Review: Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS (3DS)
It seems a little silly now but, at first, I didn’t really get the appeal of Super Mario Maker. I understood the core concept and could understand why people wanted it but it never really jelled with me as a necessity. This was until I was able to spend a decent amount of time with the game and saw what others were able to make and that’s when it all made sense. Super Mario Maker on Wii U was indeed something special even if it did have some flaws. Given the Wii U title’s success, Nintendo obviously thought it necessary to port it to the 3DS for players to enjoy on-the-go. While this may feel like a recipe for success, could it be that not all the blocks fell in to place?
Blockasso On The Move
For those of you who missed out on the game on the Wii U, the basis of Super Mario Maker is pretty simple. You use a simple grid-based drag-and-drop interface to create and share your own Super Mario levels. You are allowed access to pretty much every item one could wish to have for their level creation as well as a choice of four Mario games’ aesthetics to choose from in order to choose the more specific mechanics of your course. While a lot of Super Mario Maker is focused on the building your own courses, that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to do in the game if you’re feeling uninspired.
Say it just isn’t your day and maybe you just feel unable to create your own Super Mario Masterpiece. Fortunately for you Super Mario Maker on 3DS has the “Super Mario Challenge”, which not only unlocks new items for you to use in your courses but also as a bit of a teaching aid. Over the course of the Super Mario Challenge players will be exposed to worlds that will introduce items and mechanics to players that will unlock once the players successfully complete the world. This serves as an interesting experience but that doesn’t mean it is flawless.
The problem with this, however, is that anyone wanting to go straight in to level making is going to have to endure a lengthy and relatively unnecessary tutorial. While I don’t think the way this has been done is necessarily bad but I do feel that it is rather unnecessary. It is of course far more preferable to that of the daily unlocks of the Wii U version but given experienced players the option to jump straight back in to what they know while fresher faces could go ahead and make use of the help available. This doesn’t detract too much from the experience, even though it will irk many.
Other than some minor changes here and there the core experience is roughly the same. You can expect much of the same experience from the Wii U version with a couple of different design choices here and there. While, overall, much is kept the same there are some glaring omissions that prevent this port from being the perfect companion to last year’s Wii U release.
From Mega to Meagre Mario
This is where we start getting to a couple of grievances and things could get messy here. As mentioned before the gameplay is as enjoyable as before but there are some things that just didn’t make the move to the 3DS that do hamper the experience.
First of all, and this one will kill the purpose of the game for many, 3DS players are unable to upload their creations to the internet. This is a huge omission from the port as one of the appeals of the Wii U version was being able to upload your creations for the world to see. One of the reasons the game became so popular was due to crazy level designers making incredibly difficult challenges for players to tackle, earning some uploaders online fame or, if they feel so inclined and have the game, translating their creations on a Wii U and uploading them there. This is a huge omission by Nintendo which does make people question the purpose of this port, but it is unfortunately what it is. Hopeful players will have to decide if they can do without the online sharing of their levels before they pick up this version.
There are also a couple of other niceties that did also not make the cut. One of the more interesting aspects, the Mystery Mushroom, has not made the move to 3DS and neither has amiibo support. This essentially means that players on the 3DS will not be able to make use of these in their creations and will not be able to play levels from the internet that make use of them. One would expect that, given that the Mystery Mushroom only really changed the look of the player, this wouldn’t mean 3DS players miss out on much but, considering they would have been used willy-nilly in the past, this might exclude many interesting courses from the hands of 3DS players. It’s a change that shouldn’t make as much of an impact as it does and it, unfortunately, leaves 3DS players in a bad position.
The changes made to port Super Mario Maker to the 3DS put the game in a weird position. As a concept it would have been a perfect companion to the Wii U game but with the omissions it leaves players new and old with a decision to make: if they already own the game will the allures of creating on-the-go be worth the price-tag or is not being able to feasibly share your creations going to kill its purpose?
The problem with Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS is that while it does everything it needs to be a fun title, it does still have a bigger and better older brother. It comes around as a sleeker model that offers much of the same experience but it, unfortunately, left the popular features of the older model behind.
That being said I don’t want to deter anyone who hasn’t been able to play around with Super Mario Maker as this 3DS port still offers, for the most part, the same things and still has the enjoyment of the Wii U version. The only real reason to not consider this at all is if you could rather pick up the Wii U version. I personally enjoyed my time spent on Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS even while being fully aware of what I was no longer able to do. Super Mario Maker stands, at the end of the day, as a fun tool to play around with and offers well-known gaming concepts to see what players are able to create. In this endeavor, Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS is still able to offer all that and would be an enjoyable addition to your 3DS library should the Super Mario Maker void need to be filled.