We all know that if there's a mobile game of 2016 award, it should go to Pokémon Go. The water-cooler talk and enthusiasm that surrounded it during the height of its popularity were unprecedented. It drove fans to actually get out and search real-life locations to search for these elusive virtual creatures.
At one point, it was so popular that Nintendo's stock surged 71 percent, breaking records along the way.
Now that the Pokémon Go craze has waned, who might be this new successor waiting in the wings to claim heir to the mobile game throne? Why, of course, itsa' Nintendo again and itsa' him, Mario!
Super Mario Run
To much fanfare and excitement, Nintendo's Super Mario Run was released exclusively for iOS on the iPhone and the iPad on December 15. It's the Nintendo mascot's first official foray into third-party mobile gaming space and it has excited both gamers and smartphone owners alike.
It was off to a fast start as the game was downloaded by 38 million gamers in the first three days after its release. It topped the Apple App Store for most downloads and top-grossing charts in multiple countries and it's expected to make $71 million in its first month alone.
Initial reviews were positive. We played it ourselves and we can say that it certainly exudes the Nintendo charm that only Nintendo itself can provide. Although it's an auto-running game, it looks and feels exactly what you would expect from a mobile Mario game. It's cute and beautifully designed, the music is memorable and it's challenging enough to keep you coming back for more.
Trouble in mobile Mario Land?
Despite the positive praises, we're barely a week in after the game's release and user complaints are starting to flood in. Apple App Store user reviews and social media sites are littered with talk about the game's questionable traits.
All I’ve done is play the tutorial and do the initial data download (and blindly purchase the game). Super Mario Run used 95MB of data pic.twitter.com/3LgdiXSIAn
— Wario64 (@Wario64) December 15, 2016
The bulk of the criticism stems from Super Mario Run's constant data connection requirement. Be forewarned, after the initial 205MB download, gamers report that the game consumes more than 50MB of data for each hour it's running. This may not be an issue when playing over Wi-Fi but over a mobile connection, with the current stingy data caps, the game can eat through your data allowance faster than Mario could, well... run.
Another major complaint is the price point. Although the game is free to download and try, the full version costs $10. In this age of free-to-play mobile games, some people are protesting that $10 is too steep for a portable title with a very short playthrough and limited replayability.
Due to these issues, with almost 60,000 user ratings in the Apple App Store, Super Mario Run is certainly feeling the wrath of disappointed gamers everywhere. The game's rating has plummeted down to 2.5 stars and for a game that is celebrated as Nintendo's big welcome party to the third-party mobile gaming world, well, that doesn't bode well.
In fact, Nintendo's stock shares plummeted for the second straight day on Monday. The company's value dropped by 11 percent while Super Mario Run's co-developer DeNA Co's shares fell sharply by 15 percent.
It is interesting to see what Nintendo will do to right its mobile gaming ship since it is apparently off to a rough start. While Super Mario Run is a good game in and of itself, the mobile gaming crowd is a completely different market compared to the traditional console gaming crowd. Nintendo may want to rethink its mobile strategy if it wants to stay in it for the long haul.