Super Mario Bros. Wonder Preview - Mario is Getting Weird With It

Published: September 3, 2023 10:00 AM /

Previewed By:

Mario in elephant form running to collect coins.

One of the few 10/10 reviewed games on TechRaptor is Super Mario Odyssey, the last mainline Mario game, which released about six years ago (and the last 2D Mario a decade ago). After just a brief time with Super Mario Bros. Wonder, we may be talking about a repeat. 

Super Mario Bros. Wonder’s guiding principle seems to simply be: let’s get weird with it. I know we were all surprised and very amused to see elephant Mario in the reveal trailer, and let me tell you, it is even more amusing to run around as elephant Mario yourself. 

The powerups are weird, from the elephant to the drill cap, the music gets funky, and the whole world turns topsy-turvy with the Wonder Flowers. 

For a larger discussion on my thoughts, I talked with staff writer Austin Suther about our time with Super Mario Bros. Wonder.

Wonder Flowers Make Mario Delightfully Strange

Wonder Flowers trigger some trippy visuals and immediate changes to both the level and the game as you try to find the Wonder Seed. Wonder Seeds are Wonder’s version of something like stars, moons, etc. that you may find in other Mario games. 

Each level features a Wonder Flower that all have dramatically different effects. One you may have seen in the trailer was a pipe suddenly getting all wormy, inching its way along the screen.  

One you did not see has the Wonder Flower forcing you to dig your way down through big crystals and to get away from a giant Konk (something akin to a Thwomp) trying to smash you. The race is to get to the bottom to break out the encased Wonder Seed. 

A giant konk crashing down on the level.

Another you may have seen in the trailer was a stampede of charging bulls racing through the level. They are on a warpath and just so happen to be something you can try to ride on the back of to maybe see something cool. 

Those are three wildly different weird effects in just a handful of levels that I was able to get my hands on. Considering the seemingly endless different abilities that Cappy gave Mario in Odyssey, I can’t wait to see how much weirder Wonder Flowers make Mario

Super Mario Bros. Wonder's Badges Offer More Power Ups

Another new addition to the series are Badges. Before you go into each level, you can choose a badge that will give you a different power up of some kind. One is a giant hat that you can use as a glider, another lets you flutter a-la Luigi is known to do, and there are many more.

Those badges can actually have a big affect on how you approach an area. Something that may not be easily accessible suddenly will be, and while I cannot confirm it, I would bet there’s a secret or two inaccessible until you get a certain badge. 

The replayability of Super Mario Bros. Wonder seems to be at an all time high. Each level obviously has plenty to collect, and they’re bite-sized enough that doing something over again isn’t a huge deal. 

Screen showing the Super Mario Bros Wonder badges upgrades.

Getting back to powerups, elephant Mario can hit enemies with his trunk and store water in his trunk to spray out later. To be honest, I’m still not quite sure what the total utility of elephant Mario is, other than essentially being given a punch button with the trunk. 

There were opportunities to toss water at some flowers on the level, but I’m not quite sure of their effect. Obviously, Nintendo put that functionality in there for a reason, so I’m sure it will do something neat. 

The drill cap does exactly what it says, puts a drill on Mario’s head. With it, your head is protected from things trying to hit it, and you can dig underground to move through the level or reach other areas. You can also jump up and dig into the ceiling. 

Of course, the drill also powers up your ground pound, allowing you to tear through things much faster. This was especially useful in that level described above, trying to escape from the giant Konk.

Super Mario Bros. Wonder Preview | Final Thoughts

All in all, I had an absolute blast playing Super Mario Bros. Wonder. It’s one of those games, which Mario is very good at, where it’s hard not to walk away smiling. No other series is better at distilling fun into its purest form, and Wonder has plenty of it to go around.

I previewed Super Mario Bros. Wonder at Nintendo Live 2023. 

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