It wouldn’t be unfounded to say that Super Mario Maker on the Wii U didn’t help invigorate the struggling console. I didn’t get to spend much time with the game on Wii U, being as our Wii U is at another writer’s home. What I did play, I had a blast during my time with the game. What works well on the Wii U translates well enough to the 3DS, but, the shortcomings of Nintendo’s portable prevent Super Mario Maker from truly shining.
Super Mario Maker allows you to design your own Mario game with a suite of tools that Nintendo provides you. You can use assets from Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros. In the Wii U version of Super Mario Maker, to fully unlock all the tools to create your own levels would take seven days in real time, allowing the player to grasp the concept at a steady pace. You could skip past this though by adjusting the Wii U’s internal clock. With the 3DS version, the majority of tools are readily available allowing for players to jump into creating content.
Starting up the game, you are greeted by tutorials that explain how to start creating. You’ll meet both Yamamura and his assistant, Mary O. A talking pigeon cooing instruction at me? I love it. There are also lots of lessons to pick up and get through. These are required reading if you’re looking to create some intricate levels.
Nintendo has created the Super Mario Challenge mode which features over a hundred levels that will challenge you, and are exclusive to the 3DS version of the game. Clearing this mode adds extra challenges and unlocks items for use in create mode. The bonus challenges add a welcome layer of challenge, ranging from ensuring you end the level with a fire flower to not using a warp pipe, to making sure all enemies are wiped out before completing the level.
Controlling Mario is a necessity as the levels get more difficult and the need for precision jumping and landing is the most obvious in a game like Super Mario Maker. Nintendo knows controls I believe and the Mario franchise is a perfect example of good controls.
The bread and butter of Super Mario Maker on the Wii U was the ability to download courses that the community worked on and voted for. This essential feature is nowhere to be found on the 3Ds, in lieu of sharing, Nintendo has their selected courses that are available to download but I am unsure of the turnaround of how content is chosen and uploaded on a handheld.
The Nintendo 3DS version of Super Mario Maker is a fun ride but ultimately Nintendo shot itself in the foot by not releasing a way to share your creations online. The very blood that runs through the game is constricted by the limitations of Nintendo’s handheld. While a blast to create and play levels, the magic only lasts so long before the yearning for community levels you can freely play. The lack of connectivity between the Wii U and 3DS versions hurts both games because there is potential to be achieved. There is an audience for this on the go, but ultimately, the definitive version lies on the Wii U.