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The Jaguar Journal

The Jaguar Journal

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Super Mario Bros. Wonder

A Breath of Fresh Air in a Classic Format
All the playable characters in Super Mario Bros. Wonder
  1. That’s how many “Wonder Seeds” Mario and his gang have to collect stretched across over 100 levels. It’s been 12 years since we’ve had a 2D Mario game. Excluding Mario Maker, but that’s not a traditional platform.

Power-ups across Mario games tend to be the same. Super Mario Bros Wii had the propeller hat, and that was later adapted into the tanuki suit for Super Mario 3D Land and its sequel Super Mario 3D World. Or the staple fireflower, which has always stayed the same in every adaptation ever across all the games. Except for the superball variant in the 1989 game. 

Wonder throws 3 new toys into the mix! Yippee Yay! The very first level shows you the new elephant power-up, an ability that, well, makes you an elephant. Your special power is getting 200+ pounds of raw muscle. Later on, the game then introduces the bubble flower. Which is just the fire flower but it goes through walls. You can also use the bubbles to achieve new heights. 

The new focus isn’t on power-ups though. Badges is the new toy to change up gameplay, and there’s 24 to collect. Without going too in depth, some badges will give you a power up at the start, or some will give you new movement abilities. One of my favorites is jet run, turning mario from a peaceful platformer into a twitchy race through the levels. Unfortunately, the joy-con drift (when the controllers start to move in one direction on their own) and the jet run absolutely ruins any fun to be had in a 2D platformer. 

The most interesting game choices for Wonder involve the use of foreground and background assets. Throughout the course of the game, Mario can find hidden pipes that can send him all the way off into the background setpieces of the level. More rewards and secrets can be found here or even the entire level dynamic can be present here. 

A critique of the new game is the platform you play it on, the Switch. A console designed for the quick, pick-up and play style. Because of Wonder’s release on this console, you can feel the core idea in every level you play. What does this mean? The levels are arcade-y and short. Some levels can only be 20 seconds long. There’s no long level in Wonder.

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About the Contributor
Ethan Coleman, Editor
Ethan Coleman Spread Co-Editor One of our very hardworking editors, when he and Vee put their heads together they make incredible pages.
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