It’s been a full year since Super Mario Maker made a huge debut on the Wii U and became another legendary title for the plumber’s 30 year resume. However in the year since the game’s debut the Wii U has began to fade away. Very little in the way of big titles were released this year and production has recently ceased on new units. On top of that Nintendo is now moving their studios from Wii U and 3DS development to Nintendo Switch development as the new console looms on the horizon. However the Switch isn’t here yet as of this review and Nintendo was left with very few new titles to debut for Christmas on their popular 3DS. So in order to tide consumers over Nintendo has begun porting a handful of popular Wii U games to their handheld. The first one has finally debuted, Super Mario Maker for the Nintendo 3DS. Upon this game’s reveal back in September many were excited for this. People had been clamoring for this game to be on the 3DS and some even thought it simply wasn’t possible (myself included). So for this to be on the 3DS I was stoked. However as more and more information continued to come out about this port excitement dwindled. When this title launched it made a mere splash in terms of sales. A stark contrast to the Wii U title. Reviews were lukewarm. So what’s the issue? What made everyone so disinterested? Well let’s start off with the single player modes and just basic gameplay in general. In this regard the 3DS version actually has a fairly big advantage over its big brother. The Wii U version included the “10 Mario Challenge”, a mode where you get 10 lives and have to traverse 8 Nintendo made courses. There were a handful of courses and the mode was rather small. It was meant to give players ideas about how course elements could be placed and tinkered with to create compelling levels. It was fun but short. Definitely not the meat of the game. With the 3DS version the developers realized they couldn’t cut it with such a small amount of built in levels. This is a handheld game. With a handheld you won’t always be connected to the internet. So in this port the “10 Mario Challenge” has been greatly expanded upon. This version features the “Super Mario Challenge”, a mode consisting of over a hundred Nintendo made levels set up in a classic Mario world setup where you go from course to course and world to world until you clear the 18 worlds and the mode. Most of the worlds contain 4 courses however some contain a little more. On top of that each course has 2 medal challenges to complete. These challenges are usually along the lines of completing a specific objective and clearing the course. This has no real reward or anything but does offer a little more replay value and is appreciated. On top of that the way you unlock course elements has been altered. The Wii U game forces players to place a certain amount of blocks and new elements would be unlocked. This was annoying and not at all intuitive. It was also very unclear. It was no fun having to spam blocks to unlock all the course elements. In this port you now unlock course elements as you advance through the single player. Often the elements you unlock are featured in the worlds you unlock them in and as a result this can teach new players how course elements work and can be used and also be a fun way for veterans to unlock the course elements. All of these additions and changes I love. The “Super Mario Challenge” is fairly lengthy and is immense fun to play through. And how the course elements are a reward for playing the game is awesome. I desperately hope these single player additions would remain if Nintendo decides to port or succeed Mario Maker on the Switch. So how about the gameplay? Its identical to the Wii U version in terms of the actual gameplay. The excellent control for Mario is back, the graphics are actually pretty good for this with the only really pixelated theme being the New Super Mario Bros U theme (and even then its still kind of impressive), and the sound effects are all there. Much like Smash Bros on the 3DS this port is just as good with gameplay as its Wii U counterpart. But as many know Super Mario Maker is a social game. Its meant to be played online. Sharing courses and playing other’s stages is the heart of Mario Maker and that’s where the 3DS port begins to fall apart. For starters there is no level uploading to online. You can’t upload courses created on the 3DS to the internet. This is a huge issue. I can kind of understand why from a technical standpoint but there’s not even an attempt. See levels here can be shared locally with other 3DS units. This port’s streetpass functionality is supposed to soften the blow of lacking online uploading but it really doesn’t help. How often are you gonna cross paths with an avid Mario Maker 3DS player while out on the town? Not often. What really gets me upset here isn’t the lack of the 3DS being able to upload online but the lack of Wii U connectivity. As I mentioned, you can only share courses locally. So why can’t you send a course from 3DS to Wii U and then be able to upload from Wii U to online? At least if that was an option this could be a useful tool for avid course creators to make levels while out and about and then return home to their Wii U’s and then have a way to share their creations with the world. As it is now the level editor in this port is almost completely useless. There’s no incentive to make courses for me. I don’t see the point of making a course if I can’t share it with the world. Okay so fine the making aspect isn’t great here but what about the playing aspect? Once again it’s stripped down from the Wii U majorly. The ways you can find courses to play here is drastically cut down compared to the Wii U version. In this version your only choices are to play the 100 Mario Challenge, which gives Mario 100 lives to complete either 8 or 18 randomly selected online courses or a recommended courses list which gives a small batch of randomized courses to play from that you can keep re rolling. This port completely lacks a search function. No course ID, no popular lists, and no creator list. Its totally randomized. Personally I don’t mind this too much. When I play Mario Maker on the Wii U the only mode I really play is 100 Mario Challenge anyways. I prefer to just play whatever is thrown my way. However for some this is a huge deal breaker. This is totally randomized. There’s a lot of people who prefer to seek out courses that interest them and play those. There are entire communities dedicated to this. And this version completely lacks those features for seemingly no reason. Nintendo has provided no statement on it as far as I’m concerned and I can’t find a reason as to why you can’t search for specific courses. At least I can guess that online sharing wasn’t included because of hardware limitations but this just seems nonsensical. Can the 3DS not handle course IDs? On top of this you also can’t like or comment on stages in this version. I can see how somewhat as implementing Miiverse functionality into this could be difficult or maybe not even be possible but its still something to note. All of this cuts down on what could have been a saving grace to this version. There isn’t really a reason to buy this version if you have the original. You can’t upload courses so course creating on the go is useless and assuming you have an internet connection on the go even still the online is cut down. If you don’t like the online being randomized tough luck. Personally I enjoy this port because I can now just bring my 3DS with me to say a relatives house and can play what I would play on the Wii U anyways but I only get enjoyment from it because I prefer the 100 Mario Challenge and as far as I can tell I’m a minority with not minding the lack of searching. Overall I can only recommend this to people who don’t have a Wii U and desperately want to play Mario Maker and don’t mind the absent features, people who would like a way to play random courses when visiting someone’s house on holiday or who want to play it in bed without moving the Wii U and as I previously said don’t mind being limited to the 100 Mario Challenge, and people who are curious about the differences or want to play the single player. All in all its ok. The gameplay is a blast but how you get the content to play is very limited.

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