Nintendo legend Shigeru Miyamoto (father of beloved franchises including Super Mario, Zelda, and Donkey Kong) took to the stage at Apple’s special event to announce a brand new game for the App Store: Super Mario Run.
After a recap from Tim Cook on the extraordinary growth of the App Store and revenue potential for developers, he noted that despite the success of the platform there’s been “something, or rather, someone, missing.” Cue the world’s most famous plumber, Mario, on screen as Miyamoto (plus translator) ran us through the basics of Nintendo’s next mobile venture.
The game looks to be an automatic runner in the style of recent side-scrolling Super Mario platformers, with a rethink of the control scheme to make it more suitable for easy one-handed play on a small screen. It’s Mario as we know it, tweaked for mobile. Using the slick 3D graphical style first introduced in New Super Mario Bros. for the Wii, players will use a combination of taps, long-taps and mid-air taps to perform various jumps, wall-kicks and maneuvers to get to the end of each stage of Super Mario Run. Notably it’s not an “endless” runner – there are distinct levels with set end points, though players will be challenged to collect as many coins as possible during the run to the goal.
Check out this official gameplay video for a better idea of what to expect from the game.
Miyamoto explained that Nintendo wanted to make the game simple and accessible for everyone, but assured long-time Mario fans that the later levels would offer a level of difficulty that will challenge veteran players. Alongside the main game mode, there’s a secondary Toad Rally mode in which players can challenge their friends to finish a level in the most stylish way possible. There’s also a third mode involving spending your collected coins to expand and grow your own Mushroom Kingdom, although this element wasn’t explained in any great detail just yet.
Fans will be thankful that this one looks much more like a conventional game than Nintendo’s amusingly bizarre social experiment, Miitomo. Though Nintendo has historically been cautious of the App Store, as mobile games could be seen as competition for its existing handheld console the Nintendo 3DS, the company has several games for iOS in the works at the moment. Perhaps the success of Pokémon GO – in which Nintendo owns a 30% share – had some influence on its decision to bring Mario to the small screen. The bad news here is that this game has pushed back the expected releases for Nintendo’s other App Store plans (games based on popular franchises Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem) from 2016 to 2017.
Super Mario Run isn’t ready to download yet, but it’s coming before the end of the year – specifically, December. Its already got an entry on the App Store, complete with a Notify button so fans can be alerted when the game releases in a month or two. The price has yet to be confirmed, but its planned to be a premium game with, presumably, no in-app purchases.
If you can’t wait for more Super Mario action on your iPhone, Nintendo also announced that a sticker pack for iMessage would be available within iOS 10 after its launch on September 13. A-woohoo!