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Super Mario Run hands-on: like Mario, just simpler

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Run hands-on: like Mario, just simpler

A week ahead of the release Nintendo’s first true smartphone game, Super Mario Run, we had a chance to spend a half-hour with the portable platformer. How does it feel? Surprisingly like a classic Mario game.

Super Mario Run strips the core of a Mario game to its very basics. Unlike classic Mario games, in which you control the forward and backward movement of Mario, this game is an automatic runner, which means that Mario will run on his own. You control when he jumps.

With one button, the game accomplishes a lot

A light tap will cause a quick hop, while a longer press will send the mustachioed plumber him soar through the air. Moves can be combined in a number of ways, sending more vaulting over enemies, catapulting to collect coins, or leaping to hard-to-reach places.

Despite the streamlined controls, Super Mario Run still manages to feature what you’d expect from the series. You can still wall jump, stomp goombas, and collect coins and power-ups. Many of Mario’s moves have been automated: if you run directly into an enemy, for instance, he’ll automatically vault right over them. Iconic stages make appearances, including a haunted house littered with ghosts and trap doors, dark underground caverns, and the green pipe burdened Mushroom Kingdom. Though they look familiar, the levels all have a much more vertical feel than in past Mario games, due to the fact you play the game in portrait mode.

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