. However, it’s very easy to disguise these RNG scramblers as simple platforming challenges that have multiple ways to complete them.
How do you make use of RNG? Well there are two major ways. The first way involves the aforementioned clown car, specifically a clown car with a muncher in it. Place this Clown Car in a passage surrounded by spikes and it will wobble either to the left or right dependent on RNG. The muncher inside it can then be used to hit shells that will then hit switches, blow up bob-ombs, and otherwise change things in the stage based on randomness.
The next way involves POW blocks and coins. When a POW block is hit coins will drop either to the right or the left based on RNG. Coins can’t do much, but they CAN trigger note blocks. Note blocks can hold just about anything, from enemies, to power-ups. So create a setup with a coin hovering over two note blocks and then trigger a POW block somehow. Mario can trigger it himself or you can set it to automatically trigger using things like Icicles or Thwomps. Then the coin will fall on either the right or left note block and thus, two different random outcomes.
One of the fundamental building blocks of “gadgets” in Super Mario Maker 2 is the interaction between Buzzy Beetle shells and springs. When a spring falls onto a shell, it will rocket off in a direction, but that direction is actually deterministic. It will always rocket off to the left UNLESS there is a P-Switch or POW Block above it in the course.
You can use this odd interaction to create weird puzzle solutions or, if you are a bad person, pseudo RNG generators. For example, you can use On/Off blocks and tracks to create a gate that can only be opened if Mario hits a P-Switch at the exact right time. Simply use the track to move an item above and below the shell and put a spring on top of a breakable block. When Mario hits the P-Switch, the spring will fall and the shell will go to the left or right based on where the item on the track is. One direction can open the gate while the other can trigger a boss encounter or something.
For the most part, items in Super Mario Maker 2 are solid. However, in some very particular circumstances you can force clipping errors that allow Mario and items to move in peculiar ways.
Here’s an example. Place small Mario on a vine with a slope overhead and a one way door with the gate side facing him underneath him. Under normal circumstances he would just bounce off the gate. If he stood on the gate and got the mushroom he would be forced into a crouching state and still wouldn’t pass through the gate. However, when Mario is on a vine he is uncompressible. Let a mushroom hit him and he will grow in size, clipping through the one way gate. He can then just climb down the vine to pass through what should be unpassable.
— Grahamcracker (@grahamcracker9_) July 3, 2019
Another clipping glitch takes place when two objects are forced to occupy the same space. The standard example of this is an On/Off switch and a note block. On/Off switches bounce up when hit, and note blocks bounce down when something falls on them. So if you have an On/Off switch underneath and empty space, underneath a note block, force a shell to constantly hit the On/Off switch, and drop something heavy on the note block all at the same time, eventually the On/Off switch will bounce up into the empty space, and the note block will bounce down into empty space. After that, just put Mario into the empty space and he will clip through whichever block is less solid, in this case the note block.
There’s one other type of clipping glitch involving Bullet Bill Blasters and a note block. If you sandwich Mario underneath the noteblock, with a Blaster on top and to his side, he will be forced to clip into the Blaster in front of him. If he jumps at the right time, you can then use that to zip upward. This can also be done with items and enemies.
And finally there is a method of clipping using seasaws and semi-solid platforms. Position a seasaw with an item on one end such that the tip of its platform barely crests the top of a semi-solid platform. If you then ground-pound the seasaw you will fall through the platform.
This one is a little hard to describe, but here goes. Chain Chomps like to bounce around, but when they are confined to a space and bounced by a noteblock, their movement completely breaks. You can actually achieve this through the setup below.
After this happens, the Chain Chomps stop bouncing and start flying. They will all start flying forward at a slightly downward angle, straight across the level. You can spin jump off them in styles that allow you to spin jump, which can make for some interesting platforming challenges. Or you can just put them in an auto scroller and have flying Chain Chomps chase Mario straight to the end.
Similar to the Chain Chomp setup, if a Munch is moving for some reason (usually because a spring is forced up into it) and it hits a noteblock while in a confined space, it will just keep sliding.
This glitch involves picking up power ups and going through doors and there are two versions of it. One is perfectly usable but the other will soft-lock your game and we highly recommend not uploading levels with the potential of this soft-lock in them, or else Nintendo might remove your level or worse ban your account.
— Grahamcracker (@grahamcracker9_) June 30, 2019
Here’s how you do it. Just collect a power-up at the same time you go through a door. That’s it. If you do so time will stop briefly for Mario after he exits the door. This will actually stall him right in mid-air, which allows some gadgets to run before continuing the level.
To trigger the soft-lock, follow the same process but on the other side of the door have Mario take damage and lose the power-up. This will completely freeze everything including Mario. You will have to enter the menu to get out of the stage.
This one is just for fun. Put a Yoshi egg on top of note blocks and a one way door with the gate facing down above him. Then put him in a stage with rising lava. When the lava touches Yoshi he will take off vertically. Oddly enough, this is actually just a sprite glitch, because you can’t interact with the flying Yoshi in any way.
Flying Boom Boom
This one is only available in the Super Mario 3D World style. In this style, Boom Boom has a spinning attack. By placing one Boom Boom on top of another, you can get them to overlap as the 3D World style doesn’t allow for stacking. Place them in a small area exactly two blocks across surrounding by small walls two blocks high, and when they do their spin attack they will take off into the stratosphere.
Man there are a lot of flying glitches.
This one is pretty simple. You need a sideways Thwomp, something weighing down the Thwomp, an enemy in front of the Thwomp and a note block. Trigger the Thwomp and the enemy will bounce off the noteblock. When the noteblock bounces up and hits the Thwomp, it will take off diagonally upward. You can once again use this to create fast flying platforms and platforming challenges.
For some reason, two way tracks don’t seem to play with curved tracks nicely.
Here we have this setup. We have a forked track that goes up to nowhere and down to a drop onto a curved track facing it with open ends. When Boom Boom falls off the bottom of this curved track he will appear suddenly in the bottom left corner of the map.
We call this teleportation but in actuality Boom Boom or anything else you put on this track (like a blaster) is actually covering the distance between itself and the lower left hand corner. If Mario is in the way and it’s an enemy that is moving, he will die. If Mario is in the way and a Blaster or wall is moving, he will get pushed by it and might even clip through other walls. If Mario is touching another wall when the “teleport” happens however, the game will think that he has been crushed and he will die.
Lava Balls and Blasters
When you fire a lava ball out of a blaster, it actually can’t interact with anything until it comes up from the bottom of the stage. It won’t hurt you and it won’t trigger Bob-Ombs. However, for some reason if you hit an on/off switch in the blaster’s presence it will now be able to do both.
Hit an invisible question mark block with a vine in it and go through a door leading to the same room before the vine comes out. This room reset will cause the question mark block to become tangible while remaining invisible. Now you can jump on hidden blocks! You can use shells in gadgets to do this just off screen when Mario enters a door to create complex block formations.
This one is less interesting. If you go into a pipe after you hit an invisible block but before the block’s animation finishes, and then return, it will become a normal visible block.
If you bounce off a bumper while flying with a cape power up in Super Mario World style, and twirl at the exact moment you hit the bumper while holding jump, you’ll do a super high jump. The timing is very tricky for this one.
Giant Mario Wall Scaling
Sandwich Giant Mario (in original SMB style) against the right wall of a stage with terrain and give him a Dry Bones Shell. He will be able to jump infinitely until he is no longer sandwiched as long as he is holding right.
Magikoopas and Spike Blocks
In the Super Mario 3D World style, Magikoopas have some strange interactions with spike blocks. If they throw a projectile at a spike block that is turned on, nothing happens. If they throw a projectile at a spike block that is turned off, the spike block will turn into an enemy but it’s graphic will stay on screen, making an intangible, uninteractible spike block. This can be very evil when combined with other active spike blocks.
Claws can only fall down if they fall off a track. If you are grabbed by a falling claw and then fall into a bottomless pit, you’ll survive but you’ll turn off every other claw in the level, deactivating them.
Dan Salvato made this glitch popular with his level Lethal Ejection. If you jump into an on/off switch and doing so causes a block to overlap you, you will be able to jump out of it as if you were on solid ground as long as you jump at the right moment.
In Mario Maker 2 strange things would happen on the ninth horizontal tile of a stage. The same is true in Mario Maker 2. For example, if you trigger an on/off block that causes an overlap like in our previous example, but also has solid blocks on either side, Mario can clip out at X=9 but not anywhere else. This is also true for X=129.
Mushroom Platforms Wigging Out
This one is just weird. Create a mushroom platform with a question block (or invisible question block) overlapping it. Then go through a door to “reset” the room. If you ground pound the mushroom platform not only will you trigger a strange hidden coin block but you will also make the platform intangible. Thwomps can do this too.
But that’s only the start of the glitch. Try overlapping note blocks, on/off switches, coins, and other things on the platform. When it turns intangible it does all sorts of screwed up stuff, even more so if you actually hit these blocks after triggering the glitch.
The Black Hole Glitch
This glitch is just insane but it breaks the entire editor apart in fantastic ways.
First you want 99 blocks on tracks, Yes, exactly 99. Then you want to put a big Thwomp on a track. Then copy one of the blocks on a track, remove the track the Thwomp is on, and press undo. This will give you a glitched Thwomp that thinks its on a track even though it isn’t. Remove all your blocks and tracks and copy the Thwomp a bunch of times into the same spot. You’ll notice that unlike other objects, the Thwomps can overlap each other just fine.
This is the “Black Hole” an area of the map that allows objects to overlap. Almost any object can now be put on top of another. You can create overlapping pipes, for example. You can create two or four sided fire bars by overlapping their central block. The sky is the limit, creativity wise.
Just note that you won’t be able to upload this stage, because it will say your data is corrupt.
This article could not have been possible without the efforts of some amazing glitch hunters. Major thanks to Grahamcracker, Ceave Gaming, CarlSagan42, Psycrow, Sam MoDZ, Linkums, Black60Dragon, Srcsqwrn, DJ Infinity, Icay, and all the other glitch hunters out there. If you’ve found a glitch that we haven’t, feel free to leave it in the comments!