06th Jan2017

‘Super Mario Run’ Review: What’s Good & What’s Bad?

by James Smith

Super Mario Run has beaten all the records: 2.85 million downloads in the first day, 40 million for the first four days, huge revenues, and a countless army of fans all over the world. Debuting on the Jimmy Fallon show, with Fallon and his band The Roots playing live on TV – Nintendo made the fantastic decision to use the tactic of the “subscribe” button, almost pre-order like, on the main App Store. The game was initially doomed before its release but the closer to the release date, the higher the expectations… And Super Mario Run became the biggest mobile game release for some time – in fact since Nintendo’s “other” mobile title, Pokemon Go.


Despite its success and popularity on sites such as RomsMania, the game was almost immediately disliked on Twitter and App Store – with comments along the lines of “why doesn’t it run on my device” (you can’t play this on older iPhones running any iOS before iOS 8.0, though why you’re still running that old iPhone 4 is the real question), along with tons of further negative comments appearing. The main reason why this iteration of Mario became so massively hated? He runs all the time!

For fans of the previous Super Mario games, this mobile version was not a full-fledged platformer. Instead Super Mario Run plays similar to endless runner titles – Mario does not only run but jumps over small obstacles, flowers, and even goombas! These two arguments are enough to fuel some hatred for the game, after all it supposedly plays by itself, you don’t have to do too much to complete each level!

What’s more this is a mobile-only game and many thought playing was going to be real torture, especially because Mario games are associated more with jumping, accuracy and speed rather than physics; and with mobile games our fingers tend to crawl across the screen. However, to fix the issue, Nintendo managed to cross the elegant touchscreen, unsuitable for the accurate platform genre, with a endless runner which typically perform well on smartphones. So yes, now Mario runs and jumps on ANY screen.

Whilst many said Super Mario Run feels like it’s merely a case of automation – gamers are accustomed to fully controlling Mario, not minimally “interfering” with his performance – this does not mean that players have nothing to do in this game: you are involved when more important tasks appear, such as coin collecting and jumoing huge gaps etc… But for those accustomed to Mario as a platformer, with Super Mario Run there is professed principle of “keep running” built into the game and that means that you just have to get used to it.


Another problem, which impacted the game, is that it is very easy to play. To complete through the main levels (after paying to unlock the whole game of course) you need approximately one hour to complete all the levels, maybe an hour and a half if you struggle with the controls. Everything is very easy: by running and jumping, Mario takes obstacle unceremoniously – the only challenge is making sure collecting ALL those coloured coins (which is waht actually gives this game its longevity). Although it may seem to be an easy and boring activity, Super Mario Run has already won an army of fans owing to its entertaining action and easy-to-understand rules. And I’m one of them!

Super Mario Run is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices running iOS 8.0 or later. The game can be downloaded from the App Store at no cost, and players can try elements of the game’s three modes for free. Once the game has been downloaded, a one-time payment will grant unlimited access to each of the three modes in this release.


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