November 28, 2023

Super Mario Bros. Wonder: A Remarkable Reinvention | A Tamatem Review

The Super Mario Bros. series, a cornerstone of the gaming industry for nearly four decades, has continuously reinvented itself to remain at the forefront of platforming games. Super Mario Bros. Wonder marks the next step in this evolution, seamlessly blending classic gameplay with the most creative 2D Mario experience in almost three decades.

Simply traversing through a stage is an exhilarating experience in itself. Mario and his diverse cast of characters have never felt, looked, or sounded better. The upbeat, catchy soundtrack perfectly complements the superb gameplay, and the expressive new art style accentuates the most important elements of the characters and world.

The level design in Super Mario Bros. Wonder is consistently impressive, with each course introducing a new, inventive gimmick. Whether it’s bouncing off hippo-like creatures to reach new areas or navigating lava-filled passages using circular rocks, the perfectly designed on-ramps allow for a seamless learning curve. The anticipation of how these stage gimmicks will evolve keeps players eagerly engaged throughout the adventure.

The new power-ups, such as the Elephant Fruit, Drill Mushroom, and Bubble Flower, offer fun and practical ways to explore each stage. However, the Badge system takes character enhancement to another level. The Parachute Cap, which enables gliding, and the Sensor, which reveals nearby secrets, were helpful, but the Crouching High Jump proved to be the most versatile and rewarding.

The game’s namesake Wonder Effects are the true stars of the show. These level-transforming warps constantly kept me guessing what would happen next. Each Wonder Effect was a delightful surprise, whether it was transforming Mario into a Bowser minion, launching him into an outer space obstacle course, or turning the entire stage into a musical extravaganza. Nintendo masterfully utilised these effects to introduce entirely new gameplay mechanics, such as top-down sequences, slow-motion action, and entertaining chase sequences. The sheer unpredictability of the Wonder Effects not only elevated the level design but also injected freshness into the less creative boss battles.

While there are only a few true boss fights in Super Mario Bros. Wonder, they make effective use of Wonder Effects to provide new twists. However, beyond these effects, which include terrain alterations, enemy cloning, and more, most battles involve the same character with the same move set. While the Wonder Effects do a commendable job of diversifying these encounters, I couldn’t help but wish for more variety in the boss battles themselves. Thankfully, the final boss battle is an exception, delivering an unforgettable experience thanks to its creative and unreserved use of Wonder Effects.

Although I primarily played Super Mario Bros. Wonder solo, the limited multiplayer offering proved to be a fun addition. While the lack of online cooperative play was disappointing, local multiplayer with friends was a blast, with reduced chaos compared to previous games due to the inability for characters to interact directly (aside from riding on Yoshi).

The online multiplayer option allows players to form a lobby where they appear as ghosts in separate instances, with the ability to revive each other. However, this limited interaction detracts from what makes Super Mario Bros. Wonder truly special. The most enjoyable moments in the game came from leisurely exploration, uncovering secrets, and savouring the Wonder Effects, rather than rushing through the stages.

Super Mario Bros. Wonder delivers a delightful surprise from the moment you start playing. While the core gameplay remains familiar, Nintendo’s ability to uniquely iterate on the established formula kept me engaged throughout the entire journey, culminating in a memorable final battle. Despite my familiarity with the 2D Mario series, Super Mario Bros. Wonder consistently surprised me, demonstrating that the iconic franchise still has plenty of surprises in store.

About us:

Tamatem Games is committed to helping the Arabic mobile gaming market reach its full potential. By localising popular mobile games, publishing original Arabic mobile games, supporting eSports, and investing in Arabic mobile game development, Tamatem Games is playing a key role in shaping the future of Arabic mobile gaming. Our most popular games include Fashion Queen, VIP Baloot and Battle of Kings. In addition, card players from across the MENA region have been enjoying our in-depth card game, VIP Jalsat.

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