Say goodbye to the rest of your productivity for the week because Super Mario Run is here.
That’s right, everyone’s favorite plumber is back starting today, but in a little different form. In a move away from its traditional style, Nintendo’s Super Mario Run is a mobile game that doesn’t require any kind of Nintendo device to play it. The game was released today on iOS, so anyone with an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch can download it. Super Mario Run, which requires users to be connected to the internet to play, is coming to Android devices next year.
The game looks a lot like the versions my generation played growing up. It is a side scroller, rather than a 3D game such as Super Mario 64. It features 24 levels across six worlds, and each world has castle levels where Mario has to defeat his chief rival Bowser.
There are some differences though. Nintendo pushed the idea that you can play with one hand, so it changed up the controls. For example, Mario is always running — hence the title of the game — and he will automatically vault over small objects and obstacles like those pesky Goombas. Mario can also pull off a series of new moves to navigate through levels.
Another mode, called Toad Rally, lets players compete against friends around the world in a race to finish levels faster, collect more coins and do it with greater flair. Competing in Toad Rallies gives players currency to build out their own Mushroom Kingdoms to unlock new players and other goodies.
One thing that might hold Super Mario Run back from becoming the next Pokémon Go is the price. The game and a demo are free to download but to get the full experience users will have to pay $9.99. A cursory look at the iTunes paid app charts shows that the full Super Mario Run costs $2 more than any other app or game in the top 25.
At least one analyst thinks price could be a problem. Michael Pachter, managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities, said mobile consumers aren’t accustomed to paying for games and they might feel a little sticker shock when they see the price tag. He said Nintendo is using a “bad business model and won’t sell more than 20 million (downloads) in the first year.”
By contrast, the free Pokémon Go app surpassed 100 million downloads way back in August, though the game has lost some of its luster recently.
Nintendo could use a hit with Super Mario Run. Many thought the company had it with Pokémon Go, but it turned out Nintendo wasn’t directly involved in the game — though it does have a stake in Pokémon Co. — so the game’s early success did not significantly affect Nintendo’s bottom line.
In March, Nintendo will release its newest console, the hybrid Switch. The console will be a portable device that can also be hooked up to a TV via a docking station for big-screen gaming with removable controllers. Nintendo says it will reveal more details about the console, including price, exact launch date, full game demonstrations and a list of launch titles, prior to its release.