Android owners have often complained that they don’t get the “big name” releases like iPhone does. Well, while that is often true, the truer statement is that iPhone gets those big-name releases first. Super Mario Run is no exception. iPhone gamers have been playing this game since December. Android users just got it a few days ago, as of this writing. The question is, was it worth the wait?
That depends on your feelings about endless/auto runner games. Me personally, I don’t care for them. I prefer more control over my character when traversing gaming worlds. Super Mario Run has only slightly changed that stance and that is only because I am a huge fan of the Mario franchise. Who isn’t?
First, Super Mario Run is a normal auto running game, just with much better graphics and sound than we are accustomed to in this genre. This is the first official trek through the Mushroom Kingdom for mobile gamers and it is a great stroll, if not slightly annoying due to the auto running aspect. This annoyance is very reminiscent of one of Mario’s biggest rivals in gaming: Sonic the Hedgehog by Sega.
The comparison is being drawn based on Super Mario Run and Sonic the Hedgehog both being more about speed and getting from point A to point B quickly. Want to explore? Take another route the next time you play through a level. For me, this is completely against the style that set Mario apart from the likes of Sonic the Hedgehog and other competitors. Mario has been about exploring a level to your hearts content (within the generous time limit of course). That is gone in Super Mario Run and I think it hurts the overall enjoyment most gamers will get out of this mobile debut.
This change in the basic gameplay of Mario is probably a requirement of porting to mobile–not all mobile gamers have access to, or care to use, controllers. This negates bringing the full experience of Super Mario over, at least in his debut. Nintendo obviously wanted to cater to the most number of gamers as possible with this title–they had better since it carries a $9.99 In-app Purchase to unlock the full game.
The actual gameplay is varied, much more so than similar auto running games. Super Mario Run has the characters we remember, and not just sprite rips from previous releases either (at least, none I recognize right off) and it has that charm of a Mario game (even if missing the exploration part the series is known for).
Mix in the challenges, collecting purple coins in each level (in one run), beating key enemy’s ratings, friend competitions, etc and you can see why Super Mario Run is generally considered one of the better mobile games. It certainly could have been worse, as evidenced by the plethora of other auto running games available.
There are plenty of levels, though the game is short overall. Each level seems varied from the others. The castles are sometimes annoying, but if you pay attention to previous attempts you will fare fine. Iconic enemies are still here, levels have the old-school feel (I would love to run through these with actual control over Mario), and you will probably find secrets long after you thought you beat Super Mario Run.
The question is now, will Super Mario Run sell enough to warrant Nintendo continuing their mobile strategy? I personally hope it does as it is a decently fun title.
Super Mario Run by Nintendo
Platform: Android (ZTE ZMAX 2 used for review)
Genre: Endless/auto runner
In App Purchases: Yes, to unlock the game after level 3
Rated: E for Everyone and 4+ on iTunes
Available now on Google Play and the iTunes App Store