Nintendo is currently having a heck of a run. Just over a month ago, the big N debuted their latest gaming platform, “Nintendo Switch,” which has been met with great excitement if it can pull off what they say it can. And now, just last week, Nintendo debuted its first ever mobile game with Super Mario Run.
Super Mario Run is a form of an “endless runner” game, with the player not having to press anything to propel the iconic plumber forwards. Run can be played with just one hand, which is what Nintendo was looking for in introducing Mario to the mobile market. Players just tap the screen to make Mario jump, which is his sole action in the game. Mario can land on Goombas and other enemies to earn coins, but the main goal of the game is the same as it ever was… get to the end and touch the flag pole.
In just the first day of Super Mario Run being on the App Store, it’s already hit five million downloads. After the first day of ever popular app-craze Pokemon Go being available for download, it was downloaded 1.8 million times. What’s even more interesting is the profit the game has made already. On Super Mario Run, the first three levels of the game available to you for free. If you would like to play further, the game comes with a $9.99 price tag, which is steep for a mobile game. However, the game already earned $5 million in day-one gross revenue. As a first step into the mobile world for Nintendo, Run looks to be an instant success.
So what do you get with Super Mario Run? There are three distinct modes of the game. The first is the most familiar, called “World Tour”. World Tour allows players to play through 24 distinct Mario levels. Each world consists of three levels, plus a final boss in either Bowser’s Castle or the airship. To increase replayability, each level has five red coins the player attempts to try and collect all in the same run. If they can grab all five coins, the player is able to go again to try and collect five purple coins in more difficult to reach locations. Lastly, five black coins are available for the most experienced Mario players.
Another mode is Toad Rally. This sort of works as “online multiplayer,” except it’s not. Players will play against ghost runners of other players who have played the game online. The goal of the mode is for you to run a 60-second race against the opponent to see who can gain the most coins over that span. Added to your score will also be the number of “toads” who cheer you on. You gain these toads by doing ‘cool moves’ over the course of the race, whether it be wall jumping, jumping off enemies, staying in the air for a long amount of time, etc. These two items will combine to give you your score in the ‘race’. You also get to keep all of the toads that you earn during the game, which unlock things in the third mode of the game.
Your Kingdom is a less interactive mode, but a mode nonetheless. With Kingdom, you are able to essentially build your own kingdom (after it had been destroyed by Bowser. In the other two modes, you accumulate coins, which you are able to spend in this mode to buy buildings or decorations to build up your kingdom. Also, the toads you earn in Toad Rally become your citizens and also help unlock new buildings and decorations. Some of these buildings are bonus games that allow you to gain more coins or tickets to play in Toad Rally. Just by playing through certain levels of the game, you earn 5 tickets for Toad Rally, so you’ll never actually have to pay for any in-app purchases other than the initial $9.99 which is a great strategy that warrants the high price of the game.
Overall, as a mobile game, Super Mario Run is a fun experience that allows you to get quick 60-90 second bits of playing Super Mario World without having to fire up an NES or WiiU. While the Kingdom Mode isn’t much to work with, the other two modes totally make up for it. Toad Rally is fun to play “against” other people, but I’ve found it’s even more fun to see how many jump combinations you can string together in the 60-second rounds. World Tour is exactly what you’d want from a Mario endless runner, familiar opponents, familiar worlds and the classic play that’s been around from Nintendo for the last 31 years. For me, the game is worth the $10 price-tag, but that’s ultimately up to you. Either way, download the first three levels and give it a run, the nostalgia is at least worth that to you.