“Yay!” is the instant initial reaction. We finally have an original Nintendo Title on the iPhone, nearly ten years after the launch of the first edition of the smartphone. Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of Mario, made a surprise appearance at the Apple iPhone 7 launch event to announce that Super Mario Run would be coming to iOS. There was a lot of hype around the announcement, but what a disappointment it has turned out to be.

It costs $9.99 (around Rs 700) to unlock the full experience. That is just downright exploitative. They are charging the kind of money that Square Enix does for its mobile titles, and Square Enix’ developers actually have taken the time and effort to deliver a premium experience.

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The gameplay and graphics are just dumb. When Mario was originally made, Miyamoto got out all the personality of the character using a few, blocky pixels. It was a brilliant and historic piece of design, working within the constraints of the systems. Translating the character to 3D just does not work that well. Considering the sheer number of retro titles that are doing well on the App store, Nintendo could have done much better by going with the classic look.

The controls are pretty loose, with few options for maneuvering. You cannot even run back. One touch control is theoretically a good idea. This seems to be a one-touch game, but it is confusing that the control depends on how long that touch event lasts. Either the game should have been built around a one-touch control, Canabalt is a good example, or there should have been full support for a range of gestures, the way Project 83113, a glorious platformer that was unfortunately pulled from the store, does it.

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Seeing the Editor’s Choice badge on the title is puke inducing. Apple usually has more integrity than that. It is one of the titles with the lowest public rating among the titles in the Featured Section of the store. Apple probably had to spam the top row of the store sections with Mario imagery to attract Nintendo to the platform and boost the perceived value of the App Store to Nintendo, but masking the reactions from the public is going to be hard.

The interwebs reacting to the title has not been very nice about it, and rightly so. Make no mistake, this is a con job. An irritatingly brainless title pushed out at a premium price in an effort to leech some money. The move only stands to hurt the image of Nintendo, and I sincerely hope other titles by the developer on the mobile platform will offer superior experiences.

Publish date: December 16, 2016 2:33 pm| Modified date: December 16, 2016 2:54 pm

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