Super Mario Run Review

We think it is fair to say that there are two types of people in the world. Those who have played computer games, and those who have not. If you are in the former category we would place a substantial bet that you have played Super Mario. In fact, the small, jumping, moustachioed, Italian plumber has been a cultural icon for so long that even if you are not in the group of people who have played computer games, it is quite likely that you will know his image. After all, Mario has been with us for more than thirty years!

Super Mario Run review

A big deal.

It has got to be a big deal when a new version of Super Mario is launched. The question is just how excited we should be about this new version, Super Mario Run.

Possibly the real big deal is that previously Nintendo have been reluctant to publish games for any platform other than their own Game Boy. It was a break from that tradition when Super Mario Run was launched for just iOS devices in December 2016. Messrs Nintendo and Apple made a massive deal of it, a huge amount of hype before the launch. An Android version is due in 2017. Nintendo seem to have sought some consolation for deviating from their principles by charging a rather high $10 for the iOS version of their most famous game. You can download the software and play three levels for free. That is not a unique model, but it seems a very reasonable way to see if youwant to run and jump some more.

Game play.

And that is mostly what it is all about. You can now play Super Mario on your iOS. You do indeed, as the title says, run. You run from left to right across the screen of your device and, by tapping the screen, you jump. The length of time which you tap the screen for determines how high Mario jumps. That is it! You play on your iOS device, your iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad and you run from left to right, and you jump to different heights. Whether that appeals to you might be surprising though.

Super Mario Run review

The challenge for game designers has always been to make the game accessible enough that people want to play it. For a start, if it takes too long to simply find out how to work the game, a lot of us give up. No danger of that with Super Mario Run, it really could not be simpler.

Then, the challenge offered by the game needs to be easy enough to tempt people to play, and then to persist in playing, based on some level of success. If the player immediately fails, then fails again, and finds it difficult to make any progress, most of us will give up quite easily. Some of the hardier game players might persist, but many will give up.

Then, the other side of the coin is that if the levels are too easy, if there is very little challenge to the player, there will not be very much interest generated, the player will not be engaged and, again, many will give up surprisingly easy. The levels need to slowly increase in difficulty to keep most players interested.

The appeal.

Then! Who remembers Lemmings, more recently Angry Birds? Like some other famous games, some of Super Mario’s attraction has always been based on the insanely appealing character. How can the graphics in these games transmit so much appeal? We installed Super Mario Run on an iPhone 6 plus, and can confirm that Mario still puts a smile on your face.

Super Mario Run reviews

However, the appeal has also been a lot about Nintendo finding the right balance between making the game too easy or too hard. Whether that is an art or a science is debatable, but they have mostly managed to keep the players engaged, and hooked into playing the game, with the gradient of difficulty between levels (as Snow White might say) ‘just right’. We really wouldn’t be here, thirty years later, if that was not the case, would we?

When we installed the game and, as we’ve said, the graphics are just, plain and simple, cute. There is also a very nice introductory sequence, taking you through how to play the game in just a couple of minutes. The general response in the first weeks has, it seems, been mixed. Broadly, journalists have given Super Mario Run positive reviews with high ratings. It does seem as if the public might not be quite so enthusiastic. Whether that is some sort of reaction to the high price, or some sort of follow my leader mentality, we actually really enjoyed the game.

The conclusion.

Whether it is one for you is something that, of course, onlyyou can decide. Surely it is clear though, that if you are looking for an intellectual challenge, with a great deal of puzzling and challenges to sort out, Mario was never for you. However, if you’re looking for something very simple, and fun, to distract you for ten, twenty or thirty minutes, this might be just the thing. Stuck in the dentist’s waiting room for a while, you no longer need a Game Boy, you can take out your iPhone and enjoy a bit of distracting silliness for however long you like. There really is not much wrong with some distracting silliness, is there?

Super Mario Run gets a thumbs up from us. The reports are that 40 million people have downloaded Super Mario Run from the iTunes store. That means that from just the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch users in the world, an enormous number of people are at least prepared to give it a try. We agree that it may well put a smile on your face.

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