The Blackman Voice

The Blackman Voice

The Blackman Voice

A Review of Super Mario Bros. Wonder


   With each new installment in the Mario series, I am consistently blown away by the creativity produced by Nintendo. To me, opening a brand-new Mario game is like unwrapping a present on Christmas morning. And after months of anticipation, Nintendo finally released their newest 2D Mario game, Super Mario Bros. Wonder. Eager for some fresh Mario content, I had already preordered the game weeks before it dropped in retail stores. As of recently, I completed the game in its entirety, including post-game content. Without a doubt, Super Mario Bros. Wonder is my favorite 2D Mario game since the original Super Mario Bros. Game. I could feel the passion and love that was poured into this game as I played through the levels. Like many Mario fans, I have numerous thoughts and feelings about this new game and the future of Mario. 

   Unlike the “New” Super Mario bros. games, “Wonder” has somewhat of a unique narrative. Instead of Bowser kidnapping Princess Peach, he steals the Wonder Flower and turns into Castle Bowser. Mario and his friends then team up with Prince Florian, ruler of the Flower Kingdom, and set off to stop Bowser. I enjoyed this fresh approach to the standard Mario formula. It made the game feel more like an adventure, immersing me in a brand-new world. Speaking of worlds, I was captivated by the overworld’s design, especially the free-roam areas. It was so cool to be able to pick-and-choose levels that I wanted to play. The game takes obvious inspiration from Super Mario 3D World, awarding the player stars, or in this case “Wonder Seeds,” for completing levels and requiring a certain amount to continue to other areas. As a result, I was given a sense of freedom as I explored the different regions of the map. 

   Within each level, I was astounded with how unique each felt. No two played quite the same, partially thanks to “The Wonder Flower” and its effects. But what stuck out to me the most was the overwhelming number of brand-new enemies. Maw-maws, Bullrushes, and Hoppy Cats are just a few of my favorites. After years of consistent, standard Mario enemies, this was definitely a breath of fresh air for me. And since every enemy behaves differently, I constantly had to adapt to their attack patterns and utilize different power-ups. Additionally, the inclusion of the “Talking Flowers” really spiced up the adventure. With their comedic dialogue, I found myself feeling as if I was playing this game while my friend offered funny commentary. I only wish Nintendo had given this little guy a proper name. 

   However, video games are not all perfect and Super Mario Bros. Wonder is no exception. One of the game’s most glaring issues is its bosses. The game only features a total of four boss fights before the final boss, and every one of those fights is against Bowser Jr. This was a huge disappointment for me and many Mario fans alike. With so much attention to detail put into the level designs, I was expecting the bosses to be just as unique and creative. Unfortunately, the reality is that these fights are mediocre at best. And oddly enough, two of the six worlds do not even feature a boss fight at the end. This makes completing those worlds feel unsatisfying and comes off as a lazy development choice. At least in the “New” Super Mario Bros. Games, there was a consistent flow of unique boss fights at the end of each world. In contrast, the game’s final fight against Bowser was both unique and challenging. I love that they chose to make the fight focus on rhythm-based timed jumps. One of my favorite levels is “Ninji Jump-Party,” which has similar mechanics to the final boss. I also enjoyed the setting of being on “Bowser’s Rage Stage,” with the bright lights and the crowd cheering in the distance. This made the fight feel epic and cinematic; a fitting ending to a fantastic game. With so much creativity put into the final boss fight, it’s a shame that they neglected to make the game’s mini bosses equally as enjoyable. 

   Another issue I had with the game was the post-game content – or lack of it. Upon defeating the final boss, my only option was to revisit worlds to collect any Wonder Seeds and/or purple coins I had missed. Only once I found all of them was I able to unlock “The Final-Final Test: Badge Marathon,” a gauntlet of badge challenges that pushed my platforming skills to their limit. But what was my reward after hours of hunting for missing collectables and completing this tedious final level? I was given a badge that makes silly sounds when I jump. While this badge is hilariously stupid, the game would have significantly benefited from rewarding the player with something that gives them a real incentive to replay levels. I have no reason to keep playing the game now that I have a badge that makes goofy sound effects. Comparing Super Mario Bros. Wonder once again to its predecessors, including a challenge mode upon 100% in-game completion would have greatly boosted this game’s replay value. Or even including achievements, such as a “Beat the game only using the Jet-Run Badge” achievement, would have given me a real reason to continue playing once I finished the main story. It’s a very small change, but it would have given the game so much more to offer. 

   Overall, Nintendo really knocked it out of the park with this game. With its impressive visuals and blooming creativity, Super Mario Bros. Wonder has restored my faith in the 2D Mario series and has me excited for what the future may hold for my favorite Italian plumber.  

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About the Contributor
Jackson Bratko
Jackson Bratko, News Reporter
Jackson Bratko is a senior and this is his first year in journalism. He enjoys working at his job at Chick-fil-a and spending time with his family when he’s not reporting for The Blackman Voice. In his free time, he spends time playing his favorite video games and studying the Bible. “If you try, succeed.” -Zote the Mighty