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“Super Mario Bros. Wonder” is a refreshing installment in the series

(Photo courtesy of: Mashable) “”Super Mario Bros. Wonder” is an imaginative twist on the Mario games.”

Aaron Preziosi
Connector Contributor

“Super Mario Bros. Wonder” is Nintendo’s latest entry in the Mario Bros. series, and by far the most audio-visually impressive. Players find themselves in the all-new Flower Kingdom, whose colorful landscapes and fun, engaging obstacle courses are threatened by Bowser, the returning series villain. The adventure is accompanied by a stunning score featuring longtime series composer Koji Kondo. Players can choose from Mario, Luigi, Peach, as well as a blue or yellow Toad while running, jumping, and exploring through eight uniquely themed worlds, either alone or with up to three friends. Players looking for a more casual experience or struggling with a difficult level may opt to choose one of characters immune to hazards, like one of the many colors of Yoshi who are able to gobble up enemies and spit them back out as projectiles, or Nabbit, a masked thief returning from “New Super Mario Bros. U” who is able to turn power-ups into Flower Coins, one of the game’s many collectibles, for use at shops.

The titular gimmick of the game is the Wonder Flower. One of these magical flowers is in every level, usually hidden. Grabbing it will result in the level changing in bizarre, unique ways. Some of the effects players can expect include the level changing and moving in real time, gigantic enemies appearing, hordes of regular enemies appearing, spawning loads of power-ups, or even transforming the player’s selected character into something else, like a slime, spike ball, or even a lowly Goomba. Making it to the end of one of these wacky events will reward the player with a highly coveted Wonder Seed, as does making it to the end of a level. Acquiring these seeds are “Super Mario Bros. Wonder”’s main source of progression, as doing so allows players to unlock new levels, getting closer to reaching and subsequently defeating Bowser.

“Wonder” also debuts an all-new system, the Badge system, to the Mario Bros. series, taking inspiration from some of Nintendo’s other games. As players progress through Wonder’s levels, they will obtain Badges that provide varying degrees of gameplay-altering effects. Some badges bestow passive effects such as giving the player a Super Mushroom automatically upon beginning a level; adding extra blocks to levels that serve to block hazards, extend platforms, or provide access to otherwise inaccessible places; turning all the power-ups the player collects into a single type; or alerting the player when important collectibles are nearby. Other badges bestow new actions upon the player that enhance their character’s mobility, such as a parachute, grappling vine, or a mid-air double jump.

Additionally, while players can experience “Wonder” solo, they are also able to romp through its colorful worlds with up to three friends. This can be done locally, but for the first time in series history, players are able to team up online and are able to assist each other with power ups and extra lives.

All in all, “Super Mario Bros. Wonder” is a refreshing new take on Nintendo’s flagship series and is sure to entice new players while also keeping things familiar enough for the returning crowd. It is more accessible than ever before to play Super Mario Bros. thanks to Badges, character choice, and progression requirements. Fit for longtime fans or players looking for platforming fun, “Super Mario Bros. Wonder” is an option for all with $60 to spare.

Grade: A

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