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Super Mario Bros. Wonder – Review

Super Mario Bros. Wonder takes 2D Mario in a new direction without losing what made the original games great while adding plenty of new ideas and gameplay mechanics at the same time. 

Whether this is your first side-scrolling platformer or you grew up playing Super Mario Bros. 3 or Super Mario World, controlling Mario still feels as natural as ever, even with all of the changes Nintendo has made. From collecting all of the Wonder Seeds in a particular level to earning badges to gain access to Mario’s new abilities, there’s a ton to do in Super Mario Bros. Wonder whether you’re playing by yourself or with friends locally or online.

mario standing on a moving pipe

I had the choice of playing 12 different characters throughout the game, with the option to switch between them at any point in the main world. Mario, Luigi, Peach, Daisy and Toad all make an appearance, with the option to also play as different coloured Yoshis and the mysterious Nabbit. These last two characters won’t be affected by power-ups but they also don’t take damage, so they might be the better pick for a younger audience that’s still learning the ropes.

It’s a little disappointing that the Yoshis have been relegated to what is ostensibly the game’s easy mode, but the different mechanics they bring to the table help to spice things up. The other characters, meanwhile, all control identically. No fluttering for Luigi, no faster run speed for Toad, no floating for Peach—no matter who is picked, they all handle the same. That might disappoint some fans at a glance, but anyone who was hoping for more depth from the controls will find it in Wonder’s Badge system. It’s here that players get to personalize the experience and find a playstyle that fits themselves. 

a giant Bowser and Pirana plants descending on Mario and friends

Not unlike how Badges function in the Paper Mario games, in Wonder they afford players a whole host of new abilities and buffs to experiment with. Wall-Climb Jump, Fast-Dash, Floating High Jump, and many others provide players with a plethora of ways to interact differently with the game world. What’s more, the Badges can sometimes even add to the difficulty level. The Jet Run Badge, for instance, sends characters careening across the screen, making it harder to navigate platforms but with the benefit of greater speed. For players looking to push themselves, Badges add a nice layer of depth to the proceedings. 

Mario Peach, Luigi and Toad jumping through a snow zone

Another layer of depth is the addition of the Wonder Flowers. They’re a collectable that appears in each level which, when collected, warps the stage or twists the rules of the game to amp up the action. They start in a rather low-key manner – some might summon a stampede of enemies for you to run from. Others are more abstract – changing your perspective of the level or beginning a musical number that your character must participate in with specifically timed jumps. 

Mario, Peach, Daisy and Luigi as elephants

Such a strong sense of pacing is owed to the fact that there are other level types included in the game too. Besides the main courses, of which there are numerous, other smaller missions with specific objectives are peppered throughout the map. “Break Time” missions are shorter stints with a specific objective. “Search Party” missions have the party exploring a semi-open level for collectables. “Wiggler Race” is self-explanatory and has the party racing against an eager Wiggler to the end of a course. These are all uniquely created courses too, and do a great job of breaking things up, especially during longer sessions. 

What’s amazing about Super Mario Bros. Wonder is just how much thought and care has been put into every single course. Each one feels different from the last, and the game never stops throwing original ideas and concepts at the player. The platforming genre often results in games that are too difficult to actually enjoy, which was one of my gripes with Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

elephant Mario, Luigi, Peach and Daisy stomping through a zone

Super Mario Bros. Wonder strikes a perfect balance between fun and challenging. Players who like a challenge will have no problem finding one, and there are plenty of courses that require perfect platforming prowess. However, the game has plenty of courses that can be enjoyed by players of all skill levels. 

9/10 star rating

Platform: Switch

Developer/Publisher: Nintendo





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