IPhone’s “Su­per Mario” has nos­tal­gia, sur­prises

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Hay­ley Tsukayama

Nin­tendo is get­ting se­ri­ous about its play for mo­bile screens, launch­ing its first real smart­phone game star­ring its most iconic char­ac­ter: Mario.

The app, called Su­per Mario Run, hit Ap­ple’s App Store on Thurs­day. It’s a key mo­ment for Nin­tendo, which has had a hard time shift­ing to ca­sual gam­ing on smart­phones. Smart­phones have in­tro­duced more peo­ple than ever to games but can also shift buy­ers away from game con­soles and hand­held de­vices such as Nin­tendo’s 3DS.

Su­per Mario Run is a lot of fun. The de­sign­ers have man­aged to make a game that blends nos­tal­gia and the touch screen. The story is ex­actly the same – Bowser has taken Princess Peach and you have to save her – and you also must re­build your king­dom. The set­ting is fa­mil­iar, and goom­bas and koopas are still try­ing to block your way to your goal.

Yet some things have been stream­lined for the touch screen. Su­per Mario Run is an end­less run­ning game, which means you’re al­most al­ways run­ning for­ward. That could frus­trate some play­ers. Also, you can’t go back and pick up coins you missed nor take lit­tle jaunts down the pipes.

What you can do is jump. A lot. Tap­ping the screen will make Mario catch some air — the longer you hold down your fin­ger, the higher he goes be­fore grav­ity kicks in. He can also vault off cliff edges and walls. Once you ac­cept your per­pet­ual for­ward mo­tion, fig­ur­ing out how to get where you want to go be­comes a fun puz­zle.

Play­ers will def­i­nitely get re­play value out of the game. Go­ing through a level again will let you go down roads not trav­eled be­fore. Play­ers also col­lect dif­fer­ent-col­ored coins through­out the game, and the color and place­ment of those coins changes as you meet your ob­jec­tives.

The main draw­back of Su­per Mario Run is that, in its free ver­sion, it’s very short.

The free down­load gets you only three lev­els — that doesn’t even get you to the first cas­tle. The full ver­sion of the game costs $10. That price would prob­a­bly feel right for the 3DS or the Wii, but it may seem high to peo­ple who play games mostly on smart­phones.

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