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Walking in a Mario Wonderland

Get your Nintendo friend a brand new game this Christmas season
Mario Wonder Cover

On Oct. 20, 2023, the newest addition to the Mario franchise came to the Nintendo Switch.  Super Mario Bros. Wonder costs $59.99 and is designed for one to four players.

This is the first platformer Mario game since 2019’s release of Mario Bros. U Deluxe. (2012 if you count the orignial Mario Bros. U) Super Mario Bros. Wonder’s release is a welcome one. Mario Wonder has already won Best Family game at this year’s Game Awards.


Mario Wonder is a return to the classic Mario formula but with plenty of twists. Most of the game follows the run-and-jump gameplay style, but the game’s titular mechanic ‘Wonder Flowers’ could be anything but ordinary to Mario games. Mario isn’t even trying to save a princess in this game; He is trying to protect the Flower Kingdom from the clutches of a transformed Bowser.

This is the most diverse Mario cast of any platforming Mario game. You can play as Mario, Luigi, Peach, Daisy, Blue or Yellow Toad, many colors of Yoshi and the returning Nabbit. The standard 6 characters (Mario-Toads) play as you would expect, with running to the goal, jumping on enemies and plenty of power-ups along the way.

The Yoshis and Nabbit are completely different. They do not change when they pick up power-ups and they do not die when they take damage, they are just stunned and pushed back a little. Each color of Yoshi also has an additional power, and all of them can eat enemies.  

In every level, you are awarded one Wonder Seed for completing the course. These Seeds are used to unlock new courses, new worlds and additional boss levels. In every regular story level, there is at least one additional Wonder Flower in the middle of the level to collect, these Seeds change the game completely.

Collecting Wonder Flower can have a variety of wild effects: Pipes can start moving like worms, Piranha Plants can start singing or Mario can transform into a goomba or even a platform. You must move through the Wonder Flower scenario and find a wonder seed; collecting this seed will end the Wonder Flower experience and the level will continue as normal.

The next mechanic that changes up this game is the Badge System. Before every level, you can equip a badge from a long list of collectible badges to gain a minor effect. The badges can have minor effects like a higher jump or major effects like replacing all power-ups in the level with a specific power-up, like the brand new Drill Mushroom or Bubble Flower.

The new power-ups are some of Mario’s most unique. The first new power-up is the Elephant Fruit, which transforms your character completely. You now become a large elephant that can flip enemies, store and spray water and even dash across extra-wide gaps on the ground. The water can be used to water certain plants and they will bloom and give you a few extra coins. The drill flower gives you various submerging powers and the bubble flower lets you turn enemies into bubbles, which you can jump on for a height boost.

Elephant Mario gazes up at a Wonder Flower (Nintendo)


This game is one of the best released this year. The varied cast allows you to play with children of any age, as they don’t have to worry about dying or changing with complex power-ups. 

Wonder Seeds and more importantly, Wonder Flowers, are my favorite mechanic in a Mario game in the last decade. You get a nice break from running and jumping and get to play as a Goomba or a cloud or anything else the Nintendo team decided to throw in. Wonder Flowers make every level so unique and as you get later in the game, this is just pushed to the extreme.

This level’s Wonder Flower trip on top of Buffalos eventually destroys the goal post.

The power-ups have been my favorite in recent years. There is something about playing as Elephant Mario, slinging goombas and watering plants to get coins that is just so satisfying. The bubble flower is not my cup of tea, but comes highly recommended from the friends that I play with. The drill flower is super fun for submerging under enemies and popping up later in the level.

The badge system is great and really changes up the feel of this whole Mario game. My favorite badge is the wall jump because it doesn’t make the game too easy, but it’s a nice last chance to save yourself before plummeting off the map. The other, more impactful badges are fun for a level or two, especially the Dolphin Kick, which finally makes water levels playable, or the Grappling Vine, which gives Mario his very own grappling hook.

All of these elements make Mario Wonder a welcome addition to the Mario franchise game. Its run-and-jump gameplay interrupted by Wonder Flower experiences and brand new power-ups makes this one of my favorite Mario games ever, and a great gift for any Nintendo fans this holiday season.

The game can be purchased online at the Nintendo Store, or at in-person retailers like Target, Gamestop or Wal-Mart


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About the Contributor
Luke Roberson
Luke Roberson, Copy Editor & Howler Staff Writer
Hi! My name is Luke Roberson and I'm a senior.  I was born in Texas just outside of Dallas. I moved here in third grade. I really like punk rock and scaw. I like to watch the NFL, my favorite team is the Dallas Cowboys. I play a lot of board games and I do a lot of writing. I like fantasy books, lord of the Rings, I've been in the newspaper for 3 years and I really enjoy it. I'm happy to be able to join the Howler for my final year!  

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