Ever play around with Mario Maker on the Wii U? Nintendo's accessible level design sandbox? You're in for a treat today, as Mega Man Maker is almost exactly that, but for Mega Man, complete with tutorials, example levels and full online sharing/rating functionality. Even better: It's fan-made and completely free.
Originally released as Mega Maker in July, the game has rebranded as Mega Man Maker accompanying the release of version 1.1. Changes include a massively overhauled UI and the addition of a bundle of new enemies and bosses to its palette of dangers. Check out the re-launch/update trailer after the jump.
As with Mario Maker, the vast majority levels made are... flawed, but at least they're playable, and often interesting. Before you're allowed to upload a stage to the public server, you need to complete it fair and square, meaning that while some levels are truly cruel and unusual, they're never unbeatable.
Playing, remixing, creating and sharing levels teaches a lot of lessons on the art of good level design, even if you're not a true blue Mega Man fan. Through experience, you'll learn just how to leverage enemies to make interesting challenges. You might learn what makes a good or bad boss arena, and undoubtedly pick up some ideas on the best places to put checkpoints.
The developers of this (and most other Mega Man fan-things) don't seem worried about any kind of legal crackdown coming from Capcom. The Japanese studio has had its problems over the years, but has generally left the Mega Man community to their own devices. The last time Capcom involved themselves, it was to license Street Fighter X Mega Man for an official release.
As an interesting aside, Mega Man Maker is from the creator of the Mega Engine, a Game Maker SDK for developing Mega Man fangames. While Mega Man Maker wraps the engine in a simplified UI, the oddball Make A Good Mega Man Level 2 jam (which our Abby Denton covered here) uses the full-fat version of the engine to great effect.
You can download Mega Man Maker from its official site.