Super Mario Run, the first high-profile Mario game for a non-Nintendo device in decades, just dropped on the App Store. The full game costs $9.99; a three-level preview is available for free.
I’ll tell you right out the gate: it’s worth the $10. We got to play the game at Nintendo’s preview event last week. This isn’t some half-assed endless runner clone, but simply a great mobile game — an entirely new Mario experience, built from the ground up around the constraints of one-handed play and directed by Shigeru Miyamoto himself. (Considering that the next-cheapest current-generation Mario game costs more than twice that, Super Mario Run is a bargain.)
Above: the author testing Super Mario Run.
And it really does feel different from its predecessors. If anything, it plays a bit more like Sonic than Mario. The game challenges you to master Mario’s constant forward momentum with tiered platforms that can only be reached with perfectly timed jumps; this creates something of a beginner’s path and an expert’s path within each level. While simply getting through a level is satisfying, collecting the special coins on the upper level is a special symbol of accomplishment. And as with Sonic, the real punishment for doing poorly is the very feeling of stumbling around and not going fast. Because it’s really fun to go fast.
Check out Super Mario Run on the App Store now; Android users, stay tuned for a release date “at some point in the future.”