The first ever Mario game for iPhone has launched to much fanfare from Nintendo and Apple. Download Super Mario Run from the App Store now, on any iPhone, iPad or iPod touch running iOS 8, iOS 9 or iOS 10.

Super Mario Run is a one button 2D platformer. Mario automatically runs through the level, players press the screen to make him jump onto ledges, avoid enemies and collect coins.

For free, the game includes a selection of levels as a trial; the full game content can be unlocked with a one-time $9.99 In-App Purchase. We’ve got a walkthrough of the three different modes and a raft of screenshots after the jump to give you a taste of what the game has to offer before you play …

At a glance, Super Mario Run looks just like a normal Mario Bros side-scrolling 2D platformer from the DS. Fans of those games will feel right at home in Super Mario Run, with many of the same characters, visuals and sounds.

Goombas, toads, piranha plants and the iconic soundtrack will mean people familiar with the franchise are right at home.

However, the way the game plays is very different to any previous Mario title from Nintendo. The game interactions have been streamlined to suit the on-the-go iPhone/iPad experience — you can play Super Mario Run with one hand.

Video first impressions

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Mario runs forward automatically so the player just has to tap the screen to jump at the right moments in the courses. Mario responds differently depending on when you tap on the screen, so you have to get the timing right to pull off the perfect wall-jumps or hops to collect as many power-ups and coins as possible. A quick tap is also interpreted differently to a longer press, so the input mechanism is a bit more sophisticated than it first sounds.

In many cases, Mario will jump automatically to help new players get to grips with the game but manual control is required to achieve the highest scores. For example, an invincibility star power-up in one level is only reachable if the user achieves a jump at just the right point on a hill.

Super Mario Run features three distinct modes: World Tour, Toad Rally and Kingdom Builder. World Tour is the primary story mode where players have to complete each level in succession to advance through a total of 6 worlds and 24 courses. Mario will journey through caverns, castles, haunted houses and more in this main quest. Success relies on good timing; tap in just the right places to find hidden bonuses, power ups and pull off optimal double and triple jumps to nab the most coins as possible.

Toad Rally is the game’s ‘multiplayer’ mode where players have to race against records set by their friends and the best players around the world. As you run, a ghost player of the previous lap-time shows you what the other person achieved and provides motivation to catch up if you are falling behind. The Toads assess your ‘stylish moves’ and coin-collecting abilities to make the final score.

If you do well enough in Toad Rally, the Toads will come and live in your personal Kingdom. This is the third mode and is essentially a trophy of your achievements playing through levels. Using the coins and Toads attained, buy buildings and decorations (pipes, flowers and stars) to impress. It’s like a cute little town where you build houses for the Toads to live. Improve your Kingdom by collecting coins in the other modes.

As noted last week, Super Mario Run requires a constant active internet connection to be able to play the game. Nintendo says this is to protect against software piracy however the policy limits the accessibility of the game, especially on journeys where mobile data is unreliable or unavailable.

Super Mario Run is available in the App Store, playable on iPhone or iPad. Try a few levels for free or buy the full game for $9.99. Out of the twenty four levels spanning six worlds, free users can play level 1-1, 1-2, 1-3 and part of 1-4. Users must buy the upgrade if they want to progress further.

The game requires iOS 8 or later and is available in more than 150 countries in ten languages; English, Japanese, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Russian and traditional Chinese. Check the Nintendo microsite for more info.

Let us know what you think of Super Mario, the first official Mario game ever on iPhone, in the comments.

(Oh, and one super secret cheat/tip for Super Mario Run: You can unlock Toad as a playable character!)

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About the Author

Benjamin Mayo

Benjamin develops iOS apps professionally and covers Apple news and rumors for 9to5Mac. Listen to Benjamin, every week, on the Happy Hour podcast. Check out his personal blog. Message Benjamin over email or Twitter.