Developer: Nintendo EAD
Rating: E for Everyone
Super Mario Maker has finally made its way onto the 3DS, though without the ability to share levels with the Wii U version. We should respect that Nintendo was up front about that from the beginning. Many fans questioned whether the 3DS version was even worth purchasing, since a vast community of creative minds had already unleashed so many courses on the Wii U version.
Due to the fact that I no longer own a Wii U, I decided to put this version through the paces to find out whether this game is worth investing in. I found out just how well the 3DS version stacks up to its older brother, and was pleased to discover the two versions are nearly identical, except for some unique features added to the 3DS version. In this review, I will be going into detail about these new features, along with improvements and setbacks, rather than gameplay, since it plays much like the Wii U version, which has already been out for quite some time.
Super Mario Maker is filled with the family-friendly content that the franchise is known for. There is some cartoony mischief as you progress through the courses–tons of enemies and traps await you around every corner. Some enemies try to squish you, throw things at you, and even set you on fire. Traps come in the form of spikes, fire, and more. Enemies, meanwhile, are defeated by jumping on their heads or dropping them into lava. True to Mario tradition, all violence is cartoony and harmless.
Be aware that most of the content in this game is user-generated, meaning there’s a chance some obscene words or images could be “spelled” out of objects. I imagine it wouldn’t take long for Nintendo to remove offensive courses such as these, however.
When starting Super Mario Maker on the 3DS, you are greeted by a pigeon named Yamamura and his assistant Mary. Mary explains that Yamamura happens to be an expert course designer and that they are here to help you learn the art of creating courses. The interaction between these two introduces an all-new tutorial and lessons that will help you hone your skills. The interactions between Mary and Yamamura are quite funny. Yamamura is full of himself, while Mary disregards his silliness and teaches you what you came to learn. You will become acquainted with these two as you play, and become a better course designer as you complete each lesson they offer.
You will run into Yamamura most often in the Super Mario Challenge–a feature found only in the 3DS version. This mode offers eight worlds filled with challenging, Nintendo-created stages that get increasingly harder as you advance. The later stages will require you to use every skill featured in the particular game style. This mode adds two bonus objectives to the classic, side-scrolling, Mario gameplay. The objectives vary from “Defeat all the Goombas,” to “Don’t Push Left.” You can earn a medal for each objective, but you must complete the first before you learn what the second is. These bonus objectives can make difficult courses even more challenging, adding a new dynamic never before seen in a Mario game. Yamamura will offer an assist item if you are having trouble, but the catch is that you cannot earn any medals if you accept it.
You are required to finish the Super Mario Challenge in order to unlock the rest of your stage creation tools. Instead of unlocking items across the week or spending time in the course editor (as in the Wii U version), you will unlock a few of these tools at the end of each world. The course editor itself runs just as smoothly as it does on the Wii U. Even when you switch from Edit mode to Play mode, the transition is seamless. The process of creation is vital in a game like this, and the developers translated it from the console version superbly.
The ability to browse and share courses doesn’t quite make the jump to the 3DS. Players can only access user-generated courses through the Recommended Courses section or the 100 Mario Challenge. You can only share your courses with a friend via local wireless or a single course via Streetpass. Originally, my theory was that the hardware might not be able to handle such a task, but that is hardly an excuse for the Recommended section. Having said that, I have greatly enjoyed the Recommended section, since you can filter the courses by difficulty. This ultimately eliminates those courses that are too painfully difficult to play.
After doing some research, I learned that the Super Mario Maker community on the Wii U is still thriving one year later, with special items and events being added since its initial release. If you own a Wii U, the Wii U version is certainly the one to go with, but the 3DS version is a great alternative, despite that.
In my opinion, the shining star inside Super Mario Maker for the 3DS is the Super Mario Challenge; it’s as if an awesome little Mario game is hidden inside a bigger one. The bonus objectives are something I have never experienced in a Super Mario game before, and both versions of the game could greatly benefit if the developers somehow made it possible for players to add to their own Challenge courses in the future.
[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B01LDUYU60,B00KWFCSB2]
The Bottom Line
The fact that players cannot share and play others' courses on the 3DS through a complete course browser is the single thing that holds this version back. With the Super Mario Challenge and the fluid mechanics intact, we still have a solid product in Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS.