As people eagerly await Starfield reviews and rev up their Xboxes for the game’s early access opening, Nintendo decided that it would not be left out of today’s video game news. During today’s interestingly timed Mario Direct presentation, Nintendo shared roughly 15 minutes of gameplay from Super Mario Bros. Wonder and announced a new Mario-themed Switch OLED.
Despite Nintendo’s traditional wholesomeness, I cannot shake the feeling that the thesis of Super Mario Bros. Wonder is just, “What if this time, Mario and all his friends just got super high?” In the gameplay presentation, the flowers talk now, the new Flower Kingdom seems a bit more wacky than other Mario locations, and with the power of the Wonder Flowers, Mario can get up to all kinds of interesting, mind-bending shenanigans.
In Super Mario Bros. Wonder, Bowser has invaded the Flower Kingdom, taking over its ruler’s castle and imprisoning its inhabitants across the land. There are seven worlds to explore, with each world having a new free-roam section that allows players to tackle levels in any order they choose. You can play as Mario, Peach, Daisy, or Luigi, with each character playing the same way. However, if you’re looking for an easier time, Yoshi and Nabbit are the way to go since they won’t take damage, and Yoshi comes equipped with his signature flutter ability, allowing him to fly to those hard-to-reach places.
In addition to new power-ups like the one that transforms Mario into an elephant or the one that gives him the powers of… bubble, there are also new equipable badges that give characters an extra special ability. There’s the parachute cap badge that allows you to glide as you fall through the air, a dolphin kick badge that increases your swimming speed, the grappling vine badge that gives players a Zelda-like hookshot effect, and many more. Only one badge can be equipped at a time, and they can be either purchased or earned in special challenge levels.
Super Mario Bros. Wonder supports up to four-player local co-op and online “pseudo” co-op that allows players to play together separately. In online “co-op,” you play alone but can interact and share items with others that populate the world in real time as live player shadows.
Wonder Flowers are Super Mario Bros. Wonder’s new gimmick. When Mario encounters one, things can get a little weird, transforming the landscape or Mario himself. Perspectives can shift, levels can tilt, or maybe you’ll just float through space collecting Wonder Seeds as you go. Again, Nintendo = family-friendly, but Super Mario Bros. Wonder won’t beat the drug allegory allegations, I fear.
Super Mario Bros. Wonder wanders onto the Switch on October 20th.