What would a mobile Mario game look like?

We imagine a few popular mobile franchises that could do with a little Nintendo magic.
What would a mobile Mario game look like?
What would a mobile Mario game look like? © Nintendo/Rovio
By Stuart Houghton

Can Nintendo cut it in the world of mobile touchscreen games? Nintendo isn't switching to mobile completely just yet, as some pundits have predicted it should, but by committing to making iPhone apps to drum up customer awareness, it's starting down a slippery slope nonetheless.

But it’s not as simple as just porting Super Mario Bros across to mobile - Nintendo’s games have been designed to work with its own hardware and gamepads. What could a Nintendo game on a touchscreen mobile look like? We’ve got a few ideas...

Angry Kong

Mario (OK, 'Jump Man' if we want to be canonically correct but that moustache don't lie) may have rescued the girl from Donkey Kong's clutches, but now Kong is trying to get his revenge by ruining the honeymoon. A few carefully-hurled barrels will knock down Mario & Pauline's holiday villa and throw a spanner in the works of their special 'us' time, and put Rovio out of business while Nintendo’s at it.

Incidentally, when was the last time you actually saw Mario do any plumbing? Is he even qualified? For extra points and the full three-star rating for each level, Kong should make sure his explosive barrels cause a lot of damage to the central heating and waste water pipes. Mop that up, mate.

Duck Ninja

Duck Ninja
Duck Ninja © Nintendo/Halfbrick Studio

Blasting wild ducks out of the skies may count as a sport in certain quarters but for a real challenge you must turn to a more elegant weapon from a more civilised age...the ninjato sword of the ninja. By slashing your finger across the screen of your phone or tablet in a manner not entirely dissimilar to Fruit Ninja you can cut through entire flocks of fowl like a knife through, er, ducks.

In the original Duck Hunt your hunting dog would occasionally pop up to smirk at your pitiful marksmanship. Here, Duck Hunt Dog is reborn as your wizened-yet-suspiciously-hairy Sensei. Nodding sagely from the sidelines, Master Dog will offer advice and make you ponder his zen riddles. "If a duck is sliced in half in the forest but there is nobody there to hear it, will it still taste good with hoi sin sauce?"

Super Luigi Jump

Super Luigi Jump
Super Luigi Jump © Nintendo/Lima Sky

If there is one thing that Luigi knows (apart from his community college qualification in Plumbing) it is how to Jump. Mario's lanky little brother gets another chance to shine in this endless vertical jumping quest to save Princess Peach while his bro is busy working on a particularly tricky central heating installation.

Keep Luigi hopping as you dodge left and right to avoid Bowser's forces and collect coins, 1Up mushrooms and all the usual Super Mario Bros. powerups to help you reach the upper levels of the Mushroom Kingdom.

The Legend of Zelda: Water Temple Run

The Legend of Zelda: Water Temple Run
The Legend of Zelda: Water Temple Run © Nintendo/Imangi Studios

The Zelda games' most notorious dungeon would make the perfect Nintendo-ised endless runner. Link has managed to defeat Morpha and grab the Water Medallion... now he must escape.

Leave the Iron Boots behind as you guide Link through endless corridors of the Water Temple, always trying to stay one step ahead of an onrushing torrent of water while scooping up the rows of multicoloured Rupees that line the path. Grab powerups as you run and jump to take out any Tektites and Skulltulas that get in your way, dodge the blade traps and be ready to use the Hookshot grappling iron to swing across any sudden gaps.

By collecting Rupees and beating distance records you can unlock extra powerups and replay as Dark Link, Epona and even Princess Zelda herself.

Flappy Mario

Flappy Mario
Flappy Mario © Nintendo/.GEARS Studios

Turnabout is fair play. If Flappy Bird is going to lift the iconic pipes and background art from Super Mario Brothers (and we're not saying it did, but there was definitely inspiration there...) then it is only fair that Mario should get to don his flying Tanooki suit and shamelessly 'pay tribute to' the notoriously tricky Flappy Bird gameplay in return.

With each tap, Mario will flick the tail of the Tanooki suit and rise into the air, only to plummet again when the tapping stops. Can he negotiate the tricky corridor of pipes and other obstacles? Will some of the pipes turn out to be secret tunnels?

Where this game could score over Flappy Bird is in the potential extra enemies and obstacles - from bomb-chucking Koopas to Piranha Plants that pop up at the worst possible moment. We suspect this incarnation of the Tanooki outfit will not allow Mario to turn into a statue, however. Mainly because we can't think of a situation where that might be anything other than suicidal in the standard Flappy scenario.

Dr Mario Saga

Dr Mario Saga
Dr Mario Saga © Nintendo/King

The original Dr Mario was an entertaining twist on the Tetris-style 'falling block' game that dominated early 90s puzzle gaming in much the same way that 'match three' games rule today. With just a little special medicine, we think Dr Mario could take on Candy Crush Saga and leave King with a sour taste in their mouths.

Swipe left and right to line up your coloured pills with the same coloured viruses to match three or more and make the row disappear. Each pill has two colours that you can flip vertically to gain the right match, potentially matching two rows of colour with each move and getting the patient back on the road to recovery much faster.

Of course, no Candy Clone would be complete without some in-app purchases so we suggest taking a cue from the news and implementing Private Health Insurance bonuses to ensure the right drugs when you need them. Nintendo making satire? Stranger things have happened - it’s moving into mobile, after all.

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