Mario Wonder Elephant Yoshi
Nintendo just held its big Super Mario Bros. Wonder Direct, packed with plenty of details on the latest and seemingly greatest 2D Mario platformer. In just 15 minutes, Nintendo managed to completely differentiate Wonder from just about every other 2D Mario game that came before it, with so much new stuff to explore that we’re going to have trouble fitting it all into one article.
With that said, we’ve picked out six major things we learned in the Super Mario Bros. Wonder Direct, and have outlined them all below.
Super Mario Bros. Wonder: Playable Characters
We already knew that the usual crew of Mario characters would be playable in Super Mario Bros. Wonder, but now we have a complete list of all playable characters — though we wouldn’t put it past Nintendo to sneak an extra character into the game without us knowing.
The main new information here is that Yoshi and Nabbit will both be playable, but will essentially be easy mode characters. Neither of them will be able to take damage, but falling into a pit will still cause the player to lose a life. Players can ride on Yoshi characters, even if they’re playing as Yoshi themselves, and Yoshi will also have his signature flutter jump ability to make things a little bit easier.
Here are all the playable characters in Super Mario Bros. Wonder:
Super Mario Bros. Wonder: New Power Ups
Super Mario Bros. Wonder includes the classic Fire Flower, which isn’t a surprise – it’s a mainstay of 2D Mario – but it does also include three new power ups. The first one, Elephant Form, we saw in the previous announcement trailer, but we now know that it’ll let players hit stuff with their trunks, break through blocks just by running into them, and suck up and spray water to put out fires and water flowers.
Two newly announced power ups were shown off two: Bubble Form and Drill Form. Bubble Form lets you throw bubbles, which can be used to capture and defeat enemies by placing them in a bubble. Bubbles can go through walls, and seem to stay in place after traveling for a short while, but you’ll also be able to jump on them to gain some extra height, something we’re sure speedrunners will take full advantage of.
Drill Form on the other hand adds a whole new bag of tricks to the gang’s repertoire, letting players drill down through breakable blocks, and burrow into the ground or the ceiling. Burrowing lets you avoid enemies and travel to areas you wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise, making it a very versatile movement ability. It can also be used to kill enemies both above and below you, making it an excellent all-rounder.
Super Mario Bros. Wonder: Wonder Flowers
Wonder Flowers are the main gimmick in Super Mario Bros. Wonder, and touching one will completely transform the level. We saw a big variance in what these Wonder transformations do, from animating pipes and other terrain, to changing the level to a space, to even transforming the player themself. We saw transformations that included turning into a Goomba, a spike ball, and a balloon, so it really seems like just about anything can happen — including changing the entire perspective of a level.
If you want the Wonder effect to end, all you have to do is collect a Wonder Seed. Wonder Seeds are also earned at the end of levels, and can be used to unlock new courses to play, so it’s worth collecting as many as you can.
Super Mario Bros. Wonder: Badges
Badges are an all-new mechanic for 2D Mario, and they aim to change the way you play the game. In each level, you can pick one badge to use, and that badge will give an ability of some kind that can drastically alter how you approach things.
For example, you could slow your fall with a parachute cap badge, or increase your wall jumping capabilities with a wall climbing badge. We also saw badges that help you swim faster underwater, get a high jump from crouching like in Super Mario Bros. 2, or even grapple to walls and ledges using a vine. You’ll be able to earn badges from challenge courses spread throughout the map, or from Poplin shops that appear on the world map.
Super Mario Bros. Wonder: Multiplayer
As you’d expect with a 2D Mario game, you can play with up to four players in local couch co-op, each of whom can play as any of the characters, including Yoshis and Nabbit. It looks pretty similar to past games, except when you die, you’ll turn into a ghost and float around for a few seconds. If another player touches you while you’re a ghost, you’ll come back to life, and your team won’t lose a life.
There’s also an online multiplayer component, but it’s a little different to the main co-op feature. Instead, you’ll see random players (or friends if you set up a lobby) as transparent ghost players throughout levels. You’ll get bonuses for finishing levels at the same time as other players you encounter, and there are even new game modes through this feature, such as racing through a level or beating a boss fight. It seems like there isn’t an option to directly play online with your friends as if it were local co-op, but it’s close enough.
Super Mario Bros. Wonder: Limited Edition Console
It wouldn’t be a major first-party Nintendo Switch game without some kind of limited edition console, but Nintendo seems to have gone a little bit more subtle with Super Mario Bros. Wonder. The special console for the game is effectively just a red OLED console, with very little marking it was a Mario-themed console. There is a little silhouette of Mario on the back of the console, and a few coins behind the dock’s door, but otherwise it’s just a red console.
The Nintendo Switch – OLED Model Mario Red Edition will be available from October 6, 2023, and won’t include the game, which comes out two weeks later on October 20, 2023.