Super Mario Run (iOS) Review

By David Lovato 27.12.2016 2

Review for Super Mario Run on iOS

When Nintendo announced it would begin developing games for mobile phones, the gaming industry eagerly waited to see what they'd do. First came the casual messaging app Miitomo, and then Nintendo partnered with Niantic and allowed them to develop Pokémon Go. Then, in 2016, Shigeru Miyamoto made a surprise appearance at Apple's annual iPhone event to announce Super Mario Run, an auto-scrolling game featuring characters from the Mario world.

Super Mario Run features six worlds, each containing three standard levels and a boss level. The first three levels are free, with the rest of them being locked behind a paywall. This is where much of the game's criticism comes in, as it's a bit steep for a mobile game. The game's World Tour mode, featuring these worlds and levels, isn't very long, but does offer a few challenges. A lot of the classic Mario features are present, but they're presented in a different way: Mario runs on his own, and players control only his jumps.

It may sound simple, but Nintendo has implemented a lot of challenges, as well. Certain blocks, for example, will make Mario jump backward if pressing the jump button while he's on them. Players can also perform tricks by tapping while Mario jumps on enemies, as well as long-tapping to change the height of Mario's jumps. It adds a layer of strategy to the classic Mario mix, and on the whole the game is more fast-paced and a little more exhilarating than most Mario games are known for, and physics and timing matter much like they did back in the NES days.

Screenshot for Super Mario Run on iOS

The overall story is barebones: Bowser kidnaps the princess, Mario must rescue her, there's a cake involved. Players have a bit more to do, however; the Mushroom Kingdom is destroyed, and it's up to them to collect enough Toads to rebuild it. Coins can be used to purchase decorations and special buildings that feature things like daily bonus runs. This is where Rally mode comes in; players challenge other players' scores in an asynchronous match, and the winner collects various coloured Toads to unlock more buildings and level up their Mushroom Kingdom.

Rally mode costs tickets to play, and these can be somewhat rare. Collecting the five pink coins throughout each level will net a ticket, as well as unlock a challenge of getting five purple coins (followed by five black coins), and the daily bonus games have a chance to unlock one, but on the whole, these can be a little too hard to come by. Still, Rally mode, as well as the ability to unlock characters with different attributes, adds a bit of replay value to the app.

Screenshot for Super Mario Run on iOS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Super Mario Run is a step, albeit a small one, above the average mobile gaming experience. Nintendo definitely put some effort in, and there's a stark contrast to the main series that makes the experience a unique one. The lack of World Tour levels, scarcity of Rally tickets, and steep price are the app's main setbacks, but the core gameplay, between collecting Toads and building the Mushroom Kingdom and playing a more intense, timing-based Mario game, is a solid, fun experience. It's not going to change the mobile gaming industry, but it's a great first step for a classic company many feared simply wouldn't "get" modern mobile gaming, and offers a lot of promise for Nintendo's future outings on the platform.






2D Platformer



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


I've been having enough fun with this without buying the rest of the stages. Trying to collect all of the special challenge coins on the few three stages, doing the daily free run, getting tickets to do the challenge runs...that's enough for me.

I don't specifically feel a strong desire to lay out £8 for the other stages as I feel this is just a throwaway game, rather than an in-depth Mario title. I wouldn't pay money for Flappy Bird, and I don't want to pay money for this, either.

It's an odd opinion, even when thinking about it myself, but it's possibly because of how the whole mobile model normally works. I do wonder if Nintendo will eventually offer the chance to trade in points, coins, or set "win x number of challenges" to unlock more of the core game, or if it will ignore the recent backlash and stubbornly stick to its guns.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Rally mode costs tickets to play, and these can be somewhat rare.

I think you just haven't discovered how to really get them. They're actually wicked easy to get and most of the time I get maxed out at 99.

Besides getting all the coins in a level, the two key ways are:
- Buying Item Boxes (with in game coins) and placing them in your kingdom
- Playing the daily bonus games.

the daily bonus games have a chance to unlock one [ticket], but on the whole, these can be a little too hard to come by

It sounds like you didn't unlock or play any of the other bonus games. In the first bonus game you unlock your max prize is 1 ticket. But in the subsequent bonus games you unlock, you can get tons. From the bonus level games I usually get at least 5, with upwards of nearly 20 a day.

You can buy Item Boxes and place them in your kingdom. You can tap them to get either coins or tickets (and they aren't one-time-use only, they refill after a couple hours and can be tapped again).Just yesterday I got 20 from a single large item box I bought for 500 coins.

And of course, as you mentioned, there are the ones you get each time you collect all the coins in a level.

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