Super Mario Bros.! Wonder lives up to its name in the first hour

It may not seem like much, but this feature has the potential to reveal all kinds of secrets throughout the game by leaving certain items and areas out of reach, waiting for badge(s) earned and properly equipped. How do you get badges? In the demo (and likely in the final game as well), these are earned by unlocking special courses hidden within certain levels. Badge levels were played like early minigames, such as Hammer Bros. levels. In Super Mario Bros.! 3, for example.

In case you were wondering, the overall levels are defined via an isometric 3D world map, much like the latest 2D Mario, Kirby and Yoshi games.

Photo: Nintendo Live

character in play

Immediately, the game begins to draw you in with its charm. We laughed out loud no less than three (!) times when we witnessed the meticulous animation of all the characters. Cubas fans who throw their hands jazzy to the beat of the music rejoice in New Super Mario Bros. Ultimate! Yoshi sticks his nose out of a twisted tube to make sure the coast is clear, while Mario and Luigi enter the tubes just before their comic hats hang in the air, only for them to quickly slip out of the tube. and seize them Looney Tunes-style.

In fact, every input on the console brings with it gorgeous animations that thread together like silk, no matter how quickly you hit the buttons. Think less, “This is what Mario looks like when he stops, this is what Mario looks like when he jumps, etc..”; Instead, Wonder uses a broader, more organic range of animation courses. If you’ve ever played games like Rayman Legends or Cuphead and thought, “Dang, I wish Nintendo made a Mario game closer to this,” then you’re definitely on a similar level of art direction.

Super Mario Bros.  Great preview
Image: Nintendo

The phrase “game is mobile” might not sound like much of a selling point when you read it on the page, but seeing it in person is another story. In our demo, we splashed water from fountains at each other, got bombarded with meteorites from Super Stars, and somehow, a whole lot more, despite our limited playtime. Removing both collisions with other players and freeze frames in multiplayer facilitates a much-mocked feature from previous games, making the game even more fluid.

Mario Wonder looks satisfyingly complex

However, if the game’s art direction wasn’t enough to get you started, the most exciting point is this: under the hood, this game looks more modular than any Mario game in a very long time.

What we mean by that is that fluid animation is not only impressive, but it is necessaryDue to the fact that the cast’s ability to move is more technically complex than in many 2D Mario games. Sure, you’ll mainly use “left”, “right”, “up”, “down”, “a” and “b”, and no one will have any problem at all moving from left to right. (Although at least in our demo, the “B” button was designated as the jump button instead of the A button, which might sound confusing if that’s not your preference – we imagine you’ll be able to toggle that, though.) Every featured force, from the well-documented elephant suit, to the digging force on your head that catapults you forcefully into the walls of a level, can be controlled with a much larger nuance than you might initially realize.

The game also returns the plumber’s famous spin jump, which is comparable to gravity to the origins of Super Mario World, versus its new Super Mario Bros. iteration, which looked flat by comparison. There’s also a built-in parachute function to give you instant drag in the air, if you so desire.

Super Mario Bros.  Great preview
Image: Nintendo

Mario’s air move is back too, and is in fact unlockable at almost any point, allowing for even more finesse with your inertia. Even Yoshi, a character with a very specific set of physics that lasts three decades now, feels unexpectedly powerful and fast in Wonder, compared to the typical happy-go-lucky fun in slower-paced Yoshi games.

Why is all this important? For new players, or if you’re just trying to pass on some happy moments, it doesn’t really happen. But for people who like to push their Mario games to their limits, this will probably be one of Nintendo’s most easy-to-play and hard-to-master games in quite some time, and it will make things like Speedrunning more refined and accurate. complicated. (Please, please don’t think we’re saying Super Mario Wonder is a tech game like, say, Super Smash Bros. Melee… but it could be at least a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate-esque?)

Variety is the spice

Super Mario Bros.  Great preview
Photo: Nintendo Live

If you’re at all like us while playing New Super Mario Bros. U of 2012 or its Deluxe Switch counterpart, you’ve probably thought at some point in time, “Wow, Van Gogh, Starry Night is so cool!”

If you find this graphic phase to be the high point of this game, Wonder uses a similar impressionist art style only as a starting point. Unless the rest of the game evolves into the most basic Mushroom Kingdom models for seven additional worlds, Super Mario Bros. Wonder gets off to a great start in just the first hour. It gets us excited to see just how close Nintendo comes to recreating the series’ 2D design to its philosophical North Star: Surprise, surprise, surprise!

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Super Mario Bros. Wonder

(tags for translation) Hands-on

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