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Super Mario Bros. Wonder - Video Review

We share a bunch of thoughts and opinions about our time with Nintendo's latest 2D platformer.

Audio transcription

"Recently, we had the chance to write a final preview based on the opening portion of Super Mario Bros. Wonder, and in that preview we stated that this very title could be another Game of the Year contender. Well, now that launch is upon us and since we've had a chance to check out the full game, does that claim stack up? Simply put, yes. Yes it does."

"Super Mario Bros. Wonder is the 2D platforming Super Mario Bros. game we have been waiting for for years. It's polished, overflown with charm, has meaningful new additions and plenty of nostalgic and classic systems and mechanics. It's a truly fantastic and brilliant title that will go down as one of the best the Switch ever received during its remarkable run."

"The adventure takes Mario and 11 of his friends to the Flower Kingdom, which is essentially a fantastical new world made up of several biomes that each bring their own style and aesthetical flair. The core basic setup of this game is no different to what we've seen in other Super Mario Bros. games of the past, and that's by no means a slight. Why change something that is so simple yet effective? Taking control of one of the characters, you have to steadily platform through a whole slate of 2D levels crammed with enemies and creatures, tons of environmental hazards and plenty of secrets, all in the effort of collecting wonder flowers which are necessary for unlocking new levels and ultimately reaching Bowser to put a stop to his latest rampage. Music and sound design has always been important in Mario games, but here it's even more so. Entire levels have been created and built with a rhythmic style at their core, a setup that asks you to time jump to the soundtrack that plays throughout the course. Then there's also how the game reacts to your actions with sound design. Throughout a course, you'll find new blocks that play sound effects when you walk across them, as well as flower characters that coach you along the journey, all on top of a brilliant soundtrack that features timeless original numbers. It's, for a lack of a better term, wonderful. There are tons of levels to complete in this game, each with their own secrets and new design elements, and none of them feel similar to one another thanks to how the wonder flowers shake things up. When you find a wonder flower throughout a course, it will dramatically change that very level. It will go from typical and classic 2D Mario platforming fun, to something with entirely new mechanics. This is of course on top of collecting additional items, such as big flower coins that are used as currency, landing on top of the end of level flagpole, and even finding other secrets and goodies along the way. The point is, while a course may only take you two minutes to go from start to finish, there are a plethora of reasons to go back and continue exploring to find something hidden beneath the surface. The power-ups however, are one area that the game feels a little lacklustre in. This is likely because of the new and arguably biggest addition, badges. These are essentially perks that you can activate before the start of a level so that your character has an extra trick up their sleeves, and are likely why power-ups feel like an afterthought much of the time, and not the super exciting game-defining additions that we've seen in former Super Mario Bros. games. The multiplayer support is also a very impressive feature in this game. Being able to team up with friends locally or online when there is a broader multiplayer offering opens the door to a whole range of ways to enjoy this title."

"Add to this how the game has been tailored to suit younger folk as well, with five of its twelve playable characters being immune to enemy damage, making the platforming experience less stressful as you solely have to worry about environmental hazards with these characters.
But the key thing to take away with when it comes to Super Mario Bros. Wonder, is how it isn't really looking to rewrite the script of what we've come to expect from a Super Mario Bros. title. Instead it's refining and perfecting the experience we've come to know and love. Between the audio-visual elements, the multiplayer offering, the fact that the maps between levels have open sections that allow you to explore and discover additional secrets, and for that matter, so many secrets that it's truly difficult to list them off, this is a game that feels like that long-awaited next step forward in the Super Mario Bros. series."

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