For those of us without iPhones, Super Mario Run launched on Android last week. I’ve sank a good few hours into it over the weekend, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised – without paying a single penny.
My understanding of Super Mario Run was that unless you pay the £9.99 entry price, you get access to little more than a demo – the first few levels of a [20-level] game. And while that’s true, the game has a whole other side to it that’s completely passable as a standard free-to-play experience.
I’m talking about Toad Rally. Toad Rally lets you race through modified versions of the levels you’ve already unlocked, pitted against the image of another player. It’s a race to collect the most coins. If you win, you gain new Toads to live in your town. If you lose, some of those Toads, fickle as they are, will leave to go with the winning player.
The goal then, is to basically accumulate as many Toads as you can. There are also other goals to work towards – killing X amount of each enemy type, for one, and collecting a certain amount of various coloured Toads in order to unlock new building types for your Toad Rally town. However, you’re limited to the amount of Toad Rally races you can make by needing tickets. The game starts you off with a fairly generous amount though, and you can gain one to three extra tickets every three hours by playing the “bonus game”. You’re also rewarded tickets as prizes when you complete the levels in the main game.
Sure, you’re limited to only four courses in Toad Rally – one for each of the levels you get free – but it doesn’t so much matter; each race feels different as you’re battling against a different opponent, and you’re always battling to better your own performance. The four main levels themselves are replayable too – each has five red coins placed throughout, and once you’ve collected them, you can play the level again with the coins scattered differently. Getting the coins is a challenge in itself, and collecting each different formation will grant you rewards (including Toad Rally tickets).
Sure, paying £10 will get you more out of the game, but don’t be fooled into thinking you have to pay for Super Mario Run. It may not be the most in-depth free to play game, but there’s more than enough if you want a daily dose of Mario without having to pay for it.