Super Mario Maker for 3DS is almost here, but one of the game's biggest features is missing in action. Online level-sharing is absent from Nintendo's new port. That's a huge drawback that I can't overlook, even if the new game does offer some local sharing alternatives.
Super Mario Maker 3DS: Sharing levels online is what made the Wii U game great
When I reviewed Super Mario Maker on the Wii U I found two very different halves of the same game: building levels of Super Mario Bros. to upload and share with the community, and sampling levels designed by other Super Mario Maker players. I also found one of the most compelling ways Nintendo has tapped into its online social platform, Miiverse.
Playing other peoples' Super Mario Maker levels provided inspiration for me to design my own levels of Super Mario Maker, which then (hopefully) provided inspiration to others down the line. Designing good video game levels is not easy. Knowing that I could share the fruits of my labor with a wide social network when I was finished helped motivate me.
I certainly wouldn't have stuck with Super Mario Maker on the Wii U for very long without the ability to share levels easily. Anyone who plays Super Mario Maker strictly on the 3DS won't have that ability. It sounds like half a game.
Super Mario Maker 3DS online sharing: A game about community, without a community
Chris Kohler at Wired sums up nicely the chief problem with Super Mario Maker 3DS in his review:
In fact, without online game sharing, or transfers back and forth between 3DS and Wii U, or anything that allowed you to share your creations with more than just the people in physical proximity to you, this winds up mired in its shortsightedness—and miring you, as well, in whatever few dozen levels Nintendo's algorithm plucks from the millions available online.
In the Wii U version of Super Mario Maker, you upload your levels into Course World, a central repository for all the levels uploaded by the Super Mario Maker community. You can also download copies of levels made by other players to edit them and leave feedback. Sharing Super Mario Maker levels generates posts on your Miiverse account. Course World is half of the beating heart that is Super Mario Maker on the Wii U.
How level sharing works in Super Mario Maker 3DS
Super Mario Maker 3DS, on the other hand, only allows level sharing under very specific circumstances. Two players who each own a copy of the game can send levels back and forth locally between 3DS handhelds. Or, you can also use the StreetPass feature to automatically share levels with nearby 3DS users.
That's a far cry from the robust online community offered by Super Mario Maker on the Wii U. Super Mario Maker 3DS might serve as a good testbed for level design ideas, but to get the most out of Super Mario Maker you really need to also own the Wii U version.
Super Mario Maker will be released for the Nintendo 3DS on Dec. 2.
Game and hardware reviews on Mic
If you're reading about Super Mario Maker 3DS because you're deciding what to buy the gamer in your life for the holidays, check out Mic's reviews of Dishonored 2, Watch Dogs 2, and the NES Classic console!