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Game Review: Super Mario Run (Mobile)

Game Review: Super Mario Run (Mobile)
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Game Name: Super Mario Run
Platforms: iOS/Android
Publisher(s): Nintendo
Developer(s): Nintendo
Genre(s): Platform-scroll
Release Date: December 15, 2016

Mobile gamers and Mario lovers alike have been sitting impatiently for months now for the anticipated release of the newest mobile hit…Super Mario Run.

And the best part…is that it is free to download.

Now while the game provides a new dynamic in gameplay for Mario beyond the typical platformer, this one seems to fall short in my books really fast.

The game starts out with a cut scene, where lovable Princess Peach has invited Mario to her castle to enjoy some delicious cake with her. Yumm! But in typical Mario series fashion, here comes Bowser to break up the happy occasion and kidnap Peach (alongside the cake). Mario once again vows to save the Princess from the clutches of Bowser.

The game then take you to the land of the Mushroom Kingdom, that is looking quite empty after Bowser is done with the land. No Toads running amuck, no Mushroom houses, no spunky energy. You are then given the choice of two pipes to take, green pipe for Tour (which is the main campaign) or red pipe for Rally (which is where you race other players in a simulation level to race and collect Toads for your Kingdom). Coins that you collect in game can be used to buy special Mushroom Houses, decorations and other oddities, and allows for you to customize your Mushroom Kingdom to be uniquely yours.

The Tour part of the game is a 6 world, 4 level layout, wherein you just have to get to the end of the level, capturing all of the 6 purple coins and regular coins that you can and jump on the flag to end the level. Each world ends with a Bowser castle, which you need to complete to move onto the next level. Ultimately at the end of World 6, is the big battle against Bowser to save the Princess.

The Rally part of the game pits you against other players on the server to race and collect coins and items while performing special moves to gain “Toad approval”. The better of a player you are, the more Toads that will cheer for you. The player with the most Toad approval at the end wins and gains a reward of Toads for the kingdom and some tokens or coins. In order to race in the Rally, you must possess a race token, so don’t be too slack on when you choose to race.

The gameplay is extremely simplistic. Mario is a free scrolling character, who is constantly running. You control when and how high he jumps based on timing and length of tap pressure to the screen. Your goal is to jump and collect as many of the coins (regular and purple) as you can while Mario runs (and at quite a quick pace it seems), until you reach the end of the level. Enemies, no problem….Mario vaults over them with no damage taken. And those nasty pitfalls that usually end a turn in Mario, no fear. Mario is saved by a bubble that floats him back up to the game area,  and with a pop of the bubble, he continues off from where he left off. The only hit you take is the loss of a few coins at a cost for hitting a pitfall.

So even though the game is very simple to play…and is free to download… it is attention grabbing as it takes focus and skill to get perfect scoring on the levels. The kicker, and the primary reason why I am disappointed with this game, is the sudden smack in the face of the game asking for you to purchase the full game to continue to play once you reach Bowser’s Castle in World 1. Sure, some probably think, well of course this game is going to cost something….mobile games are expensive to design. But a $14.00 price tag for this game seems quite hefty. The game doesn’t seem to have much more depth besides the constant tapping of your screen to make Mario jump to collect coins and avoid pitfalls. Enemies don’t cause Mario damage. Levels are short. There is no new fresh storyline.

While this game is an okay one to play once in awhile, I have already deleted it from my phone as I cannot justify paying this high cost for a game that doesn’t have anything new and interesting to add to the already overrun Mario series. Compared to many other gaming apps on the market at this time, Super Mario Run fails to keep my interest.

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