Different to the usual offerings from Mario, Super Mario Run has Mario automatically run horizontally stopping the player from backtracking. The player is able to reach platforms behind them if they time a wall-jump, which can be performed by jumping as Mario grabs onto a wall, vaulting them backwards. This is likely due to the nature of mobile games; to stop clutter on the screen or to have a poor control system, the auto-run system works well and the level designs go hand-in-hand with it. One of the biggest flaws this system has is that it takes away from the spirit of it being a Mario title having one of the most definitive factors removed from your ability.
Another new ability that Mario has is the ability to vault over simple enemies such as Goombas just by walking into them, which also takes away from the spirit of Mario, instead of having the feeling of dying to the first Goomba in World 1-1 you see him vault over it as if he could have always done that. It doesn't even translate too well into mobile; the decision may have been made to simplify the content for newcomers in a mass market but with only one action of control now, tapping, it is already simplified enough.
A more tolerable change in Super Mario Run is the addition of bubbles, players are given charges of bubble that saves Mario when he would normally lose a life in addition to the usual Mushroom power-ups. This change works well within the mobile environment as it keeps the flow of gameplay moving at a quick pace and stops the annoyance of having to re-enter a level if you die or find yourself stuck in a particularly challenging section.
The best addition in Super Mario Run is the inclusion of coloured coin levels. Each level has 5 coins placed or hidden within them. Each level has 3 coloured coin levels; Pink (Easy), Purple (Medium) and Black (Hard). This highlights the excellent level design and causes the player to think carefully about any sections they have left unchecked or previous location that seemed like they made have hidden a secret. Additionally, some coins are in plain sight but may be difficult to reach requiring a bit of skill to grab them. This elongates content, something which is vital within a mobile environment.
Super Mario run also introduces new types of blocks, the most notable being the Pause Block which stops the timer and Mario until the player performs an action or the Arrow Block that causes Mario to vault rapidly in the direction of the arrow point. These work very well in the transition to mobile as they let the player plan new routes and paths which is esential for the coloured coin levels.
There are 3 main game modes in Super Mario Run;
Tour: This works in a similar fashion to the usual offerings from Mario where there are Worlds with multiple levels (in this case 3 and a castle). A bit shorter than usual especially with shorter level sizes but it works well for mobile with the inclusion of the coloured coin levels. Golden Goombas often appear in levels that are highlighted with them where the player must find the random golden goomba to earn a stamp; this part of the game doesn't seem very necessary. The main downside being that the all Worlds except World 1 must be purchased for a fairly large price considering the platform. This price would put a large portion of a playerbase off purchasing the entire game.
Toad Rally: The player must compete against other players (their 'ghosts') and defeat their score on specific levels gaining rewards. Players must spend Toad Tickets to compete in these rallies which are earned or purchased for real money. The system works well for what it aims to achieve, however, it can get a bit boring doing the same levels over and over.
Build Mode: The player has a hub which they can customise, purchasing more slots of land and building toad houses to benefit them in the game using currency which is earned or purchased. This system works very well for mobile.
Mario's first mobile adventure has many interesting ideas but isn't as hard hitting as it could have been.
Mario Mechanics: One of the biggest flaws of Super Mario Run is the addition of enemy vaulting, it takes away a lot from the game, makes the game flow weaker when trying to jump between enemies and simplifies the game too much.
The simple solution would be to remove vaulting completely or at least transfer it to ground blocks to keep the flow of the auto-run system.
The auto-run system does work well and there isn't much to be done about it taking away from the spirit of the franchise, however, if more mobile Mario titles were to be created then this system will likely become a staple of Mobile Mario's kit removing the potential issue entirely.
Purchasing: The price point of the other Worlds is far too high especially for a game without endless content (Toad Rallies have the player become too burned out with the low amount of levels there are).
A lower price point or more focus on the build mode would be the solution to this, instead of having the player earn so much that they don't need to make in-game purchases.
Super Mario Run falls flat compared to its predecessors, however, it is a good first attempt at introducing Mario to the mobile market which is hopefully a sign towards more mobile Nintendo franchises.
What I Would Change
Super Mario Run
Developed by Nintendo EPD and released in 2016, Super Mario Run is an Auto-Side-Scrolling Platformer game being one of the first big mobile games from Nintendo. The game received generally positive reception; 7/10 from Polygon and 4/5 stars from GamesRadar and has been downloaded close to 150 million times as of April 2017.
Bowser has once again kidnapped Princess Peach and Mario must make his way through the Mushroom Kingdom and defeat him in his castle. Players don't control Mario's horizontal movement for once as he auto-runs his way through each level within a set time limit, however, the player can control his actions through tapping and different block interactions.
How does Mario's first mobile adventure hold up?