Super Mario Run is Nintendo at its very core. It’s fun and has that replayability factor that most Nintendo games have. This game may not be the Super Mario Bros. you’re used to, but that’s kind of what needed to happen. Mario needed to adapt for mobile devices and he did just that, with style.
The first thing you’ll realize is that Mario runs through levels automatically; you’re only in charge of tapping the screen to make him jump. This may sound like a bad idea, but it works really well and doesn’t take the challenge away from the game. I still found myself dying several times in some of the tougher levels (and in some of the easy levels too, but we won’t dwell on that). The height of Mario’s jump depends on how long you hold your finger on the screen. Mario cartwheels over some enemies automatically, but you can still die if you jump into them.
The full game has 24 full levels, including boss levels, and shouldn’t take you more than two hours to finish. Super Mario Run isn’t about racing to complete the game as quickly as you can. It’s about revisiting the levels you already beat and collecting special coins that you use to unlock features for your kingdom builder. The kingdom builder is a nice add-on to the game, but doesn’t feel like a completely realized feature. It’s just sort of there as a small distraction from the actual game. You won’t likely spend much time messing around with it.
Super Mario Run also lets you compete against your friends for high scores. It’s a fun feature that adds some extra replayability to the game. Toad rally is the last mode in Super Mario Run and it’s a good one. You compete against other players’ coin count within levels from the main game and try to outdo them in “style.” You gain or lose Toads based on whether or not you beat your opponent. It’s a cool feature, but I found myself losing more often than winning.
Super Mario Run’s weakest aspects are the graphics and the music. They’re akin to the New Super Mario Bros. series, which I consider “passable.” They’re barebones and don’t really have any sort of “wow” factor. I wish Nintendo had pushed the artistic style of the game much further.
So the real issue is if Super Mario Run is worth the $10 asking price. I’d say that it is, but only if you’re the type who enjoys replaying levels with increasing challenge and competing against your friends. If you’re looking for a long Mario game, look elsewhere. Ultimately, Super Mario Run is a fantastic addition to Mario’s long list of games.