If you look back at the history of video games, there are a few iconic characters that would easily come to mind. It would likely include PacMan, Master Chief, B.J. Blackowicz, Gordon Freeman, Link, and of course the most iconic, Mario. Over the entire lifetime of the character of Mario, which spans more than 40 years now, he has changed. The character of Mario was one of the first games that we owned. I vividly remember getting a Nintendo for Christmas complete with the Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt cartridge.
While he may have started as JumpMan, he quickly evolved into his own character, first in Donkey Kong, but in 1986 Mario came to the United States with ‘Super Mario Bros’. This game, along with the Donkey Kong game, is a two-dimensional side-scrolling game. While the early games may have been limited due to hardware, but time has moved on and many Mario games have been 3D games, including Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy.
The latest Mario game has been highly anticipated, not just because it is a Mario game, but also because it is the first new game starring Mario game on the Nintendo Switch since 2017’s Super Mario Odyssey. That game is Super Mario Wonder.
Super Mario Wonder harkens back to the original 2D side-scrollers, but it is designed for the Nintendo Switch. Super Mario Wonder takes the best of the side-scrolling Mario games and brings
Prince Florian of the Flower Kingdom wants to show Mario, Luigi, Toad, Peach, and Princess Daisy the Wonder Flower, but they are interrupted by Bowser and he steals the Wonder Flower and takes over the Castle. Mario volunteers to defeat Bowser and free the Flower Kingdom from Bowser.
This is a brief recap, it does, of course, go into much more depth, but I do not want to provide any spoilers, if I can help it.
As with previous Mario games you start off with easy levels and they can progressively get more difficult. The idea for each level is to gather Wonder Seeds. Once you have gathered enough Wonder Seeds you will be able to get a Royal Seed. Each Royal Seed will remove one of the snakes protecting the Castle that Bowser took over. Once removed all of the snakes, you can enter into the last castle and defeat Bowser.
Each level has many of the things that you com to expect from a Mario game, including pipes, boxes, vines, and a variety of enemies.
Through each of the levels you can get flower coins, which will provide you with 10 flower coins. Flower coins are used to purchase items from shops throughout the different worlds.
Let us look at some of the various aspects of the game, starting with Power Ups.
As with other Mario games, you can get some power ups while playing. These can include:
Each of these power ups provides a different ability. The first two power ups, Mushroom and Flower will make Mario bigger. The Flower will give you fireballs, so you can more easily eliminate enemies. The Bubble power up will give you bubbles, which you can use to eliminate enemies. The Drill power up allows you to move underground so you can bypass enemies and you can also use the drill to eliminate enemies as well. The Elephant power up will let you become an elephant that can use its trunk to eliminate enemies. You can also hold water in the trunk of the elephant, which can be useful in some levels.
Mario does not travel alone through the Flower Kingdom, instead he travels with Prince Florian. Prince Florian has the capability of wearing a Badge. As you progress through the game you will have the opportunity to get badges that each provide their own ability. A few examples are Parachute Glide, Coin Magnet, and Sensor, just to name a few of them.
When you apply a badge, it will apply through the level. You can use badges strategically to help you accomplish levels. If you manage to lose a life, you can change the badge that is used before you continue with the level.
There are a few items that I would like to highlight about the game in general. The first is that each level has its own difficulty rating. These are depicted with solid-colored seeds. This can go from a single seed, for the easiest levels, to five seeds, for the most difficult.
The second item is the timer. In the earliest Mario games, including Super Mario Deluxe, there is a time that you are required to finish the level in. There are no timers in Super Mario Wonder, for which I was glad. Some of the levels can be quite difficult and not having a timer adds a bit less stress for completing the level.
The third item is related to Power Ups. With previous side-scrolling Mario games if you already had a power up and you grabbed another one, you would no longer have access to the Power Up that you just had. That is not true in this game. Instead, you have your current power up, as well as a second. If you have a power up (other than a Mushroom), your current Power Up will be moved to the extra spot. You can swap between them at any point, but be careful, you can still get hit by enemies.
There is one small complaint that I have, specifically about the Invisible badge. This badge makes playing as a character almost impossible. Yes, you can use it to hide from enemies, but you really do need to be an expert at the game in order to use it. I would have liked to have a slight outline of the character when using the badge. Due to the difficulty of using the badge, I did not end up using it that often, due to the difficulty of using it.
Mario is one of those characters that will forever be burned into my psyche. The two dimensional nature of the original Super Mario Bros is one of the games that started me on my journey of playing video games. Therefore, Mario will always have a special place for me.
If you, like myself, are a fan of Mario and have enjoyed playing previous Mario games, in particular the side-scrolling games, then you will likely enjoy playing Super Mario Wonder. The game can be somewhat frustrating at times. The power ups and badges can help you get through every single level. If you do find a level to be a bit too difficult, you can use a Yoshi or Nabbit to make things a bit easier. However, these characters will not transform if they get any power ups.
I finished Super Mario Wonder in just over a week. I did not 100% the game, but I did finish the main story and it is a good one. While some levels were difficult, more so than their difficulty level indicated, it is a solid Mario game that is good for players of all skill levels because you can use any of the assistance items to help complete the game.