It’s Time for Mario to Make a Comeback on Mobile
After nearly seven years, Mario is ready to make his platforming debut on mobile once again. Yesterday, during a Nintendo presentation, new information was revealed about Super Mario Bros. Wonder, the highly anticipated holiday game for the Switch.
While watching the presentation, I couldn’t help but notice the subtle references to the 2016 mobile game Super Mario Run. This got me thinking: now is the perfect time for a new mobile Mario game.
Inspired by the Past
Some may argue that the easter eggs and references in Wonder are purely coincidental. However, given Nintendo’s history of using mobile games as a testing ground, I believe these decisions were intentional.
One clear sign is the inclusion of Daisy as a playable character. Daisy has never been playable in a classic, side-scrolling Mario game until Wonder. The only exception is Super Mario Run.
In addition, Wonder also features unlockable characters like green, red, blue, yellow, and purple Yoshi. Yoshi has traditionally only been ridden in the main series of side-scrollers and not playable, but Super Mario Run changed that. And now, these different-colored Yoshis are confirmed for Wonder.
Aside from the character references, Wonder introduces special Badges that unlock unique effects. The Jet Run Badge, for example, allows Mario to run constantly throughout a level, which is the main premise of Super Mario Run.
Considering these references to a mobile game, it makes perfect sense for Nintendo to create a new mobile Mario title.
A New Direction
Super Mario Bros. Wonder is all about change and new ideas. This presents the perfect opportunity for Nintendo to develop a mobile sister title.
But what’s the problem?
Unfortunately, Super Mario Run hasn’t performed well. The game’s paywall has hindered its success, and Nintendo has realized that the free-to-play model with in-app purchases is more successful with games like Fire Emblem Heroes, Mario Kart Tour, and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. Fire Emblem Heroes has even generated over $1 billion in revenue.
However, creating a mobile game doesn’t necessarily have to be solely about making money. Nintendo has always maintained that mobile games serve more as a promotional tool than a revenue source. And with Wonder being a perfect fit for a mobile sister title, promotion would be effortless.
How would it work?
In a new mobile game, the Badges from Wonder could be rewards for completing courses, daily login bonuses, or even exchanged for premium currency. The Wonder Flower’s versatility would allow for endless new levels and power-ups in future mobile updates. The drill power-up featured in the game could even become its own farming mini-game. The possibilities are endless.
Online elements from Wonder could seamlessly transfer to mobile, maintaining features like timed races. To incentivize players to experience both the mobile and Switch versions, Nintendo could implement connected online scores. Players who link the same Nintendo Account to both games could build a shared score, where playing one game positively impacts the other.
If a sister title is not within Nintendo’s current plans, a Bowser Jr. mobile spinoff would also be a welcome addition. His new design would make for a perfect app icon.
When asked about Mario’s future on mobile earlier this year, Nintendo stated that mobile is not the “primary path” for the franchise. However, Mario is evolving. With the recent movie announcement and Super Mario Bros. Wonder bringing significant changes to the franchise, embracing mobile platforms seems like a natural progression.
A new mobile game may not release alongside Wonder, and it may not become the primary focus, but a mobile side path for Mario would certainly be a welcome addition.