Super Mario Run is Nintendo’s first game designed uniquely for mobile devices, and it comes with a hefty price tag.
Nintendo have launched ‘Super Mario Run’, their first game designed specifically for mobile devices, but currently only available on iOS devices.
Whilst the game is colourful and user friendly, Nintendo have come in for a significant amount of criticism.
Paying a Premium Price
Despite Nintendo announcing – and many media outlets reporting on – the price point for the app months ahead of release, it seems the message didn’t filter through to many consumers.
‘Super Mario Run’ is currently topping the iOS ‘Free App’ chart, but to get the most out of the game you’ll need to part with £7.99. This will open up all levels beyond the first three that are playable for free.
There’s no escaping the fact that £7.99 is a premium price when compared to most other games available via the app store. However, Nintendo’s pricing strategy differs to most developers, and one could argue that it’s actually more fair.
Most mobile games are priced intentionally low, or, in most instances, they’re free to download. Revenue is generated by in-app purchases or intrusive advertising (this is often removable for a price). Here’s where Nintendo’s pricing strategy is different for ‘Super Mario Run’. Your £7.99 gets you the entire game. No further purchases required.
Whether the price is reasonable based on playability I’ll come on to later, but to have an entire game free of advertising and the constant persuasion to purchase add-ons or power-ups or… Pokéballs! (Damn you Pokémon Go!!!) is a breath of fresh air.
Consider too the fact that Nintendo have researched, designed and developed an entirely new Mario game for a platform that’s completely new to the company.
That process will have cost a significant amount of money. Money Nintendo will be keen to recoup, and seems like they might be on-track with ‘Super Mario Run’ a mainstay in the top fifteen highest grossing chart since launch.
Not a problem if you own an iPhone or iPad, but Android users are trapped between outrage at the price and outrage at not being able to play the game at all. Fear not, Android device users are now able to register their interest in the game which means a release can’t be too far away.
But why release on only one platform? My best guess is that the resources required to support the launch of a new product on one platform is substantial enough to prove prohibitive to supporting multiple platforms. The good news for Android users is that the product has been thoroughly tested and glitches should have been resolved before the extended roll-out.
Here’s where the charm of ‘Super Mario Run’ really comes to the forefront. Simplicity in the controls is key to making the game accessible for all skill levels and playable with one hand.
There are multiple aspects to ‘Super Mario Run’ which combine to form an overall experience and a familiar soundtrack will appeal to any fan of previous Mario games.
‘Tour’ is you main game where you collect coins whilst ‘Rally’ allows you to populate your kingdom with Toads by playing head to head with friends or vs the CPU.
The coins and achievements you gain along the way can be exchanged for buildings and such like for your Toads to inhabit. There are bonus games to gain extra rally tickets and coins too.
Guide Mario through six worlds each containing four levels in this side-scrolling infinite runner. There’s an obligatory end of level boss to defeat at the conclusion of each world.
The game takes care of the mundane with Mario vaulting small obstacles for you. Further action taken by the user requires just a tap of the screen. No painful virtual joypad and buttons, it really is as simple as tapping your way through, sort of.
For gaming noobs a bit of screen mashing will get you so far, but don’t be deceived by the lack of complexity in the execution. Mario is gifted with a number of moves that require careful taps and double-taps at just the right time to navigate obstacles, perform high-jumps or backflips to pick up hard to reach rewards.
Each level presents multiple challenges too. Five special pink coins are strategically placed throughout each level. It’s not too much of a challenge to collect them all, but once you do, five purple coins will be available. You’ll need a higher level of dexterity to reach these. Collect all five purple coins and a further set of black coins are unlocked. Again the difficulty level is ramped up.
Other challenges include collecting all coins, squishing all enemies and so on. That’s a lot of game.
There’s no questioning the quality of ‘Super Mario Run’. The user interface looks great and it’s incredibly responsive. The same can be said for gameplay which is intuitive and quickly engrossing and the game plays equally well on an iPhone and an larger iPad screen.
Though early levels are fairly basic and won’t challenge many users the curve to which the difficulty increases is well paced.
‘Super Mario Run’ will appeal mostly to those who don’t mind repetitive gameplay since each level offers multiple challenges that generally can’t be completed simultaneously. The levels themselves are not particularly long and there’s a time limit in which to complete each.
Whilst most users will spend the majority of time playing the ‘Tour’, ‘Rally’ offers a great deal of fun too with the winner of each head to head race determined by how many coins are collected and how many tricks Mario performs. It can be incredibly frustrating yet also rewarding.
For me £7.99 is a fair price for a complete game presented to this standard and I won’t bat an eyelid at paying the same for premium games in future if it results in avoiding irritating in-play adverts and in-app purchases to get the most out of the product.
Nintendo are bucking the trend and I’m on-board. Mario Kart next please Nintendo.