A Note On: Super Mario Run

15After being announced back in September, ‘Super Mario Run’ was finally released on ios devices today.

The side-scrolling, auto-runner platformer game is only Nintendo’s second foray into mobile gaming following the launch of Miitomo back in March, but it marks a step forward in the company’s mission to branch out to more players.

‘Super Mario Run’ takes the much-loved franchise and combines familiar elements from the console releases with quick and addictive game-play.  The app is divided into several different modes, the main one of which is laid out like a traditional Mario game.  There are multiple worlds, each with different levels and designs, that you play through in order to reach Bowser’s Castle and rescue Princess Peach.  The only major difference between the mobile app and the original games is the auto-runner aspect that requires you to tap the screen in order to jump through the level.  Time your taps just right to collect the coins, avoid obstacles and pits, and get bonuses from the various enemies wandering around.

On the surface ‘Super Mario Run’ is a very simple game.  Indeed, you could complete the main story in one sitting if you wished, but there is actually more to the app than it first seems.  In terms of the main game-play mode, each level requires at least three play-throughs in order to collect the five coloured coins scattered around.  Once you’ve collected the pink coins, you then have to replay to get the purple ones, and then again to get the black ones.  However, you must collect all five coins in one run of the level in order to move onto the next set.  Unlike in console versions of the series where finding one of the special coins or stars meant you didn’t have to get them again, ‘Super Mario Run’ will not save that data, apart from to show you your best achievement.

Other modes of play on the app include ‘Toad Rally’, where you’re able to compete against other players around the world in a timed event.  Get the most coins within the time limit in order to bring back more Toads to your kingdom, but be warned that you’ll lose Toads if you fail to beat your opponent.  Increasing your Toad count helps your kingdom to expand and gives you more ways to decorate it.  This is also where coins you’ve collected from the games can come in handy.

I’ve seen numerous arguments from people online, both in support of and against the game, but after an hours worth of playing it I’d have to say that I’m leaning more towards the positives than the negatives.  Some people have an issue with the price which comes into play after you’ve completed the first 3 levels of the game.  It’s understandable given that £7.99 upfront is a lot to pay, but unlike many ‘freemium’ games that seem to be everywhere right now, it’s only a one off.  The content might not seem enough to justify the price, but I’m hopeful that the developers will continue to add new features in the future that will make the payment worthwhile.

In terms of the game being too simple, it’s really down to the player.  If you want a full Mario game then go play one of the many options available on Wii, Wii U, 3DS, N64, etc.  At the end of the day it’s a mobile game, and as much advanced as this technology has become, there’s only so much that can be produced for something this size.  The game perhaps might have benefited from a lives system that restricted how much you could play at one time, but that in itself has its downfalls.  If you don’t want to get bored of the app quickly then pace yourself, although in this day and age of gaming, no-one sticks to any one thing for too long.

Do I think ‘Super Mario Run’ is worthwhile?  Yes, if they continue to add to it.  Having only played for an hour, it’s hard to give a thorough opinion on the game’s longevity.  What I do now is that I’ve already replayed the first level 30+ times just trying to get all 3 sets of coins, and I still haven’t been successful.  The completionist in me will battle for however long it takes to get 100% in all the levels, so I imagine that will keep me occupied for weeks to come.

As I said in the beginning, it’s a step forward for the company who have had no connection with mobile gaming until this year.  2017 promises the release of the mysterious Animal Crossing app that I’m especially excited about, and with the progress that Nintendo has made already, I’m confident that it will be a great addition to my iPhone.  Hopefully by that point they’ll have released ‘Super Mario Run’ on Android for all those players that are feeling left out by Nintendo’s ios exclusive release!

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