But more than it is terrifying, the trailer feels frustrating. There’s a whole lot of missed potential from what I can see as a casual fan of the series, and I spent a fair amount of time ranting about it on Twitter:
Also the fact that that’s even a coherent sentence I can convey to people makes my temple throb.
Much like Sonic’s obscene baby teeth and gross, gangly baby legs, I couldn’t stop thinking about the idea of a Super Smash Bros. Cinematic Universe.
Or, the SSBCU, as any sane individual would call it.
My friends’ discord group became flooded with suggestions on what could conceivably be included to flesh out the universe. By the end of the day, I fell in love with the idea of putting this list together!
But I wasn’t able to come up with everything on my own.
So let’s consider this post a work in progress, and a call to arms.
I have a collection of what movies should count in the SSBCU, some that I think could be surrogate “analog” entries in retrospect, and other media that could be related.
The terror that started it all. This movie is probably going to be an utter disaster… But that means it’s also probably a blast to watch. Like a car crash after your blue cadillac haphazardly rolls around at the speed of sound. Sonic is Mario’s eternal rival, so he deserves a bad movie too.
This movie looks brilliant. Full stop. And I can conceivably throw in every Pokémon representative, so it’s a catch-all. I’ll even include Pokémon trainer, because despite the Red analog not being a character in Detective Pikachu, the Kanto starters are all there.
What’s that? You really like the Capcom train? Well, lucky for you there’s a Monster Hunter movie staring Milla Jovovich in our future. There’s technically no fighter from this series, but Rathalos was added in Ultimate. So maybe there’s room for a cameo?
Alright, I’ll stop messing around. Here’s a not hypothetical entry on the list. I considered not including Cloud because this is a purely animated movie… But if Pikachu and Sonic can be “live action” fighters, why not Angst McGiantSword?
Plus his alternate costumes in Smash are literally based on this movie. So.
Depending on your preference for horror or action sci-fi.
I don’t know if we’re ever going to get a Metroid movie. Samus would be a great candidate for the SSBCU’s Wonder Woman or Captain Marvel-esque leading female character, but in the meantime Sigourney Weaver seems like a damn fine addition.
King Kong is the obvious choice to get Donkey Kong into the SSBCU. A somewhat sentient ape who kidnaps ladies and climbs up buildings? That may as well be the original arcade game’s script. Even if there isn’t much in the way for Diddy or K. Rool.
Though for my money, I’d also recommend using Rampage. Not only is it based on a video game and has a crocodile, but the fact that The Rock stars means we can turn the film into a retroactive Thor: Ragnarok-esque team up staring Falcon and DK.
This section is the lightning round for ideas my friends and I tossed around that are either jokes or so weird that I honestly couldn’t count them
Game of Thrones as Fire Emblem representation? Don’t know enough about GoT to accurately parse that out, but I’m willing to mention it for SEO purposes.
The Legend of Zelda T.V. series was floated around, but I’m not sure I take that as seriously as Castlevania to be extended material. Zelda deserves a flagship movie.
My friend Mitchell suggested playing 127 Hours on two separate televisions, with one version color corrected to give James Franco a blue shirt. It’s the only way I can conceivably include Ice Climbers, so I’ll mention it here.
Those folks addicted to these apps like I sometimes become with Twitter are likely looking for something interesting to do to bide their time.
Interesting, time-wasting YouTube channels happen to be my area of expertise.
… Or, perhaps this post is a futile effort to write something on my blog daily, after a day of two-hour Comm Law exams and finishing my listen to Ender’s Game while at the gym where I could not come up with anything better than yesterday despite saying I would. But in place of that interesting subject matter, I’ve simply decided to guise my lazy alternative in the guise of the solution to a social media-driven turmoil that has long ended by the time I began writing; all due to the aforementioned requirements.
But I think we all know which is the true answer to the question.
That said, I’ve delayed the inevitable long enough.
While my parents travelled around California going to different doctor’s appointments on Monday, I was in charge of my sister back home. We more-or-less spent the afternoon sitting beside one another on the couch doing homework and watching YouTube videos.
Among the usual line-up of Game Grumps and Super Beard Bros. videos taking up time, we were recommended a strange looking think piece on the “Sonic the Hedgehog Bible.”
As someone who appreciates few things more than highly-analytical, well-produced and funny content deeply examining video games, this YouTube series earns my highest recommendation.
The show, in essence, takes huge amounts of data and information from the video games themselves or from real-world (often governmental) organizations that can be used for video game applications and just distills them down into quippy 15-minute binges that use massive amounts of paper for on-the-wall diagrams with rarely an apology.
Turning 22 doesn’t offer nearly as many significant things to talk about as the ‘milestone’ 21, where drinking and properly oriented drivers’ licenses were officially on the table.
I won’t be starting this post off with a deep, important-sounding remark on the different milestones one hits in life.
Rather, 22 mainly stands out because… It’s symmetrical? I guess?
To be fair, 22 does have some things going for it. Most notably the fact that I’ll be graduating from college during that year. Yikes.
All of that is pretty forward thinking, though. Today there aren’t a whole lot of exciting things going on, as I’ll be saving the friend gatherings for later in the year when more people are back in town.
What I have gotten is a lovely breakfast made by my younger sister:
And a couple of birthday gifts from the family that I definitely did not know about from being in the store with them.
That would be ridiculous! I was honestly, truly surprised.
Aly must know me real well if she thought to get me a Mimikyu-related gift again, totally without my input.
As much as it messes with my head that Sun and Moon came out almost three years ago, my love for this Pikachu lookalike remains strong. Even if I had to pull a Scizor out to take advantage of her weakness.
While Mimikyu and that new Switch controller are the main physical gifts I’ve gotten thus far, I have been eagerly watching all of the digital presents from various organizations roll in.
Like this cute little email from Nintendo helping me celebrate with all those Marro brahs:
Unfortunately platinum coins mean basically nothing next to gold coins, which would allow me to buy new video games.
Just give me more gold coins, Nintendo. I promise I’ll keep shilling for you if I can buy more games.
Until you do, I’ll just go back to Planet Fitness for my free water bottle.
I think it’s hilarious that my gym wants me to go spend my birthday working out as I’m sitting around eating ice cream cake, but to be fair I am planning on going tomorrow.
So I might actually use a free water bottle, as silly as that is.
At the very least water seems reasonable as an immediate necessity to keep my body working, which gives it an edge over this offer from Facebook:
I get the sentiment here, getting members to create fundraisers for nonprofit organizations. It’s a nice goal in-and-of itself.
But one dollar? Seriously, Mark?
Pretty sure you could stand to offer a bit more of a generous care package all things considered. I know you have a bajillion users and that money stacks up in the long-run, but even something like $5 would look less silly as a ‘present.’
Alright, I’ll stop fruitlessly complaining at social media companies. I just honestly don’t have all that much more to say. After breakfast we went out for a bit to visit my Grandpa and buy special pasta ingredients for dinner.
We were greeted by a little bit of rain while out shopping, keeping up the tradition of water falling on my birthday.
So that’s not an exciting direction to head down. Nor is all the homework that I’ll unfortunately be stuck doing tonight due to deadlines that leave no room for extensive birthday fun.
I think I’ll just wrap things up here, then. Get back to relaxing, spending some time with family and… Yeah, homework.
Just one more semester and I’ll never have to deal with that again.
As usual, thank you all for the support here on the blog and in my real life endeavors. Particularly to my old colleague/friend Ashlyn Ramirez who gave me shout outs on all the social media platforms unexpectedly.
That girl works hard, she deserves a little extra support!
But for all the rest of you as well, hope you’ll stick around for however many birthdays are still to come.
After pouring over 70 hours into the game, I think it’s safe to say that I love Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Ultimate is probably the first Smash Bros. game that I would argue has stellar single player content which really jives with the way I like to play games, even if it doesn’t have a Subspace Emissary mode ala Smash Bros. Brawl.
Subspace Emissary offered a healthy mix of story-driven character interactions, platforming-based overworld sections, Smash fighter duels and big boss encounters to bring something to the table for everyone.
It even had secret characters hidden within the platforming sections who could only be unlocked via finding them. That’s a super cool reward for putting time into the game!
Plus it had couch co-op for anyone playing with a friend.
But for all the positivity Brawl offered for solo players, Subspace Emissary did shine brightest when playing it cooperatively. Also beyond that mode, it mostly survived among my friend group because of how fun it was to do regular Smash battles on custom-made stages.
What Smash Ultimate lacks in a story as character-driven as Subspace Emissary, it more than makes up for with the amount of care poured into the details of World of Light’s adventure and individualized Classic Mode routes.
I figure I’ll dive into each individually, making room for my change pertaining to Classic specifically.
World of Light
World of Light has a vague overarcing plot. Kirby must set out to save every other Smash fighter, as they have been captured by Galeem, the lord of light, and replicated for nefarious purposes.
In terms of interactions between characters, World of Light is lacking.
Instead it centers around Spirits, over 1,000 characters curated from just about any Nintendo (and third party) title that have taken over the mindless puppet fighters.
These Spirits are battled across a world map chock full of references. For instance, there’s an entire town made up of Nintendo consoles just underneath Lumiose City from Pokémon X & Y, and it can be revealed that the entire town is powered by a facility utilizing the electricity of Zapfish from Splatoon.
Each of the battles with Smash Ultimate’s Spirits also have great care put into how their source material is referenced.
One of my favorites is the Legendary Dogs from Pokémon:
But there’s a whole lot more to love, from a Dr. Wily battle where Dr. Mario hides behind eight metal Mega Men to a classic Donkey Kong spirit that has you fight alongside Peach against a massive DK on the arcade game’s stage.
Even this little indie gem:
And those are just a few of the hundreds of Spirit battles. I powered through the somewhat grind-heavy adventure just to see as many of them as I could.
That’s the power of well-crafted references. World of Light and the corresponding Spirit Board has them in spades, but even more come forth with Classic Mode.
Masahiro Sakurai’s team put just as much care into giving every fighter a unique Classic Mode route that fits their character.
At this point I’m kind of an expert in the subject:
There are three categories of Classic routes I would separate all 74 into.
References to the character’s game series or a particular storyline.
Combining opponents by color or theme based on the character’s interests.
Playing with the character’s quirks.
The first category has some of the most fun Classic runs.
Mega Man follows the story of his second adventure by taking on eight characters before fighting a giant robot, then Dr. Wily (Dr. Mario), then Mewtwo as an alien version of Wily.
Ryu fights proxy Street Fighter representatives and is the only one with Stamina battles (similar to fighting game life bars).
For characters that group things together, there’s a ton of variety.
Marth only fights dragons, ending off with a battle against Monster Hunter’s Rathalos.
Bowser fights red costumed fighters in reference to his hatred for Mario.
In the last category, you have unique rule sets.
Kirby fights characters that are known for eating, and only food items spawn.
Mewtwo takes control of one of his previous round’s opponents to be a teammate in the next.
There’s so much to love about Classic Mode in Smash Ultimate that the one (in my opinion) glaring execution error shines.
With all of the variety exuding in each route, far too many end with a fight against Master Hand and Crazy Hand.
They are the biggest representatives of the Smash series as a whole, so it makes sense that they would be the default final boss. But the amount of times I groaned seeing them show when I expected someone else were far too frequent.
Why don’t more of the Mario characters battle Giga Bowser, for example?
It seems like a small thing, but the routes that go all-out on final bosses are the best. Toon Link’s Classic Mode is based on the Four Swords Games, and culminates in a four-on-one battle against Ganon from Ocarina of Time.
Now I’m not complaining to Sakurai’s team. They did so much more than they had to with Ultimate, and I love everything about it!
But if I could make any change to the end product, I would have added a more diverse boss battles.
Not just by handing out the six World of Light bosses more readily. So much more could have been achieved by adding a few Classic Mode-exclusive bosses as well.
I would have cranked the nostalgia machine up a few notches by adding a boss related to each of the eight original Smash 64 characters.
Mario, Link and Kirby already have representatives with Giga Bowser, Ganon and Marx. But imagine this:
Adding just a few extra bosses would add a ton of diversity and surprise for players who took on the World of Light first and might assume they’ve seen everything.
Again, don’t take this as me complaining about the end product in any serious manner. I’m simply a fan of all things Nintendo and can’t help but drool at the thought of even more iconography being brought together with such a well-crafted game.
That being said, what else would you want to see added into Smash Ultimate if you were on the dev team? It doesn’t even have to stick to bosses: Characters, alternate skins or items are always fun points of discussion as well!
Let me know in the comments or somewhere on the Internet, because even as I transition into playing Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee with my sister, I’m still thinking all about that Smash.
Apparently Pornhub does a yearly visualization of site analytics, and the fact that I wasn’t aware of it before is a travesty. I’ve gotten very into that sort of thing recently, so alongside psychological implications of “what the world gets off on,” you’ve got something right up my alley.
Obviously this whole subject is a bit NSFW, but I’m more interested in it from a data analysis side. However, if you’re squeamish about the topic I’ll understand if you don’t want to read on.
That said, here are some of my favorite Pornhub Insights from 2018.
… Definitely not a sentence I ever thought I would be writing.
The data that starts off the review is fascinating just from the sheer scale.
Apparently there were 92 million daily visits to the site on average, and about 115 years worth of video were uploaded this year. I know porn is a popular thing, and typically an early adopter of every form of mass media thanks to my Comm classes…
But 115 years of video just this year alone?
I’m not sure how to comprehend that much porn. Especially considering Pornhub is just one of countless porn websites.
When presented with that myriad of information, my first inclination is to ask how it filtered down. Luckily, Pornhub has a number of well-done infographics breaking things into manageable chunks. For instance:
There’s a lot to say about these defining searches.
Stormy Daniels stands out in how hilarious it is that a serious presidential scandal skyrocketed this woman from being the 671 most popular pornstar in 2017 to being the most popular search result in 2018.
Fortnite, as much as I don’t particularly enjoy it, makes sense as a high result considering how popular the game is. Though in that same vein, Bowsette skyrocketing into the top ten based on that week or two she was a popular concept is astounding.
Later on they break down the highest video game-related searches, and it’s not too surprising.
The best thing about this list is Mario being the highest male result. Shout out to that portly plumber for representing male characters.
With that said, I find the worldwide search analyses more interesting than the media-specific stuff. The fact that categories like “4K,” “Trans” and “Tinder” were among top search results says a lot about the era we live in.
It also says a lot about porn watchers that “Lesbian,” “Hentai,” “Milf,” “Step mom” and “Japanese” were the top five most searched terms this year. Especially given that the United States produced the most Pornhub traffic by more than three times its runner-up, the United Kingdom.
Easily the most interesting graphic produced in this set shows which parts of the world searched for what kinds of porn most.
Just look at that sharp divide between “Lesbian” porn in the Americas, “Hentai” in Asia/Russia and “Ebony” porn in Africa. The strong leanings in these parts of the world is simply fascinating to me.
Shout out to Pakistan for being about the sole representative of “Big Dick” porn too. Much respect.
The other segment that really intrigued me was the technology insights. For instance, the clear leaning toward Windows/Android devices:
Or the fact that about 0.7 percent of Pornhub users are searching from their 3DS systems:
Like who is doing that?! Who is using that janky 3DS web browser to search for porn?
I’d like to meet and interview those people.
There’s so many more things to draw out of these data sets, from the gendered search results to the periods when traffic to the site fell (including the day Big Bang Theory season 11 premiered) and which days/times are the most popular for porn watching.
A merry Christmas to all of you out there that are taking a break from your families on this most Yule of evenings and have decided, for one reason or another, to spend some time reading this silly, clichéd offering of mine.
That’s right, as the title above suggests, I’ve decided to throw my hat in the ring with a top 10 list of my favorite games that I played this year. It’s been done to death by anyone with an interest in anything… But what can I say. I’ve always enjoyed the idea and wanted to try it myself.
As I don’t celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah ended a couple days ago, I’m just going to be hanging around all day today more or less. I figured doing a list like this could also double as my ‘here are some good gifts for the holiday season’ suggestions. A little late? Perhaps. But I like to think it’s just well-timed enough.
As a couple of forewarnings before we get into things. Just remember that this is my own personal list of favorites. In other words, it’s an opinionated list, so if you don’t agree with me… Well, that’s your opinion. I respect that you have your opinions so long as you respect that I have mine.
On top of that, while it has been an objectively great year for games in general, it has unfortunately not been a wonderful year of gaming for me. Because of the work constraints I’ve had as a college newspaper editor, a full-time student and an intern, there hasn’t been nearly as much time to play games as I would have liked.
So, if anything, these 10 games I’m listing off are arguably the only 10 games I’ve spent any considerable time actually playing this year.
If you don’t see a game you really liked this year, that’s probably why. As a matter of fact, unless you’re a Nintendo junkie like me, you probably won’t see a lot of games you’re familiar with on this list. A Switch and 3DS are my main gaming systems right now, so there aren’t a lot (if any) PS4 or Xbox games in my playing field.
With all that out of the way, let’s jump into the reason we’re all really here than, shall we? After all, what would a games list be without the games?
￼Editor’s Note: For anyone reading this on my blog proper, I’m going to stick the content under a read more tag. I pretty much let it all out with this one, so it’s long and I don’t want to completely bog everything else down.
Even so, I hope everyone enjoys the show! #UnintendedRhyme
After a long week of dealing in hard news, it feels nice to finally make it to the weekend.
It feels even nicer to make it to the weekend when that weekend happens to hold the ever-tantalizing promise of a brand new video game!
The remake of Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga came out today and boy have I been waiting in absolutely impatient anticipation for it. The original game came out almost 14 years ago, and I would argue it easily makes it into my top five favorite games of all time.
No joke, I’ve probably played through Superstar Saga completely a couple dozen times, or at least enough so that I can’t really keep track. It’s one of those games that’s not only a great time, but also always brings me right back to being a youngin’ before life started to get all full of responsibilities and junk.
Oh, and when I say it brings me back, I mean that pretty literally. I have very specific memories of standing by a wall in the yard/playground area of Birney Elementary School fighting the Queen Bean boss with some of my school friends on my Gameboy Micro. We’re talking real deep cuts here.
Ironically I also remember a very similar situation with a game that also got a fairly recent 3DS remake, Pokémon Sapphire. I distinctly remember being in that same general area with my friends, raising a Silcoon in Petalburg Woods (for some reason) while some sort of an elementary school band concert was going on.
But I suppose that’s a story for another time. Cause I’m in Mario land now.
To be completely honest, this post isn’t even all that accurate, it might technically be misleading from the way I’ve been setting it up. I actually got this game a couple hours ago, but I’ve been so enthralled getting back into it that I forgot to finish writing this.
I’ve been meaning to write a post about the new Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon trailer from yesterday too, since it actually introduces us to a hell of a lot of information that makes me excited for the game… And I’ve also been meaning to study for this Statistics test I have next week… And I’ve been meaning to work on some editing for the Daily Titan to get us ahead for our special financial issue… But I guess we’ll just have to see how well balancing that all goes.
Long story short, Pokémon might unfortunately be the element that falls to the wayside, and if it is just know you can blame not knowing my opinions on an expansive Ultra Space on how much I’m playing Superstar Saga.
Having spent as much time on the remake as I have already, I can confidently say that I’m already forming a solid opinion about it, which is good because I promised our Lifestyle editor that I would be writing her a review for the game.
As a first impression blurb here before I start to put those thoughts more concretely onto paper, I’d say that the game is extremely faithful to the original game in many ways, such as the storyline and comedy that goes along with it, though just about everything graphically and in the sound design has been overhauled to… Mixed effect. Some of it is spot on, but some of it kind of misses the mark for me.
Oh, and there are a good amount of mechanical changes and improvements that sort of feel the same way. A lot of things seem more streamlined and easier to control as a result, but other things arguably feel more cumbersome, which I would almost unfortunately argue brings the issues of being so faithful to an older game to light.
Of course, I am only in the first area of the game outside of the tutorial zone, Stardust Fields, so perhaps my opinions will change as I get exposed to more and more of what’s going on. Either way, I know I’m already having a great time playing, and in a sense that almost makes all of my criticisms more the nit-pickings of an overly obsessive fan rather than anything truly damning.
I guess look forward to next week when I hopefully get that concise review put together. I’ll be working on trying not to kill my editor with an abundance of unnecessary detail… Though like I said, after last week, I’m relishing the opportunity to write something fun.
So who knows. Only time will tell. Until then, you’ll know where to find me.
Even more than a month later, I’m still deeply enthralled in the world of Pokémon Sun and Moon. In fact, I’ve just seriously begun doing some competitive breeding, so I’ll probably be posting about some teams I’m building as I get them together.
However, something else has been released recently that I felt was worth taking the time to look at.
If my post title and featured image aren’t enough to have given it away, welcome to my mini review/first impressions post for Super Mario Run (To be abbreviated SMR from here on out).
Now, to preface this just a little bit, I’ve only played through the currently available free-to-play content portion of SMR. That means I’ve done World 1-1 to World 1-3, and I’ve done enough online play to have my castle reach level 4.
However, while I’ve only played through the stuff available before hitting the paywall as of writing this, I will say that the game is well worth the (admittedly rather steep for a mobile game) $10 required to access the six Worlds. I say that for three reasons:
1) Game Feel
First, the game exudes that high level of polish most Nintendo games are known for despite being on a new platform.
After a brief control tutorial, the game drops you off at Toad Town and Peach’s Castle, both in their apparently natural state: Demolished by everyone’s favorite resident Big Bad Boss, Bowser. From this screen you can look at your collectibles, mess with your friend’s list, notifications, receive gifts, connect to a Nintendo account so you can make you player icon a Mii and access other similar mobile game mechanics. However, the three most important parts of the game come at the bottom of the screen with the Tour, Rally and Build sections.
Selecting Tour allows you to access what is essentially the main story levels in SMR, revealing just what the game is. Nintendo’s first mobile game is a 2D endless runner game similar to titles like Bit Trip Runner and the Sonic Storybook Series (Though the Sonic games are in 3D and are generally less than enjoyable… In my opinion, at least).
The game uses the New Super Mario Bros. graphical engine that’s gotten more than enough love since it brought Mario side scrolling games back in 2006, and it uses those graphics rather well if you ask me. Though the ability to translate a 2D side scroller into an endless runner may seem obvious, the execution of such an idea seems like it would be very easy to get wrong.
However, I would argue SMR gets the endless runner formula right by pretty flawlessly combining a classic, beloved look with new mechanics meant to emphasize a style-based form of gameplay and a substantially intriguing amount of challenge even in early levels.
Granted, any semblance of a story is next to nonexistent past the generic “Save Princess Peach from Bowser” series mainstay… But for a mobile title like this, the lack of a story is fine, and the fact that it even has that could probably be considered a plus. Luckily, the other portions of the game make up for this.
The second main part of the game comes from the Toad Rally mode, which is SMR’s multiplayer aspect. Part of the destruction of Toad Town and Peach’s capture involved all the Toads living in the now destroyed city running away. In order to rebuild the castle and the town, Mario needs to gather Toads, and to do this you have to participate in rally runs against other SMR players.
Using Rally tickets that you gather through various means (such as completing challenges in the single player game or through micro transactions), you can choose an opponent to Run against. Toad Rally has you racing against the opponent you’ve chosen across a set, repeating map to collect as many coins and gather as much Toad support as possible. Collecting coins is an obvious task to complete: Just run, jump, defeat foes and wall-kick to get as many as possible.
To gather Toad support, however, requires you to utilize SMR’s main new feature and arguably its main selling point: The style system. While you can perform all of Mario’s usual jumping techniques, the nature of a free runner changes how the side scroller operates. Instead of having to jump to cross all barriers and to defeat every Goomba and Koopa, Mario does an acrobatic flip over each of the small creatures and tiny gaps/barriers he comes across. The act of his instant mobility over these obstacles is automatic, but nets you no benefits. However, if you tap the screen in a timely manner, you do more fancy tricks and flips that defeat enemies and earn you style points.
Not only do these actions often get you more coins, they build up your Toad support and your style meter, which can eventually activate coin rushes.
These rushes do essentially what they sound like they would do. More coins will spawn for the duration of the meter’s charge, enemies will net you more coins and you’ll build up more hype from the little mushroom men that are cheering you on. These coin rushes perform a similar function to the classic Star power-up you can find hidden sometimes in-game, though the Star also attracts coins within a large vicinity in front of you, ensuring you get them all.
Seriously, if you played and enjoyed New Super Mario Bros. 2 for it’s coin-centric gimmicks, you’ll probably love how satisfying coin collection is in SMR.
You can keep the meter charged even while it’s depleting by performing more tricks during the rush, though Mario speeds up during that period so it can be harder to keep up a chain like you normally could. There’s a huge collection of tricks that Mario can perform to make this task easier, and there are even some tricks exclusive to other playable characters like Luigi, Yoshi and Princess Toadstool herself.
Although you pick opponents for your Toad Rally matches based on real players, you actually play against a ghost of their performance on the same level that you Run on. Therefore, although you don’t have to literally be connected to anyone in order to get in on the multiplayer fun of SMR, you still compete against the performances of other fans of the game. You still have to beat their coin collection scores as they do the same things you do, every coin rush and death included.
Deaths, I might add, are a very interesting thing to observe in SMR. The game synthesizes elements from different Mario titles together, showing a progression in style throughout the last few years of Nintendo’s history with the franchise that has really blossomed into something neat. When a player dies, you get an indication on your play area for where they died similar to the red X indicators in Super Mario Maker. A dead player will then be lifted back into the playing field with a bubble, one of the chief elements common to every New Super Mario Bros. game with multiplayer capabilities. Deaths will take coins away and bubble travel will bring you backwards through a stage, causing you to fall behind in a Toad Rally.
In single player Runs, deaths will cause the same things to happen, however the bubble can be used strategically. If you miss one of the special coins on a stage (something I’ll get into in a moment), you can activate one of your limited bubbles at any time to go backwards and give yourself another chance to catch what you missed – unless it happened to be time-based, of course.
Once a Toad Rally is over, your coins are tallied up alongside your opponent’s coins to see who has collected the most. The amount of Toad support you got throughout the round adds extra coins to your score. Whoever Toadette decides to elect the winner gets more Toads to join them in Toad Town, which in essence acts like the experience points in SMR. However, be warned, if you lose a match against another player not only have you wasted a Rally ticket, you also lose Toads to your opponent.
It’s a tough break in the SMR world, for sure.
Like I said, Toads are your experience points in SMR. The more you collect, the more you level up. The more you level up, the closer you get to repairing Peach’s castle and returning Toad Town to its former glory.
That brings me to the third major part of the game: Toad Town customization. Though not an endless running game mode, the build menu allows you to spend all the thousands of coins you’ll be collecting throughout your endless runs. Most of the things you can buy are aesthetic. Toad houses, flowers, garden pieces and so on. However, you can also buy useful set pieces like bonus mini game houses, which you can access every eight hours or so to have a chance at getting more Rally Tickets and coins.
The more Toads you collect through Toad Rally, the more decorations will be available to you. There are five colored Toads available to collect: Red, Blue, Green, Purple and Yellow. Collecting each color will allow you to unlock different things, however I believe Red is the only color available when you haven’t purchased the full game.
At least, that’s the only color I’ve been able to find.
Eventually, collecting each color will allow you to access Rainbow Bridges, which I can only assume will unlock new areas to decorate… But again, I haven’t been able to get more than the Red Toads.
Though seemingly a bit shallow as far as a reward for all the work collecting coins and Toads goes, the building portion of the game does add a nice element of personalization to the game, and the tiny hub world is honestly a really relaxing place to let your phone sit when you’re doing other things. Toads will also wander around the area and do things like roll around on the grass, so it’s hard not to find the little fungi adorable.
The second reason SMR is worth the buy: Although it’s clearly built to be in more bite-sized bits, SMR seems to have enough content to warrant the price tag without fitting the bill of a far more expensive console title.
Like I said, only 3 levels are available pre-purchase: World 1-1, 1-2 and 1-3. The levels mimic exactly what everyone has come to expect from a classic Mario game, one aboveground level, one underground level and one sky-high mushroom level.
The first three levels in Super Mario Run
The levels aren’t exactly very long. Or at least, the nature of their existence – in which you’re constantly moving – makes it feel like the levels are a lot shorter than they might otherwise be if you had total control over Mario.
However, each level has enough replay value to ensure you won’t blow through the three level trial quicker than you can say “King Koopa.” Beyond the obvious multiplayer aspect of high scores that you can compare with your friends, each level has a certain collectible that will keep you coming back over… And over… And over again.
Colored Coins for the first three levels in Super Mario Run
Every level in SMR has five collectible Pink Coins when you first play through it. Chances are you won’t collect all five on your first time through, since many of them are hidden, sometimes hard to reach based on timing or touch strength or down a fork in the road that you can only access both ends of if you utilize your bubbles well. So, on average, I would say that collecting each Pink Coin in each level would require at least two Runs, as they’re mostly in obvious places.
But once you collect all five Pink Coins, you then unlock a new version of the same map with five Purple Coins. Purple Coins are, naturally, harder to find than the pink ones are. More often than not the layout of certain obstacles and coin collections in the level will be far trickier during a Purple Coin run, forcing you to have to do things like check coin boxes to collect every coin (which is admittedly a much harder task than normal in this gameplay style).
Once you collect all five Purple Coins, you then unlock an even harder Black Coin Run of the level, which takes difficulty to a whole other level compared to the earlier versions. In Black Coin Runs, coins will be hidden better and obstacle layouts will typically require precision playing and planning ahead to collect all five.
For example, in the screenshot above, to collect the Black Coin you need to not only stay on the yellow mushroom to ensure you’ll fall in the right area, you also need to make sure you time your jumps on enemies correctly so you don’t fall to your doom instead of soaring to victory (Oh, and I have to say, Paratroopas are my least favorite enemy as far as precision jumping goes. Most of the time you need to land in exactly the right place and tap with just the right amount of strength to make sure you don’t lose a mushroom power-up or fall to your doom. It’s annoying to say the least).
Also, did I mention there’s a Paratroopa earlier in the level that if you happened to hit will send a shell forward ahead of you that just so happens to knock out the first flying Paratroopa on this screen, thus ending your chances of getting this particular coin? Yeah, it’s a pain. Hence pre-planning and multiple runs through each level. With extra space below the playing field left blank, Nintendo also set up a way to make sure your finger doesn’t get in the way of the gameplay or obscure anything in front of Mario. It’s a small but very greatly appreciated detail.
I could complain all day about how annoying the Black Coin Run on World 1-3 is, but to be honest it isn’t so much annoying in an unfair sense as it is in a truly difficult sense. When you fail, it’s because you didn’t perform an action perfectly. Every element is laid out exactly how it needs to be laid out, and the complexity is enough to make the level interesting to play and frustrating enough to want to conquer. And that’s only for World 1-3! I can’t imagine the creative level designs that show up in World 6, those have got to be ridiculous.
Oh, and by the way, there is a reward for collecting all five colored coins in a given level for all of your Completionists out there (Yeah, I can’t consciously steal the word without sourcing it out… I already used Big Bad Bosses in my post, after all).
That’s right, you can get six Rally Tickets per level if you play your cards right, enjoy a challenge and find precision gameplay fun. Luckily, I fit all three of those criteria and found the challenge fun, even if it did get fairly frustrating.
To top all of this fun, challenging and rewarding gameplay off… SMR has some kick-ass earworms music. Every track is the classic Mario song you would expect to hear that’s been amped up with techno vibes, really emphasizing the constant action of the gameplay. The menu and hub world music has also been remixed. Combine all of that with the tried and true Mario sound effects and you’ve got an audio experience that will keep you humming along hours after you finished your last Run.
3) Nintendo. Mobile Games. Winning.
The third reason SMR is worth the buy… Should be obvious. Come on now, this is our first mobile game released by Nintendo (if you don’t count Pokémon GO). That’s definitely the kind of thing worth supporting if for no other reason than to ensure Nintendo continues to create worthy mobile gaming content.
Like I’ve reiterated throughout this not-so-little review, I’ve only completed the basic free-to-play content in SMR. I spent maybe an hour and a half (two hours if I’m being generous) learning how the game works, collecting all 45 available colored coins and participating in a few Toad Rallies. While this may not seem like a lot of time in the grand scheme of things, the fact that all that time was spent on three main story levels and four multiplayer level-ups is honestly pretty impressive considering the game is obviously meant to get harder and longer the further you get in past the ‘tutorial’ levels.
Nintendo’s impressive levels of game design and polish shine through with this title just as much as it would in any main series console Mario game. The amount of care is clear in every little detail – after all, look at how much I pulled out of just two hours or so of play. As a company, Nintendo has become an expert at taking their assets and improving upon them over and over again through every installment of their franchises. Super Mario Run is no different. Despite seemingly being a rehash of various old elements covering a slightly new skeleton, the game really feels like its own unique entity.
For the challenge, for the music, for the tried and true gameplay with a unique style of mechanics, for the fun multiplayer aspects and ultimately to encourage more great content in the future, I would highly recommend not only downloading the game, but shelling out $10 to get everything currently available.