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Video Game Review

Super Mario Run

At long last, Nintendo releases their debut application for iOS devices. While it may not be the most impressive installation to the franchise, Super Mario Run meets the expectations of the long awaited mobile adaptation.

The application is available on all compatible iOS devices through the
App Store. Though it is initially free to download, you are limited to only the first three levels and a side game mode called ‘toad rally’. To unlock the full version of the game, you’ll have to cough up a pretty penny of $9.99 which will allow you to run through six different worlds and unlock six playable characters as well.

Traditionally, Mario has always been a side-scrolling platformer and this time around not much has changed in that aspect. You do however, surrender the traditional controls as Mario automatically hurdles through the mushroom kingdom. The only control is to tap the screen allowing Mario to jump and perform a plethora of action moves. This could be a number of things from stomping a goomba, to adding flair to your jumps, and things like wall-to-wall jumps. Each world provides four unique stages all ending with a classic castle stage and boss fight. The level design in Mario has always been trivial and challenging while still being creative and fun to play, and that stays the same on Super Mario Run. The boss battles do feel quite lacking, however. They are the same three-jump fights with Boom Boom and Bowser that you’ve had before and it would be nice to see something refreshing that incorporated this new strategy of gameplay.

Super Mario Run does offer a lot of replayability to its levels through the special Coin Hunt. Each level has five pink special coins hidden throughout. Collect all five coins in one run to earn two rally tickets and unlock the next color of coin. There are pink, purple, and black special coins to be obtained throughout each level. Once you’ve moved on to the next echelon of coins, the map changes in layout making it harder to collect the next set of five. This adds a greater challenge to the levels that makes the game much more enjoyable. If you accidentally miss a special coin during your run, just tap the bubble icon
at the top of the screen to take you back and try again. The downside is that this gives you less time to complete the course so you must be mindful of the clock as well.

Outside of the classic campaign mode we have Toad Rally. Rally mode is playable with rally tickets that can be earned in various ways throughout the game. Each time you race you must pay one rally ticket. It feels like a stretch to call this game mode ‘multiplayer’ but it is a race between you and an opponent. The objective of the game is to run through the level and collect as many coins, kill as many enemies, and add as much flair as you can before the time runs out. The more you achieve throughout the race the more toads cheer in your favor. At the end of the race the coins and toads are counted up and the winner receives all the earnings. The more toads and coins that you earn helps you to develop your Mushroom Village where you can build homes, play minigames, or decorate the kingdom for your villagers. This is a way to relax and escape from the more intense game modes.

Overall, Super Mario Run is an enjoyable and nostalgic return to the iconic franchise. While it’s not the most lustrous game to date, it is fun and challenging to play during those lull periods in your day. It offers just enough to keep it fulfilling for now, but I’m excited to see what updates are available in the future.