Super Mario Run

Date Completed: December 17th, 2016

It’s Mario on a Smartphone.  Naturally I purchased it immediately after it came out.  I was simultaneously extremely satisfied and very disappointed.  Interesting fact: “Satisfied but Disappointed” could be the official slogan of Nintendo fans.  I could probably make a decent living selling “Satisfied but Disappointed” T-Shirts outside of Nintendo events.  Nintendo has the annoying habit of making the best games in the world with the most irritating caveats. But I digress.

Endless runners aren’t a new genre.  What makes this one different?  In a word: Mario. Mario’s unleashed charisma has made a lot of people who aren’t usually interested in games interested in this game. Prime Example – My Dad. He wanted to know what the whole Super Mario Run thing was about. I tried to explain somewhat futilely:

Me: “He runs forward all the time. You can tap the screen to make him jump.”

Dad: “Is that it?”

Me: “If he jumps into a wall he can push off the wall and move in the reverse direction temporarily. Then he starts running forward again.”

Dad: “…”

There is no challenge.  You get multiple lives on each level and Mario automatically vaults over enemies and small pits.  Each time you play a game you can rest easily knowing that you will win. The only challenge lies in finding and collecting the hidden coins in each level.  Some are out in the open but others require some very specific timing to grab. There are enough coins in the game that I got bored and gave up before I was able to collect them all.

I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of content in this game. There are 24 levels, each with 15 hidden coins. You also have a world building mode where you can decorate the Mushroom Kingdom with various buildings and shrubberies. Most endless runners have repeating scenery and frequent prompts for you to spend more $$$. Super Mario Run has none of that.

My kids tried playing the game but were unimpressed. “He moves to fast” or “How do I go back?” were common complaints. I tried to explain to them the philosophy behind one handed play, the limitations of touch screen only controls and the need to support Nintendo’s experimentation on other hardware but mostly they’re only interested in playing games they find fun. Kids these days.

Overall I’d say that I don’t regret spending 10$ on this game. I can give this game no higher praise.

Is it fun: Yes
Score: 5/10
Length: ~3 hours
System: iOS
Genre: Endless Runner