Super Mario Bros. Wonder review on Switch

It’s been more than a decade since we have gotten a new 2D Mario game and Super Mario Bros. Wonder on the Nintendo Switch has arrived to fill that void. Wonder is a return to 2D Mario that I and many fans have been eagerly awaiting. And, let me tell you, Super Mario Bros. Wonder was well worth the wait!

The game feels like a fresh start for the series, blending nostalgia, fun, and adventure. Whether I was soaring the sky with an Elephant power-up or bouncing through levels with the Bubble Flower, Wonder takes us back to what made 2D Mario iconic. It’s a fantastic journey filled with laughter and memorable moments, which made it an instant favourite of mine.

Let’s take a look at why Super Mario Bros. Wonder is the ultimate Super Mario experience that captures the magic of the series.

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Developer(s): Nintendo, Nintendo EPD
Publisher(s): Nintendo
Genre: Platform game
Mode(s): Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)

Super Mario Bros. Wonder takes place in the Flower Kingdom, just beyond the Mushroom Kingdom. The Flower Kingdom is made up of 6 worlds that circle the Petal Isles, which gives you a total of 7 areas in the game to explore. Home of the mysterious Wonder Flower, Prince Florian has invited Mario and his friends to visit his castle and the land.

As expected, things take an unexpected turn when Bowser arrives on the scene. This time, Bowser’s after the Wonder Flower, leading to a bizarre transformation, and the chaos that follows leaves the Flower Kingdom in ruins. As usual, Mario and friends must stop Bowser and save the Flower Kingdom.

In addition to Mario, you can also play as Luigi, Peach, Daisy, Blue Toad or Yellow Toad, and Toadette. All of the characters play the same, so that means you can play as your favourite character at any time. If you’re not as experienced in Super Mario Bros. games, you’ll be happy to know that Yoshis and Nabbit don’t take damage. This makes for an easygoing and more relaxed experience, though you can still die by falling down holes etc.

What sets Super Mario Bros. Wonder apart are the badges, offering a unique level of customization never seen in a Mario Bros. game. These badges unlock various abilities and power-ups that change the way you approach levels. From wall-jumping to gracefully floating or even a Dolphin Kick for underwater sections, the badges breathe new life into familiar gameplay. This versatility caters to players of all skill levels, offering assistance and adding challenges as you see fit.

Wonder’s level design shines brightly, emphasizing exploration. Levels feature discoverable secrets hidden in plain sight, accessible via power-ups and inventive background-interaction mechanics. These cleverly designed stages defy the linearity often associated with Mario games, allowing you to explore freely and replay them to uncover all their secrets.

The game introduces new power-ups like the Elephant form, Bubble Flower, and Drill Mushroom, each with its unique abilities that enhance gameplay. The Elephant form allows you to trample foes, break blocks, and dash across gaps with its trunk. The Bubble Flower, though initially unimpressive, becomes a favorite once you realize its potential for high jumps and long-range attacks. The Drill Mushroom is perfect for dealing with spiky enemies and allows you to burrow through the ground, offering a new dimension of play.

In addition to new power-ups and Wonder effects, Super Mario Bros. Wonder introduces new enemies to the world of Mario. Some of the new enemies that we learned about include Hoppycats, Melon Piranha Plants, Condarts and Maw-Maws. Hoppycats copy your moves and jump when you jump, Melon Piranha Plants spit seeds from their mouths, Condarts fly at you and stick their beaks into your business and Maw-Maws eat anything that comes too close to their mouths. These are just a few of the new enemies that Nintendo says Mario will encounter during his adventure in the Flower Kingdom.

Innovating in gameplay, Super Mario Bros. Wonder introduces the captivating Wonder Seeds. In my opinion, this is one of if not the standout feature of the game. These seeds unlock diverse gameplay experiences, altering camera angles, movement mechanics, and level interactions.

Whether you’re riding a herd of Bulrushes or inflating into a giant balloon, the Wonder Seeds consistently provide surprising and delightful moments. The hunt for these seeds encourages thorough exploration and adds an element of wonder to each level.

If there’s a complaint, it’s that Super Mario Bros. Wonder isn’t incredibly challenging for long-time Mario players. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Super Mario Bros. Wonder’s emphasis is on fun, creativity, and exploration, with challenges that are designed for a broader audience which captures the essence of 2D Mario in a way that no other game in the series has.

What would a 2D Mario game be without multiplayer fun? Luckily, Super Mario Bros. Wonder has both local multiplayer and online play. Up to 4 people can play local multiplayer on the same Nintendo Switch. And, what’s really neat is that if someone gets defeated their character in the form of a ghost floats around the screen. If you or another player reaches them before time runs out, they come back to life without losing a life! And, if someone is playing as Yoshi you can jump on their back and ride them!

Online play works a little bit differently. You can create a room to connect with your friends. Here, you can see what levels your friends are playing, play the same level together and turn some courses into races! Additionally, if you are playing by yourself you can connect online and see players in the form of shadows from around the world in real time. And, you can place a standee that will bring a player back to life who is in ghost form, which really goes a long way to help create a sense of community and camaraderie.

Super Mario Bros. Wonder doesn’t just offer a phenomenal gameplay experience; it’s also a visual and auditory masterpiece. The game’s presentation is a testament to Nintendo’s attention to detail and artistic prowess. Simply put, the game’s visuals are nothing short of spectacular. Every level is a visual feast, showcasing amazing attention to detail. Each environment, from lush forests to fiery caves, is richly designed.

The backgrounds are carefully crafted, adding layers of complexity to the levels. As you explore, you’ll notice delightful nuances like characters losing their hats when entering pipes and gracefully retrieving them. The animations are smooth and seamless, never interrupting the gameplay flow, and brimming with charm.

Super Mario Bros. Wonder’s soundtrack embraces analog instruments, a delightful departure from the traditional digitized sound effects. It adds a musical quality to the game, enhancing the overall experience. The new voice acting brings the characters to life with just the right touch, adding depth to their personalities. From Mario’s familiar “Let’s-a go!” to Luigi’s playful enthusiasm, the voice work complements the game’s whimsical nature. Even Yoshi’s strains during his extra floaty jump will make you smile.

Super Mario Bros. Wonder is a return to the classic 2D Mario platforming that captures the magic of the series. With ingenious level design, diverse power-ups, and the exciting Wonder Seeds, it’s an adventure brimming with surprises and creativity. The ability to customize your experience with badges adds depth to the gameplay, making it accessible to all players.

Nintendo’s attention to detail in both visuals and sound elevates Super Mario Bros. Wonder to a whole new level of excellence. True it’s not the most challenging Mario game, but that doesn’t matter. It’s an absolute delight from start to finish that will keep you coming back to uncover secrets and play with your family and friends. Without a doubt, Super Mario Bros. Wonder is a must-play game this holiday season and a serious contender for game of the year.

+ Innovative level design and gameplay with a high degree of discoverability
+ Variety in power-ups and badges, enhancing gameplay diversity
+ Stunning visuals, animations, and an incredibly musical atmosphere

– Some may find the game a bit too easy

Gameplay: 5/5
Graphics: 5/5
Sound: 5/5
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 5/5

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