On Thursday (31 August 2023) we got a great deep dive into Mario’s upcoming 2D platformer Super Mario Bros. Wonder. It’s clear that after more than a decade, the creative team behind arguably the most significant side-scrolling series is ready to mix things up once again. The game launches on the 20th of October 2023.
There were a heck of a lot of interesting things that were shown off during the 20-minute-long Direct – but here are the eight things we’re most excited about:
1. Huge character roster
While we’ve gotten used to seeing Mario, Luigi, Peach, and even Toad on these 2D adventures, Wonder boasts a larger roster than ever with Mario, Luigi, Peach, Daisy, two Toads, Toadette, several Yoshis, and even the purple plunderer Nabbit. Historically, each of the characters has behaved a little differently (eg. Luigi was a little slower but jumped a little higher than his more famous older brother). This time around though, the trailer led us to believe that the four main characters all have the same ability.
We’re not sure if we like that update, but we’re at least heartened to hear that while there seemingly aren’t difficulty toggles – the Yoshis and Nabbit will be immune to enemies and our favourite dinosaurs will still be boasting their trademark flutter jump, and enemy-swallowing abilities & partner-carrying abilities.
2. Exciting Enemies
Every new Mario adventure boasts at least a few new enemies to look forward to and this time around is no different, with the Direct showing off just some of the range that will be making life harder for players including: Hoppycats (which copy player movements), Melon Piranha Plants (which fire a series of seeds upwards), Condarts (birds with sharp beaks that fly directly at players), Mumsies (mummy-like enemies that can be unraveled), Maw-maws (which will eat anything in their path), and finally Konks (seemingly related to Thwomps these will even cut through goo when slamming down).
3. New Powerups!
Like enemies, new Mario games often feature new powerups. The Elephant Mario stole the show in the reveal trailer and this time around we learned that the whole roster will feature an Elephant version for each character (and yes, the Yoshis can still carry these giant characters on their back). However, on top of this, we got a first look and Mario’s Bubble and Drill modes too. With the Bubble power, Mario can encapsulate enemies from around corners and even through walls and even use the Bubbles as once-off platforms. In Drill mode, not only can the characters now take usually-hard-to-beat enemies like Spinys without skipping a beat, but they can also explore certain floors, walls, and ceilings by drilling ‘underground’.
4. Bursting with Badges!
In a brand new twist – Wonder will feature badges. These are unique abilities that you can earn by completing special levels or purchase using in-game currency. The abilities revealed during the Direct, include Parachute Hats that make landing a breeze, a Vine Grappling skill, and even some passive safety abilities that will save you if you fall into lava, for example. Only one ability can be equipped at a time before entering a level and we think this is going to bring a whole new level of strategy which we are really looking forward to.
5. Wonder-flower weirdness
The Wonder Flower is not only the unique power-up that allows Bowser to meld with a castle (yup, you heard that right) and wreak havoc on this new world, but it is also present in multiple levels along the way. Obtaining the Flower has huge and ever-changing effects in the world – from making pipes move to changing the 2D perspective to even changing Mario’s own look and feel. Mario-goomba anyone?
6. Wonderful world map
Not only are we going to adventure away from the Mushroom Kingdom this time around, but the Flower Kingdom features 7 unique areas. As made popular in Super Mario Bros. 3 and World, the map is made up of a series of levels connected by specific paths. However, we’re sure there are a lot of hidden secrets along the way too, and the Direct revealed certain areas that are fully explorable with levels that range in difficulty and can be tackled in any order.
7. Marvelous Multiplayer
Excitingly, the Direct also showed off that there will be several interesting multiplayer options. On a single Switch, up to 4 players can tackle levels together, opting between basic exploration or (if everyone agrees) a first-to-the-flag race option. The online mode features some unique changes; For example rather than a simple copy of the local play, players will connect in real-time with players all around the world (the strand genre lives on) – with their shadow appearing on the overworld map and in the levels themselves. However, rather than traditional play, online players will only be able to influence play by reviving players who have lost a life and sharing items – thereby earning heart points. It’s a different take and we’re eager to see how much fun it is in practice.
8. Mario Red OLED alert
The final reveal we’re excited about is the special edition Red Switch that launches a few days before the game (6 October). While it probably makes very little sense to buy a new Switch now – with the new console reportedly on its way in 2024, and it could arguably be a little more ‘Wonder-themed’ – the little Mario figure and coins do make it rather appealing for big Mario-fans like myself.
Super Mario Bros. Wonder launches on the 20th of October 2023. For more Nintendo News and Review be sure to check out nintengogamer.co.za.