Nintendo had a brilliant idea last year when it released “Super Mario Maker” for the Wii U.
The game allowed players to make their own levels starring Nintendo’s famed mascot, creating wacky worlds and sharing them online. The community remains healthy a year later as players can run through some high-quality challenges.
With success on the home console, it seemed like a perfect fit to bring “Mario Maker” to the handheld 3DS this month. And, for the most part, it’s a nice transition. But two issues keep the 3DS edition from achieving the level of enjoyment that its Wii U forefather brought to players.
First, there is no online sharing of courses. If you want to play a level a friend created or one crafted by a passer-by using StreetPass, that’s possible. But there’s no way to hunt for popular courses created worldwide and play them later on the subway.
That’s a major blow, especially if you don’t have a multitude of friends who have “Mario Maker” for 3DS. Creating levels in a vacuum loses a ton of luster.
The other issue is more forgivable and stems from the 3DS’ smaller screen. Placing items precisely is more challenging on the touch screen of the regular 3DS or the 2DS. It seemed better on the 3DS XL, but that won’t make owners of the other systems feel any better.
If neither of those drawbacks troubles you, then “Mario Maker” on 3DS is a delight.
The level of customization mirrors that of the Wii U edition. It’s incredibly easy to master the menus and make some awesome levels, even if they’re exclusively for your own enjoyment. A tutorial guided by edamame-obsessed pigeon Yamamura and tech supporter Mary O makes the creation suite highly accessible.
There are also tons of remixed and original levels — with four visual styles from Mario titles past — that make “Mario Maker” an excellent stand-alone Mario game in its own right.
If Nintendo can retroactively add online sharing and downloading, this would be a must-own 3DS experience. Short of that, “Mario Maker” is bound to be divisive.