Super Mario Run - a phone game worth wasting your valuable time on
Call me a dinosaur, but I don't enjoy playing games on touchscreen devices such as phones and tablets. Maybe it's an inability to move with the times or maybe it's the sheer lack of precision, ergonomics and tactile feedback that come part and parcel with mobile gaming - I've just never really connected with a game on my phone the same way I would when playing on traditional devices. Because of this, I generally try to steer clear of reviewing mobile games but during this particularly bleak time of year, when the pickings are few and far between, beggars should be wary of becoming choosers.
So here we are: a lone icon now sits in the 'Games' folder of my iPhone, adorned with the title 'Super Mario Run', and - I will grudgingly concede - it is bloody good fun.
At its core, Super Mario Run is an automatic runner that utilizes simple touch controls to perform all kinds of actions. You can extend the duration of Mario's jump, delay his fall mid-air, or somersault off of foes to reach high places. Like any solid game, these smooth moves are easy to pull off but difficult to completely master, and there's plenty of open screen space towards the bottom, so my fingers were never obstructing my view. I always felt like I had enough room to react and pull off a slick maneuver, even though I couldn't stop Mario's constant forward movement. Nintendo's decision not to make a straight up Mario port to touchscreen devices is a great move - without the traditional controller, a regular Super Mario game would be unpleasant, with mid-air direction changes being made much harder without tactile feedback.
Super Mario Run is a joyful romp through the Mushroom Kingdom, but it doesn't feel as fresh as an all-new console Mario entry might; there aren't any new power-ups to use or enemies to fight.Visually, Mario's mobile debut falls mostly in line with other 2D Marios. But if you stop moving long enough to notice, the flat backgrounds and simple effects look a little lifeless compared to other vibrant mobile runners, like Rayman Jungle Run, which is disappointing. On the other hand, the animations are terrific; Mario has never moved with more energy or grace in a 2D Mario game.
Super Mario Run is one of the very few mobile games that I will now openly recommend to people. It is both a joyous time waster and a game worth wasting your valuable time on. Not groundbreaking, but a solid release.
Super Mario Run