Super Mario Maker is undoubtedly one of the best games to come out of the Wii U’s library, by the very essence of its design it offered one of the most enjoyable Mario experiences to date only being limited by the creativity of its community. When every feature worked so well what could possibly be done to worsen the experience and create an overall unsatisfying game, the answer, you create Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS and remove the elements that make the game stand out and add to its longevity.
The second Nintendo announced Mario Maker for the Nintendo 3DS the writing seemed to be on the wall, unlike other games which Nintendo has been working to transition from their failing home console to the 3DS this seemed to be missing certain elements right from the reveal. While Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS has potential it ultimately comes up short due to bad decisions, and a true lack of reason to create.
At its core Mario Maker on the Nintendo 3DS is still the same game that many loved on the Wii U, the foundation of the game builds upon player creativity and being able to create the Mario levels that each person personally wants to play. Creating an advanced puzzle experience is completely doable, making a simple to the point and straightforward creation, while not quite as satisfying is also completely up to the player. This version of the game offers many of the thrills that have made the Wii U version such a staple in history, but in the end seeks to offer no real motivation making this feel like a pointless port of an incredible game.
The foundation of the Wii U version was in creation, attempting to build an interesting level that both demonstrates your own personality, while showing what you want from the experience. Creating levels acted as our entry point into this world of creation with the end goal being to see the satisfaction of a whole community attempting to complete each other designs. The ability to share online rounded out the experience, and pushed you to create freely and purposefully, and this in turn highlights the greatest issue of the 3DS release.
Level creation draws the question of the player’s personal motivation, acknowledging the end result of sharing your own levels with people around the world was a great means to create. But the Nintendo 3DS version does away with this functionality, there is no way to share levels with players around the world, and generally sharing levels requires you to know people to use the systems Streetpass feature. The joy of creation is hindered by this unintuitive system that makes it frustrating to create with no greater purpose then beating your own levels, or simply hoping to find people who own the game.
The online features in the 3DS version are limited down to a certain selection of levels created by Wii U owners, essentially as long as Amiibo’s were not used the levels are available to be played by all users. However this again is where Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS is also unintuitive, the game only offers thirty random levels at a time with no options to find specific ones, there is no option to search by code like its big brother which makes it harder to access the levels that people might wish to play. While there are still plenty of level options, the fact that levels are only available from the Wii U version really holds back playability by setting back the audience for this game and not encouraging a greater assortment of creators.
However it is when Super Mario Maker is encouraging traditional Nintendo levels that things take a slightly more enjoyable turn, the games Super Mario Challenge mode is a direct challenge of one hundred levels across eighteen worlds all created by Nintendo themselves. While often uninspired in terms of design, many of these levels benefit from the sense of enjoyment and satisfaction that comes from completing the previously made courses. However this benefits even further from an added challenge, every course has two objectives to complete, these range from collecting all coins, to defeating a certain selection of enemies, defeating Bowser, or in one instance not jumping at all.
The objectives add a reason to keep replaying levels with many of the challenges being quite difficult to accomplish, when all is said and done this offers a reason to keep playing just to attain the satisfaction of achieving all the goals. The Super Mario Challenge mode is also the window to unlocking all creative pieces so you can get the most out of level creation, completing each world awards the player with a selection of creation tools and some handy advice on how to use them in an effective manner which was pretty interesting. To get everything however you need to complete all of the objectives in order to unlock bonus levels which will offer additional tools, this was a far more satisfying unlock method for tools then the original and helped you to learn as you went along. However, this also limits creativity once again by forcing the player to complete often frustrating objectives just to unlock some of the best creation tools.
Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS often feels quite lacking, but most of this ties back to the omission of certain features. This absence creates a lack of motivation to really stretch out and create awe-inspiring levels, but this game does get a chance to shine through Streetpass and a group of friends. The big feature with this game is the ability to share levels and this in turn can be done to create co-operative creations which mix around two distinct styles and can create some interesting designs. This never works quite as effectively as the original online functions, but it does offer some form of the social aspect that made Super Mario Maker a joy to play, and does spread some creative motivation among small groups.
Super Mario Maker never really shines brightly in this 3DS transition, Nintendo’s choice to remove the online social features makes it harder to share levels and create a sense of motivation in level creation and removes the sense of longevity that its older sibling thrives in. But with the combined efforts of the refined Super Mario Challenge as well as having a group of friends to play with Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS offers an interesting experience, and despite a feeling of needing more it will at least get more people creating.