Retro Gamer

Super Mario Bros Wonder

A WONDER BY NAME, A WONDER BY NATURE

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>> This month two platformin­g superstars return in brand-new adventures, we sneak our way through the latest Metal Gear Solid collection and discover if the Super Pocket is worth shelling out for

For all the spectacle and creativity found in Mario’s latest adventure, it starts off in rather convention­al fashion. Mario and his friends are visiting Prince Florian in the neighbouri­ng Flower Kingdom. When the prince shows off the castle’s Wonder Flower, it’s stolen by Bowser who uses its powers for his own nefarious means. Needless to say, Mario and his mates set off on a quest to retrieve the precious artefact.

One of the delights of the 3D Mario games is that you never quite knew what to expect when navigating a new stage. Sure, you’re introduced to new base mechanics, but they were simple building blocks that would lay the groundwork for a dazzling array of ingenuity while you explored. The same thing happens with Super Mario Bros Wonder and it’s largely due to the Wonder Seeds that the plucky plumber must recover.

Find the Wonder Seed that’s hidden within the stage and it will significan­tly transform the stage’s structure, presenting Mario with new forms to experiment with as well as a host of wacky challenges. One level might see you riding on the backs of stampeding Bulrushes as they rampage across the stage, the next has you smashing through walls in a new spiky form. The sheer variety of these level transforma­tions are breathtaki­ng and it’s a credit to the developers that they always find new ways to impress you.

The Wonder Seeds aren’t the only new mechanics at play.

We’ll address the elephant in the room by saying that Mario’s new pachyderm form is more than just a one-note gimmick. The ability to spray water on flowers, swat enemies with your trunk and

destroy certain items will change how you approach each level, while Mario’s new weighty form means his movement needs to be considered as well. Even the music changes when you switch forms, with the light breezy tunes getting bolstered by weightier lower notes.

In addition to his new elephant form, Mario can also encapsulat­e enemies in bubbles and use said bubbles as a temporary platform. He can also use his Drill ability to tunnel rapidly beneath a level’s surface, potentiall­y opening up new routes or performing surprise attacks on vulnerable enemies.

Super Mario Bros Wonder also introduces Badges which bestow a number of different skills to Mario and his friends to help them navigate each stage. Dolphin

Kick enhances your swimming abilities, Safety Bounce offers a one-time save if you fall into lava or something equally life-ending, while the Wall-climb Kick is handy for reaching out-of-the-way areas.

Other Badges either reward you with more coins, let you start each level with a Super Mushroom and even offer hints to hidden items. You can only equip one at a time, which means you have plenty of reasons to revisit each stage.

And you’ll want to return to each level because they’re so fun to explore. As well as containing a set number of Wonder Seeds, each stage also has three 10-point Flower Coins to find. These new coins are the game’s currency, allowing you to buy Badges and Wonder Seeds from the many shops found in the Flower Kingdom.

They’re also a requiremen­t of the world’s residents, known as Poplins. Give these cute tykes a certain amount of Flower Coins and they’ll clear annoying obstacles out of the way so that your epic journey can continue.

And there’s a lot to take in as you travel throughout the Flower Kingdom. There’s a surprising amount of choice in the way you tackle each world, but there’s also lots of additional smaller stages that will reward you with a Wonder Seed upon completion. Break Time! stages are breezy little areas that can be completed incredibly quickly, while Search Party levels require you to comb an area for the five hidden tokens that will reward you with a Wonder Seed. KO Arenas require you to tackle enemy-filled areas with a power-up of your choice, while Badge Challenges will earn you a Wonder Seed if you can complete the technicall­y tough challenges they present.

There’s a huge amount to see and do in Super Mario Bros Wonder and there’s plenty to keep you busy once the main campaign is finished as well. Yes, its boss fights are a little simple and yes, we could do without the new talking flower, but these are minor issues. Whether you play on your own or with friends, Super Mario Bros Wonder is an absolute joy to experience and proves that Mario still has plenty of magic left in him.

In a nutshell

Mario’s latest outing is arguably one of his best yet and is filled with a staggering amount of imaginatio­n and ambition. Here’s hoping this reinvigora­tes his future side-on adventures.

>> Score 97%

 ?? ?? » [Switch] A number of stages require you to outrace Wriggler. Careful, he’s faster than he looks.
» [Switch] A number of stages require you to outrace Wriggler. Careful, he’s faster than he looks.
 ?? ?? » [Switch] Inanimate pipes transform into moving walkways once you snag yourself a Wonder Seed.
» [Switch] Inanimate pipes transform into moving walkways once you snag yourself a Wonder Seed.
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 ?? ?? » [Switch] Multiplaye­r games can get a little chaotic at times, as well as quite competitiv­e.
» [Switch] Multiplaye­r games can get a little chaotic at times, as well as quite competitiv­e.
 ?? ?? » [Switch] In a neat touch, some levels let you explore the background and foreground planes, so keep an eye out for hidden items.
» [Switch] In a neat touch, some levels let you explore the background and foreground planes, so keep an eye out for hidden items.
 ?? ?? » [Switch] Sadly, the numerous fights you have with Bowser Jr, while fun, aren’t especially difficult.
» [Switch] Sadly, the numerous fights you have with Bowser Jr, while fun, aren’t especially difficult.
 ?? ?? » [Switch] Mario’s new elephant form is genuinely great and more than just a cheap gimmick.
» [Switch] Mario’s new elephant form is genuinely great and more than just a cheap gimmick.

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