Looks like we are about to see what Mario can do on the, err, small screen. Super Mario Run, the first smartphone game to feature the adventurous Italian plumber, is now rolling out on iOS devices, with Android release to follow sometime in the new year.
Super Mario Run was revealed at Apple's iPhone 7 event back in September and marked a mobile-oriented shift in Nintendo's thinking, though it is not the first smartphone app built by the gaming giant. That honor goes to Miitomo, a social media app released this year where users interact with one another through "Mii" avatars (Nintendo also had a licensing deal with Niantic's incredibly-popular Pokémon Go).
But for Nintendo fans, Mario's arrival on the platform means something else entirely, even if it is a departure from how he normally behaves. Designed to be played with one-hand, Mario is constantly on the run in his smartphone debut, with users tapping to have him jump and collect coins, clear obstacles and topple enemies.
On the surface, Super Mario Run doesn't seem much different to the long line of auto-running games that have found success on mobile over the years, such as Temple Run or the Rayman Run series. But there is one noteworthy difference in that you'll need an internet connection to play it, a feature (or flaw) designed to be a piracy deterrent, according to series creator Shigeru Miyamoto in an interview with Mashable last week.
This active internet connection also allows the three game modes to apparently "function together." These modes are the single-player World Tour where the objective is to rescue Princess Peach, Toad Rally where you compete against other users and Kingdom Builder, in which you create your own kingdom.
Rolling out in more than 150 countries, Super Mario Run is available now from the App Store. It comes free, though a single US$9.99 in-app purchase will be needed to unlock full access to the three game modes. Stay tuned for our early impressions in the coming days.