Super Mario Run

Nintendo masters - and subverts - the smartphone autorunner on its first outing.

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Super Mario Run's biggest update yet adds new levels, a new mode and Daisy

Super Mario Run is getting its biggest update yet, with fresh levels, a new quickfire mode and the addition of a new playable character: Princess Daisy.

You can unlock Daisy by playing through Remix 10, a "frenetic" mode which will feature 10 level snippets from across the game. Each time you play you'll get a different selection of sections. Collect enough Rainbow Medals by playing and you'll... rescue Princess Daisy.

The other big addition is a whole new world of levels - World Star. Nine new levels will be available once you have completed the game's existing stages across the first six worlds. New enemies and gameplay mechanics are promised.

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Nintendo: Super Mario Run sales "did not meet our expectations"

Super Mario Run was downloaded 78m times but still did not make as much money as Nintendo had expected.

The side-scrolling platformer burned bright but quickly disappeared from the iOS App Store chart - due in large part to its short trial and subsequent Ł7.99 upfront charge to keep playing.

(That price is now Ł9.99, due to Apple's recent store-wide changes.)

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Super Mario Run has earned $30m in two weeks

90m downloaded it, but only 3m bought the full game.

Super Mario Run had grossed $30m in revenue since its 15th December worldwide launch, according to game analyst firm Newzoo (via The Wall Street Journal, via Modojo).

You wouldn't have guessed from its meagre release schedule last year, but Nintendo had a hugely significant 2016. With the baby step of Miitomo that was then followed by Super Mario Run's more sizeable footprint later in the year, its play for mobile finally took shape, while with the announcement of Switch it began the process of consolidating its handheld and home console offerings. These are hardly small matters, but 2017 will be when we finally see how everything falls into place. It's going to be fascinating.

Super Mario Run review

Is it a spoiler to say there are ghost houses in Super Mario Run? If so, my apologies. Consider yourself spoiled. And yet, because this is Mario - and because these are ghost houses - the spoiler does not really spoil very much. I only mention the ghost houses at all because the first one - level 2-1 - was the moment at which I first sat up and started really paying attention. It's the first level where you glimpse once again what makes Mario special: not that he basically invented the trappings of the platformer, to the extent that playing through the opening few levels of his new iPhone autorunner puts you into a kind of cognitive tailspin as you realise how much it reminds you of all other iPhone autorunners and, in turn, how much all other iPhone autorunners remind you of Mario. What makes Mario special is that, even deep within the clutch of genre conventions that he created - a clutch so few perfectly good games ever escape from - he wriggles free and shows you something new.

The best example of this sort of thing - other than 2-1, which I'm going to get to in a minute - comes in one of the New Super Mario games for the 3DS, a series that Super Mario Run takes many of its cues from. I can't remember which of the old New games I'm thinking of, and that's probably part of the point. Anyway, Mario's travelling upwards inside a Koopa castle of some kind, stuck on an elevator that rises through a tower, passing coins, passing platforms, passing enemies. And then a spiked boulder falls onto the screen from the left. It rolls towards Mario. You jump. He jumps. And then it rolls off the right-hand side of the screen. Phew!

Except because this world wraps left-to-right, the boulder's back. It rolls in again. Mario jumps again. And then it disappears again. And then it returns again. This is the gimmick of this level: a boulder, an elevator, an old trick of platformers where every exit stage right is an entrance stage left. Mario, this late in his career, still has the imagination to turn all this into a sort of perpetual motion machine. The boulder keeps rolling through the hard interior of the Mario Pinball table you're apparently stuck in, the passing level furniture making each new journey it takes fresh and surprising and playful.

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Super Mario Run launches for iPhone on 15th December

Super Mario Run - Nintendo's first mobile outing for its mustachioed mascot - will launch for iPhone on 15th December, priced at $9.99.

We've yet to get an official UK price, although Ł7.99 is a safe bet. (UPDATE: Nintendo has now confirmed this).

Super Mario Run is free to start, with a limited portion of the game available to play without charge. You'll be able to try out all three of the app's main modes.

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