Forget about the water-resistant, headphone jack-less iPhone 7. One of the most exciting tidbits from Apple's Special Event on 7 September was the announcement that Mario is finally coming to iPhone.
While on stage during Apple's main keynote, CEO Tim Cook introduced Shigeru Miyamoto, the father of Donkey Kong, Super Mario, and Zelda, among many others, so he could demo an iPhone version of Super Mario Run and discuss how it works. Nintendo's been reluctant to embrace iPhone and has resisted porting its franchise characters to mobile, simply because it's hoped consumers would buy Nintendo hardware instead.
It appears as though Nintendo has given up on that idea. In an interview with The Verge, Miyamoto seemed to cite the success of Niantic Labs' Pokemon Go as a reason for why Nintendo is ready to bring the joy of Mario to a larger, mobile audience. Here's everything we know about the upcoming iPhone game, including how to play it and when you can get your hands on it.
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Super Mario Run for iPhone: Is the game called Mario?
No. It's called Super Mario Run.
Super Mario Run for iPhone: Will it be iPhone-only?
No. Super Mario Run is coming to iPhone first, but Miyamoto has said there are plans for an Android version.
Super Mario Run for iPhone: How do you play it?
During the onstage demo, Miyamoto said the magic of a Mario game is that anyone can pick it up and start playing. While we don't yet fully know how the new Super Mario Run game will work, Miyamoto did explain a few key features and functionality.
Super Mario Run is a side-scroller. As the title suggests, Mario runs automatically from left to right. And as he does, he will hurdle smoke at certain enemies, vault over low obstacles, and grab some surfaces on his own. You simply tap anywhere on the touchscreen to make him jump. The longer you tap, the higher he jumps. This is key to getting high scores. The idea here is that you should be able to play Super Mario with one hand.
In later levels, you will see blocks that will change Mario's direction, and others that will start and stop him with precision timing. But the goal remains simple: collect as many coins as you can, and get to the flag pole at the end of the level before the time runs out.
In addition to the traditional Mario gameplay, Nintendo has come up with a new way to play. It's a multiplayer battle mode called Toad Rally. The first thing you do in this mode is choose an opponent - like, one of your friends - from a list, and then you try to beat their high score. You aren't directly competing with them in real-time, however. Again, you're just trying to beat their high score.
Battle mode will have you compete not only against your friends, but also players from around the globe. Victory is based on the number of coins you collect as well as the number of toads you impress (the toad characters appear every time you do a daring move, so you'll want to do a number of them as you make your way through the stage). Also, there's no flag pole in battle mode.
You're supposed to keep running, jumping, and collecting toys until time runs out. As you do, you may see a little sticker of Mario appear, and if you do, that's showing what your opponent did during his/her run (where they collected toys, gathered toads, etc). It's like a ghost. Anyway, in the matches you win, the toads that you gathered will become residents in your Mushroom Kingdom.
Another element in the game is being able to expand your Mushroom Kingdom using coins you collected during the game. We don't know much more about Mushroom Kingdom. It would be cool if it lets you customise a little kingdom, sort of like Animal Crossing. But who knows.
At the end of the battle mode, Toadette appears to show you who won. That's all we know for now about Super Mario Run, but keep checking back, as we plan to update this piece with more information when the game becomes available.
Super Mario Run for iPhone: When will it be available?
Soon. Super Mario Run will launch in December 2016.
Super Mario Run for iPhone: Will it cost anything?
Yes. Although you will be able to download and play a portion of Super Mario Run for free, you won't get access to all the game's content available in at least the first release until paying a set purchase price, according to Nintendo. More details will be disclosed at a later date.