Ever since it came out earlier this week, Super Mario Run has been breaking records everywhere. 2.8 million downloads in a day? It achieved that, completely breaking Pokemon GO’s record in the process. More than 40 million downloads in its first few days? Yeah, that happened too. Which makes it more popular than just about every Mario game in the last few years.
However, with few people paying for the game and ‘high’ costs hurting its reviews, all is not perfect with Super Mario Run. It’s review average is at just 2.5/5 as we speak!
And so Nintendo seems to be looking to improve. Why? Because they’ve been sending an interesting new survey around, complete with the following questions:
- Is the $10 price fair?
- Would you be interested in a sequel?
Which suggests two things.
Firstly, it suggests Nintendo is willing to revise the payment structure for the game. This could mean either cutting the price significantly (like say, down to $5 instead of $10), or even making it ‘free to play’ like some investors and players were hoping. Yeah, I know, not what some Nintendo fans wanted to hear. But hey, it’s likely on the table for the sequel anyway.
More importantly however, it suggests that Nintendo might not see ‘updates’ as enough to add new features and content to Super Mario Run. And given that the game already has added Christmas items and Toad Rally modes, this hints that Super Mario Run would have much more fundamental differences from game 1.
Or maybe I’m just overthinking it and Nintendo is hoping to make Super Mario Run 2 the expected way. I guess that’s possible, right?
But I think the signs are there in the survey. I think Nintendo themselves are looking at the (perhaps unfair) criticism online and thinking of ‘fixing’ it with a sequel.
So what do you think? Am I on to something? Does the survey suggest design changes Nintendo might want to make? Or is it more likely a Super Mario Run 2 would use the same setup as the first game?
Super Mario Run Cost Survey (SlashGear)
Last year, the Society of Professional Journalists launched the Kunkel Awards. Designed specifically to cater to gaming journalists, the awards were meant to be a way to reward writers for good gaming journalism, and to lift the negative reputation the field had received over the years.
A noble goal to say the least.
As for how well they actually worked on the other hand… well the jury is still out on that one. The awards certainly went to good articles, but the actual concept itself never really hit the mainstream like it was expected to. No one covered it except for the winners.
But hey, the SPJ has decided to bring them back this year as well! And this time, there are some interesting new award categories to look out for.
Category 1 is the one for ‘best college journalism’, as to encourage a new generation of writers to start writing about video games. Fairly standard stuff, though perhaps kind of necessary given how non diverse the world of gaming journalism is at the moment.
And then there’s category 2. Or, as the SPJ puts it, the one for ‘worst story’.
Oh boy, this is gonna be contentious. Why? Because in a nutshell, it’s basically like the Golden Raspberry Awards/Razzies for gaming journalism. The winner is the most unethical, poorly written article related to video games. Like say, the ones listed in my article here.
Either way, based on how a lot of journalists handle criticism now (by whining about it on Twitter), I can see the nominations and results here going ‘viral’. Or at least, causing one hell of a fight on various social media sites.
Still, it’s necessary in today’s world of ‘fake news’ and poorly researched articles. And hey, maybe it’ll kill the whole ‘rush stories out as quickly as possible without fact checking’ trend that’s become so popular recently.
But what do you think? Are you interested in the Kunkel Awards returning? Is the idea of an award for worst story a good one? Post your thoughts on the matter at the Gaming Reinvented forums or on social media today!
Kunkel Awards Official Announcement (SPJ website)
Well, that’s what Nintendo is saying anyway. According to them “the company didn’t plan to release additional content, either free or paid.” Here’s their statement in full:
The Mario game, on the other hand, gives players only one chance to pay—the $9.99 charge to advance to the game’s higher levels. A Nintendo spokesman said the company didn’t plan to release additional content, either free or paid.
Fair enough you’d think. Super Mario Run isn’t getting any more content. That’s all nice and simple, right?
Well, no. Because here’s the thing:
It’s already gotten additional content. For example, Kingdom Builder now has limited Christmas items to play around with.
Whereas Toad Rally now has a ‘friendly’ option which lets you practice for free. Both of these options were not originally included in the game.
So new content is already in the game. It’s gotten two major updates in its first week.
Yet Nintendo is saying otherwise. Why? It’s not like anyone is losing out. They’re all free updates that make the game better for the player. Seems like something you’d want to advertise, right?
But no, Nintendo is pretending it doesn’t exist. Either way, the game is getting additional content, Nintendo’s thoughts be damned.
No More Super Mario Run Content Coming (9-5 Mac)
As you probably know by now, gaming journalism… does not have a good reputation. It’s seen as corrupt, filled with obvious clickbait and flooded to the brim with articles based on questionable rumours from sources with absolutely no evidence behind it. Admittedly, that may or may not be a fair assessment of the field. But it’s definitely how the public think of it, for better or worse.
Yet as bad as the reputation may be, there are some examples of ‘journalism’ that well and truly live up to it. These include articles and videos based on questionable rumours, obvious clickbait made to attract pageviews from angry people and all manner of other things besides.
And so here they are. Here are the worst examples of gaming journalism in 2016!
12. SJW Says Super Mario Run is ‘Sexist’ Because She’s Captured in Super Mario Run
So let’s start this party with a bit of a bang. Or in this case, a delusional moron who’s never played Super Mario Run complaining that Peach being kidnapped is ‘sexist’ for the two hundred and fifty millionth time.
Of course, what makes it all more hilariously bad are the complaints brought up here. Oh no, she’s baking a cake instead of DJ-ing at a party! That’s a sexist stereotype!
No really, that’s actually from the article. As are comments about how the series should be ‘restructured’ to appeal to young girls. Because apparently Super Mario 3D World, Mario & Luigi Paper Jam and various other games where Peach is either an independent character or outright playable don’t exist, do they?
And to put the final nail in the coffin, this is in regards to Super Mario Run. You know, a game where…
Peach actually IS a playable character! No really, you unlock her as a playable character complete with floating ability after playing a bit of Toad Rally.
So not only is the article painfully outdated and cliché with its content, but it was clearly written by someone who’d played four minutes of Kingdom Tour and assumed Peach was only a damsel in distress. Hooray for thorough research there guys!
11. Destructoid Says Minecraft Billionaire ‘Feels Oppressed by Women’
But hey, at least Super Mario Run is sort of relevant news. Cause this Destructoid article (about an argument between Notch and Jennifer Scheurle on Twitter) really isn’t:
Basically, the latter posted a picture of a statue and said it was ‘Mansplaining: the statue’, then Notch followed it up with a comment about mansplaining being a sexist term and a joke involving the non word ‘cuntfusing’ some time afterwards.
Fair enough. It’s your usual back and forth between someone with more left wing political views and someone with more right wing political views. Like the other two hundred times it’s occurred on Twitter by now.
Which means it’s not newsworthy. Even if one guy was the creator of Minecraft and the other one was a game designer.
But no, they ran with it. What a pointless article to run on an otherwise respected website.
10. Polygon Tries to Play Doom
But hey, onto something a bit light-hearted now. Namely, Polygon’s absolutely terrible attempt at showcasing the 2016 version of Doom. Here it is, if you haven’t seen it:
It’s pretty obvious that whoever is filming this cannot play the game to save their life. Seriously, even the simple tasks of moving out of the way of enemy fire and not falling off cliffs while trying to shoot opponents seems to be beyond the person holding the controller.
Now admittedly, that’s not an uncommon thing for gaming videos. After all, if you ever saw people trying to play Mario Kart Wii before its release date, it was just one big cringey train wreck filled with karts and bikes flying off the road at every opportunity. And every Pokemon game seemingly gets recorded by an awful lot of gaming journalists and YouTube celebrities who clearly don’t have the slightest clue how the game mechanics work.
But here’s the thing:
Most of those were done by either one man bands or people whose jobs didn’t specifically involve playing games.
Polygon on the other hand, has a team of staff. Of which most of them likely have different interests and game genres they’re good at.
So here, someone who’s played an FPS before should probably have taken the reigns. That way, the video would have shown how the game actually works (aka when played by someone with any interest at all in the genre) and the site’s reputation wouldn’t have dropped even harder the minute the video hit the internet.
Still, it’s a simple mistake to make.
9. Metro Assumes Niantic is Making Harry Potter GO
Which is more than you can say about this one. Where the Metro newspaper is saying that Niantic is working on Harry Potter GO:
Sounds good, right?
Well, no. Because there’s just one snag here.
They’re not making Harry Potter GO. The original news story was from a questionable site (which might be rightfully classed as ‘fake news’) that ended up being debunked by Snopes.
And that’s not all! Because you see, they never bothered doing the research or actually looking at where the story came from. Instead, they found a random online gossip blog (which then quoted the fake site), and took their word as gospel. Great work guys! Not only did you not look up whether your source was a reliable one, but you never bothered to look up whether THEIR source was reliable as well!
Just goes to show you how much ‘research’ goes into news reporting this days…
Earlier today, Nintendo finally released their second in-house mobile app, namely Super Mario Run. It’s been worked on for months, advertised like the second coming on the iTunes app store and had legions of analysts act like it’ll be the best selling, most successful mobile app of all time. Basically, expectations have been through the roof.
But does it really live up to the hype? Is Super Mario Run really as good as it’s made out to be? Well, let’s find out, in Gaming Reinvented’s exclusive review of Super Mario Run!
Let’s start with the graphics!
Which for the most part, are traditional New Super Mario Bros styled. Indeed, most of the graphics are straight from New Super Mario Bros U, albeit toned down a bit to work on smartphones.
So yeah, not much to say there really.
And the same applies with the music too. Why? Because again, it’s mostly New Super Mario Bros U songs. Yeah, you have a few new ones (mostly in Toad Rally and Kingdom Builder), but for the most part it’s all the tunes you’ll recognise from New Super Mario Bros U or Super Mario Maker in pretty much the same level of quality as they were then.
So nothing much to say there either. But how about the gameplay? Is that good?
Well to put it simply:
Super Mario Run is a fun game.
And what’s more, it’s quite a varied one too. Because unlike New Super Mario Bros, it comes with three modes:
- Kingdom Tour
- Toad Rally
- And Kingdom Builder
The first of these… is basically the story mode from a typical 2D Mario platformer. You control Mario as he races through 6 worlds of levels to defeat Bowser and save Princess Peach.
It’s the same old stuff you’re used to (complete with traditional Mario themes), except with one major difference:
Mario runs automatically to the right.
This means all you need to bother with is jumping. Which is done by tapping anywhere on the screen.
It’s a simple setup for sure.
However, here’s the key: It works
There are no delays when Mario jumps. There are no fidgety virtual D-Pads to mess around with to change your directions. Basically, Mario does what you tell him to without fail.
And that makes it a massive improvement over 99% of platformers on smartphones. Because Nintendo actually bothered to think about what the system was capable of rather than trying to fit a round peg in a square hole.
It’s a key example of the old adage ‘Keep It Simple Stupid’ working perfectly.
But Kingdom Tour isn’t the only good part of the game.
Oh no, Toad Rally is quite good too. This mode (which is like NSMB 2’s Coin Rush) has two players compete to gather as many Toad followers and coins as possible, with the winner keeping everything collected by both participants.
And these collectables then get sent to our last mode. Kingdom Builder.
Which in a nutshell, is basically Sim City, Mario edition.
Well okay, maybe not Sim City. FarmVille Mario edition?
Eh, probably not. It’s pretty simple and limited. You have the ability to set up bonus games, pipes to extra levels and houses that unlock secret characters for Kingdom Tour (like Luigi, Peach, Yoshi and Toadette) and maybe a few decorations on the side. That’s it.
But it’s still quite fun to mess around with and unlock items for. Much better than a boring achievement screen either way.
However, not all of Super Mario Run is all that good.
For example, it’s ridiculously slow to start.
What do I mean by this?
Well, before the game begins proper, there are a TON of pointless confirmation and notification screens to go through. I mean seriously, here’s the whole process for starting Super Mario Run:
- Open app
- Choose your control
- Click through the terms and conditions
- Decide whether you want to tie in a My Nintendo account
- Set up your name and avatar
(the above might be in a different order, but the point is the same)
- Watch the game’s first intro
- Complete a pretty long tutorial level with lots of pop up hints and no ‘learn through playing the game’ type level design
- Download the rest of the game (which might take about 5 minutes)
- Watch a second intro
- Click through into Kingdom Tour
- Select a level from the map
- Actually begin the bloody level.
That’s ridiculous. What’s more, it actually hurts the chances of this game making Nintendo a lot of money.
Because the first chance anyone has to give them money is after level 1-3. So for a player to pay Nintendo for Super Mario Run, they have to go through a 12 step intro/tutorial sequence, beat three fairly long levels and then decide to buy the ‘upgrade’ at level 1-4.
Yeah, I don’t see that happening anywhere near as often as Nintendo is hoping, at least not with this tutorial/confirmation/infodump shoved in the player’s face seconds after starting the app.
Other than that, I don’t have any real complaints about this title as far as gameplay goes. It’s not as good as say, New Super Mario Bros on console, but it’s competently done and plays fine.
So onto something else now. Like say, the game’s length and replay value
Game Length/Replay Value
Because this is both the best and worst part of Super Mario Run.
What do I mean by this, you might ask?
Well, depending on how you play it, Super Mario Run will either last you about 30 minutes or around 2 weeks.
So the negative side first. If you’re playing this for a single player Mario platformer experience… then this will be over in a flash.
Because Super Mario Run’s ‘main’ single player story is ridiculously short and easy. Like, seriously so. The 24 levels you have to play last about 60 seconds apiece and are going to be blasted through by anyone with even the slightest level of skill when it comes to playing Mario games.
Indeed, from starting til beating Bowser, I had been playing… about 30 minutes, with a total of about 3 level retries being needed along the way.
And there are numerous reasons for this. Like say, the fact the enemy variety is fairly small, with only basic enemies to dodge in most of the levels. Yeah, you’ve got Ninjis, Rocky Wrenches, Grinders and rings of fire, but all these things are only in one or two levels each. The rest of the time? Mostly just Goombas, Koopas and their flying counterparts. In wide open, easy to run through stages where getting hit is more of a matter of being careless than something you’ll do on a regular basis.
What’s more, even when you DO get hit, you merely get put in a bubble and taken back a short distance. This is useful for collecting coins (since it can be used to rewind the level and try again), but absolutely trivialises the main game due to how pointless it makes dying. Heck, even falling in a pit only puts you in a bubble!
Admittedly, this is mitigated somewhat by the limited number of bubbles you get per level. Die three times in a level? Then you’ll have to try again from the beginning. So there’s somewhat of a penalty for death if you keep messing up, though the fact you only go back as far as the beginning of the level does mean consequences are still mostly non existent.
Either way, if you’re looking for a New Super Mario Bros style experience, then Super Mario Run isn’t it.
But wait! There is more to the game than just that!
Such as the whole coin system in the levels. Basically, each level will give you the task of collecting six coins as well as finishing the level. These coins come in three colours (pink, purple and black), with each set then increasing in difficulty along the way.
Oh, and they unlock a super secret course if you get all of each type in all 24 levels of the game.
So yeah, there’s that to deal with, which could add another 8 hours or so of playtime if you’re not great at the game.
As well as the other modes.
Because as I mentioned before, Toad Rally and Kingdom Builder do have a significant amount of content in them. Like say, special buildings to unlock for bonus games, extra characters that can be used for Kingdom Tour (Luigi, Peach, Yoshi and Toadette).
Okay, it’s still not perfect (Kingdom Builder only gives you a very limited amount of space for objects in your kingdom), but for completionists, there’s definitely a fair bit of value in Super Mario Run. Perhaps even enough to kill a few weeks of on/off play too.
Just… don’t expect a full Mario platformer from it, or you’ll be disappointed.
Super Mario Run is a fun attempt at making a 2D Mario platformer for smartphones. It’s not perfect (and it’s very slow start really hurts the game’s fun factor), but it’s well suited for the system and provides a decent bit of value for people willing to put the time in.
It’s a good game for Mario fans or Nintendo die hards, but not one which will become the next Pokemon GO.
But what do you think? Do you agree with my review of Super Mario Run? Or do you think I was a bit harsh on Nintendo’s new mobile game?