Super Mario Run adds a new game mode called "Friendly Run," but it offers no rewards and is incredibly limited for those who haven't paid to unlock the full game.
After less than a week of availability, Nintendo's new mobile platformer Super Mario Run has seen over 37 million downloads, having also made $14 million in just three days. By those figures, it seems that gamers are already enjoying the game plenty but Nintendo is now giving people even more of an excuse to play by introducing a new Super Mario Run game mode.
The new game mode, which is available now, is called Friendly Run. Unlike the Toad Rally multiplayer mode, the Friendly Run game mode allows Super Mario Run players to compete against one another without the cost of tickets. However, although the mode will be welcomed by gamers concerned that they had to spend tickets to take part in multiplayer in the first place, it should be noted that players don't get any Toads for playing Friendly Run. This means that players will have to rely on Toad Rally to earn the Toads required to unlock additional characters.
It should also be noted that players who have yet to surpass World 1 (four levels) in the game's World Tour mode, they can only take part in one Friendly Run race a day. Players who have passed World 1 can take part in three races a day, while those who've completed World 2 can take part in five races a day. As the free version of the game only features three levels from World 1 and players have to pay $10 to unlock the full Super Mario Run experience, those who have yet to spend a dime on the game are limited.
It's easy to see how the limits of Friendly Run make sense to Nintendo. The company would much rather players take part in Toad Rally – also playing through the other parts of the game to get more tickets to play – and with Friendly Run offering no rewards, players are encouraged to play Toad Rally instead. The fact that players can only play so much Friendly Run a day (depending on how much of the game they've progressed through) also encourages players to pay to unlock the game, helping Nintendo reach those lofty Super Mario Run sales and revenue estimates.
But on the other hand, players are likely to see this as another misguided decision from Nintendo. The company also caught backlash for requiring players to have an Internet connection when they play Super Mario Run and many will be disappointed to see that the company has once again taken one step forward but two steps back.
At this point it's unclear whether or not the new mode will assuage analyst concerns about the game and a lack of proposed new content. Investors may well see the backlash to the mode as a warning sign that the game does not have much longevity. Nintendo's stock has already dropped since Super Mario Run's release, but any further drops will be an indication of how well (or how poorly) the new Friendly Run mode has been received.
Super Mario Run is now available on iOS. An Android release is expected in 2017.