We’re finally here folks. It’s the end of 2016, and despite its efforts we haven’t died of stress. Nintendo even released a Mario game on iOS and the “Nintendo is Dead”ers aren’t around to preach their usual doom and gloom. In fact Nintendo might have done it just right. Super Mario Run, currently only on iOS, manages to do a lot of great things we didn’t expect.

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  • Free-To-Start was the right way forward. It lets players get a taste, but ensures that the full experience is offered at a reasonable price. You can play up to world 1-4 for free before being prompted to purchase the rest for $9.99 US.
  • The gameplay is deceptively simple, going beyond the endless runners we know. Tapping to jump gets you into a mentality that it’ll be easy, but the deliberate design and novel mechanics in each level creates a mobile experience with more depth and challenge.
  • Completing levels won’t hold veteran gamers back much. For us Nintendo has created pink, purple, and black coins, but gathering these coins never feels like a way to artificially pad the game. They are deviously placed to tease players. The solution is obvious as they pass but players might not react with enough speed or skill to get them.
  • Toad Rally is a fun way to implement multiplayer. You challenge players around the globe in endless courses to gather coins with style. Winning gains you toads to unlock decorations for Kingdom Builder. My only gripe is that you don’t have more precise control over level and challenger selection. If I wanted to play a friend on a grasslands level I can’t just choose that every time, but it’s probably done this way to combat cheating. There also isn’t a global leaderboard.
  • The Kingdom Builder is a fun distraction that adds a sense of payoff and is the primary way you’ll unlock characters. It doesn’t require real world money, so no need to worry about more investment after the initial purchase charge. It’s not particularly deep, but it’s cute enough to keep you decorating for a quick minute.
  • Online only is annoying. I spend a lot of time underground on commutes (the time I find myself to play most) and the terrible DC metro tunnels have spotty service at best. I assume it was implemented this way to, again, combat cheating, but I wish there was an alternate solution.

Super Mario Run wasn’t Nintendo’s first lap with mobile development (thanks to help from developer DeNA). But unlike it’s previous offering Miitomo, Super Mario Run is designed more as a game and a pretty fun one at that. It’s free to try with a $9.99 in app purchase to unlock the entire game. If you own an iOS device there’s no reason not to download it and you’ll see how well it works yourself. Be sure to link it to your My Nintendo account for some cool bonuses.


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JpSr388 is a casual(ish) gaymer, hardcore Nintendo fan, designer & writer. He writes about what he cares about, and is always good for some opinions. Find his sexy ass on Twitter here. Or keep on the lookout for more editorial, QuickDraws, Hot Takes and reviews here.