When I first heard that Nintendo was porting what is likely my favorite Wii U game to the fully portable Nintendo 3DS, I was excited. When I heard that the 3DS version of Super Mario Maker would severely limit the online sharing functions that helped make the Wii U version so special, I was skeptical. When I actually played the game this week, though, I ended up surprised that the limited level builder also came packed with built-in levels that form one of the most enjoyable 2D Mario experiences in years.
But I'm getting a little ahead of myself. At its core level-building base, Super Mario Maker for 3DS is a pretty faithful reconstruction of the Wii U original. As with its console cousin, you use a stylus to place blocks, coins, items, enemies, doors, pipes, and all manner of other Mario series staples to create the levels of your dreams. You can still choose between four classic Mario games for core themes (Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros.), each with slightly different physics, items, and moves for Mario to use.
The level-crafting interface feels a tad more cramped on the 3DS' smaller touch screen, but you can temporarily move unnecessary elements off screen to get more real estate to work with. Switching from editing to playing is a tad more annoying on the 3DS, too, since you have to wait for the level to shift from the bottom screen to the wider top screen and back with each switch.
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