Super Mario Run

*Edited and Updated 12/17/2016 1:07PM

Nintendo’s real first mobile game is finally here!  After it’s initial announcement, many signed up to be notified when the game became available on 12/15/16.  Wait, didn’t Nintendo already make a few apps? “What about Pokemon Go, Miitomo, or Pokemon Shuffle,” you say?  Well Miitomo was a Social App and nearly all of my friends have stopped using it.  Pokemon Go has also lost its initial craze; though Nintendo owns Pokemon, it wasn’t a game made by them directly.  Ninantic gets the credit for Pokemon Go; Pokemon Shuffle was made directly by The Pokemon Company.  It’s now been about 48 hours since Super Mario Run released on the iOS (Android release set for 2017) and like with anything Nintendo does, people both love and hate it.  I was surprised to see how low its rating was when I checked just now on the app store.  But their reasons aren’t that off the wall.  Here are my initial thoughts on the game.

Game Type: Mobile – wifi or data required
Age Appropriate: 4+
Price: Free download includes a lite version/Unlocked full game costs $9.99
Currently Featured on iTunes with a 2.5 Star rating

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All Photos are Screen Shots from my iPhone 7

Overall
I am one of the ones that signed up for the notification once it was released and was anticipating it since I heard the announcement.  I loved the segment Nintendo did with Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show to help promote it. The game immediately impressed me the with its quality.  It felt like the WiiU version of Mario was on my phone.  The audio and the graphics were stunning.  The game does not cost anything to download and comes with 3 modes.  World Tour lets you play the first 3 levels and a 20 second preview of the first boss level on the free version.  In Toad Rally, only Red Toads can be won.  Pay a one time fee of $9.99 and the full version unlocks giving you the 1-4 boss level, remaining 5 worlds, access to all the color Toads in Rally, and some in game bonuses.  I somehow missed that this was going to be a Pay to Play vs a Free to Play game.  Miitomo, Pokemon Go, and Pokemon Shuffle were all Free to Play, so the precedence was there.  Some of the bad reviews and bad responses online are reactions to this price being too high.  I would have spent $4.99 in a heartbeat for this game, but twice that much made me think for two days.  Regarding it’s mechanics if you were a fan of Temple Run, Subway Surfer or the more challenging jump games like Geometry Dash and Mr. Jump, you will enjoy this game.  The game stays traditional to Mario’s roots but a parkour aspect is given to him in this mobile game, making it unique at the same time.

 

Summary
World Tour, Todd Rally, and Build are available in the Lite & Full versions.
World Tour is where you go to play the regular levels on your journey to save the princess from Bowser.  Mario automatically runs through the levels and all you need to do is tap.  Each level has three different sets of colored coins to collect as you beat the level:  Pink, Purple, and Black.  The different sets are in different locations and sometimes even come with a slight variation to the same level.  This brings a lot of replay value and the difficulty to collect them increases respectively.  The game gives a good intro to the basic mechanics and has a tip section on the main screen to learn all of the available moves and terms.  These same mechanics come into play in the Todd Rally mode.
Todd Rally allows you to compete against other players head to head for a high score on various levels.  If you win, you obtain a certain amount of Toads.  You win the Rally by your total of collected coins and completed tricks or cheers from Toads.  Unlock Fun Run, this is not a live competition.  You race against a ghost record from your opponent.  This mode has its own currency separate from the gold coins.  They are called ‘Rally Tickets’ which can be won through daily Bonus Games & completing the sets of colored coins in World Tour.  The Full Version gives you Rally Tickets after completing Boss levels for the first time.  In the Tip section, any of the moves with a ‘Thumbs Up’ next to it signifies it is one of the moves that will help you earn cheers from the Toads.  The enemies you defeat in World Tour directly impact this mode.  For example, each time you stomp on a Goomba you get one coin towards your total.  But if you’ve stomped 400 Goombas in World Tour, you now get 2 coins each.  In the free version I could only win Red Toads, but there are also Blue, Green, Yellow, and Purple Toads in the Full version.  As you gain more Toads, your Castle level increases and new items become available in the Shop.  This is to help you build your very own Mushroom Kingdom.
Build is a customization aspect to the game where you can create your own kingdom with buildings, statues, and decorations that are all unique to Mario.  You spend the coins you earn through the levels in the shop to purchase the items.  Some items, however, need a certain amount of Toads to unlock, many requiring more than one color of Toad.  You can also expand your Kingdom to up to 5 different pages.

Unlockables
There are 6 playable characters.  You start with Mario and if you Link the game with a Nintendo Network ID you get Toad as well.  These two are playable in the free version.  However, to unlock Luigi, Yoshi, Peach, or Toadette you will need to purchase the full version.  I highly encourage you to connect your existing Network ID or create one.  Having a Network ID allows a data backup/recovery feature as well as unlocks another aspect of the game, Missions.  These bonus features are similar to those familiar with Miitomo.  Missions give you special Nintendo points to spend in the Rewards section to help you in the game or get items that aren’t in the normal shop.

 

Final Thoughts
I have really enjoyed the time I have spent into this game.  On the free version alone I was able to put in a solid few hours learning the game, trying all its modes, connecting socially, and getting each set of coins for each level.  It took me awhile but I finally got all 3 sets for World 1, levels 1-3.  1-3 was the hardest as you had to speed run the level with no mistakes to jump off the red koopas and time each jump just right.  Despite the replay value and the 3 different modes, I still feel like $9.99 is a bit high for their first mobile game, and one that is geared at a general audience of all ages.  It appeals to casual gamers and no matter what kind of gamer you are I think you will enjoy it.  I personally feel it’s worth the money, but I would have liked a $4-7.99 price tag a lot more.  If you own multiple devices, only one purchase is necessary.  It also lists in the App Store that family sharing is enabled.  In that respect, if you have 4 devices within the family, you’re only paying $2.25 for each person to play the game.

If you would like to add me to your friend list, I have included my Player ID below.  My nickname is Trogdor.  6 of my friends are enjoying the game so far.  I just need another 4 for that last mission 🙂

 

Pros and Cons
The only downside I see besides the price for a single user, is the required internet connection.  I understand that the social aspects of the game need this – Toad Rally, Friend List, & My Nintendo.  However, I don’t understand why the World Tour needs it.  Similar minded games that have come before it have also had a social aspect to show off your high score.   You see that as well in the World Tour as it shows your highest coin count and compares it with those on your friends list.  The game should be able to backlog your accomplishments and then update them to the server the next time it connects.  I would love if they changed this in an update.
The biggest upside for me is the social aspects.  I love competing against friends and trying to beat someone’s high score, especially someone I know personally.  You can connect your Twitter and/or Facebook Accounts to find finds that also have the game.  Or you can text or e-mail your Player ID (the picture on the right above).  At least for now, you cannot compete against your friends in Toad Rally.  Rather than racing against someone’s recorded record, I would love to see a live challenge option in Toad Rally for your friends list, similar to the idea of Fun Run.

Additional Review Sources

Nintendo Mobile

Cnet.com’s Review

The Tonight Show

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