Pokémon Go was the pop culture phenomenon of the summer. Rarely has a mobile game gripped so many people around the world.
Interest in capturing virtual critters has dwindled in recent months, but now Nintendo has a new app up its sleeve: Super Mario Run, which is hitting the mobile market this week.
The new game will take the classic formula of the Mario series – 2D, side-scrolling platforming- and transplant it into an ‘endless runner’ game.
This has been a popular genre in mobile gaming for a while. The player’s speed is automated by the computer, and they are charged with timing jumps and actions to avoid obstacles.
The further along the course you get, and the more coins you collect, the higher your score.
Nintendo’s first smartphone game
While Pokémon Go was based on a franchise licensed by Nintendo, it wasn’t actually developed by them.
In fact, the Japanese gaming giant – often seen as consistently innovative – has been accused of lagging behind when it comes to mobile gaming.
From the Game Boy to the DS to the new Switch console, they have excelled at hand-held innovation – but have seemed reluctant to crack the lucrative mobile market.
If Super Mario Run can bring Nintendo’s forward-thinking design to smartphones, it could be a literal game-changer.
Cost and connectivity
Rather than making money from potentially those sneaky in-app purchases, Nintendo is setting a base price for their game, with no such transactions after the fact.
It will cost £7.99 at launch, with a free version that allows you to play the first three levels also available.
The game does need a persistent internet connection to run due to anti-piracy checks however – which has caused some criticism.
Whether or not this leads to any serious issues while playing on the move remains to be seen.
Ease of use
Creator Shigeru Miyamoto claims the magic of a Mario game is that anyone can pick it up and start playing.
That is also Nintendo’s key aim with Super Mario Run.
The game has been designed with a balance between accessibility and challenge in mind, and can be played with only one hand. So it could be ideal for the commute.
And with such a recognisable figure as its focal point, Nintendo will be confident it can match Pokemon Go’s launch success.
Super Mario Run is released for iOS on 15 December, and an Android version is expected sometime in 2017