By Paul Harrington
The outstanding success of previous “Super Mario” games that have launched on the Nintendo Switch such as “Super Mario Odyssey”' left longtime fans wondering if the positive momentum could keep going when “Super Mario Bros. Wonder” dropped on Oct. 20.
Playing “Super Mario Bros. Wonder” was a refreshing experience full of eccentric mechanics never before seen in past installments.
The game' introduces players to a new kingdom to explore and save from the looming threat of Bowser. The Flower Kingdom is full of eccentric surprises through each of the six worlds you navigate in your hero’s journey.
Right off the bat, the player is given the option to play as any of the characters - Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Princess Daisy, Blue Toad and Yellow Toad, Toadette, three different options for Yoshi, and Nabbit.
The only difference in gameplay between the characters is that Yoshi and Nabbit take no damage from enemies, but cannot use transformation power-ups. These characters are perfect for those who are looking for a calm and laid back experience of the game.
The single-player experience is a fun journey, but the game is at its peak when you get the experience to play with friends. “Super Mario Bros. Wonder” offers both local and online multiplayer where you and up to four friends can play together and save the Flower Kingdom.
The game does an excellent job of tapping into the sense of sound with unique sound effects. Whether it be the drums that play when you ground pound, the occasional musical scales that you can run across, or power-ups, the game bleeds of creativity when it comes to sound effects.
The two-dimensional visuals of the game are full of vibrant and warm colors. You get to see the amount of love put into each level. Some levels even have hidden exits that reward you for looking between every nook and cranny.
When it comes to powering up the platforming experience, the game excels in this department. It introduces the brand new badge system, which is a personal favorite of mine.
As you progress through the game players can collect badges that can enhance different gameplay aspects such as how high you jump, becoming a walking coin magnet, and even invisibility. The variety in badges makes sure players do not get bored of sticking to a certain playstyle.
In addition to the badge system, players also have access to four new power-ups - the Bubble Flower which gives you bubble shooting powers, the Drill Mushroom which allows you to dig underground to sneak past foes, the Elephant Fruit which turns you into an elephant and allows you to use your trunk to hit enemies, and the Wonder Flowers which allows players to trigger wonder events.
Wonder Events occur when you collect a Wonder Flower. The game has about 60 Wonder Events in different levels that are sure to make you smile. My personal favorite was “Piranha Plants on Parade” where the level itself turns into a lively parade full of singing Piranha Plants.
One of my favorite aspects that offers skilled players a genuine challenge is the game's self-titled Special World. The Special World is a series of challenging levels that test players on different skills. For the six in-game worlds, each one has a Special World level tied to it that is unlocked after completing every level in each world.
Once those levels are completed, the player is granted access to one final challenge known as “The Final-Final Test Badge Marathon” which offers players a marathon-style final level full of challenging obstacles that I can attest are very difficult. Your skills with the badges you earn throughout the game are tested in this final level.
Overall, “Super Mario Bros. Wonder” is a game that is packed to the brim with creativity. The game easily captivates players with its ambitious level design.
This game is the perfect mix of both enjoyable and challenging. It does an amazing job of incorporating new content that is sure to leave positive memories with the player. I can wholeheartedly say I enjoyed every moment of this game.
A warmhearted addition to Mario’s never-ending adventures!