When Super Mario Run made its debut on the iPhone last year, it represented something new: the well-crafted platforming action of Mario tailored to a touchscreen interface. It was a lighter, more streamlined Mario, but it was still Mario at its core. The one thing the game didn’t have much of, though, was staying power. It launched with a small number of levels and not much else, meaning players have been hopping through the same stages since December. But that changes today. Nintendo just released the first major update for the game, and it adds something Super Mario Run has desperately needed: surprise.
The core of the update is an all-new game mode called “remix 10.” Essentially, the mode chops up the existing Mario Run stages into bite-sized chunks, and throws 10 at you in a random order. Each snippet of a level takes only a few seconds to complete, and there’s some added challenge in the form of three rainbow-colored coins littered throughout. If you die, there’s no do-over; you simply move on to the next stage. After all 10 levels are up, you can then unlock new items for the kingdom builder mode.
It’s not really worth playing for the rewards, though. What’s great about “Remix 10” is that it introduces an exciting element of unpredictability to Mario Run. By this point, you’ve likely already played through the main levels in the game multiple times, exploring their alternate routes and hidden secrets, while searching for the tough-to-find black coins. In “remix 10,” these familiar spaces are made unpredictable. You don’t know what you’ll face next, nor what part of the level will be in front of you. I’ve come across just about every type of Mario Run level in my time with the game so far, including airships, haunted houses, and even a battle with Bowser.
The new update also adds a brand-new world, with a solid nine new levels to play through. These won’t be unlocked from the get-go, however. Instead, you open up each stage by achieving a certain goal — say, getting a particular number of coins in one level, or clearing another in under a minute. There’s also a new character, Daisy, who you’ll unlock after playing a good amount of the remix mode. Also: you can finally listen to your own music while playing. When you do, the character you’re playing as will wear a tiny pair of headphones. (The update is available now for free, and the entire game — normally $9.99 to unlock — is currently half price for a limited time.)
These new features don’t fundamentally change Super Mario Run. It’s still a stripped-down Mario experience that plays shockingly well with one hand. But the update does add a structure that feels better-suited to a game on your phone. Most smartphone games aren’t about completing a set experience from beginning to end. Instead, they’re small experiences you jump into whenever you have a spare moment. With the new remix mode, Super Mario Run is finally that kind of experience. And it’s just the thing to hold you over until Super Mario Odyssey comes out next month.