‘Super Mario Maker 3DS’ Review: Creativity On-The-Go Never Felt So Good

super mario maker 3ds
Super Mario Maker is coming to the 3DS this December Nintendo

Super Mario Maker for the Wii U was a surprise hit in 2015 for the fledgling console. The game let players put their creative caps on to create their very own Mario levels, and create they did as over two million levels were generated  mere weeks after its release.

But have you ever just wanted to create Mario levels on-the-go? I know I did, and that’s why when the announcement that Super Mario Maker was coming to the Nintendo 3DS, I was thrilled.

I never thought that I’d enjoy just sitting there and creating levels, stretching my creative muscles to make unique and challenging stages, but when the Wii U version was released there I was using the Wii U Pad more than I’ve ever used it in my life. So allowing me and other like-minded players to sit on a train or a long car ride tinkering with Mario levels on the 3DS was ideal.

Having Mario Maker on your 3DS gives the freedom of creating while not being tethered to your television.

Super Mario Maker for the Wii U was a great and innovative game, but how does the 3DS port stack up? Is it worth the purchase?

In short, if you enjoyed the Wii U version, then you’ll love the 3DS version and vice versa The 3DS port brings over all the creative goodness and game modes of the original but adds some nifty little tricks that only the 3DS can do.

super mario maker 3ds thumb
Classic levels return in 'Super Mario Maker' for the Nintendo 3DS Photo: Nintendo

CREATION

The Mario-making portion of Super Mario Maker 3DS is a big sell for the title and the 3DS port does everything the same as with the Wii U version.

There are plenty of items and templates to choose from in the 3DS version and the game does a great job of helping new players understand the mechanics of the level creation process.

Players familiar with the Wii U version can instantly jump right in and start creating to their heart's content. However, I share the same sentiments as my colleague who reviewed the Wii U version back in 2015. While the creation process is great and gives players access to pretty much everything Mario from over the years, unlocking everything was excessively time-consuming, and really slows down the creative process.

super mario maker 3ds create
All the creation tools are in 'Super Mario Maker' 3DS Photo: Nintendo

The 3DS version hampers the creative process in the same way again, forcing players to complete challenges and levels in the other Mario Maker game modes (we’ll get to those in a bit) to gain access to different building items.

While I do appreciate Nintendo making you earn items to get the most out of the game, it is a bit of a bummer to not have access to everything from the start.

It’s a conundrum that those who just want to create levels will have to endure but those looking for a game that is more than just creating will appreciate having a sense of achievement.

The lack of amiibo support is a definite bummer. It was cool to create and see other levels based on Link and other Nintendo characters by simply tapping an amiibo. While it would have been a little cumbersome to be carrying amiibo figures around with you on trains, the option for those creating at home would have been great.

GAME MODES

Super Mario Maker for the 3DS brings over the game modes from the Wii U version. Course World brings back the 100 Mario Challenge, letting players go through a gauntlet of levels created by other users as you try and complete them all before losing your 100 lives.

What’s great about the return of this feature is that the levels used coming from the Wii U version so a lot of these levels have had months of polish making them fun and, at times, difficult.

Players can also download levels from the Wii U version in a casual playstyle, recommended by Nintendo and other users.

super mario maker gameplay
You'll go through Nintendo-created courses Photo: Nintendo

The Super Mario Challenge acts as a more typical Mario game, letting players complete different custom levels created by Nintendo. These levels are well-designed and offer up a good challenge. Some of these levels are even there to teach players some of the controls and mechanics of building items so the lessons aren’t just regulated to the level creation mode.

On top of that, putting different challenges on each level to earn medals adds a lot of replayability to the game as completionists will want to win every medal available.

However, the biggest difference between the 3DS and Wii U version is the online capabilities. The Streetpass functionality for Super Mario Maker 3DS allows players to share their levels with others they pass by and vice versa.

Take your game on the train and see how many new levels you can find. There will be a seemingly endless stream of levels for you to find without having to rely on an internet connection.

There’s also a local online function that lets players share levels with other 3DS owners who are nearby. And for the first time, players can collaborate on creating Mario levels. If you have a great start to a course but can’t find a good way to finish it, you can share it with a friend and they can add their touches to it.

Not sure I’d want anyone to touch a course I’m in the middle of making, but it’s a great option for friends who want to work together.

VERDICT

Super Mario Maker 3DS takes all the charm and creative innovation of the original and lets you take it anywhere. Like I said before, if you enjoyed the Wii U version you’ll love the 3DS port, perhaps even more.

While players have to earn some of the building items by playing through the different game modes those modes are pretty fun and can be challenging and the creation suite of the 3DS version is as polished as the Wii U version so those who love creating will feel right at home.

One nitpick I do have is that the 3D worlds/templates don’t look as good on the 3DS. Playing my own levels on the Wii U and my HD television was surreal, while playing it on the 3DS was a bit of a downer.

Also, the lack of amiibo support is baffling and will be missed, but it’s definitely not a deal-breaker when the creation and game modes are this fun.  

Join the Discussion