Super Mario has been a worldwide phenomenon as long as I can remember. Countless games star the plumber protagonist and his plucky band of friends and enemies. For years fans have been hacking their own roms (game files used on PC emulation of retro consoles) and creating unique Mario experience and even more recently Nintendo released Super Mario Maker on the Wii U. It was a huge hit and now they have released it on their handheld juggernaut. So let’s take a look at Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS.

Normally in my reviews I like to give a little history on the franchise or studio that developed what ever game I am reviewing. This time around I am not going to do any of that since we all know who Super Mario is and we all know Nintendo. I will however make quick mention that Super Mario Maker for the Nintendo Wii U came out in September of last year, and pretty much became the killer app on the Wii U. The game would allow us to build and play our own Super Mario levels, as well as share them online for everyone to play as well. There is more to it then just that but I will get into more details shortly. Suffice to say the game launched and quickly became a huge hit.

super-mario-maker-3ds-box-artGame Details

Platform: Nintendo 3DS and 2DS

Developer: Nintendo Entertainment Analysis & Development

Publisher: Nintendo

Genre: Side scrolling platformer and level creator

Modes: Single-player

ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)

The original game on the Wii U made it clear that Nintendo wanted people to not only build their own Super Mario levels, but also have a good time doing it. This holds true with the release of Super Mario Maker for the Nintendo 3DS, and I would argue is an even better platform for building your levels. While the user interface and bulk of the game remain the same between the two versions, there are a few limitations on the 3DS version, but I will talk about those limitations a little bit later on in this review.

Integrated training is a great way to learn the ropes

super-mario-maker-3ds-yamumuraUpon starting the game for the first time you will be introduced to a pigeon named Yamamura and his assistant Mary O. They will first teach you the basics of level building, such as changing Mario game styles and how to law the basic ground and goals. Next they walk you through the first little bit of the Super Mario challenge and they will pop up at the end of every completed world to give you some more advice. All in all they make a charming pair and are a great way to help you through building your initial levels and filling you in as needed throughout the rest of the game.


Building your ideal Super Mario level has never been easier

Building your courses, is all done on the bottom screen of the 3DS, using the stylus to place objects is a breeze and switching to play mode on the top screen to test out your level as you build it, is as easy a tapping the play button. You can build levels in the style of one of four Super Mario games, Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario World and Super Mario Bros Wii U. Many of the elements are interchangeable, however some elements like the propeller hat from the Super Mario Bros Wii U game is unique to only that style of level.

super-mario-maker-3ds-templatesSo you have chosen your favourite Super Mario game and want to start building your level, the next step is to pick your levels template and there are six to choose from.  Ground, underground, underwater, ghost house, airship and castle. While building your level you can also switch between these templates on the fly by the tap of a button. What’s really cool about these templates is using them in the Super Mario games there were not built for, such as airships in the original Super Mario Bros or ghost houses in Super Mario Bros 3, they all work great and look great. After you have you theme and main level laid out placing power ups, enemies and more is just a few taps from the stylus and you should be pretty much done, that is depending on how intricate and involved you want your level to be. You can build levels really quick or take your time and really make a challenge for even the most seasoned Super Mario player.

Super Mario Challenge is as inspiring as it is challenging

So the bulk of Super Mario Maker is just that, making Super Mario levels but there is a little more to do then just making levels. Along with the Course Maker, there are three other sections to the game. First we have the Super Mario Challenge, where you will play through 100 Super Mario levels spread out through 18 different worlds. Each one of the worlds will focus on specific elements in the game, such as a level that is just moving platforms or a whole world of levels that are all ghost houses. Once a world is completed you will unlock a few more elements to add to your courses. Each level in the Super Mario Challenge also has two extra goals such as completing the level within a certain time period or defeating all Koopa Troopas before reaching the goal. All in all there are some great returning Super Mario levels and some new ones that will really put your Super Mario Skills to the test.


Course World is the place to play other peoples levels

super-mario-maker-3ds-more-templatesCourse world is where you have access to the recommended levels made by other users and the 100 Mario Challenge. The recommended course are a variety of course curated by Nintendo made by other users and can vary wildly in difficulty, but that’s half the fun after all. The 100 Mario Challenge is a great game mode which uses user made levels to give you the ultimate Super Mario challenge. It has several difficulty levels, easy, normal, hard, expert and super expert. Each difficulty level will have between 8 to 16 levels which must be completed with a hundred lives for Mario or less. The expert and super expert levels are not for the faint of heart or those prone to rage quitting. In Course World you will also find the StreetPass options, to send and receive levels, with your friends and other StreetPass users.

Last but not least is Coursebot

The last mode available in Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS is Coursebot. In this mode you can replay any levels you previously made or beat in the Super Mario Challenge. This is also a great place to see what challenges you have completed in all the Super Mario Challenge level. From this mode you can also open these levels to edit them and make changes as you see fit. This mode doesn’t add a whole deal to the game overall but it’s nice to have all your custom built level and challenge levels all in one place and easily accessible.

Sadly the 3DS version of the game has a few limitations

As good as Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS is, there are few things that just don’t seem right. First off upon putting the game into your 3DS it will install and allocate some storage space for the game. So just be warned that you will need a little bit of extra space on your 3DS to play the game even if you have a physical copy. Also once you install the game onto your 3DS from the cartridge, it is now linked to your 3DS explicitly. This means if you lend the game to a friend to try you will lose all your saved custom made levels and progress. Lastly is just the snubbed sharing features, you can no longer upload your levels to share online via a code. You can only share your levels directly with friends via wifi or StreetPass that’s it. Also it’s worth mentioning that the 3DS version of Super Mario Maker offers no Amiibo support.


Final Thoughts

It’s a shame that the online feature for this game have been severely downgraded but I think Nintendo more than made up for it with the inclusion of 100 levels included in the game. I also personally find it hard to find levels that are the right difficulty for myself, many or just way too easy or next to impossible to complete. However there are some levels that are just absolutely brilliant and really make you say “ I wish, I had thought of that”. Regardless of some of the limitations put on this version of the game, being able to play and build Super Mario levels just about anywhere is a total win in my books. Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS is a great last minute gift for that Nintendo fan on your gift list or even a great way to spend one of those Best Buy gift certificates you got in your stocking.


+Mario Maker on the go

+Great levels added by Nintendo

+Endless amounts of gameplay


-Reduced online features

-No Amiibo support



Gameplay: 5/5

Graphics: 4/5

Sound: 4/5

Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 5 /5

Overall Rating 4.5/5 (90%)

Being a child of the 80s Brad grew up playing any and all video games he could get his hands on from the 8 and 16 bit era. As he grew older, video games turned into a life passion. He now works as the QA Lead for one of Toronto’s leading mobile developers. Aside from playing any and all video games he can fit into his hectic schedule, Brad is also a DJ. He enjoys playing some of today’s latest and greatest electronic dance music at clubs here in the city.