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Super Mario Run mini-review

Well this is Mario’s first foray in the land of legal smartphone gaming (there’s been plenty of people managing to release games where they blatantly use Mario assets without Nintendo’s permission… iOS is weird). It recently came out on Android, so I decided to pick it up.

Was it a mistake? Read on and see! I’ll make this very quick.

Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Date of Release: December 15 2016 on iOS, March 23 2017 on Android
Platform: iOS, Android
Genre: Automatic running platformer

Presentation

Well they’re just flipping assets from the New Super Mario Bros series. So not much to talk about here. The music is also flipped from those games. And the sound effects. I mean, it’s bright and colorful and all, but there isn’t a single unique thing in this game.

Meh. No story to really talk of, of course, because it’s a Mario game and because it’s a mobile game. You don’t even fully get that Peach was kidnapped until you save her (I assumed she was just unlockable like all the other playable characters).

Gameplay

Mario “Runs” on his own. I put run in quotes because… he’s very slow. His running speed is somewhere between his full speed and his walking speed. He also automatically vaults over block-high ledges and enemies, and jumps over 1-2 block long holes. The controls are very simple. Tap the screen, Mario jumps. Tap it longer, he jumps higher (up to a limit). If Mario is vaulting over something tapping does a special move (with more height if you hold it longer). If Mario lands on the ground from higher platform than where he’s landing he does a front flip. Tapping in the air makes Mario do his mid-air twirl from the NSMB games, giving slightly more air time. Tapping while sliding down a wall does a wall jump.

Every level has 5 colored coins. Get them all, unlock the next color of coins. Get those, the next one unlocks. So each level must be played at least 3 times to be fully complete. I think getting them all for each color unlocks secret levels? I don’t care. The main gameplay is… fairly boring. Just getting to the end of the level is boring, and getting all the special coins is occasionally tedious.

The funnest part of this game is Toad Rally. Essentially you’ll play a level against another player’s ghost (like in Mario Kart time trials). Those are infinitely-repeating levels, you get a minute and you must get more coins than the other player. It’s all about scoring high, and the mechanics are a lot more integrated to this mode since doing special moves makes toads cheer for you, which affects your coin total at the end of the level. The sad part is that, to get the complete Toad Rally experience (as the levels are slightly randomly-generated by using various bits of different levels using the same theme), you need to complete the main game. Bleh.

There’s also a village-building aspect. To put it simply: it’s stupid and does nothing. I’m not gonna bother talking about it.

Overall

Definitely not worth the 13 canadian dollars. There’s really not much to this game in any aspect. Sure Toad Rally is fun, but the bulk of it is hidden behind the boring main game. If this was just Toad Rally and cost 5 canadian dollars, I’d say it would be money better wasted.

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