Super Mario Run as released on Apple’s ecosystem last year, and I spent much of my December break trying to grab all of those coins. You see, there’s a hidden genius to Super Mario Run that’s not immediately apparent.
The game is now, finally, available on Android. It’s a free-to-download game that only grants you access to the first three levels. Anything after that and you’ll be asked to pony up $10, which is a lot to ask for a mobile game. But there’s a very good reason why it’s worth it.
When you play through the levels, which automatically move the moustachioed plumber to the right, getting to the end of each level is easy peasy. You don’t have fine, granular control, able to only control Mario’s jumps. It’s not about getting to the end of the level though. Its real charm, and its real challenge, comes in collecting all of the coins. When you first play through a level, there are special pink coins to collect. They’re pretty easy to find and collect, requiring just the right timing. Collecting all five of those will unlock 5 purple one your next run through the same level.
Those are quite a bit trickier – but it’s the black coins that you unlock for your third run that are the real fun. They remix the levels, and are incredibly challenging. They’re the real reason to play Super Mario Run, as Alessandro pointed out.
“They’re the ultimate challenge in the runner, but also (mostly) its most fair. Your reflexes are tested here in a way that the core game experiences doesn’t even get close to. Timing wall jumps that change Mario’s running direction to interact with (and selectively avoid) certain level elements are the only way to reach the little bastards, and even then it’s sometimes not enough. Knowing where the coins were was just the first step, while figuring out how to reach them was an entirely different one.
Certain coins required a ridiculous amount of setup which, which ranged from the brilliant to the tedious. A handful required the timely murder of a specific Koopa, so that I could later vault off his shell into the air or have it bounce off a coin from an inaccessible area. Others bordered on the ridiculous, like a particular Black Coin snuggled between two pillars of spikes, which required the use of an invincibility Star to wall hop between. Miss that single chance to get it, and restart the level.”
Fun and frustrating in equal measure.