One of the worst things about older Mario titles is that they eventually ran out of ways to amaze you. Superior reflexes would usually be enough to see you through once you got used to map design and item placement, and the levels eventually became ingrained in the memory like an over-watched episode of The Simpsons.
It's a trial and error experience, as you made nominal gains at the expense of lives and patience. It was a simpler time, and one that Nintendo hope to hark back to with the port of Super Mario Maker on the 3DS. The name serves it’s Ronseal-esque purpose, as the game gives you the opportunity to make your own levels using some of the best known building blocks in the business.
It originally released on the Wii U back in 2015, and received justifiable attention thanks to the brand and the addictive gameplay. Designing a trollish level is often more fun than playing through one yourself, and it's a great way to introduce the older titles to a new audience.
Nostalgic thrills are all well and good, but does the handheld version of Super Mario Maker have the capacity to keep you interested in the long run? You would think so, but there's one important caveat you should be aware of before you go rushing out to get the latest reheated Mariowave meal.
There's no way to upload player-made levels aside from locally, removing what would have been one of the key features of the title. The decision leads to a few questions that remain unanswered. What's the point in making levels if you're the only one who gets to play them? You can use the Streetpass feature if you want to get additional levels on the go, but there's no comparison to the ease of use and variety you would find with ones you could upload and download yourself.
As for the game itself, designing the levels is actually a fluid experience on the smaller screens, giving you the chance to realise your dreams with a decent toolset. There's everything you would expect and more, while you can always try the preloaded ones if you're looking for some inspiration along the way. You'll find sound effects and graphics that stay true to the originals, and it's runs smoothly.
Overall, it's a great idea for a budget release, and it's a great way to hone your skills with recognisable sounds and sprites that can be used to baffle your friends. Relearning levels makes for a thrill once again, and there's enough scope to build a level that will test even the biggest Mario fans.
However, you're going to need friends to buy the game if you really want to get the most from a small community, or you'll have to rely on user-designed levels that were made on the Wii U version of the game.
it's still a great game despite the elephant in the room, although it makes it much harder to justify the purchase if you're a solo gamer. It's a flashy handheld title with some substance, but it does make you wonder about what could have been if it went the extra mile.
Verdict: Decent Mario Maker (3/5)
Super Mario Maker at CeX
Get your daily CeX at