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‘Super Mario Maker for 3DS’ Review: Must-See Details & Screenshots


Super Mario Maker for 3DS

Super Mario Maker was last year’s runaway hit on the Wii U. Genius in its simplicity, the course-creator expanded on the idea that started up in browser-based toolkits and added decades of know-how and historical assets to craft the most comprehensive and easy-to-use mod tool ever released on consoles. Now comes the pocket-sized version of the game, which on the surface appears to be inferior on ever level. There’s a smaller screen, fewer customization options and no ability to share your creations online. But the 3DS version of the game also manage to add something — the immediacy and excitement of morphing your own Mario levels in the palms of your hands.

Games: Super Mario Maker for 3DS
Consoles: 3DS (reviewed)
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Release Date: December 2

Let’s make one thing clear right away. If you own a 3DS and like Mario, you need to get this game. Even if you have no inclination whatsoever for course design, this is a superior handheld Mario title because of the Super Mario Challenge. A compilation of 100 wacky courses that serves as a mad scientist lab for creative devs, these levels alone provide as robust a side-scrolling platformer experience as you’ll find in any other 3DS Mario entry. Some of the courses test the skill of the most experienced gamers, and all are primed for the joys of repetitive speed-running to fine-tune and streamline your skills.

Any worries that the smaller 3DS screen would make for a more cramped course-creation experience float away quickly. It’s amazing how quickly your eyes adjust to the miniscule display, and the 3DS stylus lets you conduct pixel-perfect surgery on your sprites, backgrounds, items and obstacles in order to clip, stretch and space your levels out until they match your artistic vision. The only downside is that your levels get all dressed up with nowhere to go. Since the game lacks the Wii U edition’s ability to share and store levels, you’re limited to StreetPass or local wireless sharing. There’s a fat chance of actually picking up any worthwhile levels that way, but you can always share the old-fashioned way, by simply handing your 3DS over to a buddy.

What’s frustrating about the pocket-sized version of the game is that in many ways, it seems that Super Mario Maker was destined for handheld play rather than the Wii U’s cumbersome setup. There’s something about being able to stare down and focus on a screen in your hands that brings out the Mario magic more effectively than the standard living room TV setup. It’s a sad thought that the 3DS’s player base, which is far greater than the relatively tiny active Wii U player population, will never get a chance to upload and download the best and brightest courses they can dream up. The Mushroom Kingdom is all the more poor for the cost-cutting choice to leave out online sharing.

Before you turn up your nose at the idea of a Super Mario Maker without online sharing, stop and take a reality check. When you design a level, do you really care all that much of a gaggle of random strangers might potentially stumble upon it, or would you rather see the frustrated smile on a friend’s face when you manage to stump him with an all-but impassible castle death trap? Do you care more about sifting through dull creations cranked out by dabblers in order to find a rare gem, or testing your skills against a curated set of creative wonders designed by professionals? For all but the most obsessive Mario uber-geeks, Super Mario Maker for 3DS will be good enough. And for the rest, there is stil the Wii U version.

ORDER: Super Mario Maker for 3DS here

Super Mario Maker for 3DS Reviews Around The Web:

“I’m not on board with all of the sacrifices made to get the game to work, but it’s still fun.” –Nintendo World Report

“A natural fit for the Nintendo 3DS.” –Digital Trends

“A superb port, but losing the ability to share creations online may be a dealbreaker for die-hard level creators.” –Yahoo

Super Mario Maker for 3DS Screenshots

The publisher provided a review copy. 

Order Phil Villarreal’s novel, Zeta Male, here.

COED Writer
Watches movies and games for work, then watches more movies and plays more games on his downtime. A movie and video game critic since 2001, Phil is the author of Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel, Stormin' Mormon and Zeta Male. Twitter: @philvillarreal