Super Mario Run (Android) Review

By Thom Compton 16.04.2017 5

Review for Super Mario Run on Android

Auto-runners, also called infinite runners or "That game like Canabalt," are all over the Google Play Store. There's an easy explanation for this, from a coding standpoint. They're generally pretty easy to make. From a business standpoint, consumers love them, so it's only natural that over time, many companies would take popular characters, and then give them all the gas with no brakes, so to speak. Super Mario Run is one such example to hit the Android, but it falters more than flies.

Super Mario Run starts off with a tutorial, because it's a game and it wants players to know how it works. For the first 15 minutes or so, expect to be treated to tutorial after tutorial, until eventually you know it all - and then, just as you put on your cap and gown to graduate from Super Mario Run tutorial school, it launches another tutorial.

Nintendo has been criticised for using too many tutorials in its games, and excessive hand holding. Super Mario Run isn't doing any favours in combating that argument. If Mario dies too many times, there's an Easy mode. Too many times, by the way, equals once. The excessive hand holding and tutorials get old, but it does all end. Well, the tutorials, anyway.

The first world of Super Mario Run is free to play, and the microtransactions come out in full swing. Now, to its credit, they aren't anymore shameful here than anywhere else. Once the three free levels are beaten, the game tasks players with unlocking the boss stage. They can go kill the enemies, find all the hidden coins, or just pay for the full game to unlock it. It makes sense, because money is how Nintendo, like many other organisations, continues to produce content. Sure, the worlds are all fairly short, and it makes it feel like more of a demo if you aren't sure if you want to buy the whole thing. This is all more of a word of warning for those who didn't know how the game was set up.

Screenshot for Super Mario Run on Android

This all sounds like a fair amount of griping, but when it comes to the actually experience, Super Mario Run manages to justify its name. From bouncing off of Goombas to special blocks that fling Mario forward, any series fan could easily justify purchasing the entire title. With the inclusion of the modern New Super Mario Bros. graphics, everything looks crisp and refined, even on older smartphones. While the packaging may turn many away at the door, then, Super Mario Run is, as a game, incredibly refined.

The star of the show is the controls, which manage to feel very natural. Some runners (another term) require weird use of the phone, at least if the player is not familiar with them at first. Here, anyone should be able to grasp the controls, because the special moves are just modifications of standard moves. For example, there are blocks that fling Mario across the screen. This means he can just use the standard jump, and the game does all the heavy lifting for him. This is a major plus, as Super Mario Run relies heavily on timing, even more than a lot of other games in the genre. Smashing enemies requires really good timing, or else you'll find yourself floating in a bubble, waiting to try it again - because Mario died, in case that wasn't clear.

Screenshot for Super Mario Run on Android

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Despite an introduction that almost assumes players have never played a game before, this is a title that can be justified purchasing. There's plenty of content to dive into, and the gameplay itself is wonderfully crafted. If you don't believe it, the first three levels and - depending on your skill - a boss run are available for free. At that price, it's at least worth a try.

Developer

Nintendo

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

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

Comments

Found this a bit boring when I played it. When I came back to it, then I realised you need to pay to unlock past world 1. That's when I put it down for good. There's probably some decent gameplay in there, but it just never struck a chord with me tbh, and nothing I'd want to pay for anyway. Sounds like the model they went with didn't work out as well as a proper f2p model would have either. Curious to see how they adapt Animal Crossing's model. A full game, but allowing users to pay for clothes and furniture sounds like it could be easy money for Nintendo.

I quite liked perfecting a stage, grabbing all the special coins, and then challenging it again to get the next set of coins...yet there was no reward other than self satisfaction. If Nintendo offered an extra few free stages for completing a level perfectly and within a set time, it'd encourage me to go back and push even harder. Instead, I don't touch this at all now, not even for the Toad Rallies.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
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Our member of the week

I've been keeping at this daily, for the MyNintendo coins for playing one Toad Rally a day. I'm just trying to complete the mission of unlocking Peache's cake, and I'm getting there, slowly but surely, but I don't play it much other than that.

What I found outrageous however is that levels you paid for and unlocked on iOS aren't automatically unlocked on Android. Your save data for all levels, the coloured coins you collected in each etc carry over, so Nintendo KNOWS you bought it from your save data being tied to your Nintendo account, but still they demand that you pay up a second time. It runs a bit choppy on my iPad and my phone is more capable so I was hoping to move over to my phone when the Android version came out, but that was not to be. I'm not paying a second time for this. I shouldn't have to.

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

That makes me think about other games on other systems. Normally, I wouldn't expect that, say, my save data/purchases in a PS4 game can be transferred/unlocked if I play the game on Xbox or something, but I do think that certain games allow for that kind of readability by using particular online accounts, such as your EA user account or whatever. It should be known that you purchased a specific set of content on one system and have it unlocked on another. For that reason, I wish it was also much easier to transfer your save data between two different system versions of the same game. Why should I have to play a totally separate set of game data on Xbox over PS4?

It's an interesting one, but I think in this case with Nintendo, if it knows full well that you have purchased the game on one system and there is really theoretically nothing stopping you from transferring/unlocking that data to the other system, that to me is definitely direct money-grabbing cheapness. It is things like that that would really go some way to giving companies a good name if they allowed such practices of transferring and one-off fees that unlocks things across all versions of a game.

It's a real shame I can't think of more instances of this where companies allow multi-system one-instance purchases. It's not quite the same as your unlocking of game data, but I remember Sony working something out that you could transfer your Xbox 360 GTA5 save data to the PS4 version of the game. That may have been a one-off thing, and if so, that's a real shame that it's not freely possible to switch back and forth, but there definitely needs to be more of that kind of thing. I understand the rivalry of competitive platforms, but I wish more of this was commonplace in the industry.

What I found outrageous however is that levels you paid for and unlocked on iOS aren't automatically unlocked on Android. Your save data for all levels, the coloured coins you collected in each etc carry over, so Nintendo KNOWS you bought it from your save data being tied to your Nintendo account, but still they demand that you pay up a second time. It runs a bit choppy on my iPad and my phone is more capable so I was hoping to move over to my phone when the Android version came out, but that was not to be. I'm not paying a second time for this. I shouldn't have to.

You're absolutely right, you shouldn't have to. It would be one thing if you had to re-earn everything you'd already done, but since all the data comes over, and just gets locked behind a pay wall, that's a bit ridiculous. Why should you pay a second time just to keep the things you already earned? I can only think maybe this is a fault on Android, perhaps not releasing the license to play the full game even if you have a Nintendo account that shows you bought it.

 

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