How to Play Super Mario Run: Best Guide in the Universe

Super Mario Run has caused a lot of debate since its release. The ten dollar pay-wall users hit after playing the first three levels was a shock for many. Others, gladly paid the money (having paid much more for console games in the past) but quickly beat the six levels and felt short-changed. At first glance, Super Mario Run is a short game that’s fairly easy to play. But how to play Super Mario Run isn’t just about beating the Worlds. It’s about how to play the game to its fullest. I am personally obsessed with the game; I easily beat all six worlds, but do you know how to play Super Mario Run in a way that puts your full ten dollars to good use? That’s what we’re going to cover. We’ll go over the basics on how to play Super Mario Run for iOS, but then we’ll dive into how to play Super Mario Run for real, including how to play without killing your iPhone’s battery life. 

Related: Super Mario Run Coming to iOS, but with a Significant Restriction

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How to Use This Guide

I start out with a run-down of the parts of this game. At first glance, it appears beating the Worlds and rescuing Princess Peach is the main event, when really it’s only one part of three: Tour, Rally, and Build. Then, I get to the basics of actually playing and teach you more tips & tricks of the game, as well as how to find those tips within the game. Then I get to the nuances of the game, which is for those who want to know how to play Super Mario Run to its fullest.

In short, you can skip around the guide as you please or read it through to get the big picture of Super Mario Run the game. I’ve got screenshots throughout the guide to make it easy to see what I’m talking about as I go along. Ready, Set, Run!

     Table of Contents:

Tour VS. Rally

Super Mario Run is broken up into two main parts: Tour & Rally. Build is also an important part, but we'll cover that in Gold Coins & Building Your Kingdom, below. 

Tour

  • The Tour has six worlds with four levels each, and there is a boss at the end of each World you must beat.

  • When you beat each level, the next level appears until you play through all of them and rescue Princess Peach.

  • When you play, you’ll notice pink coins throughout the level. If you collect all five pink coins from a level, you master the ‘easy’ difficulty for that level. You’ll then be able to play and collect five purple coins, which makes you a master of the ‘medium’ difficulty for that level. Lastly, there are black coins. When you collect all five black coins, you’ve officially completed a level in the tour to its fullest.

The goal here is not only to play through all of the levels and rescue Princess Peach, but to play through all of the levels collecting the coins. If you collect all 120 pink, purple, or black coins from each level, you’ll receive an item. The item you get is a pipe the same color of the corresponding coin, which when placed within your Kingdom allows you to play another hidden level.

Rally

As you play through the levels of each world, you collect gold coins and rally tickets. We’ll go over gold coins later. The rally tickets you collect are for the second main part of Super Mario Run: Rally. You can also receive Rally tickets from special items and bonus games placed in your Kingdom. The maximum number of Rally tickets you can have is 99. 

  • You visit Rally to compete against other players’ runs of various levels of the Tour.

  • It costs one Rally ticket to play.

  • As you run, Toads of different colors come to cheer for you.

  • If you collect the most gold coins during a timed run, you win.

  • When you win, all the Toads that came to cheer for you, and all the Toads that were cheering for the other player, join your Kingdom. You also receive the gold coins you collected during the run.

  • If you lose, the Toads that came to cheer for you leave your Kingdom.

Gold Coins & Building Your Kingdom

Gold coins are used as currency in Super Mario Run. You can use those coins to buy items in the Store. You can then place those items in your Kingdom wherever you like.

  • As you win rallies and gather Toads, the different colors of Toads are sorted into groups and tallied.

  • As you continue to bring Toads to your Kingdom, special items are unlocked in the Store. Whether or not these items are unlocked is often dependent upon whether or not you have enough Toads of a certain color or multiple colors.

    • For example, the Rainbow Bridge, of which there are five total. Each Rainbow Bridge is unlocked once you have enough Toads of each color. When you purchase the Rainbow Bridge, you expand your Kingdom, which gives you more land to place building, plants, and special items.

  • As you bring more Toads to your Kingdom, you level up. As you level up, your castle is slowly restored to its glory. You can see what the castle originally looked like at any time by tapping on the castle itself. Once you reach level 20, the castle reaches its maximum expansion. 

The thing I love about that seemingly annoying pay-wall at the beginning of Super Mario Run is that it’s the only real money you spend on the game. Once you pay the ten, there’s no advertising to buy more coins or rally tickets. You get plenty from playing the game. And, as stated above, some of the special items you buy have bonus games that give you even more coins and rally tickets.

How to Build Your Kingdom in Super Mario Run

  • From the main screen, tap Build.

  • You’ll see options: Put Away, Move, Place, and Store. You’ll also see Hammer in the lower right corner if you’ve beaten any of the Worlds in Tour.

    • Hammer: When you first start out, and with each Kingdom expansion you undergo, there are enemy blocks covering some spaces in your Kingdom. Use the Hammers to get rid of them.

    • Put Away: Use this to select an item placed in your Kingdom and put it away in your inventory.

    • Move: Use this to select an item in your Kingdom and move it to another place.

    • Place: Use this to open your inventory of items. You can then select any of the items you have and place them in your Kingdom.

    • Shop: Use this to go shopping with your gold coins. Within Shop (and Place), there are three categories: Decorations, Buildings, and Special. You can click on an item to see what you need in order to unlock it.

Unlocking items is where Rally comes into play even more. Most of the requirements for items involve having more Toads, and often of particular colors, within your Kingdom.

How to Play Super Mario Run: The Basics

I hope my run-down of Super Mario Run gave you a better idea of just how much is going on in this game. The game isn’t overt about all the features, especially when you’re first learning to play after downloading it. But upon closer investigation (or in my case, obsession), you see how much there is to build upon and complete in order to truly beat the game. Now let’s talk about actually playing—you know, the running part. There’s a reference in the game for all the various Tips & Tricks you can do. To access that reference:

  • From the main screen of Super Mario Run, tap Menu in the lower left corner.

  • Select Notebook.

  • Tap Tips & Tricks.

I’m going to go over the most important of these tips & tricks to help you become the best little Mario you can be.

Run, Mario, Run:

Nintendo wanted Super Mario Run to be a game you could play with one hand and one finger. Which is why:

  • Mario runs on his own.

  • Mario, also, automatically jumps over small enemies and obstacles.

  • As he is jumping over them, you can tap the screen to knock out the enemy and gain some gold coins.

  • Mario will automatically break a long fall by rolling.

  • Mario will automatically pull himself up from edges.

Basic Moves:

  • Tap the screen to jump.

  • Tap and hold the screen to jump higher.

  • In mid-air, tap the screen to spin, which will slow your descent.

  • To jump off the side of a wall, tap the screen just as you reach it to jump in the opposite direction. You can complete consecutive wall jumps back and forth, if needed.

  • If Mario falls off a cliff or gets killed by an enemy, he will float backwards in a bubble. Once the bubble stops spinning, tap the screen to pop it. If you don’t tap the screen, he will float back towards the beginning of the course until you do. (In Tour, you have a limited number of bubbles (they are your lives in Super Mario Run) which can be seen at the top of your screen. In Rally, you have an unlimited number of bubbles but you lose coins, cheering Toads, and time.)

 

Tips You Need to Know:

  • When Mario is rolling, tap the screen to do a rolling jump. Sometimes, when rolling down a hill, you can do a rolling jump to reach a higher wall than you would have been able to reach walking.

  • Tap the screen while Mario is climbing an edge to do a climbing jump and propel over the edge.

  • You will come across Pause Blocks as you run. They will stop you in your tracks, allowing you time to access the situation ahead and go when ready. Take your time, because when you’re on a Pause Block, the timer pauses too.

  • There are switches in Super Mario Run that look like little police sirens on the ground. To activate it, land on it or jump while vaulting over it. Blue Switches make blue coins appear, Yellow Switches change which blocks are solid and which you’ll fall through, Pink Switches will give you a pink coin. I haven’t seen any Purple or Black switches, but if you do, it’s safe to assume they would give you a purple or black coin, respectively.

  • As you collect coins, a meter fills up. When it’s full, you’ll start Coin Rush. More gold coins will pop up than usual. Collect as many as possible; it won’t last for very long. If you die during Coin Rush, it will stop.  

Pro Tips:

  • Run through the large red circles in a level. Five red coins will appear. If you collect the five red coins before they disappear, the classic yellow star will appear above your head. If you jump and catch it, you’ll enter rainbow mode that allows you to run and collect all the coins around you and knock out any enemies in your way for a set amount of time. You will also run much faster during that period.

  • Tap the bubble icon at the top of your screen. You’ll pop into a bubble and float backwards. This is a great way to go back for pink, purple, or black coins if you miss them—so long as you have enough time and lives left.

  • Jump up and hit Time Blocks to add ten seconds to the timer.

  • Defeat a lot of the same enemy to level them up. When an enemy levels up, you’ll get more coins from jumping on them when playing in Rally.

  • Gold and red coins are worth one coin; blue coins are worth two, and pink, purple, or black coins are worth ten coins. This is most important during Toad Rallies.  

Remember, you can access these tips and more from within the game by tapping Menu, opening your Notebook, and selecting Tips & Tricks.

Friends & My Nintendo

Friends

From the main screen in Super Mario Run, you’ll see Friends in the upper left corner:

  • When you tap on it, you’ll see your Friend List and the options to: Accept, Link, Invite, and Add.

  • When you tap on a friend's avatar, you can view their stats such as how many gold coins and toads they have or how many rallies they’ve won.

  • You can have a Friendly Run, which is basically a practice race against a friend. You can't win coins or toads from playing a Friendly Race and you have a limited number of Friendly Races, based on how many Worlds you've defeated.

  • When you play in Tour, you'll also be able to see who has the best score amongst your friends for each level.
  • Sometimes, your friends will appear as an option when playing Rally; that is not the same as a Friendly Race since you'll receive coins and toads. 

I don't really understand the function of this part of the game yet, but I imagine it will continue to change and evolve with the rest of the game.

Adding Friends in Super Mario Run

The basics of making friends in Super Mario Run are summarized below: 

  • Each person playing Super Mario Run is given a Player ID.

  • You can add friends by tapping Add and entering their Player ID (Add me!). From here, you can also share your Player ID via Messages or Mail.

  • Tap Link to connect to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. You’ll be able to see your friends from those accounts who have also linked their account to Super Mario Run.

  • Tap Invite to send an invitation URL to be your friend in Super Mario Run via Messages or Mail.

  • Tap Accept to see your friend requests and accept or deny friendship.

My Nintendo

From the main screen in Super Mario Run, you’ll see My Nintendo in the upper right corner. If you have (or create) a My Nintendo account, you can link it to Super Mario Run and use your Mii as your icon. This will also allow your Super Mario Run data to be stored on Nintendo’s serves so that if you accidentally delete the game from your phone, your progress isn’t lost. Last, but not least, you receive special missions that when completed give you Points, which can be exchanged for extra gold coins, Rally tickets, items, and the character Toad. Missions include Play Toad Rally (which is a daily mission with a ten coin reward), adding your first friend, clearing each world, and more.

Playing as Other Characters

Including Mario, there are six total characters you can play as in Super Mario Run. They are Mario, Toad, Peach, Yoshi, Luigi, and Toadette. You can play as any of your unlocked characters in both Tour and Rally. 

Specialties of Each Character:

  • Toad and Toadette run the fastest.

  • Luigi can jump the highest.

  • Peach floats and Yoshi flutters for a short amount of time in the mid-air when you tap and hold. 

How to Unlock Each Character:

  • Luigi, Yoshi, and Toadette are unlocked via Special items (their houses) from the Store, which you can acquire by fulfilling the Toad tally requirements of each.

  • Peach is unlocked when you rescue her after beating all six worlds.

  • You get Toad within Rewards in the My Nintendo section.

How to Play as a Different Character in Super Mario Run:

  • You can do this in both Tour and Rally. When you select a course, you’ll see the chosen character (Mario by default) in the lower right corner of the screen.

  • Tap the character. Your list of unlocked characters will pop up.

  • Tap the character you want to play as.

  • The character you select will automatically be your character until you switch again.

Start your run!

Checking Your Progress

Let’s say you’re browsing the Store in Build, looking for items for your Kingdom. And you come across a special item you want but it isn’t unlocked. When you tap on the item, you can see how many more toads and of what color you need. But how do you check to see how many of each toad you have? To check your progress:

  • From the main screen in Super Mario Run, find the box in the top center of the screen. You’ll see a little toad icon and the overall number of Toads you’ve brought to your Kingdom. Tap on the arrow next to the number to drop down a menu.

  • This menu shows your progress. It separates how many red, blue, green, purple, and yellow toads you have, how many pink, purple, and black coins you have, and how many rainbow bridges you have.

  • At the top of the drop-down menu, you’ll see your Level and how many toads you have out of how many toads you need to level up.

Bonus: How to Play Super Mario Run without Killing Your Battery Life

If you’ve been playing this game way too much like me, you’re going to want to save your iPhone’s battery life with this tip. To play Super Mario Run without killing your iPhone’s battery life:

  • From the main Super Mario Run screen, tap Menu in lower left corner.

  • Tap Settings.

  • Select Options.

  • Next to Graphics Setting, tap High. It will change to Low.

The graphics will be slightly less fantastic, but I can barely see a difference. Best of all, you can play the game longer and save some battery life.

Beating the Game: Conclusion

Let’s review. In order to beat Super Mario Run, you need to have:

  • Completed all six worlds and gathered all 120 pink, 120 purple, and 120 black coins from those worlds. This, in and of itself, is a feat.

  • Unlocked all the (Decorations, Buildings, and Special) items in the Store.

  • Collected all five rainbow bridges, thus expanding your Kingdom to its fullest.

  • Reached the current max level: Level 20, which is 4000 toads. 

If you want to go the extra mile, collect all the characters (which you’ll likely do as you complete the rest of the game, anyway) and buy at least one of every item from the store, which will require lots of coins that I’m sure you’ll have plenty of by the time you’ve gotten that far.

Future Updates

In the future, I expect Nintendo will release further updates that expand what it takes to beat the game. I expect they’ll add another round of worlds, complete with more items to unlock and rainbow bridges to build. I also expect Nintendo to include another pay-wall when the world of Super Mario Run expands, which I personally wouldn’t mind.

What do you think? How are you liking the game? Was it worth your money and would you spend more for part 2? Let us know in the comments.


Top Image Credit: Denys Prykhodov / Shutterstock.com

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Conner Carey holds a bachelor's in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing and resides in Fairfield, Iowa. When she's not writing, you can find her singing jazz or watching anime. Her personal blog can be found at connerleecarey.com; you can also follow her on twitter @connerleecarey.