Overall score 75

When Super Mario Maker released on the Wii U it became quite the hit with Wii U players and even more for 2D Super Mario Bros. fans. The concept of being able to create Super Mario levels and play Super Mario levels created by others was very appealing. The most surprising factor I’ve seen with Super Mario Maker though was with how social the game became. Videos of near impossible levels being made caught the eyes of many and shown just how crazy this level creation tool can be. Nintendo even kept adding additional content to the game through special courses that would unlock costumes of characters outside of Nintendo, like Hello Kitty and even Babymetal. Even adding more depth to the game with the addition of new creator tools like keys. So when it was announced that a portable version of Super Mario Maker would be coming to 3DS, there was a lot of excitement. The 3DS install base is larger than the Wii U, plus the ability to create and play levels on the go was a great concept that could further expand the Super Mario Maker experience.

For those unaware, Super Mario Maker follows a simple concept. Take the mechanics of 2D Super Mario Mario and give players the ability to create levels using the tile set and rule set of those games. Featuring four Mario franchises: Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros. Once a level is created, the creator must first be able to complete their level in order to share it. Once it’s available to share, players can then experience that level by directly searching for it and downloading it, or by random when just playing through a randomly generated playlist of levels.

Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS keeps most of the Super Mario Maker formula intact. You can create levels using the level editor in the game, which is similar to what was set up on Wii U. Playing levels is also the same. However, how you get access to levels that others created is what the big difference is between 3DS and Wii U.

THE GOOD: The 3DS version actually features a new set of Nintendo created levels in the form of the Super Mario Challenge. This mode features multiple worlds full of Super Mario Maker created levels by Nintendo. This can be viewed as the main campaign of the game since completing levels in Super Mario Challenge will earn you new items to use in the level editor. These levels also feature optional objectives for you to fulfill that add in some extra challenge to the levels.

Creating levels is still as simple as it was on the Wii U. Instead of a Gamepad, you have the 3DS touch screen. If you’ve used the level editor on Wii U quite a bit, this should all be familiar to you. If you are new to the level editor or need a refresher, there is a lesson system in place that will help you.

For those just wanting to play Mario levels, the 100 Mario Challenge is still present and will gather up levels from the Wii U version of the game for you complete. There is also recommended courses that you can browse through and play from or even download.

THE BAD: While the core concept of play and create are still there, the share function is the big difference from Wii U to 3DS. Sharing your created levels on 3DS can only be done through StreetPass. This means that you can only share your 3DS creations locally. You can’t share them online with a code and you can’t even transfer your levels to the Wii U version for possibly uploading through there. This choice is rather confusing for me because I can’t see the reason why online sharing wouldn’t be an option. I live in an area where StreetPass pretty much never happens. So I’m out of luck if I’m looking to receive or share levels that way, unless I travel to a more busier area in hopes of maybe finding other 3DS owners who own Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS. So that limitation of sharing levels really discourages me, and possibly others, from even trying to create a level on the 3DS.

Even when playing the 100 Mario Challenge, you can’t even star levels or leave feedback. This means if you stumble across a level you really enjoyed, you are unable to download it. You can download courses under the Recommended list, but I find it very odd that you are unable to do the same for levels you encounter in the 100 Mario Challenge.

Online sharing isn’t the only removal when Super Mario Maker made the journey to 3DS. Another difference is that amiibo functionality isn’t present on the 3DS version, so the ability to add in skins to your level is not there. Since you can’t create levels with the amiibo costumes, that means you can’t play levels that have those features either. Other notable removals include the lack of the Mario jingle being played everytime you place items in the level editor, and even the X’s that appear when you die on a level in order to show you the locations of Mario deaths from other players. These omissions aren’t as big as the lack of online sharing, but their absence does take away some of the charm Super Mario Maker had.

Perhaps a bummer for creators is that you are required to play through the Super Mario Challenge in order to unlock new items for the level editor. So just be aware that you’re in for quite the journey if you were hoping to just start up the game and be creating levels with all the tools available. The levels can be challenging in the later worlds, but assist items are present if you find yourself really struggling.

This next thing is mainly an odd one, but could still have meaning for some users. It’s actually very easy to lose all your data for this game if you’re careless. Upon your first start up of the game, lots of extra data will be saved to your SD card. If for any reason you needed to change your SD card, and you start up Super Mario Maker, your data will basically reset. Even for those who own the physical version of the game, if you insert the game into a different 3DS, the data will be reset. Pretty much if the SD card isn’t the same as when you last played the game, your data will be erased. Maybe not a problem for most, but still a very odd thing.

OVERALL THOUGHTS: If you’re looking to just play Super Mario Maker levels on a portable system, then Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS is great for that. New Nintendo created levels are available and will offer various challenges. There is also the returning 100 Mario Challenge and you can download levels for play when offline. Unfortunately, for those who enjoy creating and sharing levels, you may want to stick with the Wii U. Many items for the level editor are locked and can only be unlocked by playing through the Super Mario Challenge. And sharing your created levels is limited to only locally via StreetPass. Playing Super Mario Maker is still fun in this portable form, but it’s really disappointing that the social aspects of the original didn’t make the move over as well.

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