Hands-on: Super Mario Run might be the weirdest Mario game yet

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Enlarge / Being forced to miss those lower coins on the left to get the higher ones makes me twitch a little inside.

As a serious, fan-site-creating Mario fan for the vast majority of my life now, I’ve played a lot of weird Mario games. Even without including the “Mario plays yet another sport” style of spin-offs, there’s everything from the well-known weirdness of Super Mario Bros. 2 to the tiny, early monochrome weirdness of Super Mario Land to the melon-infused, cloying cuteness of Yoshi’s Story to the coin-drenched oddity of New Super Mario Bros. 2,

I’ve dived deep into plenty of games that twist Mario’s basic run-and-jump-and-explore formula to the point of near-unrecognizability. After playing a four-level demo of the mobile Super Mario Run at an Apple Store this morning, though, I think I’ve experienced the weirdest official take on Mario yet.

On the surface, Super Mario Run has all the trappings of a standard 2D Mario game—coins, goombas, koopa troopas, a jumpy mustachioed guy with a red hat and blue overalls. The graphics and sound assets seem to be taken directly from the New Super Mario Bros. series, and it all looks much better on the iPhone’s retina screen than it ever did on the limited portable screens of the DS and 3DS.

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