Super Mario Maker 3DS Review

Imagination knows no bounds, and now Super Mario Maker’s imaginative reach extends beyond the confines of the Wii U as 3DS owners can now create, share, and play new 2D Mario levels with Super Mario Maker for 3DS. At its core, Super Mario Maker for 3DS is virtually identical to its Wii U brother – meaning that the focus of the game remains playing and creating unique and original Mario levels. In the title’s transition from Wii U to 3DS some concessions had to be made in order to make the game more handheld friendly, and these changes limit the appeal of the game to a very specific audience.

There are two main modes found in Mario Maker 3DS: Create and Play. Those familiar with the Wii U version will feel right at home with the creation tool-set; while newcomers have the option of taking short lessons to help ease themselves into the game and not feel overwhelmed by the creative process. Helpful in-game characters will provide pointers and advice to explain the level creation procedure. Everyone learns in different ways, and Super Mario Maker 3DS utilizes a clever teaching method to ensure everyone walks away from a lesson with some form of understanding.

For the visual learners among us, the game will explain ideas and give a step-by-step lesson in level creation. If you are more of a hands-on type learner, then the playable practice level will be quite beneficial as you play and experience the lesson material in a game setting. These two teaching methods are valuable tools that not only assist you in understanding the basic of level creation, but will inspire your level design.


The lone fault of Super Mario Maker 3DS stems from the game’s minimalist approach to level sharing. The Wii U version of Mario Maker allows users to upload their levels online for the world to play, whereas the 3DS version shutters any form of online sharing in favor of StreetPass and local wireless. Given that the Nintendo 3DS is a handheld and is used while on the go, the inclusion of StreetPass sharing is beneficial – though serves as a poor replacement to proper online sharing.

While online sharing may not be featured in the game, there is an online aspect to be found in the form of the 100 Mario Challenge and Recommended Courses. The Recommended Courses option provides you with a variety of levels to select from. What’s convenient about this mode is that you have the option of downloading levels directly to your 3DS, therefore allowing you to play them at your leisure and without the need for an online connection.

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The 100 Mario Challenge is identical to that of the Wii U version – you are given 100 lives and are challenged to complete a set of levels made by the community. You can choose between four levels of difficulty – ‘Easy’, ‘Normal’, ‘Expert’, or ‘Super Expert’. If you want to test your gaming skills along with your patience, then ‘Expert’ or ‘Super Expert’ are the perfect modes for you. Some of the levels found on these two difficulty levels are outright insane and require elite skill, or just dumb luck. 100 Mario Challenge is an enjoyable online mode that provides an endless amount of content to play.

Although one of the primary focuses of Super Mario Maker for 3DS is level creation – and it does that well,  minus the lack of online sharing, I found myself spending more time playing levels than creating them. Between the Recommended Courses and 100 Mario Challenge, the variety and quality in stages created by the Mario Maker community is topnotch. Being able to relax and play through a diverse catalog of Mario levels is an attractive quality, and the convenience of the 3DS serves to strengthen that characteristic.


One of the best features in Mario Maker 3DS is the Super Mario Challenge game mode. This mode features 100 original levels made by Nintendo for you to playthrough – think of it as a new 2D Mario game the 3DS, because the levels are of masterful design quality. Each stage offers the player with two challenges – one being simple and the other requiring more skill to complete. Completing these challenges will award you with a Medal, and this type of level structure encourages levels to be replayed. Once you beat each level featured in a World setting, you will unlock new parts for course creation. Playing through these 100 levels is an absolute delight, and replaying levels to unlock the medals proved to be quite challenging.


Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS offers unlimited levels to play, and the inclusion of Super Mario Challenge provides players with an entirely new 2D Mario game to adore. When it comes to content to be played, Super Mario Maker for 3DS is packed with quality content. The creation aspect of the game is handled well, but the second-rate means in which content can be shared reduces the appeal of the game. If stage creation isn’t your forte, and you want to play awe-inspiring Mario levels, then Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS is the title for you.

[Editor’s Note: Super Mario Maker 3DS was reviewed on Nintendo 3DS platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]