Nintendo has just snuck out one of the best 2D Mario games in years

Let’s get the bad stuff out the way – there’s a fair amount of it, after all. The 3DS port of last year’s Super Mario Maker has been shorn of some key features. You can create levels but there’s no way to upload them properly, bar the cute but ultimately fairly pointless ability to send and receive levels via StreetPass. You can play other people’s levels, but the search tools are absent, the ability to follow makers has been cut and – at least as far as I can tell in the version that’s being released this week – there’s no way to input codes and seek out a level that might have taken your interest on the Wii U. Instead all you get is a dumb list of recommended levels with filters for difficulty, and the 100 Mario Challenge that pulls in random levels for you to tackle.

In so many ways this is a disappointing port of last year’s outstanding Wii U game. If you want to make levels, the 3DS’ touchscreen does as good a job as the Wii U’s GamePad ever did, even if it’s a little cramped, yet without the ability to properly share creations it’s hard to see the point in putting the hours in. If you want to play everything that’s out there, this version of Super Mario Maker also comes up seriously short.

And yet I’ve found myself pouring just as many hours into this cut-down version of Super Mario Maker as its full-featured cousin. How so? It helps that I’m not a creator by any means. My two published Super Mario Maker levels involved stringing together a series of long jumps and spelling my daughter’s name out in coins, a level that I was appalled to find out when booting up the Wii U version recently some 65 people have played. To each and every one of you, I am truly sorry.