Super Mario Run Android Review

Emblematic character of the video game world, Mario always somewhat represented the identity of Nintendo, being one of the first games released on the Famicon. While the Super Mario games were up till now exclusively available on Nintendo’s consoles (not counting emulators and unofficial ports), the firm has decided to review its policies to take advantage of the growing enthusiasm of players for mobile devices. This is how Super Mario Run was born, a title that comes with a price tag of $10, which is relatively high for a smartphone application.
As the name suggests, Super Mario Run is a runner, a genre that is rather popular on smartphones. It revolves around a relatively simple principle that blends itself well to our tactile interfaces: a hero runs all alone through levels, and it is up to the player to tap the screen to avoid enemies and obstacles, or gather items (coins in this case) and bonuses. As disappointing as it may be for purists, the new Nintendo mobile game takes up this concept while relying on the visual style of the Mario Bros universe. Thus, it would be wrong to consider Super Mario Run as a simple clone of Temple Run, since many adjustments in terms of gameplay have been included.

So yes, the title is playable with one finger, but developers have taken care to densify its gameplay as much as possible. When a simple tap is made, our plumber jumps, but it is also possible to carry out a whole lot of techniques more or less complex to realize. For example, if you leap against a wall, Mario will then slide along the wall and jump in the opposing direction if you tap again. Tapping and holding the screen allows for a higher jump, while tapping twice allows Mario to spin and glide over a small distance. With its precise and demanding timing, the whole thing therefore sometimes approaches the rhythm game. The newcomers will not, however, be lost as the whole is quite accessible and not difficult to master perfectly. The first screen that will be available to you is that of “World Tour” mode. It is used in a classical Mario Bros. fashion, with its 6 worlds, each comprising 4 stages, and the last stage of each world being a castle. That gives us a total of 24 stages, each taking between a hundred seconds to complete - let’s just say that we expected more for a $10 mobile game.

Let us now throw ourselves into our first level, which assumes the traditional appearance of the Mushroom Kingdom. The whole is pretty and we take a certain pleasure to make the little Mario twirl in all the senses. Your goal is simple: to reach the end of the level. For that, you have two lives available, but also all the classic power-ups, including the mushroom, additional lives and the all powerful stars. Once arrived at the end flag, the following course unlocks and so on. If you're the type to rusher without dwelling too much on the secondary objectives, you can complete the 24 levels in a bit over one hour. Otherwise, rest assured, Nintendo has reserved some more complex challenges for you.
Indeed, two secondary objectives are presented to us: to pick up a maximum number of coins and, if possible, to gather the five pink tokens hidden in each stage. If the first mission is not to be presented, the second deserves some explanation. In each course, five pink pieces are placed in places that are rather complex to reach. So you have to pull out a few well-perceived tricks, but also know the architecture of the level by heart to catch them all . And when you think you've come to the end of your troubles, the next difficulty unlocks prompting you to gather purple tokens, then black tokens that are much more difficult to find. With this recipe old as the world, Nintendo has certainly succeed in keeping even the most demanding players involved.

Super Mario Run offers the usual little scenario starting on the traditional abduction of Peach. The person responsible for this misdeed, Bowser, also took advantage of it to sack the Mushroom Kingdom, dispersing the Toads that inhabit it. The latter therefore count on you. With a simple tap on the main menu of the game, we find ourselves facing a colorful and particularly empty terrain. This is our new village that just needs to be rebuilt. To do this, you have a first solution consisting of gathering coins in the stages in order to buy different decorations that are completely cosmetic. Warp pipes, plants, cottages, you can then place your purchases on the multitude of empty boxes available. 

Some of these decors will, however, require you to already have a set number of Toads supporting you already. And in order to attract more of them into your Kingdom, you must prove your bravery and talent in an artistic joust. You can challenge the performance another player, or rather one of the “ghost” of another player on any of the 24 stages available through the Toad Rally mode. The objective is to make use of the various tricks in the game to make the course as entertaining as possible to try to beat the "ghost" of your opponent running in the background alongside yours. In case of victory, a number of Toads proportional to your performance and the level of your competitor will join your village. Otherwise, the punishment will be salty: people will flee your village. And as if that wasn’t enough, you need a Rally Ticket to enter a Toad Rally, which limits your attempts at them. Understand that this is not a multiplayer mode for all that, it's all done offline, which means that players will be able to face your “ghost” even though you are not even connected. Do not worry, you do not risk anything in this case since only the person at the origin of the challenge is likely to lose Toads.

Virtually as beautiful as a 3DS game, Super Mario Run does not risk to disorient the fans of the license who will find with joy in exploring the Mushroom Kingdom, the cave of Bowser or the manor of Boo. We understand that Nintendo has brought as much attention to its second mobile title as any other title stamped with the white and gold logo. The promise of a real Mario on smartphone is clearly respected .
On the other hand, the developers have done a nice job of adaptation to the level of gameplay. Even if we note some fouls linked to the use of a single finger, we manage to sail our plumber where desired without too much effort. Even better, the catalog of figures proves surprisingly rich, offering many solutions to the obstacles present in the courses. From a technical point of view, the title is clearly a success .

So what do we have to blame it for? Two things. First of all, we did not mention it, but it is necessary to be permanently connected to the Internet to be able to play. Yes, this means that once you enter the subway or in some other area not served by your mobile operator, you will no longer be able to play. Then we have this famous economic model that has made so much talk about him, despite a good idea to start. While the game is technically free (or rather free to start), to unlock all the requested content, you will be asked to pay $10, a relatively high amount for a mobile application. But at this price, gets to escape the pitfalls of a Pay-to-Win cash shop.


There is no doubt that with Super Mario Run, Nintendo successfully brought its mascot into the world of smartphones. With a gameplay that is cleverly suited to single-finger gameplay, the title proves accessible to casual gamers, but difficult to master for the most demanding and overachievers. It however remains rather flat on the content side, since for $10, your adventure will be limited to 24 small levels. Hopefully the Japanese firm will release more stages in the future to justify the price tag.









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