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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Rondina

Super Mario Bros. Wonder Review

Join me as I jump into the whimsical world of Super Mario Bros. Wonder with my in-depth review, let-sa go!

Super Mario Bros. Wonder is the latest 2D platformer from Nintendo, and it might just be the best one yet. I have a long history with the Mario series, ever since I played the original Super Mario Bros. on the NES back in the late ‘80s, I haven’t missed any of the plucky plumber’s outings since. Some of my favourite Mario 2D adventures are Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World, which both offer the same level of fun and magic I found in Super Mario Bros. Wonder.

"Some of my favourite Mario 2D adventures are Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World, which both offer the same level of fun and magic I found in Super Mario Bros. Wonder."

It’s been a long, 12-years for an original 2D Mario title to arrive, but Mario Wonder is worth the wait. The game is a blast to play, with a ton of creativity, charm, and fun surprises. In this review, I’ll delve into why Mario’s latest adventure is his best yet and easily one of the best games on the Nintendo Switch.


Super Mario Bros. Wonder Details

Platform: Nintendo Switch


Developer(s): Nintendo, Nintendo EPD


Publisher(s): Nintendo

Genre: Platform game


Modes: Single and multiplayer

ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)


Step into a world of Wonder!

The story of Super Mario Bros. Wonder is simple, and one we’ve come to expect with Bowser up to no good. Things kick off with Mario and his friends visiting the Flower Kingdom, meeting up with friendly talking flowers of the realm. Their peaceful vacation is interrupted by Bowser, who has used the Wonder Flowers to fuse himself with the kingdom’s main castle and plans to conquer the whole world. Mario and his friends must stop Bowser by collecting the Wonder Seeds, the sources of the Wonder Flowers’ power, and save the Flower Kingdom. Along the way, you’ll encounter Bowser Jr., as well as new enemies and allies from the Flower Kingdom. The story is very light and one that Mario fans have come to expect, but the story is not the focus of the game: it’s just a pretext to set the stage for stellar gameplay, creativity and the full-on joyful experience Mario Wonder delivers.


Wonder-fully satisfying gameplay

I found Super Mario Wonder’s gameplay a mix of classic and new elements, making it accessible to both veterans like me, and newcomers alike. The most unique feature of the game is the Wonder Flower mechanic, which allows Mario and his friends to transform the levels (and themselves) using flower power. Each level has at least two Wonder Flowers, one you get for finishing the level and the other you need to find.

" I looked forward to each Wonder Flower surprise, because it added so much fun and unexpected twists to the gameplay."

When activated, the Wonder Flower will change the level in some way, such as adding new platforms, enemies, obstacles, or perspective of the level. The Wonder Flower effects are random and unpredictable, making each level a different experience every time. I looked forward to each Wonder Flower surprise, because it added so much fun and unexpected twists to the gameplay.


A full cast of characters

The game also features a variety of playable characters, each with their own abilities and personalities. The player can choose to play as Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Toad, Yoshi, or Rosalina, and switch between them. Each character has their own advantages and disadvantages, such as Luigi’s higher jump, Peach’s ability to float, Toad’s faster speed, Yoshi’s tongue and flutter jump, or Rosalina’s spin attack. The characters also have different reactions and interactions with the Wonder Flowers, adding more humor and variety to the game.


An excellent solo and multiplayer experience

Mario Wonder can be enjoyed solo or with up to three friends, either locally or online. The game supports up to four players, in co-op or versus modes. In co-op mode, you can work together to complete the levels and collect Wonder Seeds, while sharing the same screen. I found that couch co-op with my family was still the best way to play, as it allows you to communicate and cooperate. You can also interact with each other, such as picking up and throwing each other, or using the Wonder Flowers together.

"I found that couch co-op with my family was still the best way to play, as it allows you to communicate and cooperate."

The online multiplayer is smooth and stable, with no noticeable lag or connection issues. Multiplayer feels like a natural part of the main experience, and not an afterthought. It adds more fun and replay value to the game and makes it more social and interactive.


Badges add fun and replayability

Another great feature of Mario Wonder is the badge system, which adds more replayability and challenges to the game. Badges are unlockable effects that you can equip and grant benefits or drawbacks in the game. For example, the “Safety Bounce” badge will save you once from a falling “game over,” while the “Coin Magnet” badge will attract coins to you like a magnet. Badges can be unlocked by completing certain tasks in the game, such as collecting Wonder Seeds, or beating a level with certain conditions met.


Some of the badges I liked the most were “Grappling Vine” which let me swing around stages, “Sensor” which detected when I was close to hidden treasure and “Parachute Cap” when added brief float to double jumps. Badges added more fun and variety to the game and encouraged me to try different strategies and combinations.

Super Mario Bros. Wonder Visuals and Performance

Super Mario Bros. Wonder is stunning both visually and technically. The game uses a 2.5D style, with 3D models and environments, with classic side-scrolling movement. The game’s colour palette is beautiful to look at, with punchy blues, reds, and yellows that make the game really pop. Along with the bright visuals, Nintendo paid special attention to the animations and expressions of the characters and enemies truly bring this wonderful world to life.

"Nintendo paid special attention to the animations and expressions of the characters and enemies truly bring this wonderful world to life."

There is also a lot of diversity in the environments, from lush forests and deserts to snowy environments and underwater caves. Not to mention the beautiful and unexpected changes to levels with the Wonder Flowers. In terms of technical performance, the game runs smoothly on the Switch, and I experienced no noticeable frame drops or glitches. Overall, Mario Wonder is a visual treat with an art direction that delights and surprises at every turn.


Final Thoughts on Super Mario Bros. Wonder

Mario Wonder is a near perfect blend of classic and new 2D gameplay, with a lot of variety, and replay value. The game is an absolute joy to play, whether alone or with others, it will keep you entertained for hours.

"The game is an absolute joy to play, whether alone or with others, it will keep you entertained for hours."

It’s also yet another terrific showcase of Nintendo’s creativity and charm, offering plenty of humor, personality, and surprises. Super Mario Bros. Wonder is a game that deserves to be played by everyone and is one of the best games on the Nintendo Switch.


Super Mario Bros. Wonder PROS

+ Wonder Flower mechanic adds a lot of fun and unpredictability to the levels

+ Stunning graphics and smooth performance

+ Badges help to mix-up the gameplay

+ Variety of playable characters, each with their own abilities and personalities

+ Great local and online multiplayer modes

 

Super Mario Bros. Wonder CONS

-Some Wonder Flower effects can be frustrating or unfair

-Game feels slightly short compared to other 2D Mario games


Overall Assessment of Super Mario Bros. Wonder

Gameplay: 9.5/10

Graphics: 9/10

Sound: 9/10

Replayability: 9/10


Overall Rating: 36.5/40 (91%)

A copy of the game was provided by Nintendo to conduct this review.

 

About the Author - Matthew "Dapper Tux" Rondina

Matthew has been involved in all things gaming since the 8-bit era. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry who has been passionate about technology and gaming for over 20 years. Along with being the Managing Editor of dappertux.com, he has bylines with Best Buy, Cineplex Entertainment, Mobile Syrup and Walmart. Follow Matthew’s gaming + tech adventures on multiple social platforms with the handle @dapper_tux via "X", Instagram, Threads, TikTok and join in on the fun!

 

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