I’ll preface this review by saying I love the Wii U edition of Super Mario Maker; I honestly couldn’t stop telling people about it. In fact while I’m at it, shameless plug: 4DF7-0000-0084-3BD6. Go play it, it’s fun! Unfortunately, you can only play it if you own the Wii U version. Herein lies one of my biggest complaints with the 3DS version, there’s no way to share the courses you make online. As compensation of sorts, you can play selected courses that people have made on the Wii U version through the recommended courses option in course world. How those courses are chosen is anybody’s guess really, but you can still download them and edit them for yourself, so that feature remains intact. You can also trade courses locally between systems, collaborating between friends to polish up a level design.
The building itself is just as flawless as its predecessor, though the resolution on the bottom screen seems pretty low at times. Mostly the little thumbnail that pops up when you save a level, it's almost too pixelated to discern anything. It works incredibly smoothly for everything else though, which makes sense on account of it just being a scaled down Wii U interface. You can still choose between four different graphical styles, and all the worlds within those are still there as well. Also, it should be noted just how good the original Super Mario Bros, Super Mario 3, and Super Mario World graphics look! The New Super Super Mario Bros. graphics suffer a little bit in the port, but not enough to ruin them. Sadly, I've yet to see any 3D features.
In general you can tell that this version is targeted at a younger audience than the Wii U version, From the ad campaigns to the way the tutorials are set up. You are greeted by a talking pigeon named Yamamura (after Yasuhisa Yamamura, veteran Mario level designer,) and someone resembling a call center agent named Mary O. We see what you did there Nintendo. These two offer to teach you the basics of building when you first launch the game, thankfully you get the option to skip them. Unfortunately you aren’t completely rid of them, while going through the “Super Mario Challenge” mode you are subjected to their inane dialog. Not since Kid Icarus Uprising have I hated banter so much, at least this is just text.
I know what you’re thinking, “well don’t play this Super Mario Challenge you hate so much, you dingus!” Well there’s my biggest complaint. You have to play the challenge if you want to unlock all the build items in the game to create levels. They’ve stretched them out between 18 worlds of four levels each. That’s seventy two levels you have to play through. SEVENTY TWO. Your average Mario game these days consists of eight worlds with eight levels in each (not counting hidden worlds and bonus levels of course,) but that's still only 64 levels. I see where they're going with it because it forces you to experience several different styles and strategies for both level building and play, but for those of us that already know them another option for unlocking would be ideal. As it stands I'm not terribly enthusiastic right now about getting all those unlocked.
On the whole I still plan to enjoy this game and pull it out to work on levels when I have some free time, which is really the selling point t of the 3DS version: it's portability. I genuinely look forward to the on the go aspect of this, when inspiration strikes on the toilet as it so often does, it'll be ready! If slogging through seventy two levels for materials or not being able to share your levels online is a deal breaker, then the Wii U version may be all you need. Personally I look forward to exchanging levels via StreetPass, but based on how long it took me to have the things I wanted to actually make my level it could be a while.
The Wrap Up
Overall score: 7/10
What it lacks in its online power it makes up for in portability for me. The graphics look great and the building works just as well as its home console counterpart. Though sharing is limited the StreetPass and local share options still allow for you to find new ways to play.