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Super Mario Run, reviewed: Is Nintendo's one-fingered iPhone game worth it?

12/21/16
 The moment I downloaded Super Mario Run on my iPhone, I handed it to my 8-year-old son to play. My 3-year-old was curious, too. I never got my phone back again.

Nintendo's never put its games on phones, and Super Mario Run comes closest to feeling like a 3DS or Wii U game on mobile. I've played through a review build provided by Nintendo and finished every level.

I like it a lot. I'm finding myself addicted. I'm not sure it's really doing anything differently than other fantastic mobile games out there on phones. But, in some ways, I don't care.
Super Mario Run arrives on the iPhone

Of course, this iOS game -- it's exclusive to iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch for now, with an Android release to follow in 2017 -- isn't the same as classic Super Mario. It's a one-finger experience, leaning on easier controls and an always-running Mario. But the levels, even though there are only 24 of them, feel plucked from any of the best recent Mario games. The clever level designs show off some fun ideas. The graphics, the sounds and the music are all spot-on, flawless.

But beware: Super Mario Run needs to be connected to the internet in order to work. Yes, you read that correctly. Much like Hearthstone and other online-connected games, Super Mario Run won't work unless you've got Wi-Fi or mobile data. That can be limiting in subways or planes. It's hugely annoying.

The game also costs more than most mobile games. Even though the app is free to download (here) and includes a few free game modes, the rest costs $9.99, £7.99 or AU$14.99. Is it worth the 10 bucks? I'd pay two lattes for it, but I'm having issues with its lack of offline play.

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