Back when Super Mario Bros. Wonder was first announced, I was watching the direct with a close friend. We didn’t think too much of a new 2D Mario game being announced this late in the Switch’s lifespan, so the game had a long way to go to make me believe it was as wonderful as the title suggests.
First off, let’s talk about the gameplay, which is the strongest aspect of the game. It’s without a doubt where the game proves itself to be amazing. While it may control like a normal 2D Mario game, your expectations for how the game plays will be thrown out quickly because of the new wonder flowers. You genuinely never know what to expect with them. The wonder flowers weren’t the only thing Nintendo added en route to shaking up the gameplay. They also added a new badge system where you can equip one and dramatically change Mario’s moveset. The changes range from grappling to walls, floating jumps, or challenging yourself by playing the level while invisible. The badges add a ton of replay value.
The game also decided to get rid of the standard time limit seen in most Mario titles, which easily allow for you to take your time and find all the secrets at your own pace. This is great because the game does a fantastic job at hiding secrets, even better than in most previous Mario titles.
One aspect of gameplay I wasn’t expecting to have that big of an impact on my experience was the online play, but seeing other players go on this journey and impacting their time playing felt special. Helping other players who struggle or getting saved when I was struggling made it feel like a group effort, despite not having a local buddy for co-op. You might think that would make the game too easy, but more often than not, the hard levels were structured in a way where the online won’t allow you to easily cheese past difficult segments so you won’t be getting bailed out in the game’s toughest challenges all too often.
Aside for the gameplay, the two remaining strong points of Super Mario Bros. Wonder are the graphics and the sound. One of the first things that stood out to me was how different and how uniquely the game looks. I felt that it’s as if the official images from the 90s came to life in the best way possible and the attention to detail in animation makes even the simplest actions fun.
On the sound side of things, I definitely have some mixed feelings. For the most part, I couldn’t notice that much of a difference in the character voices even though they have all been replaced. On the other hand, the soundtrack is where those mixed feelings stem from. I felt like the game had a lot more music that was forgettable than in previous games but I did really adore the callbacks to previous Mario games in ways that did a great job at celebrating the series.
The amount of content in the game is also very surprising as there are more than 100 courses to play through across eight worlds. While most levels won’t require more than one playthrough to fully complete, there are a number of levels where there’s more than one exit and will require some extra sleuthing to fully complete. However, because many of these levels are quick, the overall experience can be pretty short as well. It only took me around 15 hours to 100 percent the game, which is far less than what you’d get from a game like Super Mario Odyssey. But when compared to other 2D Mario games, I think it does a good job with value and content.
Overall, Super Mario Bros Wonder is going to go down as a classic and I’m super glad I didn’t wait on it. Whether you’re buying a copy for yourself or receiving it as a gift you’re, in for a Wonderful time.
New gameplay mechanics
A ton of content
Some forgettable music