Just getting started with Super Mario Run? Want a recap of the basic controls and key points? Gamezebo’s Quick Start Guide will cover all the things you’ll need to know to get running, jumping, and finishing levels. If you’d like some more detailed tips and advanced strategies, check out our Super Mario Run: Advanced Tips, Cheats and Strategies Guide.

What is Super Mario Run?

Although Super Mario Run stars Nintendo’s iconic mascot, it’s not your typical Mario Bros. game. It is still a platformer, in which Mario will run, jump, collect coins, and bash enemies. However, instead of directing Mario left or right via a joystick, he will run forward automatically. Thus, it is an auto-running platformer, and your main job will be to make sure Mario jumps at the right time during his continuous movement.

What’s the goal?

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There are a number of different goals in Super Mario Run. The main, overarching goal is the same as in past Mario games: to save Princess Peach. To do this, you’ll need to progress through the 6 worlds and 24 levels of the “Tour” mode. Each time you beat a level—by progressing from the beginning to the end, where the flag waits—you’ll unlock the next one. Special levels, like the castles and airships, feature a boss fight instead of a flag.

There is also a town-building simulation in the Mushroom Kingdom builder. This section of the game lets you rebuild the demolished Mushroom Kingdom, setting up houses and pipes as you see fit. The “goal” in this part of the game is simply to unlock more items and fill up your kingdom.

The final mode, “Rally,” helps you complete the Mushroom Kingdom by earning Toads. Toads will move into your Mushroom Kingdom and unlock new items. To earn Toads, you have to play the Rally mode and get a higher score than your opponent. We’ll talk about Rally more below.

What are the controls?

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Super Mario Run is a one-touch platformer. This means you only need one finger to play and no moves will ever require more than that one finger. Your basic move when you tap the screen is to jump: if Mario is running forward, he will jump forward. If he is hanging from a ledge, he will jump up the ledge. If he is sliding down a wall, he will jump off the wall.

There are some small differences depending on what you are standing on or doing: for instance, if you are on a “pause block,” Mario will roll off it instead of jumping off it. If you are already in the air, Mario will do a midair spin instead of a second jump. However, it’s generally safe to think of tapping simply as causing Mario to act—whether he jumps, rolls, spins, etc.—your tap puts him into action.

Is there multiplayer?

Although you can add friends in-game, there are not really multiplayer modes. Adding friends will let you see your friends’ high scores on levels. You will not be able to play with or against your friends directly.

How does Rally mode work?

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In Rally mode, you’ll play a level similar to those in Tour mode, except there will be another player visible in the stage as well. This is the recorded ghost of another player’s run through the stage; they are not competing against you in real time. Instead of having an end point with flag, Rally stages go on forever but have a hard time limit of 60 seconds. After those 60 seconds, the game will tally up two things: how many coins you earned and how many “likes” you received from the Toad audience. Whichever player earns the highest combined total of coins and likes will win the Rally.

If you win the Rally, you’ll earn all the Toads that came to watch the race and they will be added to your Kingdom. If you lose, however, you will lose the Toads that came to watch you. These will be subtracted from your Toad Kingdom total. Each Rally race you enter costs one Toad Rally ticket, so if you are out of tickets, you won’t be able to enter any races until you earn more.

Do I have to play Rally or rebuild the Kingdom?

Nope! Although Super Mario Run’s levels support one another—bonuses you earn in Tour will help in Rally; characters you unlock in Kingdom can be played in Tour, etc.—there’s no need to play any part of the game you don’t want to. You could only play the Tour levels and still have plenty to see and do. It would be tough to play Rally without playing Tour, since you need tickets to enter races, but if you don’t like the Rally races, you don’t have to take part in them.

I can’t find X!

Looking for something specific? Here’s a quick rundown of the locations and menus of Super Mario Run:

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Mushroom Kingdom: This is the Kingdom Builder menu. From here, you can access Tour mode by tapping on the green pipe at the bottom of the screen or Rally mode by tapping on the red pipe. If you’d like to add items to your Kingdom, tap the “Build” button next to the pipes.

If you tap Toad to the left of your castle, you’ll pull up the Notifications menu.

If you tap the present to the right of the castle, you’ll pull up your Gift Box. This is where rewards for logins and challenges will be sent.

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Under “Menu” in the bottom-left you’ll find Settings and Notebook. In Settings you can change your name, avatar, graphics quality, etc. In the Notebook you’ll find details and tips on enemies and movement, as well as the Characters menu where you can change your player character from Mario to someone else you have unlocked.

Most items you add to the Kingdom will not have any special power (although you can tap on anything—try tapping on a sleepy Toad!). If you have a Bonus Game House, you can tap it once every eight hours for a bonus game. Tap any “?” blocks you’ve built to earn a prize every eight hours as well.

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World Tour Map: This shows you the levels of Tour mode. Levels you have unlocked will be colored in while those still locked will be a ghostly transparent. The dots underneath the stages show your colored coin collecting status: if a dot is colored in, you have collected all of those coins for that stage (pink, purple, or black).

The next stage you need to beat will vibrate on this screen. If you ever want to replay the tutorial, just tap “How to Play?” in the bottom-right corner or hit the “Back” pipe in the bottom left to return to the Kingdom menu.

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Tap on a stage icon to see its name, screenshot, your friends’ rankings, your best score, and your colored coin collecting status. Within this stage screen you can tap the character icon in the bottom right to change your active character or the X to exit and choose a different stage.

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Toad Rally: If you tap the red pipe from the Kingdom map, you’ll enter Toad Rally. Here you’ll see your profile and rank—this is how many Toads live in your kingdom total.

Under this is a list of five other players. Each player will have 1) a name 2) rank 3) group of toads 4) avatar and 5) stage background. The rank tells you how many Toads live in their Kingdom and give you an idea of how difficult it will be to beat them.

You generally want to race against players with a rank that is close to your own. So, in the image above, I would probably race the bottom player, whose rank is 114 (to my 71). I would be very hesitant to race the player with 570 as they will likely be much better than me and very hard to beat at this time.

The Toad group next to their rank tells you what type of Toads are at stake. If you pick a player with all red Toads, for instance, you will only win or lose red Toads for that match. A player with red and green Toads will award or deduct both red and green Toads, and so on.

Finally, the stage background indicates what type of stage you will be racing on, such as an airship, desert, grassy plains, etc. There are multiple Rally stages in each theme, so you will never know for sure exactly which airship or desert stage you’re getting, but you’ll have a general idea of the type of challenges you’ll face.

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All pages have the same header at the top, so this info is always available: your current Toad Rally tickets is on the left, total Toads in your Kingdom is in the center, and your current coin total is on the right. If you tap the arrow by the Toad count in the center you’ll see a snapshot of your accomplishments in-game so far: your Kingdom’s level, how many of each Toad you have, how many coins you’ve collected, etc.

That covers the basics of Super Mario Run! If you’re looking for specific tips, try our Tips, Cheats and Strategies guide, or feel free to ask questions or share your own advice in the comments.