Mario lovers, rejoice. You can now play with the mustachioed plumber no matter where you go. Here’s what you need to know before you download Super Mario Run.
Who’s it for?
The game was released on December 15 exclusively on iOS and is playable on the iPhone and iPad. Nintendo is planning an Android release for March 23, but Windows users will likely never see the game on the platform. You can preregister for Super Mario Run on Android so you’re notified when the game is released.
Old-school Mario fans will instantly recognize that the gameplay looks like New Super Mario Bros. with slightly better graphics. But you can only go forward, up and down.
The game reminds me a lot of Flappy Bird in that way. Like in the much-imitated bird game, your character moves through the levels on his own. You just need to tap the screen with your finger to make him jump. The longer you hold your finger down, the higher he jumps. That’s all there is to it.
A good jump into certain game elements can make Mario perform extra maneuvers, though. For example, jumping into the ceiling in certain areas can make Mario climb across the ceiling over obstacles. Jumping on arrows can boost Mario’s jumping power to get coins that are just out of reach.
There are three different game modes. The first is a single-player mode, called World Tour. The goal is to get as many coins as you can and end up at the flagpole at the end of the level before your time runs out, so you can defeat perennial baddie Bowser and save Princess Peach.
You don’t really have to avoid Goombas anymore — Mario jumps over them automatically — but you can smash them with a well-timed jump. You can also slide down slopes into Goombas to knock them off the map. This mode has six worlds filled with 24 brand-new courses.
The second mode is Toad Rally , where you can “challenge the play data of other players to show who can beat a course with the most style to impress Toads into joining you,” according to Nintendo. You basically choose someone to battle, then that person races alongside you. Fancy jumps, flips and more can be used to impress the Toads watching the race. The more you impress, the more Toads you collect, which can be used as currency in another mode. The player with the highest score wins.
Each time you play, the course changes, which keeps you on your toes. You can’t play Toad Rally without Rally Tickets. You can get tickets in many ways throughout the game, for example, you get some when you clear a world and from bonus games in your kingdom.
The third mode puts your Toads that you’ve collected to good use. In the Mushroom Kingdom, using your coins and Toads, you can unlock items to build your own kingdom. You can choose from green pipes, flags, stairs, question mark boxes and more.
Can you play it without an internet connection?
No, you can’t. You can read Nintendo’s justification for that decision here.
What does it cost?
The game is free to download and play, at least for a little while. You’ll then have to make a one-off in-app payment to access the full game. For $9.99 in the US, AU$14.99 in Australia and £7.99 in the UK, you can play all six worlds.
Beware of fakers
There are a lot of fake Mario Runs in the Apple Store and the Play Store, but there are some easy ways to avoid them.
First, if it’s in the Google Play store, it isn’t real. Like I mentioned before, Mario Run isn’t available on Android phones just yet.
Second, make sure the name is Mario Run. Mario Run Jumper, Plumber Run and others with various names are knock-offs.
Third, the real Mario Run will be listed as “by Nintendo Co., Ltd.” Any other name next to the “by” in the app store means you’re about to download a fake.
You can see more at the game’s official App Store page or its Google Play page.