REVIEW – Super Mario Maker on 3DS

Super Mario Maker on 3DS IS the Mario game you always wanted but could never have, until now. A handheld port of its Wii U counterpart (Super Mario Maker – released in 2015), Super Mario Maker on 3DS is essential a level-creation tool comprised of popular Mario game elements. SMM gives players the ability to create an infinite number of levels with the included toolset. The only limitation truly being your own imagination. The possibilities are practically endless.

You want to have 1-Ups shoot out of a Bullet Bill cannon – why not? Or how about crafting a level with the names of your young kids scattered throughout and loaded with coins just to see the smile on their faces – Dad of the year award! So if you are even the slightest bit creative, you can create a fun, challenging, unique world all your own.

Then when players – such as myself – find that they are not as creative as they wish they were, there is also the option to play predesigned levels. These levels make for quite some interesting gaming sessions based on the level design alone, but once you add in the difficulty, which ranges from a┬ápiece of cake to INSANITY, you are talking about some really fun, really hardcore sessions. Dare I say, now you’re playing with power!

As previously mentioned, gameplay is split into two modes – Make and Play. Make is your level creation tool, which allows you create a level using one of the 4 included game themes. You can choose from the original Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros U. In addition to the game themes, you also have 6 different level themes – Ground, Underground, Underwater, Ghost House, Airship, and Castle. The elements in your toolset are fairly basic from the get go, but there is enough there to get you started, and you also unlock new course elements as you play the game. As I am working on this review, I was just creating a basic underwater level in the New Super Mario Bros U theme with a Thwomp threatening to slam down oh so slowly in the water. Does it make any sense? No, but I don’t care. It’s my level! My point is, you can create whatever you want. So have fun!

The editor is displayed on the bottom screen and the finished level on the top screen. Using the editor, players have access to 63 course elements broken down into 7 rows by 9 elements. Only one row is displayed at a time for you to choose from, but you can also rearrange the rows and the items in the rows as you see fit. As I mentioned before, not only you can choose the level and the game theme, you can also add sound effects (accompanied by minor visual flair), save your course (up to 120 courses can be created and saved), erase elements, undo your last change, or reset the entire level. You can also tap on the timer and increase or decrease the value, and choose to enable automatic scrolling and at what speed to scroll the level. Suffice it to say, there are many, many options stuffed into one screen, without it ever feeling cramped.

Moving on to the Play game mode, players will find two options to not only challenge them, but also to stir their creativity. Super Mario Challenge tasks you with clearing all 18 worlds in order to save Princess Peach (again!). Each of these levels has two optional challenges which serve to further test your skill. Needless to say, lives will be lost as you attempt these optional challenges. So make sure you get as many one-ups as you can.

Once you move on from the Challenge stages you have the option to try your hand in Course World. Broken down into two different sections, Course World offers 100 Mario Challenge, in which you have 100 lives to complete a certain amount of randomly selected levels. So far, I have found the levels I’ve played to be incredibly difficult, unnecessarily so. Still, I press on in an effort to complete the challenge. You can also access Recommended Courses to try your skill at courses created by users on the Wii U library. Sadly, you have no ability to share your creations online, the next best choice being StreetPass.

Aside from these aforementioned modes of gameplay, there is one more area to access – Coursebot. Coursebot allows you to choose either levels you have already created or to load up any of the Challenge courses you have already cleared. At this point, you can either edit the level (provided you have earned both of those optional medals…tricky!) or just play it.

As you can tell, there are many modes of gameplay to choose from, and quite a lot of tools at your disposal to create some truly fantastic levels. I highly recommend picking up a copy of Super Mario Maker on your 3DS so you can experience this kind of power in the palm of your hands, today. And remember, now you’re creating with power!