Borrowing its aesthetic from New Super Mario Bros. U and Super Mario Maker, Super Mario Run features simplified, one-handed platformer gameplay in which players guide Nintendo mascot Mario through a series of side-scrolling obstacle courses. Mario runs to the right automatically, and players can tap their device’s touchscreen to make him jump over chasms, pounce enemies, and navigate tricky platforming sequences.
While early levels offer simple challenges, the game’s later stages introduce blocks that change Mario’s direction, and items that allow players to stop and start Mario with precision timing. Though Super Mario Run eventually ramps up in difficulty, the goal remains to collect as many coins in each stage as possible before reaching an end-of-level flagpole.
Super Mario Run‘s gameplay is split across three modes. The game’s core campaign features a series of back-to-back levels, similar to previous Mario platformers released for Nintendo consoles. A second mode allows players to compete with friends in asynchronous coin-collecting challenges. Players can collect coins and toad followers in Super Mario Run‘s first two gameplay modes to unlock new items within a third mode, which features a customizable version of Mario’s Mushroom Kingdom.
Super Mario Run follows up on a handful of recent Nintendo mobile releases, including Miitomo, a unique social networking app that allows players to create and dress custom Mii characters. Nintendo’s Pokemon franchise also recently hit mobile platforms with Pokemon Go, a wildly successful monster-catching sim built atop an augmented reality framework.
Nintendo specified that Super Mario Run will be available as a paid app, rather than free-to-play, but did not announce an exact price. Super Mario Run will hit the Apple App Store this December.