Porting a game from a home console to a portable one inevitably forces companies to cut features or otherwise compromise to compensate for the portable device’s lack of horsepower. Ideally, this can be done without harming the very aspects of the game that make it fun. Whether or not you should but Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS depends on exactly what of those aspects make the game fun for you.
First things first: If you own a Wii U and aren’t interested in taking Mario Maker on the go, ignore Mario Maker 3DS and buy the home console version instead. The Wii U version is vastly superior in nearly every way:
- You can share your level creations with people all over the world, as opposed to sharing them with just the 3DS owners in your neighborhood. (As someone who has shared over 30 courses on Course World, this is a total deal-breaker for me.)
- You can use Mystery Mushrooms to play as over 100 different characters, rather than just playing as Mario. (This may not sound like much, but from personal experience, “non-Mario” Mario Maker levels seem to get better reviews than regular levels. Plus, it’s the only way you can play as Luigi!)
- Course elements are unlocked through beating the included (and sometimes difficult) Mario levels, which means less-skilled players may be unable to access the entire tool palette.
- While Mario Maker 3DS has a more-developed tutorial system and appears to focus more on making good levels as opposed to just making levels, the first bullet point above means your audience for your “good” levels is very small. It boils down to the “tree falling in a forest” argument: If you make a good level and no one can play it, does it really matter how good it was?
That said, if you own a 3DS but not a Wii U, there are a few compelling reasons to pick up this game:
- If you enjoy playing Mario levels but aren’t interested in making them, you should definitely consider buying Mario Maker 3DS. Because the game allows you play (most of the) levels created through the Wii U version, Mario maker 3DS is essentially an infinite Mario game.
- If you enjoy making levels but only care about sharing them locally with your friends, you should think about buying this game (but only if your friends have it too), as it lets you collaborate with (or troll) said friends to your heart’s content.
- If you want to test your skills against the official Mario developers, it might be worth picking up this game. The built-in levels include a number of Medal Challenges that up the difficulty considerably.
Overall, while I won’t be touching Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS with a ten-foot pole this holiday season, I can definitely see why others may feel differently. Super Mario Maker is one of the best games on the Wii U, and porting it to the 3DS allows Nintendo’s handheld-only fan base to experience the same magic. Play this on the Wii U if you possibly can, but if you can’t, give the 3DS version a try.