(Image via gamingbolt.com)
Volunteer Writer: Aidan Danforth
Since 2017, many Mario fans have wondered what’s next for Mario and how Nintendo can improve upon a masterpiece like Mario Odyssey.
As a result, many fans, including myself, were hoping Nintendo would come up with an original idea for a new Mario and not just do another rerelease or port of a past title.
In June, when Nintendo released a trailer for a new 2D Mario game featuring a unique art style, level designs, and power-ups, it got me and many other fans excited for the game’s October release.
After seeing the trailer and gameplay footage, I expected the game to be an improvement over previous titles and a revamp for 2D Mario that would change how the series is perceived.
And upon beating the game shortly after launch, I can safely say it has done a lot to change the landscape of 2D Mario.
So what does this new Mario game do well, and what does it not do well? Well, there are quite a few things this game has done better than past Mario games, and a few things it has done worse.
The graphics were among the first things that stuck out to me while playing Mario Wonder.
Compared to past titles, Mario Wonder has to have one of the best designs and textures out of all the Mario games. From the character animations to the level design and enemies, Mario Wonder, in my opinion, has to be one of the most visually appealing Mario games ever made.
The next thing that stood out was the new power-ups introduced in the game that bring in fresh abilities for Mario and the other characters.
Power-ups such as the bubble suit, drill suit, elephant suit, and various badges change the movement of Mario and his friends’ movement.
The level design was also revitalized, which I was glad to see because I was tired of all the New Mario games having the same grass, dessert, and water worlds over and over again.
Mario Wonder stops that repetition, with each level having an exciting theme; they are not just copies of each other with slight differences.
Instead, each level offers a distinct art style and new game features that stand out.
Part of this revitalization is due to the newly introduced wonder seed mechanic.
The wonder seeds add a brand new mechanic never seen before in Mario, where when you touch these seeds, and they change the layout of the level, which usually leads to a lot of crazy things happening.
This can range from something like the pipes moving, to rhinos chasing the player, to Mario becoming a goomba or a blob. This is by far my favorite change Mario Wonder has made to the Mario format, and I’m hoping a version of this comes back in future Mario games.
With all the new mechanics and features, this leads to the two words that best describe this masterpiece: variety and fun.
The variety of the levels, powerups, and number of characters to pick are what make this game’s replay value high. The badges that change how the player controls this game give it endless content.
Fun is the next word, and I chose this word because this game is simply fun to play. The charm and the collectibles are just some reasons why the game is hard to put down. It is hands down one of the best Mario games of all time.
But no game is perfect, and all games lack something that could make it better. So, where exactly did this game go wrong?
It’s tough to determine any real negatives for this game because it is genuinely one of the best Mario games, but even the greatest games have a few flaws.
The first flaw, which has been lacking in many recent Mario titles, is the difficulty.
Mario Wonder is a great game, but it is also one of the easiest Mario games I’ve ever played. I beat this game in a few hours with little challenge aside from a few levels that took me a few tries to complete.
Playing this made me miss the days when games like Super Mario Bros 3 and Super Mario World were challenging, with levels that took hours to beat. This element is definitely something that is missing from the title.
The bosses were also a problem in Mario Wonder; they were too easy. Only the final boss is unique, while the rest are terrible.
Most new Mario games have had this problem as well, but in terms of the variety and uniqueness of bosses, Mario Wonder has to be one of the worst.
But both things previously mentioned are nitpicks since they are elements that Nintendo adds to all their new games. They do this to reach a wider audience, including a more casual audience of Mario fans who aren’t so hardcore.
Mario Wonder is easily an A-tier Mario game for me, and it gives me optimism for the future of Mario and what Nintendo may have planned next for their main flagship series.
If it weren’t for the release of Tears of the Kingdom, Mario Wonder would be my switch game of the year, but there are still things these new Mario games are missing to live up to some of the things Zelda has been capable of.
So, if you’re a Mario fan and love games with unique art styles, a variety of different levels, and unlimited ways to play, then you should consider giving Mario Wonder. See for yourself if Nintendo can still compete with gaming companies such as Sony and Microsoft.