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The Wingspan

Super Mario Bros. Wonder review: Absolutely wonderful

Image from, owned by Nintendo
Image from, owned by Nintendo

October 20, 2023 marked a very special day for Mario fans around the globe. It was the release date of Super Mario Bros. Wonder, the first traditional 2D Mario game in over ten years. Fans have been happy with the Super Mario Maker series of games, which lets players build their own 2D Mario levels, however they don’t share the same charm and quality of levels made by Nintendo before. 

Previous to Wonder, the last 2D Mario game was New Super Mario Bros. U. Released in 2012, it was part of a sub-series of 2D Mario games which by the fourth entry with U, became very bland and repetitive. Wonder changes that with a new art style, power-ups, and more. It takes place in the Flower Kingdom, as Mario and friends were invited to visit Prince Florian. However, Bowser steals one of the precious Wonder flowers that have many strange effects. He ends up getting absorbed with the castle of the Flower Kingdom and becomes Castle Bowser. This threatens the safety of the world, so Mario and friends set out to stop Bowser. 

Mario Wonder immediately diverts expectations of both a Mario game and a 2D Mario game given that the plot does not involve Princess Peach getting kidnapped, breaking away from expectations of what a Mario game can be. 

Wonder has eight main worlds and a bonus world of tough levels, so there is a lot of content to be enjoyed in this game. It also introduces several new power-ups, which brings with it new ways to progress through these levels. This includes the bubble flower, which allows the player to trap enemies in bubbles and use them as platforms, the drill mushroom that gives players the power to burrow underground, and the elephant fruit that transforms the user into an elephant, allowing them to swing their trunk at enemies and hold water in said trunk for various uses. 

In addition, there are one or more wonder flowers in every level. These flowers change the terrain or the player in a plethora of ways which keeps things unique, from elongating the player, to making the level upside down, to even a herd of buffalo chasing after you. Players never know what to expect when they run into one. 

Throughout the journey, players can also find badges that they can equip one at a time for many different forms of movement or for other means of assisting players. None are required, however some are suited well for certain levels and most complex badges feature in-depth tutorial levels that show you the use cases for the badges. 

Wonder also features a wonderful soundtrack to keep you running and jumping through the adventure. It’s a nice refresher after the New Super Mario Bros. series’ reused and repetitive tracks. 

The game also features a four-player multiplayer style. However, it is only local since other players online are more like guides as they can’t interact with you in any way. This, along with only one save file, slightly hinders Mario’s otherwise flawless adventure.

Mario Wonder is a near quintessential 2D Mario game right up there with Super Mario World and Super Mario Bros. 3, proving that 2D Mario can still improve and surprise players in new ways.


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About the Contributor
Joey Crossney, Design Editor