Super Mario Maker for 3DS is Already Mediocre At Best

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Super Mario Maker for 3DS is Already Mediocre At Best

The announcement of Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS during Thursday’s Nintendo Direct was exciting, but the game is already very mediocre.

Roughly 28 percent of all Wii U owners have Super Mario Maker. More specifically, consumers worldwide have purchased a total of 3.65 million units (digital and retail) of the game, according to Nintendo’s most recent sales data report, dated June 30, 2016. Furthermore, Super Mario Maker is currently the 7th best-selling Wii U game, sandwiched between Splatoon (4.42 million units) and New Super Luigi U (2.64 million units). Super Mario Maker launched worldwide less than one year ago.

It’s safe to say Super Mario Maker has turned out to be an overwhelming success for Nintendo. But what will the upcoming portable version of the game offer over its bigger and much better-looking sibling? How will Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS appeal to consumers enough to make them want to buy it? Will consumers pay $40 and receive $40 worth of first-party content?

“This new game is all about playing courses — anytime, anywhere,” said Samantha Robertson, a localization producer for Nintendo of America, during the Thursday Nintendo Direct presentation. “It gives you 100 built-in courses designed by Nintendo to play right out of the box.”

Playing Super Mario Maker on the go is an excellent idea, and I’m happy to see Nintendo offer that as an additional option for Nintendo 3DS owners. It’s appealing, and it’s not something the Wii U version is capable of providing. In addition, the 3DS version will feature Medal Challenges; players can challenge themselves by collecting all coins or defeating all enemies for a single course to earn its respective shiny medal — something else the Wii U version does not offer. While these additional goodies may spark appeal, Nintendo made noteworthy sacrifices to the portable version of the create-and-share-your-own-levels hit. And those sacrifices may end up lowering once-raised brows.

Super Mario Maker for 3DS is Already Mediocre At Best

Quite simply, Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS lacks hallmark features and creative content found in the Wii U version of the game — features and content that helped shape, mold, and catapult the HD hit far and wide over all other video games shortly after its release. For example, Super Mario Maker walked away with seven industry-recognized awards in 2015. Earlier this year it won three awards. But what’s missing in the 3DS version?

Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS will let you go online to play courses made only with Wii U version, and even that’s very limited. Namely, you won’t be able to search by Course ID, but you can play 100 Mario Challenge and any course available in the Recommended Courses listing. But there’s more.

“While not every course created in the Wii U version will be compatible with Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS, we’re confident there will be no shortage of great content for you to play,” Robertson explained further. “You’ll also be able to pick courses directly from your local friends.”

The 3DS version will include every tool and course element that’s available in the Wii U version. However, the vastly popular Mystery Mushroom item and its abundant variety of lively character-themed Mario costumes are exclusive only to the Wii U version of the game. (Courses designed specifically for earning Mystery Mushroom Costumes are likely not playable in the Nintendo 3DS version, as previously hinted at above.)

Here’s Nintendo’s excuse for all the cut content: “We’re focused on bringing players together with their local friends to build communities that are more closely knit. So instead of uploading courses online, courses you make will [only] be sharable via local wireless and StreetPass.” In addition, the 3DS version will let players share incomplete courses via local wireless so other players can pitch in to help finish them. How can something like that even be fun? It’s already frustrating, tedious, and time-consuming enough to create courses solo in the Wii U version.

Super Mario Maker for 3DS is Already Mediocre At Best

My response? Big deal. Playing with friends via wireless on Nintendo 3DS is past its prime. Sure, there are people who still enjoy that, but it’s not an activity a majority of Nintendo 3DS owners routinely participate in. And StreetPass is, for the lack of better words, a joke in North America where the population density is far less than that of Japan — although the new StreetPass Mii Plaza games will help to rekindle an interim interest.

Why make a Nintendo 3DS version of Super Mario Maker when so many people already have it on Wii U. More importantly, why would consumers want a watered down portable version over the superior and robust Wii U version? Surely it’s not because Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS is rich with fresh content, unique features, and the restricted limitations of sharing their creations only via wireless or StreetPass.

It’s like Nintendo already wants its fans to abandon Super Mario Maker on Wii U for the 3DS version. Or perhaps their goal is to slowly divert consumers away from Wii U. As a consumer, I appreciate having a variety of purchase options at my disposal. However, I would much rather see Nintendo evolve the Wii U version into something better over time with steady software updates. After all, it’s not even one year old. Why haven’t they added the course elements for the Super Mario Bros. 3 slopes yet? Is that a more difficult development task than creating a portable version of Super Mario Maker? Better yet, Nintendo should have challenged themselves to make that “Zelda Maker” they shied away from in June 2015. But maybe they already are.

Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS launches on December 2. It will sell decently because it will ride on the success and hype that Super Mario Maker continues to maintain for Wii U. With that in mind, the lack of renown features found only in the Wii U version won’t have people talking much about it and, as a result, will score mediocre at best among industry critics. Graphics and power aside, those unaware of what the Wii U version offers — specifically the lack of online course sharing — likely won’t blink twice and will quickly appreciate and embrace what Nintendo has brought to the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. However, I will be truly surprised if Nintendo manages to find their intended audience with Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS.

18 COMMENTS

  1. OK I think that the 3DS game is fine. Sure you don’t have costumes but who needs them? Little kids that wanna be liked,”WA! I’m look cooler than you!” (Grammar errors intended). And the no online level sharing is fine too. For one, 3DS doesn’t have as good hardware, and two, It’s just a “little oh road trip! I can play this with my brothers and sisters on the road or with my son or daughter to pass the time and play some good old classic Mario… Or new Mario.,” Online isn’t needed for a little family or friendly handheld when if people get it for on the go, unless they use their hot spot how the heck are they gonna use online anyways?

  2. “We’re focused on bringing players together with their local friends to build communities that are more closely knit. So instead of uploading courses online, courses you make will [only] be sharable via local wireless and StreetPass.”

    **** you.

  3. “Why make a Nintendo 3DS version of Super Mario Maker when so many people already have it on Wii U. ”

    Well, in fact, there are 61.5 million 3DS owners worldwide and just 13.3 million Wii U owners.

    For many years, Nintendo’s portables are a great choice and sell far better than its domestic consoles. So, there’s a lot of people that play on PC, PS4 or XOne, that don’t have a Wii U, but may have a 3DS.

    So, there’s plenty of people left to buy the game. If it is or it isn’t a good port, it’s another matter, but you should think that your reality, or the reality of people around you it’s not everybody’s reality.

    • He’s right and It’s very difficult to find people with 3DS nearby outside of Japan. It was a HUGE mistake from Nintendo launching this game without online level sharing. All criticizes against this port are justifiable.

  4. Everyone loves local wireless 3DS play, WTF are you talking about? Just because you don’t have friends doesn’t mean other people don’t.

  5. Why porting Super Mario Maker on the 3DS? SERIOUSLY?! BECAUSE PEOPLE WOULD HAVE TO CARRY THE HEAVY WII U IN ANOTHER HOME OR ON THE STREET! DO YOU EVEN THINK BEFORE PUTTING THE COMMENT?!! On the other way, you can play Super Mario Maker anywhere with the 3DS, like ANYWHERE! EVEN IN A PLANE, EVEN IN AFRICA, EVEN IN AUSTRALIA!

  6. Wow… this article in a nutshell:

    “I already have Mario Maker on the Wii U so why make a 3DS version??? I don’t want to buy it twice!!!”

    Either you’re a very successful troll or you haven’t noticed the Wii U is kind of failure and a big chunk of gamers haven’t really invested in it or it’s pitiful library of games. Mostly because you can count all of the worth while Wii U games on one hand. On the other hand, the 3DS is still arguably the best portable console ever made (rivaled only by the Gameboy series) and has a pretty great library of games with a little something for nearly everyone. The 3DS is also $100 cheaper brand new, it’s games are usually $20 cheaper brand new, and the console typically comes bundled with a game or two. It’s honestly just an all around better purchase.

    So why bring Mario Maker to the 3DS? Because there’s a lot of gamers that own a 3DS but don’t own a Wii U. They would otherwise wait for the Wii U to drop in price before they bought Mario Maker and that’s bad for retailers, so a 3DS version is a wise and generous (or desperate) decision on Nintendo’s part.

    Anyways about some of the other stuff:

    “Why haven’t they added the course elements for the Super Mario Bros. 3 slopes yet? Is that a more difficult development task than creating a portable version of Super Mario Maker?”

    As a programmer I can tell you slopes can be very problematic with AI. The same code that tells it to turn around and walk the other direction when colliding with a vertical wall can behave very erratically when presented with a slope. I’ve written quite a few different AI’s and each one can act very differently with slopes. It seems like it would be simple but it’s not, especially for a map maker project geared for the general public like Mario Maker. It’s so troublesome that sometimes it’s actually easier to just scrap the AI and write it all over again from scratch. As far as whether or not it’s easier than porting to the 3DS, that really depends on the toolkits they’re using and since Nintendo made both consoles, it’s possible it’s just a matter of changing the GUI, the resolutions (screen, sprite, etc) and recompiling for it’s architecture.

    That said, yeah it’s really dumb they removed the different costumes. Those low res sprites and the attached code couldn’t possibly take up that much space. So maybe they’re holding that back for DLC.

    Finally the whole wifi and streetpass only thing is also dumb but it makes sense as I don’t think the 3DS ever requires you to make an account with Nintendo, so what would it upload maps to? Nintendo would have to let people upload content to their servers anonymously for that to work, and opening their servers up to that kind of thing is a train wreck waiting to happen.

    Anyways, I’m looking forward to the 3DS port. It would be great if it was an identical port but I’m not shedding any tears over not being able to take part in all of the online wannabe kaizo mario nonsense.

    • Yeah, the article was like an elaborated reddit shitpost. No logical thought just anger. Costumes probably arent in it because of 3rd parties like Capcom, Sega, Hello Kitty and all the anime characters from the original game and they would have to port over the ways to unlock them. This just seems like a future proof Mario Maker. It will work after they shut down the servers eventually and it will have all of its content without locking costumes to exclusive online maps.

    • “…you can count all of the worth while Wii U games on one hand” Smash Bros., Mario Kart 8, Mario 3D World, Mario Maker, Splatoon, Pokkén Tournament, Mario Bros. U, Bayonetta 2, Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE, Yoshi’s Woolly World, Pikmin 3, DK Tropical Freeze, ZombiU, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Darksiders II, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD , Gunman Clive HD

  7. It’s not really meant to top the Wii U version or anything, since that would draw people away from it. It’s just supposed to complement it a bit by allowing people portable access. So that they can play a little Mario Maker on the go, and then be like “I want to do this and this on the main game when I get home”.

  8. Lack of mystery mushrooms is tolerable but no online? THAT is what will make this game fail on the 3DS. The 3DS is the perfect type of handheld for Mario Maker and not allowing online play like the Wii U is crazy. It will definitely affect sales. I was really looking forward to this, but now my interest is almost gone. The online aspect is a must. StreetPass is not equivalent.

  9. If there’s no Mystery Mushroom, does that mean the Raccoon Leaf, Cape Feather and Propellor Mushroom will be absent as well?

    • Hello Sasha, good question.

      The items you mentioned are normal power-ups found in Mario games, so they should be freely available when playing courses that are able to use them during the design process. For example, players will not be able to find a Feather Cape power-up in a user-created level themed after Super Mario Bros. on NES. However, a Feather Cape power-up can be included (within a Question Block, for example) in a user-created level themed after Super Mario World on SNES.

      Mystery Mushroom items (costumes) on the other hand are only rewarded for completing specially themed Event Courses for the Wii U version of the game, so they will not be available in Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS.

      We’ve covered many of the obtainable Mystery Mushroom costumes here:
      http://nintendonews.com/tag/event-course/

      I hope this answers your questions.

      Have a good weekend,
      Kevin

      • The Leaf, Cape, and Propeller Mushroom was under the same slot as the Mystery Mushroom and switched according to the game theme.

  10. Firstly,
    “How can something like that even be fun? It’s already frustrating, tedious, and time-consuming enough to create courses solo in the Wii U version.” Can you really see no appeal to this? You do seem to contradict yourself later in saying that you could see people enjoying this feature. Personally this feature alone makes the game ALMOST worth the buy even while owning the Wii U game. I can only imagine how fun and cool it’d be to build levels while sitting in the same room as a couple friends.

    Secondly,
    Was it really explicitly stated that you couldn’t share your made levels globally? It seems you’ve inserted an “only” and completely warped what they were trying to convey. They were simply saying that the game is centered on a more play-with-friends, and share with other people experience; though they never said you wouldn’t be able to share your levels online.

    Thirdly,
    Just a small thing, you said that they should bring the slopes to the game from Super Mario Bros. 3. Just would like to state that the slopes are in no way exclusive to that game nor the game style. In fact slopes were in Super Mario World as well as New Super Mario Bros. Wii U.

    I do agree with most of your points though, there’s no reason to limit the consumers when they’re trying to buy a new game which should’ve been sold as an upgraded version. I’m sure this game will be equally as fun, just with little limitations that simply exist on the Wii U game exclusively. There’s nothing wrong with exclusivity, and this game has its own which do help a little.

    • Hi Vincent,

      You asked, “Was it really explicitly stated that you couldn’t share your made levels globally?”

      Nintendo did state that, yes. I inserted “only” to better convey that so there’s absolutely no confusion.

      You also said, “You do seem to contradict yourself later in saying that you could see people enjoying this feature.”

      Where exactly in the article do you feel there’s contradiction?

      Thanks again for reading. Hope you have a good weekend!

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