Super Mario Run is finally here, and wow are you going to need some mental reprogramming if you're used to more traditional Mario games. A fusion of platformer and popular runner phone games, Super Mario Run breaks from a lot of the well-established rules Nintendo established decades ago. It can be difficult to wrap your head around, especially when you're expected to do so while the game holds the run button for you.
This guide will run through some tips and hints for nailing down the basics of Super Mario Run, whether you're looking to just finish all the stages, trying to score lots of coins, or tracking down all the special coins in a stage.
For tips on how to unlock all the characters, read Super Mario Run: How to Unlock All the Characters, Including Luigi, Peach, and Yoshi.
Run Into Enemies
This may be the hardest habit for Mario fans to break, but it's central to Super Mario Run: You don't get hurt by running into enemies, but rather you hop right over them as you pass. You can only kill them, though, by tapping the screen the moment you're vaulting over them. This is important not only for upping your kill count, but for using ground enemies to launch yourself higher in order to reach coins or platforms. Now you'll still get hurt by enemies if you hit them with anything but your feet in the air, and runaway shells will still hurt you, but learning to exercise self-control when jumping around enemies is the first step to success in Super Mario Run.
Know When Not to Tap
In the same way, Mario will also automatically vault over smaller, one-block-tall obstacles without your input. You're going to want to get used to this, as reflexively jumping when you come to uneven ground could mess up the real jump you need to make just after. Also, the levels are structured in a way that ensures there's almost always two or three different routes to take through most of the levels. Be aware that you don't have to jump to a platform a lot of times, because some bits of levels are structured so that if you just fall, you'll land on a lower platform. Look for transparent arrow boxes that spawn coin trails pointing downward. Again, you're going to want to control your jumping reflex and train yourself to look a bit ahead to see if the level branches off and what can be found down each fork. You'll only have a couple of seconds usually.
Know Those Boxes
Speaking of boxes, there are many different kinds of them that let Mario break his set pace through the game, and learning to recognize them in a split second is key. We've already covered the coin trail boxes, but there are three kinds of boxes that are situated in the ground that you need to know about. Boxes with arrows pointing forward vault Mario in that direction if you jump while on one. This is usually a good thing that you'll want to take advantage of, as it saves time and there's often a big coin trail leading from it. Just look out for hidden things that you would get if you didn't take the leap, because they exist.
Boxes with arrows that point backwards, meanwhile, don't launch you, instead allow you to take a short leap backward. You'll mostly see these in the ghost house levels as a way to navigate the uniquely cramped spaces you'll be inhabiting, and they'll often lead to special coins or other secrets.
Finally, red boxes act like glue to Mario's feet: As long as Mario doesn't jump, he's fixed to that spot, giving you the rare opportunity to plan a difficult level sequence and time your run to avoid some new obstacles. Take advantage of these as much as possible except when you're on an extreme time crunch.
Take a Bubble Mulligan
When you die in Super Mario Run, you don't go back to the beginning of the level, but rather get flung backward in a bubble until you pop it. You only get two bubbles per attempt, but you should make the most of them if and when you do end up dying in a level. Since the bubble flings you backwards, you can go to a point before a special coin you missed, or snag a large cache of coins on a path you didn't take. Don't rush getting back into the thick of things unless, again, you're about to run out the timer.