Well, Nintendo fans, the wait is finally over and an official Super Mario title has reached iOS devices. Though Nintendo plans to release Super Mario Run on Android hardware, that will have to wait until 2017. But is this title worth the wait?
RUNNING WITH MARIO
On the surface, Super Mario Run removes what Nintendo has spent more than 30 years building into our minds as Nintendo fans, and changes the way we perceive and play Super Mario. Rather than having control over the plumber and making him jump at our leisure, the tables have turned and we are now at his mercy.
This time around, Mario automatically performs acrobatics over legendary foes like Koopas and Goombas, and additional flair can be added to these moves with the tap of a finger, which is all that is needed in order to play Super Mario Run. This gameplay mechanic happens to be a more simplified approach to the way Super Mario games are traditionally played, and though it does take a few stages to become familiar with the game, Nintendo’s implementation of “less is more” in terms of controls was a much better choice than providing users with a clunky, transparent controller that saturates the screen.
Like traditional games from within the series, the objective is to get from one side of the screen to the other. Though backtracking is severely limited to backwards wall-jumping and touching blocks that cause Mario to leap in the opposite direction, this form of gameplay seems fitting, not to mention performs very well on mobile devices. The collection of gold coins is not ideal in this installment, as the focus seems to be geared towards collecting pink or purple coins which are scattered throughout each stage. During my experience with the game, acquiring pink or purple coins became natural as I began to spend more time with Super Mario Run. That being said, the collection of these coins in particular appear to be mostly for those who perceive themselves as video game completionists. Should you not identify as one, you will quickly become disenchanted with Super Mario Run.
BUILDING YOUR OWN KINGDOM
After completing the 26 stages from Super Mario Run’s main course, individuals have the option to build their own kingdom in Kingdom Builder. This customizable section has users building homes, placing flowers, coin blocks, or fences down on a provided map. It’s nowhere near the level of customization you would come to find and expect from an Animal Crossing title, which makes the implementation of Kingdom Builder feel shoehorned and quite unnecessary in Super Mario Run.
Though I was able to fill my kingdom with a variety of Toads, which are acquired by playing Toad Rally, in no way, shape, or form was I compelled to spend much time within this particular mode as I found it to be the most boring.
RUNNING AGAINST FRIENDS AND FOES
When you eventually finish the running courses found within Super Mario Run, you’ll begin to browse through the title for more enjoyment. Toad Rally delivers on that front, as this section of the game dives into online competition against other players. Here you’ll race against a competitor’s AI (or ghosts) in effort to receive more coins and applause by Toads who are basically the judges of the race. The more stylish you are in this mode, the better your chances are at achieving victory over your opponent.
There’s also a gambling aspect within this component of the game. For instance, each player has a collection of Toads, and these Toads are much needed in order to unlock more characters and items. Should I require more Green Toads, I must try to defeat an opponent who offers what I need. Should I lose, however, my Toads that I have wagered will be removed from my collection and I will have to win more races in order to replenish what I have lost.
This segment in particular is what kept me engaged in Super Mario Run longer than I had originally expected. What kept me interested in Toad Rally, specifically, was the fact that the mode was able to tap into my addictive and competitive personality. Had this additional section not been implemented into Super Mario Run, the title would for sure fall flat after completing the traditional section of the game.
Super Mario Run isn’t the best Mario game in existence, but it is the best Mario game that can be played (legally) on iOS devices. What’s most impressive is that Nintendo completely removes the traditional way that Mario games are played, and instead implements a simplistic touch mechanic that becomes seemingly intuitive over time. Though the novelty wears off after experiencing the main section of the game, which in itself can be devoured in under an hour or so, Toad Rally and Kingdom Builder are there to slightly extend gameplay if you wish to continue on with the experience.