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Super Mario Bros. Wonder

Daniel Bouwmeester    November 30, 2023    3 min read   

After jumping onto the silver screen earlier this year for The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Nintendo’s mascot has gone back to his “roots” to star in a wildly imaginative and innovative console 2D platformer.

Super Mario Bros. Wonder, a Nintendo Switch exclusive title, is the first new 2D Mario game in a decade – and, frankly, the first truly “new” game in the series for nearly twice that time.

Images: Nintendo.

The classic Super Mario Bros. games (1985-1995) on the NES and Super NES took the world by storm, then, after a decade hiatus, bounced back with the New Super Mario Bros. series (2006-2013), on DS, 3DS, Wii, and Wii U.

But, unlike the original games – which, impressively, practically reinvented the wheel each time – the “New” series felt iterative, mostly recycling ideas from older games, and becoming increasingly stale.

Now, after around 17 years, that sense of “wonder” is back – perhaps now more than ever.

Familiar and fresh

While Super Mario Bros. Wonder is built around traditional Mario game elements like platforms, pipes, piranha plants, and power-ups (like the mushroom and fire flower) – and, of course, characters like Mario, Luigi, Toad, Princess Peach, and Bowser – that’s really just the tip of the iceberg.

First of all, it’s set in the Flower Kingdom, not the Mushroom Kingdom, so most of the game’s basic objects, obstacles, enemies, collectibles, terrain, and overall biomes are never-before-seen.

There are new power-ups like the elephant fruit, bubble flower, and drill hat.

Level backgrounds are stunning and layered – pushing the limits of the Switch’s rendering capabilities – and music is all-new and super catchy.

And character animations are fluid and expressive, complete with delightful voice acting and sound effects.

The classic timer is gone, so you can enjoy playing levels at your own pace – there are scores of sneaky secrets to discover if exploration is your thing.

But what really sets the game apart is the unending creativity on display within the wonder-flower sequences. Touch one of these flowers and the whole level transforms: You might be inundated with rushing bulls, overwhelmed with balloons, or have your perspective completely shifted.

And lastly, the game has tons of replayability thanks to ability “badges” like the parachute cap or dolphin kick that you can use on any level at any time. And there’s online connectivity where you can help other players around the world, or race against your friends – although sadly you can’t play levels together online as that aspect is local co-op only.

It’s pretty, it’s polished, it’s bursting at the seams. Super Mario Bros. Wonder truly is a wonderful gaming experience.

Daniel Bouwmeester

Daniel was born in a mining town in New South Wales to Dutch and Welsh immigrants, before relocating to Logan City, where he attended Canterbury College for twelve years. He pursued his passion for music by completing a first-class honours degree at the University of Queensland (UQ), and later signed with a local record label. He has travelled the world from a young age, including a student exchange in rural France, a job working the ski lifts in Colorado, and visits to the islands of the South Pacific. After a six-year career in market research, Daniel returned to UQ to complete a Bachelor of Journalism and Arts dual degree, majoring in political science. His varied experiences at home and abroad have contributed to a passion for spreading good news while defending the truth buried inside complex societal paradigms.