The app marks the first time the firm has
created a smartphone game based on its most
It follows the successful release of Pokemon Go
earlier in the year. Nintendo owns a minority
stake in the Pokemon Company, but the title was
developed by a third party.
Experts predict the new game will also prove
popular, but suggest an anti-piracy feature is
“Mario is one of the best loved and established
icons of gaming and I think this is going to be
tremendously successful,” said Piers Harding-
Rolls from the IHS Technology consultancy.
“To open up the full game you have to make an
in-app purchase – it’s quite big but it is a one-
off and I don’t think people will think Nintendo is
trying to rinse their audience.”
But he added that he thought it was a “misstep”
to require users to be online in order to play –
something the game’s producer Shigeru Miyamoto
has said was done to limit piracy .
“Some demographics will be wanting to use this
as they commute and we know that the coverage
in some markets is relatively patchy,” said Mr
“Not having offline capability to play will also be
an issue for kids travelling in cars.”
Build to unlock
Super Mario Run takes the Super Mario Bros
format – where the character sprints from left
to right, collecting coins, jumping over obstacles
and squishing enemies – and tweaks the gameplay
to make it easy to play one-handed on a
The free version acts as a brief demo, but paying
a £7.99 fee offers full access to three modes:
World Tour – a story mode spanning six
worlds, which Mario must travel across to
save Princess Peach
Toad Rally – a multiplayer mode, in which
players compete to show off challenging
moves and collect coins to get the highest
Kingdom Builder – a creation mode, where
players use the coins they have earned
elsewhere to add buildings and decorations,
some of which unlock bonus characters and
other extra content
For now the title is restricted to Apple’s iOS
platform, but Nintendo has said it will come to
Android “at some point in the future”.
Nintendo had initially shunned smartphones,
preferring to focus on its own hardware.
However, weak sales of its Wii U console and a
decline in demand for its 3DS handheld caused the
firm to sustain large financial losses, putting it
under pressure to change tack.
It launched its first smartphone game, Miitomo,
in March to mixed reviews but strong demand .
Then in July, the release of Pokemon Go became a
global phenomenon, lifting Nintendo’s share price
despite the fact it only received a relatively small
cut of all sales.
But last month, the firm revealed that two
subsequent Pokemon games released for the 3DS
– Sun and Moon – had become the fastest-selling
titles in its history in Europe and the Americas.
Mr Harding-Rolls said Nintendo would be hoping
for a similar knock-on effect when it launches
its new console, the Switch, in March for which it
is developing a new 3D Mario title .
“By launching this smart device game, Nintendo
is opening Mario up to people who might be
attracted by a sense of nostalgia as well as
introducing a new generation of gamers to the
“And that’s bound to have a halo impact on its
Nintendo’s domestic rival Sony is also making a
fresh efforts to create iOS and Android games
based on its PlayStation brands.
On Monday, it revealed a new Parappa the Rapper
title and an Everybody’s Golf game were being
developed by its ForwardWorks studio.