USgamer Community Question: Are You Happy With Nintendo's Mobile Games So Far?

Nintendo's had time to find its bearings on mobile. So what do you think?

Article by USgamer Team, .

Fire Emblem Heroes is here, and social media is abuzz with lucky players who've drawn four-star Chroms and five-star Tikis. You may also hear the mournful wails of Nintendo fans who are distressed to see Nintendo go truly free-to-play with Fire Emblem Heroes, but there's not much point in getting upset. Between Fire Emblem Heroes, Miitomo, Super Mario Run, and the upcoming Animal Crossing game, it's evident Nintendo is determined to make its mark on mobile.

How are Nintendo's mobile games working for you so far? Are you happy with how they play, and how they're priced? Stop pouring orbs into Fire Emblem Heroes' summoning dias for a second and let's talk about this.

Jaz Rignall Editor-at-Large

So far, I haven't been particularly excited by Nintendo's mobile offerings. Miitomo didn't appeal to me at all, and Fire Emblem Heroes' turn-based strategy action doesn't quite sound like my cup of tea. Well, maybe I'd have fun playing it - I'm just not familiar enough with the Fire Emblem series for it to jump out at me as a must-play.

I did give Mario Run a whirl, but after playing through the initial free levels, I didn't feel especially motivated to drop $10 on the rest of the game. It's not that I thought it was expensive, like many consumers seemed to, it just didn't quite hook me enough to want to invest time and money into the game. It's certainly slick and fun, but I found its mechanics a little too stripped-down to tickle my Mario fancy.

Damn, I'm sounding like a right miserable old mope. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that Nintendo's mobile releases are bad in any way. It's just that there are other games I'm more interested in playing.

To answer the question directly, I'm happy that Nintendo's mobile games have been largely successful so far, and that people are enjoying playing them. It's just that there has yet to be a Nintendo mobile release that actually appeals to me. Maybe Animal Crossing will do the trick?

Mike Williams Associate Editor

I haven't actually played them yet.

That's not because I have a problem with their mobile games. Far from it, I played Pokemon Go, Mobius: Final Fantasy, Record Keeper, and Brave Exvius. I still jam with Lara Croft Go, Hitman Go, and FTL on my tablet. It's just I had no interest in Miitomo and Super Mario Run came out on iOS first; I'm an Android user, so no dice.

I'm looking forward to trying Fire Emblem Heroes and I don't particularly have any problem with gacha mechanics. I have friends who swear by Granblue Fantasy and Puzzle and Dragons, both of which use gacha mechanics on a regular basis. The important thing is to realize that mobile gaming and portable/console gaming have different needs; what works for A doesn't work for B. That's fine. You have Fire Emblem Heroes, but Fire Emblem Echoes and Fire Emblem Switch are still out there.

Back to the question though, I'm not unhappy with Nintendo's output. It's there and I'm fine with it. I'm glad they're leveraging their IP to make money, because those funds will flow back into the other side of the company. Great, money-making mobile games means better Nintendo games overall. And like we saw with Pokemon Go, Fire Emblem Heroes will probably boost the sales of the next Fire Emblem games. That's a good thing.

Nadia Oxford Associate News Editor

As someone who's given years of her life to reviewing mobile games, I've been really interested to observe Nintendo's entry into the market. And, to put my opinion succinctly: So far, so good. I think Miitomo and Super Mario Run are fun, well-built apps. Did they keep my attention for months on end? Well, no -- but few mobile apps do.

I've been more interested to watch how Nintendo monetizes its apps, and so far I'm intrigued by its "try everything" approach. While it turns out people generally don't want to pay $9.99 for a mobile game that's "free to download," I'm glad Nintendo tried nixxing in-app purchases in favor of giving us the chance to pay up-front. Fire Emblem Heroes, a game that contains all the traditional free-to-play trappings, is on track to make way more money despite people's supposed aversion to free-to-play titles … but that's an observation I'll break down some other time.

Nintendo's biggest reason for hopping on mobile is to drum up hype for its full game releases. The Pokemon GO phenomenon definitely boosted sales of Pokemon Sun and Moon, so that's a job well done. I'm definitely looking forward to new Nintendo apps, and I'm especially interested in seeing how they affect sales of Switch games.

This article may contain links to online retail stores. If you click on one and buy the product we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.

Comments 43

  • Avatar for I-m-not-Daredevil #1 I-m-not-Daredevil A year ago
    Umm, not really. They've left me pretty uninspired so far. I went through a faze of playing games on my phone but it didn't last - it's just not something I like to do. If anyone could inspire me to play games on my phone I thought it would be Nintendo, but nope. Can't wait for the Nintendo Switch :)
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Namevah #2 Namevah A year ago
    Indifferent. Miitomo came and went, providing a few days of amusement as I slapped my Mii onto pictures of, among other things, my dog and the Michigan Wolverines helmet. Regarding Super Mario Run, I intended to buy the full thing, but never got around to it. Eventually, reception convinced me that I wasn't missing anything, so I allowed that to pass me by.

    Fire Emblem Heroes is another matter. A simplified take on standard Fire Emblem gameplay with many of my favorite characters pushed me to download it, and although I wish I could buy a version without Gacha mechanics, they're far from ruining my experience. I can't say how long I will stick with the game, but I expect that it'll depend on the difficulty of gaining Orbs without paying.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for souled4 #3 souled4 A year ago
    Miitomo: Meh, Thanks for the MyNintendo coins.
    Super Mario Run: Will Buy (waiting for Android release).
    Fire Emblem Heroes: Fun, I've never played an FE game before (be gentle!) so it's been interesting so far. Plus, I summoned five-star Marth my first spin. :-)
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for SargeSmash #4 SargeSmash A year ago
    Fire Emblem is surprisingly good so far. Miitomo was meh, definitely not for me. Haven't been able to try Super Mario Run yet.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Captain-Gonru #5 Captain-Gonru A year ago
    Miitomo held no interest to me, despite being a fan of Tomodachi Life. And Super Mario came out on iOS, so ask me again once it's on Android.
    Now Fire Emblem has my attention,and I have no issues with the game, in concept. My problem is that it crashes after every move. Not every turn, which would be less terrible. No, every move. I can only make it through a turn or so before the constant crash and reload cycle drives me to put down the tablet and just play the real thing on 3DS.
    So fingers crossed for Animal Crossing, I guess.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for SargeSmash #6 SargeSmash A year ago
    @Captain-Gonru : Wow, that sucks. I'm not having any issues on my Moto X.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for link6616 #7 link6616 A year ago
    Miitomo was a lot of fun! But it was just a step too clunky to pull off what it wanted.

    Super Mario run was a solid game, but Rayman beat it to itself.

    Fire emblem heroes is maybe the most enjoyable gacha game on the market. Which is damming with faint praise to say the least.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Roto13 #8 Roto13 A year ago
    Miitomo was cute and interesting but it got old pretty quick. Mario Run isn't out on Android yet. Fire Emblem Heroes is fun so far but only about 3 of the 15 characters I've gotten from the gashapon stuff have been worth having. It's also only a matter of time before that game turns into frustrating garbage, because that's just the kind of game it is.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for funkyclothesline #9 funkyclothesline A year ago
    I'm enjoying Fire Emblem Heroes. It made me go back to Awakening and complete the paralogues I missed - don't have that problem with Fates since I played through all three games to completion.

    I played SMR on my iPad but I'm gonna wait till it hits Android.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for VotesForCows #10 VotesForCows A year ago
    They all seem pretty good, and I hope they do well. But I'm pretty confident now, after years of trying stuff, that I just don't enjoy playing games on a touch screen.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for LBD_Nytetrayn #11 LBD_Nytetrayn A year ago
    I like Miitomo, though I haven't touched it in a while. Good way to get lots of coins with virtually nil to spend them on.

    Super Mario Run was fun, at least at first. Around the midpoint, things went south -- I don't know if it was me, the game, my phone somehow, or just having a bad day, but I just kept dying, put it away, and haven't been back since. Guess I should at least humor the new update.

    Fire Emblem Hetoes is downloaded, but unplayed. The apparent lack of Eirika at this point robs me of any real sense of urgency at the moment.

    Plus, I've got other stuff I need to play before the Switch comes out and Zelda swallows up my life.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for link6616 #12 link6616 A year ago
    @VotesForCows For me it's a step more than that actually...

    As, I really like touch screen games on DS. I think it's that I don't like finger based touch for games, I prefer stylus based. And I went through maybe a year or 2 trying most major mobile games out and often never being very satisfied
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Mr.Spo #13 Mr.Spo A year ago
    I found Miitomo fun but unengaging in the long run, and got rid of it after a couple of days. I'm on Android so haven't got Super Mario Run, but I can see myself buying it. I'm really impressed with Fire Emblem Heroes, it's good fun for 10 or 20 minute blasts between tasks, and it looks/sounds great.

    Personally I think having some simplified Nintendo games on the go is a good thing. I don't always have my 3DS with me, and in the last couple of years it's mainly been used for long, involving games, like Monster Hunter, full blooded Fire Emblem, Bravely, and now Dragon Quest VIII. Obviously there are simpler games on 3DS, but with time at a premium, it's nice to have the option of simple, high quality Nintendo games I can use on mobile. They're different beasts to the Nintendo games we get on consoles, but that was always going to be the case, and it does need to be the case.

    I've never really been into mobile gaming, but Nintendo have managed to pique my interest. I can't see it replacing much of my gaming time on other formats, but it's a nice addition. Who knows, I might find non-Nintendo stuff to play before long.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for camchow #14 camchow A year ago
    Miitomo was cute for a while but never spent money on it.
    I overall like Fire Emblem, wish I could somehow choose certain characters instead of gashapon. I doubt I'll ever spend money on it. I mean, for 6 bucks I get 2 random spins? Wtf? Get out of here. I have money on my google play account that I have absolutely no use for, just sitting there waiting to be spent, but 6 bucks for 2 RANDOM characters? You've got to be kidding me.

    Is this what these mobile RPGs usually charge for this kind of thing? I really don't get it.Edited February 2017 by camchow
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for TheWildCard #15 TheWildCard A year ago
    Mobile versions of Nintendo properties is an inherently uninteresting proposal to me. I'd rather just play a "real" mario or FE game.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Mooglepies #16 Mooglepies A year ago
    Didn't play Miitomo because it's not something I'm interested in. I can't play Mario Run because I don't buy Apple, and Fire Emblem Heroes is okay but doesn't capture the intensity of the original series very well.

    Ultimately, I don't see any reason why I would play and spend money on Nintendo's mobile offerings when I have a perfectly good 3DS already. I know that's kind of the point (they're aimed at people who don't usually buy Nintendo hardware in the first place) but there's nothing there for me.

    Colour me indifferent.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for jeffcorry #17 jeffcorry A year ago
    As far as mobile goes, I am pretty impressed with Fire Emblem so far. It's a mobile game, but it is really polished. I like that. I am a an of Final Fantasy Brave Exvius, so that works for me. It's not a console experience, like the many amazing Final Fantasy games on mobile, but it is pretty good for free.
    Mario Run...
    I paid for it, but I don't really like it that much. It was kind of for the too, but we beat all the levels and...
    that was that. It's fine.
    Miitomo. Bleh. It was fun for a little bit. Sort of.
    Fire Emblem is the best one so far, in my opinion. It may get more play than Birthright which is still sitting on my 3DS. I played for a while and really enjoyed it, but to play it I have to commit. I like to commit when I can, but with a phone, it's literally bite sized's..."good enough".
    I guess there's a place for everything.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for ghostsandgoblins #18 ghostsandgoblins A year ago
    I only used Miitomo for the Miiphoto of the Day, but I really enjoyed that. Many were quirky, and if you didn't use the app socially, it would populate your Mii into the photo multiple times. It made many of the photos amusingly surreal, and I would save many of them to spring on my wife in response to the right text. I stopped using it when they discontinued that feature outside of holidays.

    I didn't bother downloading Super Mario Run. I had no problem with a $10 price, in fact I prefer that model. However, I was offended as a consumer that Nintendo was charging that much AND requiring online, with that connectivity seemingly only existing to serve Nintendo's interests. The whole point of mobile games is being able to play them on planes, subways, and other places with no data/wifi. I'll put up with it on a cheap or free to play, but not on a game that is that much more expensive than the rest of the market (and the feature doesn't enhance user experience).

    I downloaded Fire Emblem this morning. It looks and sounds amazing. I'm usually wary of gotcha games, and would prefer to pay premium prices up front, but I think this will be easy to resist since I have so much better fire emblem content on my 3DS.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #19 SatelliteOfLove A year ago
    The Mobile Darkness is taking them, so not very favorable.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Galgomite #20 Galgomite A year ago
    Mario Run is deeper and more fun than I could have imagined. I can play it at random times and enjoy the heck out of it.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for CipherStone #21 CipherStone A year ago
    I'll let you know when Mario Run is available on my phone, but neither Miitomo nor Fire Embelm Heroes held my attention for long.

    I'm interested in seeing what the Animal Crossing app turns out to be, but knowing is also free-to-play has my expectations set pretty low. The most interesting aspect about it is that it will apparently have some kind of connectivity with Animal Crossing on Nintendo's platforms.

    In general, I hope to see more Mario Run style "paywall" games and less Fire Emblem Heores style "gatcha" games.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for daverhodus #22 daverhodus A year ago
    I see them as commercials for Switch. At least I hope that's what they are. They're competent games that get Nintendo's IP some attention.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for NiceGuyNeon #23 NiceGuyNeon A year ago
    They've been fine. I downloaded Fire Emblem Heroes recently but I haven't played it beyond the tutorial yet. More because I've done other stuff unrelated to gaming. But I'm sure it'll be fun.

    Miitomo is free, goofy, pointless, but I messed around with it with friends for a few months.

    Super Mario Run was the big one. I paid for it, still play it, have pink coins on every level, some purple and black too. I play toad rally regularly and I'm hoping to unlock at least Luigi or Yoshi soon. That game is wonderfully designed.

    The only thing that's crap is the online requirement, and I think that applies to FE too. It limits when I can actually play them which is dumb.

    They're not on the level of 80 Days, Monument Valley, Device 6, but those three are hard to top. Mario Run though is one of my favorite mobile games, more on the level of Ridiculous Fishing and other great games.

    They're fun, they exist, and I'm happy they're an option I have to purchase if I'm interested. They're not revolutionizing mobile games, but they are quality options.

    Edit- so I played Fire Emblem for a bit. It's fun. Nothing amazing but it's good fun.Edited February 2017 by NiceGuyNeon
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for StrwbrryJams #24 StrwbrryJams A year ago
    As someone who has liked FE since the GBA, I'm kinda into Heroes. I already have 3 FEs on my 3ds, so I'm kinda glad this is something different. I also appreciate the fan service!
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for VotesForCows #25 VotesForCows A year ago
    @link6616 Adore the DS, but even with that I tended to shy away from games that were heavily touch-based! Pressing buttons is just so much more responsive and accurate than the wrist movements neede for any sort of touch screen.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for lanmao #26 lanmao A year ago
  • Avatar for otenko #27 otenko A year ago
    Nintendo is doing well, but I am not liking their mobile efforts. After reading reviews, I didn't bother with Miitomo, because I didn't need another social media.
    Pokémon GO was something I was crazy to play but my country took long to be supported and even then as my old smartphone used Intel processor PG didn't worked well. I played 2 weeks and quit.
    As I have an Android smartphone, I am still waiting for SuperMario Run. That's the game I am more interested.
    Fire Emblem Heroes was my first FE and it was a bit fun on the begining, but as I got crap initial characters I am struggling, so I am thinking about reroll or uninstall. I have an GBA SP and I will get FE there because it should be better.
    F2P will change Nintendo and not in a good way, I think, because investors will push more and more of this, like Square Enix before. Even if the Switch succeeds I wonder if it can surpass F2P profit.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for link6616 #28 link6616 A year ago
    "because investors will push more and more of this"

    That's honestly my biggest fear with FE Heroes. If it succeeds, which, based on how people are talking about it, it seems to be better received than Mario Run, then we might see that being a big thing.

    I'm not concerned for animal crossing though. I feel even though FE the vehicle for nintendo to experiment with payments for a while (DLC with awakening vs full blown expansions as seen in fates) . But animal crossing feel the most inherently f2p like game of them all.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for DrCorndog #29 DrCorndog A year ago
    I played Super Mario Run on my wife's IPad and enjoyed. I'll buy it for my Samsung next month.

    F2P games like Fire Emblem are more hassle than fun, though.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for otenko #30 otenko A year ago
    @link6616 In Animal Crossing I wouldn't see a issue, because maybe the IAP would be just cosmetic stuff that I hope you could select. The problem in FE Heroes is how the summoning process is random. I get 3 star crap heroes at first, then played until chapter 4 and begin to struggle. I spent my earned 50 orbs and just get some 4 star heroes and one 5 star Marth. Needless to say that this Marth at level 6 was stronger than the initial heroes at 10. I kind of fell so unfair. I am thinking about reroll.Edited February 2017 by otenko
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for link6616 #31 link6616 A year ago
    @otenko I managed to score a 5 star lyn and she was just a beast from the opening moment. I appreciate rarity differences, but I feel like maybe the difference between 4 and 5 is too great. (although you can merge heroes together to make them 5 star eventually)
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Pididdle27- #32 Pididdle27- A year ago
    Has anyone on the site checked out Pokémon Dual yet? It was just released in the west and I have been kinda digging it. Yeah its a F2P gatch game so if you aren't a fan of that then you might as well pass it up but I think it's kind of a fun "chess" like take in the Pokémon franchise
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Darkarm66 #33 Darkarm66 A year ago
    I like them. The gameplay mechanics are solid, given the input methods. Except Miitomo. But Miitomo had me laughing hard at some responses (y'all shoulded added Seanbaby). Fire Emblem seems fun in a short bursts and it reminds me Burst Frontier, without the late level difficulty spike and grind for materials. Super Mario Run is sublime and Pokemon Go gave me something to look forward while walking.

    The mobile offerings fit into the mobile market, a market they couldn't create and aren't even on the list as the worst exploiters. (Hi, EA! How's Dungeon Keeper these days?).

    The microtransactions aren't bad, especially in a industry where 60 dollars games try to offer you microtransactions as well. So maybe the game industry really needs better financial teams to figure out how to properly charge for games and still retain its value.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for VotesForCows #34 VotesForCows A year ago
    Having now tried Fire Emblem since my last post, I'd be a heck of a lot happier with it if it didn't keep crashing my iPad mini.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Thetick #35 Thetick A year ago
    Mario is fun. Fire emblem is a mindless turd. They took all the strategy out. I guess thats what people want. Miimoto was a nice experiment. So... a mixed bag.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for themblan #36 themblan A year ago
    I'm happy that they're not trying very hard, and saving their efforts for their real games on NS.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for himuradrew #37 himuradrew A year ago
    I'm not really a big fan of mobile, but I'd love to give Nintendo's efforts a try...

    ... only I can't because I jailbroke my iphone before and Nintendo apps crash on previously jailbroken i-devices. And I'm too lazy to reset my iphone.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for NiceGuyNeon #38 NiceGuyNeon A year ago
    I spent a lot of time in Fire Emblem Heroes since I posted my initial comment. If Nintendo's goal was to use these games to get people to buy the real releases, well, it worked. I downloaded Fire Emblem (GBA) off of Virtual Console, and it will be my first real Fire Emblem experience. So yeah, I like Heroes lol
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for moroboshi #39 moroboshi A year ago
    They're exactly what I expected, which is to say, a total waste of bandwidth. Dumbed down to the extreme, bizarrely locked to portrait mode, and even loaded with money grabbing free to play traps.

    The best that can be said is that Nintendo understand mobile now. They "get it". I was hoping they'd better, that they'd try to maintain a higher standard. I was wrong.

    Along with the Wii U 2/Switch, I fear this is the end for Nintendo.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for metalangel #40 metalangel A year ago
    Apart from Pokémon GO, no. Miitomo was a complete waste of time and Mario simply wasn't that much fun.

    A big part of it is how phenomenally expensive Nintendo's games are compared to others, and that's not restricted to mobile games - look how much download only titles can be on the eShop. Nintendo are playing catch up to this not-new market and none of their offerings justify the price tags.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for RunnersDialZero #41 RunnersDialZero A year ago
    I think they're making a smart decision. Their move into the mobile space was meant to expand their brand, and that's exactly what it's doing. In other words: I already know about Nintendo. I love my 3DS and Wii U. I pre-ordered my Switch the day it was available for pre-ordering.

    Do they still need to reach me? Obviously not.

    But the lapsed gamers or non-Nintendo fans are who they're attempting to reach. I tried Miitomo, I tried Super Mario Run, but I am not interested in Nintendo games on smart phones -- or any games on smart phones. In my opinion, it's not a great device for gaming, and the landscape isn't one that I enjoy -- especially with games like Fire Emblem Heroes. I'm not interested in the free to play model or games that rely solely on touch screen input.

    I'm happy with a d-pad, some analog sticks, triggers, buttons, and an experience that some of the best designers on the planet can create. I don't wish that Nintendo games didn't exist on mobile -- they're just not for me.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for zidanix #42 zidanix A year ago
    Miitomo obviously wasn't the hit Nintendo was expecting and I don't really know what they wanted it to be in the first place. But Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes have been pretty good in my eyes, and can't wait for Animal Crossing.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for petercacic #43 petercacic A year ago
    yes they should just stop with consoles NX is already going to fail no devs want to build for it and EA and rockstar said no new games will be on it its way way to weak and there not going to make another version of there games .
    Sign in to Reply