PETER HOSKIN: Wahoo! Plucky plumber Mario bounces back into action in Super Mario Bros. Wonder
Super Mario Bros. Wonder (Nintendo Switch, £49.99)
Verdict: Flower power.
Seriously, Nintendo, how do you do it? It was amazing enough in the first place that you took an Italian plumber, dropped him into a land full of cartoon weirdos and somehow spun that into one of the most enduring series in all gaming. But now, almost 40 years and countless sequels and spinoffs later, you’re still managing to extend that series with fun — and fresh — new games. How?
The fun and fresh new game I’m referring to is Super Mario Bros. Wonder. In theory, this one should be old hat — it’s a throwback to the original 2D side-scrolling Mario games and the first such title after 11 years filled mostly with innovative 3D efforts.
The psychedelic pastel colours give Mario a makeover that we never realised he needed — until we fell down this particular rabbit hole
And yet: old hat it certainly ain’t. It helps that the action has been relocated from the traditional Mushroom Kingdom to the swirlier, whirlier environs of the Flower Kingdom. The psychedelic pastel colours give Mario a makeover that we never realised he needed — until we fell down this particular rabbit hole.
But, really, it’s the gameplay that truly delights. Alongside the usual new power-ups — including one that turns Mario and his buddies into rotund pachyderms — Wonder ups the multiplayer joys of previous games and, through the new Badges system, enables you to tailor your character and their abilities.
My favourite thing, though? The boundlessly imaginative minigames dotted throughout the Flower Kingdom, as well as the madcap levels-within-levels triggered whenever you encounter a ‘wonder flower’. Within the first hour or two, you’ll have run with glowing bison, raced a caterpillar and bounced across hippos.
And you’ll be left, well, wondering all over again: how do they do it?
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