Super Mario Maker (3DS) Review

Super Mario Maker was a marvel back on the Wii U. When it arrived last year, it rejuvenated the console in all the right ways, with online sharing abilities, tons of tools to use to your advantage, amiibo support and a lot of other features. More importantly, it was a game that made it just as much fun to create as it was to play.

Now we have the 3DS version, and, oddly enough, it’s not quite the same. Granted, most of the tools are still present, and there are a plethora of levels taken from the Wii U game for those that want to get a good idea of how level structure works. But the fact that the game no longer has level sharing is a rather painful decision.We’re not sure why Nintendo made it, either. Was it worried that level sharing would put an incredible amount of strain on the Nintendo Network? Was there a general lack of interest? Or maybe it was just a programming decision? Whatever the case is, the limitations are straining to many players.

You can’t even find players’ levels in the game anymore – you simply have to root through Recommended Courses and hope for the best. And that removes a bit of magic from this title, as part of thee fun was tracking down your friends’ creations and trying them out.

What’s more, the ability to lock creative tools in Super Mario Maker 3DS is a much more troublesome process this time around. Instead of gradually unlocking everything by simply designing courses and playing through them, the portable version requires you to play through the 18 worlds in the Super Mario Challenge before they all eventually become available.


This is fine for Mario pros that have cakewalked their way through, say, Super Mario Bros. 2: The Lost Levels, but for everyone else, it’s a stressful ingredient. It’s like getting a hold of a paint kit and getting barred from colors until you figure out how to do something with black and white.

Aside from that, everything about Super Mario Maker 3DS is technically sound. The design is similar to the Wii U version, and the tools are easily accessible with the touch-screen, especially on larger devices. For that matter, the graphics and sound are excellent as well, just like the previous game; and you can still design and save levels to your heart’s content, but when it comes to sharing, you’re stuck taking a local route.

Had Nintendo let loose on the strains and simply given players every option imaginable with Super Mario Maker 3DS, it would’ve been a far better game. Instead, it feels more like just an okay one, a game that gives you a plentiful canvas to paint on, but no real way to share it in a gallery. What’s more, you’re limited on tools until you overcome a significant amount of obstacles, and not even the most devoted Mario player deserves that.

This is one scenario where Nintendo should have been generous, instead of making players work for everything. You can tell that it’s just not the playground it used to be, despite some options still being present.


  • Strong presentation captures the essence of Mario
  • The creation tools are still there in spades, even if you have to work for them
  • Solid gameplay, just like the original


  • Most tools are locked behind a humongously stacked challenge area
  • You can’t share levels with other players unless they’re local
  • The levels featured in the offline version of the game just aren’t enough


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