Super Mario Bros Wonder is a cutesy, laugh-out-loud Nintendo Switch platformer
Cartoon plumber Mario returns in what’s probably his cutest, most musical and funniest game in years.
Wonder is a brilliant twist on the classic side-scrolling platform franchise and utilises a series of constant cheeky little ideas to make the whole thing feel fresh again.
While this is effectively a follow-up to the 2012 Wii U console game Super Mario Bros U, it takes that tried and tested formula and sprinkles in a key new gimmick with the addition of Wonder Flowers.
As you progress through a level as either Mario or one of his 11 pals, which include Princess Peach, Rabbit and Yoshi, you’ll come across these bright blue blooms which transform the game.
By collecting them you totally subvert the level for a short period and crazy stuff happens.
Like when a stampede of Bulrushes charge after you in a race to the finish, or when the well-known green pipes in Mario levels suddenly come alive and wriggle along the ground like worms.
Then there’s bursts of endless star power-ups that give you short-term invincibility, koopa troopas on rollerskates or just the simple joy of seeing Mario turn into an elephant for the first time using a new power-up.
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This game is consistently changing up what we think we know about Mario platforms and it’s all the better for it.
It means you’re constantly on the edge of your seat, waiting to see what bonkers mayhem will be unleashed on the next level.
And for such a well-trodden genre, that’s pretty impressive stuff from the creative bods at Nintendo.
Gameplay is familiar and relatively basic – run, jump, shoot if you have a fire Mario power-up – but the makers have added in a host of new Badges that you can swap between to give you an extra special move, like floating down slowly across a long distance from a height with your oversized hat.
Chopping and changing between Badges helps to navigate the tougher levels and gives you the impetus to try to unlock more of them as you progress.
And you can play this game in four-player co-op if you sync enough Joy-Con controllers to your Switch, which leads to bonkers on-screen madness with four of you bouncing around all at once.
For the collectors, there’s a ton of Standees to find, they’re little stand-up pictures that you can place along the route to say ‘I was here’ to other gamers online.
They do a job too, in the online world you can use someone else’s Standee placed by players worldwide to revive yourself when you’re a ghost.
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Web-action can either be up to 12 players playing courses normally or in races, chasing shadow versions of each other, trying to outdo their times.
The colourful animation is brilliant. Packed with personality and humour. Mario and pals have never been so evocative and cute.
And I absolutely adore the little flowers dotted around stages with their overly American accents making cheeky comments on your progress, genuinely hilarious.
The music is also well worth a mention.
Some of the best levels are fully in step with the sound and it’s a bit like the musical levels in Rayman where your movements tend to fit in perfectly with the rhythm of the challenge.
Overall, another fantastic Mario game and a real fun standout for the Switch console.
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