Super Mario Run…away from the horrid onboarding UX

The level of promotion for Super Mario Run continues to be unprecedented, and in my view way over-hyped for the end result. Currently every tile of the featured banner of the App Store is dedicated to this game. But this was more about the partnership clout for Apple than the actual game. I’d be surprised if any execs at Apple played it, or if so for more than the 15 minutes of free levels.

I downloaded the game to satisfy my curiosity. Admittedly I lost more than a few hours of my youth to classic 2D Mario scrolling 🙂

Deep pockets do not guarantee good UX

How can a company with such maturity and deep pockets as Nintendo get their UX so incredibly wrong?

Upon firing up the game, the first stage of the onboarding experience suggest you link a Nintendo account to the game or skip.

Since I had already jumped on installing Nintendo’s first iOS app Miitomo a few months prior, I imagined this be a simple matter of OAuth authenticating through that app as is often the norm these days (think Dropbox, Google, etc.). Instead you are routed from the lo-fi 90s web design intro screen with faux glass buttons that look like they were made with some shareware button maker app, to a more vanilla looking Wii page with 2 options:

  • Create an Account
  • Create an Account for a child

    Not what I was expecting. With little choice I eventually choose to proceed and, oh okay, now you can Sign in or Create an Account. Some piss poor UX to kick things off and we haven’t even played the game yet!

    Okay so I have to leave for the day’s commute, perfect time to try out some one-handed game play. Oh right, the game requires a persistent internet connection to play, no offline mode due to piracy concerns. Wait what?!?

Who on earth worries about that these days? The percentage of users that bother to jailbreak their phone, seek out even darker net sources to download pirated apps has to be such a small concern that I don’t believe Apple even bothers much with it. At the very least you could spot check this when the device is on WiFi.

I finish the first few levels and the network necessity becomes more apparent – more content being downloaded!

After 15 min in, I’m done with the free levels and it’s successfully chewed up 100MB of my mobile data (the limit Apple normally cautions you not to download an app without WiFi).

Hows the game?

I logged sufficient enough hours of my youth into Super Mario Bros. to feel rather empty inside. It’s a watered down play experience despite the visuals pretty much hitting the mark.

I would gladly pay the $10.99 asking price for simply a retina-quality update to a port of the original. Or even just the original 8 bit graphics such as Sega have done with their Sonic franchise.

Jason Shanks

Jason is a Musician, UX Designer/Web Developer, Apple Consultant, Mac Genius in a past life and all around Apple Freak for 25+ years now. His first reaction to himself when conceiving of starting FWAP was, "ON,NAAB!" Which was later revealed to mean Oh No, Not Another Apple Blog!

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