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Mario Maker 2 now has Zelda Kaizo levels, and they’re totally wild

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Ultra-hard levels, but with Link

Link stands in a Mario Maker 2 level. Photo: Nintendo

Platforming aficionados have enjoyed Kaizo levels for over a decade now, with endless Mario deaths simply becoming a routine part of the experience. But with Super Mario Maker 2’s introduction of a Link power-up last month, the rules for extremely hard courses have been rewritten.

Link does not work entirely like Mario, for one thing. Link can shoot arrows, he can dash, he has a shield, and he has bombs. All of these abilities have been put to the test by course-makers who are developing complex levels built with Link in mind, as you can see in the clip below by speedrunner GrandPooBear.

These Link levels are more “button heavy,” according to GrandPooBear. For instance, you’ll note that Link’s arrows don’t hit their target instantly, as the Hero of Time has to pull back his bowstring and let the weapon fly.

“Mario games have never had a buffered action like that so it’s a very weird and difficult thing to get use to timing-wise,” GrandPooBear tells Polygon over Twitter message. “You also lose momentum if you hold left or right while shooting so you have to let go of the D-pad to keep top speed, then regrab it as soon as it’s done.”

Link’s arrows can be combined with his other abilities to produce some mechanically complex maneuvers, GrandPooBear says.

“[One of] the coolest thing you can do is shoot an arrow in the air, throw a bomb, and if the timing is right the arrow will hit it and you can use more arrows to basically juggle an airborn bomb until it explodes,” he notes.

Link isn’t entirely different from the red plumber, though. Hyrule’s best can down-air, for instance, and this can be used in a similar way to Mario’s ground pound move, allowing players to do things like “surf” spike balls. But even so, it seems like Mario Maker players are having a good time reconsidering how to approach typical platforming challenges.

“The Link power-up is the greatest thing that has ever come to the game for Kaizo creators ... it’s been fun wrapping our heads around all the new possibilities,” GrandPooBear says.