In 2016, Nintendo made a concerted effort to get more involved in the mobile gaming scene, and that presence is only going to grow in the new year. Back in March they launched Miitomo, a bizarre social app that lets users create Mii characters. Using those characters, you can interact with friends, ask questions, collect clothes and visit the homes of other users. It was an interesting experiment, but it fell out of the public consciousness almost as suddenly as it appeared.
After that came Pokémon Go, which is not actually created by Nintendo, but the little creatures are so closely associated with the Japanese gaming giant it gets lumped in all the same. And then last month saw the iOS launch of the hotly anticipated Super Mario Run. Reactions weren’t as overwhelmingly positive as most people tend to expect from Nintendo games. But despite the 3-star overall rating after over 2,500 reviews, its popularity is undeniable. Unlocking the full game costs $9.99, which is high for a mobile title, but in doing so you uncover much more content and a variety of items to collect and levels to complete.
We’ve taken the time to sift through the game and compile this list of hot tips and tricks that are guaranteed to thrill and delight—or at least make the bathroom line at your neighborhood bar that much more enjoyable.
All You Need Is One Finger, But It’s Not That Simple
Tapping the screen anywhere will make Mario hop, whereas holding your finger down will make him jump higher. Then if you release and tap again in the air, he does a spin and extends his horizontal distance a bit. You can even swipe left to make him stand in the air and fall down, which is helpful for stopping his momentum if you overshoot something.
Combine this with the ability to jump off of enemies when you land on top of them to get extra height and the mechanics are suddenly very complex. While the game forces Mario to run to the right at all times, wall jumps, reverse direction arrows, and a host of other mobility choices add several layers of complexity to the controls.
Mario is surprisingly acrobatic in this installment and he shows that off with his impressive parkour-style moves. If you’re approaching a single-block-height obstacle or enemy, like a goomba, he’ll automatically vault over it without any input from you at all. But if you tap as he vaults, he’ll do a fancy spin and net you a coin. Timing a jump to land on top of an enemy, and then jumping again, usually nets even more coins. Super Mario Run is mostly a game about timing and memorizing levels, but it’s also about pure style.
The Tutorial is Not the Whole Story
When it comes to instructions and tutorials, you might be expecting something exhaustive that teaches you everything there is to know about playing a game. In the case of Super Mario Run, that’s pretty far from the truth. The basic tutorial will get you through the first few hoops, but it’s far from a robust breakdown of everything you can do.
For example, the red blocks not only stop Mario’s movement; they stop the clock as well. Use them to reassess the action and let your fingers rest. Also, you can use bubbles at any time to go backwards in a level—but they’re the same bubbles that save you from dying, so ration those resources wisely.
Pay Attention to the Challenge Coins
It’s easy to think that the entire game is just the Tour mode. Years of playing Mario games has taught us to think that you “finish” levels and move on. But that’s not what Super Mario Run is really about. You’ll want to finish a level just to get an idea of what it’s like, but then you’ll need to replay it multiple times.
In addition to collecting regular yellow coins, you’ll want to keep an eye out for the special pink, purple and black coins too. These are known as “Challenge Coins” and help you earn a lot more Toad Rally tickets, as well as premier status among your friends as being an all-around master of the game. Each set of coins appears in different areas of the level, turning each level into several different versions of itself, dramatically expanding the amount of content.
Building Your Kingdom of Toads
While the Tour mode is the meat of the experience, it’s not where you spend most of your time in the real endgame. After you finish each level and collect all of the challenge coins, you’ll actually spend most of your time in the Toad Rally mode.
You’ll need to complete stages in the Tour mode to get the Toad Rally tickets that are used to play Toad Rally, which earns you Toad followers, which are used to build things in the Kingdom mode. It all funnels down to the Kingdom, which is an important part of endgame progression. That’s where you can unlock new characters (including the likes of Princess Peach, Luigi and even Yoshi) and expand your presence in the overall Mushroom Kingdom.