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This past Saturday I drove up to my local Apple Store to try out Super Mario Run for the first time so I could give all of you on Source Gaming my thoughts. The store was filled with many children wanting their first taste of Mario on their rich parent’s iPads, and also filled with many of my own awkward encounters of people I know coming into the store only to find me trying to find a good angle with my iPhone to record another iPhone with. (Seriously, Sally, if you’re reading this, I swear I’m not insane.)
There’s 3 levels to play in the demo as well as a 20 second trial of the first castle world. The full game has many more features and levels that I plan to cover in a full review soon after the full game is released.
Pictured: Good Looking Man’s hands plays Super Mario Run
The first thing I noticed as someone who’s played the New Super Mario series is that the game most likely isn’t made off of the New Super Mario Bros. Engine. If it is, then it’s obviously a heavily modified version of it as many times throughout the demo something felt “off” compared to what I’m used to. Now, admittedly, I’ve never been much good at any 2D Mario game, but I definitely felt something off here. Obviously this is expected due to the game being on a touchscreen instead of controller setup, but it definitely affected my timing in terms of jumps compared to the normal main series games.
I learned while playing that there’s 3 challenges in each level related to colored coins. When you unlock a level you’ll notice there’s a challenge to grab 6 special coins hidden throughout the level. You’ll need to collect all these coins in one go as opposed to coming back to collect one at a time. You start off with a Light Purple Coin challenge where the coins aren’t extremely well hidden. Then you unlock the Dark Purple challenge where the coins are more difficultly hidden. After completing that challenge, the level design itself changes to accommodate for a greater challenge to collect Dark Green coins, and after you complete that challenge… you get nothing. At least in the demo it seems, I’m not sure if that’s how it works in the full game.
I am concerned about the recent news that the game is only playable with access to an internet connection. When I travel to New York and am on the Subway… I can’t play. When I’m on a flight and don’t want to pay absurd prices for Wi-Fi… I can’t play. And if I travel as a passenger in a car through the Southern United States (which I do a couple times a year)… I can’t play. I think you’re sensing a pattern here. Nintendo claims this is due to piracy, or the fact that all modes reward you with cosmetics for your “Mushroom Kingdom” which requires and online connection. But it’s still stupid. I should at least be able to play the normal levels offline. Another issue I had too is that there were numerous times where the game just flat out would not respond to my jumps. It is entirely possible that this was just the iPhone I was using (I only began to notice this issue once I came back to the store after lunch and used a different iPhone), but it’s still something to consider in this preview.
Pictured: Super Mario Run promotional art
The game seems to have plenty of replay ability which is my biggest request since the game was announced. There’s apparently unlockable characters that will give me a reason to replay all levels. The challenges in each level give a completionist like me the incentive to continue to play the game for a long time. As a mobile game, I feel this is easily the game’s strongest seller, at least for me. Even after I complete all these levels on my first go I can still go back and complete this coin challenges, and then try them all again with different characters even after that.
A bit unrelated, but I have a theory that Miyamoto’s shirt that everyone has been discussing that he wore on The Tonight Show isn’t actually teasing anything Mario related on Switch. The Mario on the shirt is the same Mario Template that Super Mario Run features (pictured above), which makes me think that it is teasing a future level expansion to Super Mario Run in a samurai style. I could be completely off on this but I really feel like this is much more of a Super Mario Run promotion than a tease for Mario on the Switch.
Pictured: Miyamoto wearing a shirt
Overall, Super Mario Run seems to be a great mobile game that will be perfect to pick-up and play. Hopefully the game offers extensive post-launch support, including more levels and offline capabilities. I definitely enjoyed my time playing it and hope it can take over all those tiny bits of free-time I get in my life. A good mobile game is one that you instantly want to play whenever you realize you have about 3-5 minutes. A great one is one that you want to play even when you have 30.