Super Mario Run Review!

SUPER MARIO RUN! Is it any good? Let's Find Out!! Nintendo has been protective of its franchisesfor decades, but over the last year it's been slowly testing the mobile game waters.

Pokemon Go at iTunes Store was a smash hit,and social networking app Miitomo had its own charm, but the face of Nintendo has stayedfar away from smartphones and tablets until now.

Super Mario Run for iOS is Nintendo's firstMario game for mobile devices, and its first non-free-to-play release.

You can get a free taste by downloading theapp, but BUT it's a flat $9.

99 to unlock the full game.

It looks and sounds like a Mario game, butit's a casual mobile runner through and through.

And, for the platform, that's perfectly fine;just don't expect the sort of depth, variety, and staying power in this game that you usuallyget in handheld- or console-based Mario game.

Now it requires an Internet connection towork.

If you aren't online, you can't play the game.

The game is also portrait-only; you can'tplay it in landscape mode.

Super Mario Run isn't an endless runner game.

Endless runners, such as Sonic Jump and TempleRun 2, task you with running down infinite, generally procedurally generated or loopinglevels until you die.

Super Mario Run instead presents you withspecifically designed levels you must either complete in Tour mode or run through for aset period of time in Rally mode.

It's a more focused experience that revolvesaround challenges and getting higher scores in discrete levels more than simply goinguntil you stop.

You can play Super Mario Run with only one hand, or even just one finger.

Mario runs automatically from left to right,and even vaults over small enemies, pits, and steps on his own.

Tapping the screen makes Mario jump, and tappingwhile Mario is in the air makes him bounce off of enemies, obstacles, and walls.

Mario jumps higher the longer you press thescreen, and there are some difficult sections where you need to tap just right to get Marioto thread the needle between sawblades and fireballs.

If Mario gets hit or falls into a pit, hegoes into a bubble that floats back on the screen some distance until you tap to popit.

Tour stages let Mario hide in a bubble twicebefore you have to start the stage over again.

Rally stages take away coins, which are vitalto winning in that mode.

It's a simple, but challenging, style of gameplaythat takes the standard Mario platforming concepts and streamlines it into the act ofjumping at the right time to get past obstacles and reach different parts of stages.

Super Mario Run doesn't offer the opennessor a fraction of the control found in a console Mario game, but it's accessible and functionalto play on touchscreen-only devices; a real Mario platformer requires physical controlsto feel remotely satisfying.

This is basic running action with Nintendopolish, and despite lacking the depth I'm used to seeing in this presentation, it works.

Graphically, Super Mario Run is a New SuperMario Bros.

game.

Instead of classic sprites, the game uses3D models of Mario, his enemies, and the environment on a 2D plane.

It's the same aesthetic we first saw a decadeago in New Super Mario Bros.

for the Nintendo 3DSNow, THE GAME MODES: The game is split into two modes: Tour andRally.

Tour is a single-player campaign mode thatwalks you through six worlds of four stages each.

24 stages is a low number for most Mario games,but each one feels distinct, with unique gameplay elements, such as bats, Bullet Bills, giantBuzzy Beetles, and trick doors.

You just need to get to the end of each stageto complete a level, but you can also collect the five hidden pink coins to work towardsunlocking bonuses and secrets.

Once you collect all five pink coins, theyget replaced by purple coins hidden in even more challenging areas to reach parts of thestage.

After you collect the purple coins, they'rereplaced by black coins, the most challenging coins to find.

Each world you beat in Tour mode unlocks mapsfor Rally mode, which makes the $10 unlocking purchase necessary.

Without unlocking the game, you can only playthe first three stages in Tour mode, severely hindering your ability to play in Rally mode.

Rally is the multiplayer mode, which pitsyou against the ghost data of other players as you run through the levels you beat inTour mode.

These ghosts can come from friends you addfrom Twitter or Facebook, or randomly from other Super Mario Run players online.

These levels are converted into endless loopsfor Rally mode, where you instead play for 60 seconds at a time.

Once your time is up, the number of coinsyou collected is measured against how many your opponent collected.

Whoever got the most coins wins the variousToads who came to watch you play (while the loser loses some of his Toads).

Toads are Mushroom Kingdom residents who areapparently really easily swayed by parkour and bling, but they serve a purpose in rebuildingyour own section of the kingdom.

You need tickets to play stages in Rally mode.

You can get a steady stream of them with dailybonus games, building up your kingdom, winning in Rally mode, and completing Tour mode.

After connecting the game to my MyNintendoaccount and beating Tour mode, I had over 70 tickets.

These tickets aren't available for purchasethrough microtransactions, so Nintendo likely won't be demanding steady drips of cash inaddition to the $10 unlock price.

It raises the question of why the ticketsare even necessary, though; without a microtransaction structure, there's simply no reason to limithow players compete with each other in Rally mode, especially when stakes are naturallybuilt in with the Toad-wooing mechanic.

BUILD A KINGDOM:When you start the game, the Mushroom Kingdom is empty and the Princess' castle has beenreduced to a tent.

As you collect Toads in Rally mode, your Kingdomlevels up and the castle returns to its former state.

You can also place different buildings anddecorations in your kingdom with coins you collect while playing.

Some of the buildings offer tangible bonuses,like giving you timed access to special items and stages, expanding your kingdom to additionalscreens, and even unlocking new characters to play with.

You start with only Mario, who is an averagerunner and jumper, but can collect mushrooms to become Super Mario, which lets him gethit once by an enemy or obstacle without getting injured.

Toad can run faster than Mario.

Princess Peach can glide using her dress,like in Super Mario Bros.

2.

Yoshi can flutter jump to get a bit more distance,and his boots let him walk over spikes.

You can run through Tour mode in under twohours, and that can easily stretch out if you want to collect every colored coin.

The Rally mode is really what you'll keepgoing back to, since it's a steady stream of bite-sized gameplay segments against otheractual players, with the constant stakes of getting more Toads for your kingdom.

SUMMARY:Super Mario Run is a fun, simple twist on the classic Mario formula, but it feels abit empty when compared with the full New Super Mario Bros.

games.

It's compared best with casual runner gameson mobile devices, and when held to that standard the $10 price tag is a bit steep.

For the relatively little amount of contentyou get, along with the inexplicable limitation of the Rally tickets and the need to be alwaysconnected, $5 would have been a more reasonable price if not a full free-to-play model.

Mario's first step into casual mobile gamesis a strong one, but the name recognition is almost too strong for the format; the polishand presentation of Super Mario Run makes it feel like it should be more than what itis, since at heart it's just a simple running game.