Super Mario Run hands-on preview: Nintendo was kind enough to give us a sneak peek at Super Mario Run for iOS and Android, ahead of the game’s official launch on December 15. Here’s our hands-on preview of the new Mario mobile game and a video revealing the World Tour and Toad Rally mode gameplay.
In case you don’t know, Nintendo’s billing this as “a true Mario platformer that you can play entirely with one hand.” It’s also the first Mario game designed specifically for mobile devices.
It adopts the same side-scrolling 3D visual style as the likes of New Super Mario Bros. U, with Mario constantly moving through the stage to the right. Your taps and swipes affect how he traverses each level and along the way you’ll run into familiar obstacles like goombas, piranha plants and koopas, as you try to collect as many coins as possible.
World Tour mode, which forms the meat of the game, is divided into multiple worlds, each with four stages – three different levels and a castle at the end. The aim in World Tour is to collect five special coloured coins (pink, purple or black) along the way, whilst also collecting as many regular gold coins as possible.
The challenge comes with how you forge a path through each stage, with special blocks letting Mario perform more complicated actions beyond just running and jumping, such as long jumping, reversing direction and flipping. As the player has no direct control over stopping Mario, these direction blocks are essential to ensuring the player can collect as many coins as possible and choose one of the many branching paths running through each stage.
Whilst you won’t find a tanooki suit lying about, Super Mario Run does feature a number of power-ups, including bubbles, which lets you rewind back through the course and reattempt a section of your choosing, along with the power star, which absorbs coins in towards Mario as he runs along.
Choosing which of the three sets of specially coloured coins to play for also affects small elements within each level to add greater replay value.
As well as blazing through worlds solo you can also square off against your friends or other real players in Toad Rally mode, which offers asynchronous multiplayer to not only amass coins but land style points by more carefully tapping, swiping and using the environment to your advantage. The more stylish you are, the more toads gather to cheer you on.
Coins have always been a fundamental part of the Mario universe, but in Super Mario Run, you can turn those coins into actual items to decorate your Mushroom Kingdom in the game’s third mode: Kingdom Builder. You can add mushroom houses, unlock bonus games and play using new characters, however, select items require specific toads to be living in your kingdom, with five colours of toad to win over during toad rally and a rally ticket required each time you play.
When it comes to actual gameplay, Mario is more animated than we’ve seen from previous side scrolling games too, with short presses and long presses resulting in different jump animations, rebounding and sliding off walls and encountering the various block types that cause Mario to stop, change direction or long jump.
You can watch us going hands-on with Super Mario Run below:
We’ll be able to bring you more once Super Mario Run officially launches on December 15, available exclusively on iOS at launch, for $9.99 or an expected £7.99 in the UK with no in-app purchases to speak of. You can play the game from Thursday, December 8th in Apple Stores across the world.