In Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS, the genius behind Super Mario's level design depends on players bearing enough moxie to construct solid, finely crafted levels, but it bears a fatal flaw: the lack of online sharing.
Nintendo is only allowing players of the 3DS version of the game to share levels via StreetPass or local play — a scenario that doesn't often occur.
That's right: the 3DS version of Super Mario Maker is essentially a repackaged offspring highly identical to the Wii U version, built purposefully for handheld use, lacking the feature that makes the already excellent game even better.
No Online Sharing?
The 3DS version of Super Mario Maker has already started earning its praise, with major props issued to the level of ease that comes with creating unique and original levels, alongside the nearly infinite permutations generatable by combining and jerry-rigging different Super Mario elements together. Countless players have already been able to exhaust the Wii U version to a laborious extent, making for some crafty and ingenious results, and the 3DS version offers much of the same experience save for a complete online experience.
Will the lack of online features break a near-perfect game?
Super Mario Maker: A Missed Opportunity
Wired's Chris Kohler wasn't able to mask his disdain for the game's lack of online features. After hours of dedicating one's time in arduously tinkering with levels, being unable to share one's creations with other players online seems to invalidate the game's inherent reward.
"What do you do with them?" Kohler stated, in reference to completed levels.
Taking a look at the way Nintendo marketed the 3DS version of Super Mario Maker clearly hinted this, at least in hindsight.
"[I]t's clear that the company is trying to position it first as a gateway to a vast library of Mario courses that you can play whenever you like, and only secondarily as a game-making utility," Kohler opined.
CNET's Scott Stein mourns the same thing as Kohler. The departure of level-sharing really does seem to have deprived what Super Mario Maker could have been.
"It's fun, but it isn't exactly the home run it could have been... because it's missing something important. Sharing," Stein wrote.
Super Mario Maker Is Still A Great Game
For the uninitiated, Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS is equal parts a game and a toolkit, giving players piecemeal access to familiar elements in the Super Mario series to assemble them into the disparate moving parts that make a level alive.
Clearly, creativity is the main investment here, but for players who aren't too attuned in laboring hours just to build their own levels, the game does come preloaded with 100 levels Nintendo itself created alongside additional Wii U levels created by other players. Downloadable levels over the internet are limited to those which were created on the Wii U, needless to say that there's definitely no way to share creations online made on the 3DS.
Despite Nintendo's almost game-breaking disregard for online sharing, Super Mario Maker in and of itself remains a great game that almost seems tailor-made for portable, handheld use.
"[T]he tiny handheld style of the system is a much more perfect match for what Super Mario Maker is: a tiny retro building set," Stein wrote.
Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS is a wellspring of creative ideas boasting a do-whatever-you-want experience. The game is perfect for Nintendo 3DS users who can't afford to purchase the Wii U version or for those who doesn't have a Wii U. For Wii U owners already privy to the Super Mario Maker experience, the 3DS version can be skipped for now.
Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS comes out Dec. 2.