The unfortunate popularity of the Wii U may well have meant that the genius of the course construction 2D scroller went a little unnoticed, but the upcoming release of Super Mario Maker 3DS should see it getting the wider uptake that it deserves. With a lot of options for building your own Mushroom Kingdom and the ultimate fun of playing the courses crafted by your own fair hands it’s sure to be one of the big arrivals on the 3DS.
The recent announcement of the Nintendo Switch had initially got a lot of people speculating about the end of the 3DS, but with the addition of Super Mario Maker to the upcoming roster, it looks like Nintendo are making it pretty clear that the little hand-held console is here to stay for now. It has a pretty healthy forward looking list of game releases to look forward to, including Pokémon Sun and Moon, Poochy And Yoshi’s Woolly World and Mario Sports Superstars, so if anything it looks like there will still be two devices on the Nintendo playbook for the time being.
The maker magic will be coming to the 3DS just in time for Christmas 2016 with a UK release date planned for the 2nd December 2016. This means it’ll be available to play on the Nintendo 3DS, 3DS XL, New Nintendo 3DS, New Nintendo 3DS XL and the 2DS, but, obviously, the 3D effects won’t be a feature for the 2DS.
As with all Mario side-scrolling platformers, the core gameplay is built around the moustachioed plummer running, jumping and crunching his way through all manner of crazy courses. The difference with Super Mario Maker 3DS is that apart from the initial 100 courses the game comes boxed with, the main aim is to either construct the courses yourself or to test your skills on courses created by friends, which you can access through local wireless connection or Street Pass.
Most of the features and building blocks from the Wii U version of the game will be playable in the 3DS port, giving you the majority of existing game to play on the move (a bit like a previous gen equivalent to the Nintendo Switch). There are a few elements that haven’t made it to the upcoming release, including the Mystery Mushroom and the associated Mario costumes.
Equally, the networked global community of levels won’t be a part of the game on the 3DS, as it is being replaced by the more local concept of level sharing. You can look at this as either a nice way of making the game more manageable and directly interactive, or with a little more cynicism by assuming it has more to do with stripping out complex development for Nintendo. However, the addition of the ability to share incomplete courses, allowing you to collaborate in the construction process.
If you’re not familiar with the construction aspect of the Wii U equivalent of the game, you’ll essentially have four game eras you’ll be able to switch between – Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros. U. In addition to the flexibility to choose your level era and the ability to switch between them, you’ll also have a host of different environments to mix things up with. Choose between overground, underground, underwater, ghost house, airship or castle to craft you’re fiendish levels on.
Once you have that under you’re belt, you’ll be ready to start building out the level and to do this you’ll have an array of building blocks and setting to pick from to craft the course. Drop pipes, enemies, power-ups, coins, Bullet Bill towers, platforms and blocks wherever you want. You can also stack items to make them even more difficult to master, as well as giving enemies supersized capabilities thanks to the Super Mushroom. In short, it’s like Mario meets Sim City and you’re the mayor of the Mushroom Kingdom. Check out the gameplay trailer below to see it in action for yourself.
The graphics are surprisingly impressive when you compare them to the Wii U version of the game. Animation is fairly crisp and the added 3D effect of the 3DS variants of the hand-held console should give the classic designs an added element of interest.
Admittedly, there is more pixelation on the 3DS, which gets progressively more pronounced, as you’d expect, as the course construction tracks backwards through the history of Super Mario.
Taking Nintendo’s greatest home development opportunity with you everywhere you go is going to be a whole lot of fun, especially when you also get the genius of an infinite number of possible Mario levels at your fingertips. The double screen of the 3DS looks like it works well in terms of delivering the construction side of the game and while we’re not always bowled over by the analogue directional Circle Pad, the 2D platform gaming experience is going to be filled with Super Mario brilliance.
Super Mario Maker 3DS puts down a strong marker for Nintendo in terms of its hand-held console future and it’s a cool one at that. As the companies best selling console post Wii and with the long standing history of Nintendo having both a larger scale home console and a cheaper hand-held option, we’ll be very surprised if the game isn’t a sure sign that the formula will continue for a long time yet, no matter how creative it gets with the Switch or mobile gaming with the like of Super Mario Run.