Capsule Review: Super Mario Run

An auto-running platformer with a simple but deep control scheme where you collect coins, avoid obstacles, and defeat enemies. It has three modes - World Tour, a series of designed levels with replayability through multiple sets of challenging coins to collect, Toad Rally, which remixes the World Tour levels and tasks you with outperforming an AI ghost to earn Toads for your kingdom, and Kingdom Builder, where you use your accumulated coins and Toads to expand and customize your kingdom. World Tour is a lot of fun, with well-designed levels that are satisfying to master (though giving the player a limited number of lives bubbles seems like unnecessary punishment given the levels also have time limits already). Kingdom Builder can also be a good time if you enjoy that sort of customization, and can otherwise be mostly ignored. Toad Rally is the most problematic with several design decisions that increase its frustration (you don’t know ahead of time how well you have to do to win, you are fined Toads for losing, etc.), which is unfortunate since it seems to be where the game wants you to spend most of your time. Overall, it’s an easy recommendation if you like platformers.

EDITED TO ADD: The game received a major update on September 29, 2017, which added the ability to listen to your own music while playing, nine new levels for World Tour (though for some reason these are each locked behind an in-game achievement like finishing a particular level without stomping on any Goombas), and a new play mode called Remix 10 (presumably as a nod to Rhythm Heaven) that recombines sections of World Tour levels in a different way from Toad Rally and rewards buildings for the kingdom.

Notably, the game is free to download and lets you try out the first three World Tour levels and the other mechanics. To unlock the rest of the game is a single $10 IAP, and there are no further microtransactions. It’s more like a demo or shareware model than anything else. I really, really like this, but a lot of people were upset that the game isn’t “free” despite it clearly being set up this way to actually provide a better experience. The mobile market is a strange place.

I Stopped Playing When: I cleared World Tour (though I didn’t find all hidden coins) and fully expanded and decorated my kingdom. Grinding out all the Toads I needed in Toad Rally left a pretty sour taste in my mouth and I put the game down, though I still pop back in when there’s an event with unique buildings to earn or collect for my kingdom.

Docprof's Rating:

Three Stars: Good. I liked the game enough to finish it (or just play it a bunch, for games that don't end). I recommend it to most genre fans.

You can get it or learn more here.