When the original Super Mario Maker launched on Wii U, I was dying for Nintendo to release a port on the Nintendo 3DS. Well, it’s finally here, and I’ve played enough of it to tell you whether the title is worth a holiday buy or not.

Building done easy

If you’re a creative genius, or have tons of time to spare in Super Mario Maker’s level creator, you’ll be happy to know that designing stages is easily done on the Nintendo 3DS. Much like the Wii U game pad, stages and items are nicely placed together by using the Nintendo 3DS stylus, and removing unwanted items can be done with a swipe of the stylus as well.

What’s great about Super Mario Maker 3DS is that the title grants users access to essentially all the items from the Wii U version, with the exception of the Mystery Mushroom — which we’ll get into more later. Whether you’d like Koopa Troopas with wings, or five different Bowsers on screen at once, Super Mario Maker allows your mind to run wild, and the only thing that’s holding your creativity back is yourself.

Super Mario Challenge

If you’re a lazy creator (like me), and you’d like to play Nintendo generated levels, then Super Mario Challenge is for you. These unique stages, at times very difficult and daunting, break up the creative monotony from within level design and instead allow the user to pick up and play on the fly, which is much appreciated after a long day of stressful work.

What I found most interesting in this particular mode, was the fact that users are awarded medals after reaching certain objectives during each stage. Whether your objective is to only kill Piranha Plants or to collect five 1-ups during a particular stage, these tough challenges always felt rewarding upon completion, which is a feeling I haven’t had since my time with Dark Souls III.

Sure, one could easily blast through Super Mario Challenge without earning medals. Heck, doing so will even unlock creative items used for level design, but playing without completing objectives renders the mode pointless from a completionist point of view. These trophy/achievement-like items serve as an incentive to continue playing each challenge, and each met objective feels more rewarding than the last.

No Amiibo support

Unlike its Wii U counterpart, Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS lacks Amiibo support, which means your horde of iconic Nintendo figurines are utterly useless in this installment. At this time, The Big N has yet to mention whether or not Amiibo functionality would eventually hit the Nintendo 3DS version of Super Mario Maker, but one can only hope — especially if one owns the New Nintendo 3DS that possesses a built-in NFC reader which is meant for registering Amiibo.

In some way, the lack of Amiibo support limits the gamer’s creativity. For instance, one must play or design levels that are solely focused and revolve around the Mario universe. Yes, creators are allowed to name and label stages as they see fit, but entering a stage called “Zelda Dungeon” without running the level as Link, unfortunately, serves as an injustice to the creator as it doesn’t provide the proper context. It’s like telling an artist to paint a beautiful picture, but only limiting said artist to three colors — it’s enough to get the job done, but I’m sure more colors are needed in order for the individual to express their full potential within the masterpiece.

What’s mine is sort-of yours

What made Super Mario Maker shine the most on the Nintendo Wii U was the ability to share new level creations online with the game’s online community. Some of that feature from the Wii U version exist on Nintendo 3DS, however, it’s very limited. Should one be interested in sharing a new stage with someone else, he or she must share creations via StreetPass or local connectivity. Unlike the Wii U version which allows users to upload newly created stages online to the community dashboard, Super Mario Maker 3DS does not provide that luxury, which in the long run, dissipated my want to create new obstacles.

For a video game that is seemingly focused on community sharing, Super Mario Maker 3DS does nothing for the handheld community in that regard, whatsoever. Though the option to select, save, and play previously created Wii U stages exists on 3DS, you’re not allowed to leave feedback, comments, or rate stages. What bites the most is you are only allowed to select online stages based on difficulty, not based on community rating which would ideally lead you to where the good stuff is located, naturally. So in reality, the chances of playing an entertaining stage online is very slim and is very much a game of roulette.

There were many instances where I would hope to play a very fun stage, select the higher difficulty levels, only to result in disappointment. At first, I thought difficulty equals entertainment, but it clearly does not, as these stages were too painful to complete and mostly had me running far away from them every chance I got. Had the option to select and download stages based on their fun factor via community rating rather than the level of difficulty, much of my time delved in online courses would not have been for nothing.

Final Say-so

For what it’s worth, Super Mario Maker 3DS is much like the Wii U version in terms of allowing users to design their own Mario stages. The only exception, however, is that the title does away with the online community component found in the Wii U version, and Amiibo support, which is huge in the home console version, is completely non-existent as well.

You can still create stages, and share them with friends or random Nintendo 3DS owners via StreetPass if you follow sharing guidelines, but not being allowed to share stages online was a huge bummer. Super Mario Challenge is a blast to play, especially when you want to take a break from designing levels. Achieving medals via Super Mario Challenge is a nice incentive for diving a bit deeper into the mode, and obtaining each medal feels more rewarding than the last. But, all in all, the lack of features in this installment essentially holds Super Mario Maker 3DS back from being the definitive version.

Super Mario Maker 3DS was reviewed on Nintendo 3DS using a review copy provided by Nintendo


Reviewed On
Release Date
Nintendo 3DS
December 2, 2016