From the Super Mario Wiki, the Mario encyclopedia
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Switchbacks (also referred to as platforms or arrow lifts) are special platforms that appear New Super Mario Bros. Wii and New Super Mario Bros. U. They appear blue when idle, but turn red when activated. In New Super Mario Bros. Wii, the platforms are stationary until the player steps on them, in which case an arrow pointing down appears, and the platforms move in that direction. If the player gets off the platform after having moved it from its initial position, the arrow will then point up and the platform will move back to where it started. Switchbacks appear in World 9-2 and World 9-4. In New Super Mario Bros. U, they appear in Switchback Hill (or Rainbow Skywalk in New Super Luigi U) as the main gimmick and means of transportation. This time, there are platforms that move left and right, and an arrow appears even when unused to indicate which direction towards which the platform moves. They also only need one object for them to move instead of multiple. In both games, items like coins and Star Coins are able to trigger the platform like a player would. They also make a small noise when stepped on in this game, which was not present in New Super Mario Bros. Wii.
While Switchbacks do not appear directly in Super Mario Maker, Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS and Super Mario Maker 2, their sound effect while moving forward from New Super Mario Bros. U is reused in the editor menu when setting the direction of certain parts such as Warp Pipes, Cannons, Checkpoint Flags, and Banzai Bills.
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