One of two video game posts today, here is our mini review of Super Mario Run. This was released on Thursday around 6pm and marked a momentous moment for Nintendo – its first Mario release on a platform other than its own (discounting those ridiculous CDI games Philips made). Plus, it’s first real iPhone app as Pokémon GO was made largely by Niantic.
There was a great deal of anticipation for this endless runner. As the player, you don’t have to control Mario’s running as he runs automatically (hence “endless runner”, stupid) – what you do is control his jumping. Believe us – this is more engaging and challenging than it sounds. Titles like the stunning Runner 2 and equally stunning Alto’s Adventure have used this gameplay mechanism beautifully in the past, so how about Nintendo’s endeavour?
Super Mario Run
Right. The game is developed from the New Super Mario Bros. series, so features modern graphics and a gloriously upbeat soundtrack. From there, Mario typically runs immediately to the right and you have to time your jumps to perfection to gather coins.
It’s far too easy to think you just have to make it to the end of the stage and leave it at that. Forbes’ reviewer did this and completed the game in an hour and was left to muse this: “now what?”. Super Maio Run is about completionism – you have to collect as many coins as possible in each stage, including a series of pink and purple coins which you have to wrack your brain to get. This makes each level a considerable challenge.
Additionally, there’s a mode called Toad Rally where you compete against other players’ gaming “ghosts” to win Toads to add to your kingdom. This is the central screen of the game which you can pimp up in a way similar to Sim City, turning your world into the glorious Mushroom Kingdom!
You need an internet connection to play, incidentally, news which threw some gamers (and games media outlets – it’s stunning how immature some of these publications are) into absolute hysterics (as we all know, getting an internet connection is really difficult these days). What it does mean is you’ll likely have to play the game at home, unless your bus/train/tram journey offers free WiFi. Live in a city and many do.
Ultimately, it’s one of the best games for iOS and a charming, lovely, mirth-inducing, fuzzy feeling slice of Super Mario. It’s wonderful 8/10 stuff and a good platform to build on – hopefully, Nintendo will be introducing the Legend of Zelda, Mario Kart, Pikmin, Metroid, and many of its other brilliant franchises to smartphones in the future. For now, Super Mario Run is an excellent way to kick things off.
A lot of fuss has been made on social media about the cost of the game – £7.99 ($10). Yes, the owners of $500+ iPhones who think nothing about rushing out to waste another $600+ on another pointless iPhone upgrade are baulking at having to pay $10 for a quality game.
Most iPhone games are free to download and play but then slam users with appalling microtransactions, which are arguably the very worst thing about modern gaming. Very few games offer you a one-off purchasing price, with most heaping this tactic on unsuspecting gamers who plow on and make the purchases anyway, fueling developers to keep using microtransactions.
Thankfully, with Super Mario Run you can play the first four stages for free and, if you like it, you can then pay the money to unlock the rest of the game. Is it worth it? Absolutely, this is a charming and enjoyable adventure and we’ve been surprised by just how good it is. Don’t hesitate – take the plunge!