'Super Mario Run' brings Nintendo's star to mobile gaming

Fans of Mario have been waiting for the intrepid plumber and beau of Princess Peach to make an appearance on a mobile game for quite some time. With “Super Mario Run,” those fans get their wish, but did they get the game they were hoping for?

“Super Mario Run” is an iOS game where players can jump, flip or tumble over obstacles and enemies in a constantly moving, sidescrolling adventure through six different worlds. The game is free to start, with the first three levels of world 1 available.

Once those are done, players can also opt for a brief amount of time to play the castle level of world 1, but any further advancement unlocks with a one-time payment of $9.99. Nintendo avoided the potential for micro-payments or pay-as-you-go, opting for a one time unlock.

The game feels like a Mario game, with familiar enemies and recognizable environments. The object, as always, is collect the coins, climb the flagpole and rescue Princess Peach from the clutches of Bowser (again).

In the mobile game, Mario is constantly moving, and players are limited to just making him jump or flip using a tap on the screen. Holding the tap longer means a higher jump.

Jumping platforms assist with super jumps, and special blocks will actually fling Mario backwards for a short distance. He can also use walls to propel himself back to pick up coins or blocks.

Mario can still jump on his enemies, but the new mechanic actually allows him to tumble over Goombas. Instead of starting over with a new life when he dies, Mario reappears in a bubble that slowly floats backward and can be released anywhere with a tap of the screen.

With the full unlock, there are six worlds with three levels plus a castle or ship at the end, a total of 24 different environments to explore. Players are scored on how many coins they collect in each level, with specially colored coins adding extra to the totals. Those colors change once each set is collected, giving a challenge for replaying the levels.

The sights and sounds are familiar to Mario games. The enemies and challenges are easily recognizable. But that’s not all contained within the game.

The coins can be used to rebuild the kingdom, buying houses, decorations and statues. Some of the houses have bonus games for additional coins and tickets to play yet another mode, Toad Rally.

Toad Rally pits players against other players in a skills competition to collect coins and pull off tricks to impress Toads, the mushroom hat-wearing denizens of Mario’s worlds. Collect the most coins and Toad fans to win.

What do you win? More Toads for your kingdom, but they also count toward competition with friends in the app. Friend codes can be shared with others to connect people together.

In the Friend List, people are ranked on how many Toads they’ve attracted in the Toad Rally mode. But friends can also spur players on during the main game by challenging each other for the most coins gathered in each world.

There have been complaints that $10 for the game is too expensive, considering the price of other mobile games, or that there isn’t enough to do in the game to warrant the cost. Whether the game is worth the money is up to the individual, but there is a lot to the game when you challenge your friends.

For Nintendo, the time they took to put something worthy of Mario is evident. The music, colors, characters and challenges all hit players right in the nostalgia, but there is enough of a difference in gameplay and modes to make “Super Mario Run” feel like something new.

As always, the goal is about finding the princess at the end, which is all every Mario player hopes to do in a Mario game.

This post was done with a downloaded copy of the game through the iOS app store and subsequently unlocked through a purchase. There is no rating for this game. It is only available for iOS devices.