In 2016, Nintendo launched Super Mario Run on the Apple App Store as a free app with a ten-dollar charge for additional levels beyond the first world. Many fans were shocked to learn that the latest Mario game would be exclusively a mobile experience that would have an auto-running mechanic. However, Super Mario Run debuted to great success upon its launch later that year in 2016. Although Super Mario Run brings the refined platforming Mario gameplay to a new platform, ultimately, it is a mediocre experience that does not innovate on decades of gameplay.
Super Mario Run is technically a free to play mobile game. The first world, containing four unique levels, is available and the other two primary features of the game, Toad Rally and Remix 10. However, if you pay a surcharge of ten dollars, a total of 6 worlds is available for players to explore. The worlds themselves are wonderful imitations of traditional modern Mario games. It contains the same artistic style as New Super Mario Bros and looks like a Nintendo game. However, ultimately, they are just imitations. Each one of the courses has been released in some sort of version of Mario Bros and nothing in Super Mario Run was unique. It ultimately is disappointing and places the ten-dollar charge in a dark light, especially for players of previous modern 2D Mario games.
However, the most notable difference between Super Mario Run and other Mario games is the implementation of gameplay. While previous games would require a D-Pad command in order to advance, Super Mario Run automatically runs Mario in the right direction having only one necessary input from the player. The player only needs to tap the screen in order to have Mario jump. The jumping mechanic on the iOS screens feels just like any other Mario game and has a rare sense of satisfaction that I have not seen with any other mobile game to date. Within the marketing, Nintendo prided the game on being able to be played with just one hand. Ultimately it is an accurate statement and a decision that leads the game in the right direction. It places a greater emphasis on jumping, especially on the coins. In previous renditions of Mario Bros, the giant gold coins were the key collectibles of each level. Here, there are three levels of giant coins. With the completion of each level, the player unlocks tickets to be used in Toad Rally and Remix 10. Collecting all the coins was a satisfying challenge that allowed me to get several hours out of just the first world. However, following the first several worlds, the extremely difficult objective of obtaining all the coins became overbearing and I quickly avoided them, especially towards the end. But if you do collect all the coins, you will find that you have a large number of tickets which transitions to Toad Rally. Toad Rally is a multiplayer rendition of Super Mario Run’s gameplay. You take on opponents on similar levels to obtain higher scores to impress more toads. Upon the end of the timer, the player with the highest number of toads wins and also collects the toads of their opponent. These toads can be used to increase their Mushroom Kingdom and even unlock a unique character. The mode ultimately is fun and slick as the objective doesn’t become to collect all the coins, but to perform the most impressive jump stunts. In addition to Toad Rally, tickets can be used with the recently added Remix 10, a playlist of 10 randomly picked levels from the game. Within the levels, there are three coins to collect. These coins are added to a meter, which upon filling can lead to the addition of unique objects and buildings to your kingdom. The mode ultimately feels somewhat pointless and unnecessary, however it is a fun distraction in addition to Toad Rally and Tour. But the primary issue with both Toad Rally and Remix 10 is that they require tickets which can only be obtained by completing levels for the first time and completing levels of coins within the levels. After completing the primary levels of the game, the only real value of the game comes from Toad Rally and Remix 10 so the limited number of tickets creates the sense of a timed or limited experience.
When using the objects and buildings gained from Remix 10 and Toad Rally, you can place them into your kingdom with a relatively simple interface from the main menu. However, the number of available slots are extremely limiting and make the feature feel like nothing more than a gimmick.
Ultimately, twenty levels for ten dollars is not worth what Super Mario Run affords. If you insist on having a mobile Mario experience, just download the app for free and keep replaying World 1 and trying to complete all the coin levels. 50 cents per each level is an inexcusable rip-off for mobile renditions of levels that have been released countless times before. Collectively, Super Mario Run is a disappointingly mediocre experience that features some innovative gameplay mechanics and features but is also frustratingly limited and over-priced. Check out the YouTube gameplay video of the three primary features of the game, Tour, Toad Rally, and Remix 10, in the link above and be sure to comment with your thoughts on Super Mario Run!
Score: 5.8 out of 10