Nintendo’s first ‘Super Mario’ game for the iPhone is out today — I already played it, and it’s very good!

I am a Mario superfan. I’ve been playing “Super Mario” games as long as I can remember, from “Super Mario Bros.” on NES through “Super Mario 3D World” on the Wii U.

I am, to put it lightly, very excited for the debut of “Super Mario Run” on Apple’s iPhone and iPad – the first Mario game for Apple’s hardware. The game comes out today, December 15!

But it’s not out quite yet.

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This is “Super Mario Run” for the iPhone and the iPad. It’s coming to Android at an unannounced later date.
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Nintendo

There is, however, one way to play it early: Apple stores across the US loaded up their iPhones and iPads with a demo version of the game.

When Nintendo and Apple announced as much last week, I booked it over to the Chelsea Apple Store location to check it out.

So, what’s the game like? Allow me to explain:


First and foremost: “Super Mario Run” is a traditional two-dimensional Mario game.

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Nintendo

Remember “Super Mario Bros.”? Like that.

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Nintendo’s 1985 classic video game “Super Mario Bros.” for the Nintendo Entertainment System.
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Nintendo

Graphically speaking, little Mario has seen some pretty huge improvements over the past 30 years — “Super Mario Run” continues that evolution:

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The art style is from the modern era of “New” Mario games. “New Super Mario Bros. U” was the most recent iteration in that series.
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Nintendo

There are coins, Goombas, green pipes, and various other Mario standards:

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My man Lakitu, up there in the cloud, is back.
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Nintendo

And there’s a twist: The whole game is played in portrait mode. No turning your phone sideways and playing with two hands; this is a one-handed “Super Mario” game:

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Nintendo

To that end, you’re not pushing forward to make Mario move forward — he moves by himself!

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Think “Temple Run,” but good.
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Nintendo

All you’re doing is tapping on the screen at the right time to make Mario jump. The longer you hold (after tapping), the higher he jumps:

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Nintendo

There’s no swiping or pinching. The idea is you can play the game with one hand:

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To that end, you can’t play the game in landscape mode — only portrait.
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Nintendo

So, how is it? What’s it like? It’s rad!

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Mario takes to the monkey bars to swing above danger.
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Nintendo

It *feels* like a “Super Mario” game. Enemy placement and level design in general is clearly intentional and well thought out.

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Mario automatically vaults over small enemies (like Goombas). You can tap while hopping to spring from their heads ever higher.
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Nintendo

That’s not a huge surprise: The game was designed by the same folks at Nintendo’s Japanese development studio who create major Mario games!

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Nintendo creative director (and the creator of Mario) Shigeru Miyamoto led development of “Super Mario Run.”
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NBC

One caveat: It’s a slightly <em>easier</em> Mario game. If you get hurt or fall down a pit, Mario simply reappears in a floating bubble:

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You have a limited number of bubbles (lives), however, so you can’t rely on that to brute force through tough levels.
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Nintendo

There are colored coins to collect in each level, which adds some challenge to the game.

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Nintendo

If you collect all five colored coins, the coins will get a new placement so you can try again!

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Nintendo

There are two other modes to “Super Mario Run” that, unfortunately, weren’t playable in the demo at Apple stores: Kingdom Builder and Toad Rally.

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In Toad Rally, you challenge other players’ level records. Can you beat, say, Level 3-1, faster than Linda? Here’s how you find out.
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Nintendo

And in Kingdom Builder, you construct your own “Super Mario Run” map:

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Nintendo

This mode actually looks ridiculously addictive — you buy Mario houses/decorations with coins you earn in-game through normal play. Then you build a fresh-looking kingdom.

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Nintendo

Better yet, it looks as if Kingdom Builder is how you’ll unlock the ability to play as Luigi, Yoshi, and Toad!

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Nintendo

Anyway, what I played of the game was genuinely fantastic, and it has me excited to play more when the game arrives December 15 for $10. Check out more right here: