It feels like we have travelled back in time to 1985, when the first-ever Super Mario Bros. was launched. The buzz around is about a new Mario game, which has been created by none other than Shigeru Miyamoto himself. But the year is 2016, and the new game in question is the Super Mario Run, which has been launched exclusively for the iOS platform. For the time being at least. Since its release last night, we have spent some time playing the game, and here are our first impressions.
The premise of Super Mario Run is as simple as it gets. Bowser is at it again, and there is unrest in the Mushroom Kingdom. The flame-throwing reptile in his Koopa Clown Car has destroyed most of the Kingdom and has also kidnapped Princess Peach. Mario, like the gentleman he is, has to not only rescue Princess, but also has to rebuild the kingdom and get the toads back. You are greeted with the similar side-scrolling setting, but this time Mario runs by himself, and you only need to tap on the screen to make him jump over obstacles and oncoming enemies.
You only need to tap the screen once for Mario to jump, while a firmer press will make him jump a little higher. You can also tap while he is in the air to pull off a couple of sleek moves, and if you time it right, Mario can pull off a wall jump as well. Despite having moved from consoles to handheld smartphones, Super Mario Run doesn’t feel unfamiliar, and it is pretty easy to get used to the gameplay.
Super Mario Run is divide into six worlds of four courses each, for a total of 24 maps. That doesn’t sound like a lot, and if most reviews are anything to go by, you can actually run through most of them in a few hours. But here’s where Mario Run has an advantage — replayability. The number of levels may be limited, but you can always go back to play each of them again to try and collect all the pink and purple coins for a perfect score.
The game may be free to download and play, but only the first-three levels are open to play as many times as one wants to. To unlock all the levels, one needs to pay Rs 620, which seems a bit steep in our opinion for a mobile game. Even for a game made by Nintendo. Fortunately, this is only a one-time fee, and there are no more micro-transactions in the game. All other purchases are done using the coins you collect in the game itself.
Just running through the levels to save Princess Peach isn’t the only thing that you can do in the game either. You can use the coins you collect to rebuild your kingdom by adding new buildings and other props. There is also another game mode called Toad Rally, which can only be played if you have a Rally Ticket. These tickets can be collected by completing levels, achievements, and collecting the special coins. The idea of this game mode is to play against another player and race to collect more coins and pull off moves to please the watching crowd. At the end of the race, the player collecting more coins wins.
In the short time we have spent with Super Mario Run, we are quite excited and a bit starry-eyed to be honest. It feels great to play a new Mario game after such a long time, and it doesn’t disappoint. If we were to nitpick though, the constant need for an internet connection is baffling and downright frustrating. We tried playing the game in our office parking lot, and an error message popped up about bad connection. This also means, you cannot play Super Mario Run when on trains, or planes where there is bad or no internet connectivity. The game is also currently restricted to iOS, and Android users will have to wait till 2017. In the meantime, we will be taking a much closer look at the Super Mario Run game in our detailed review. So stay tuned.
Photo: Ritesh Bendre