After its rather trippy announcement earlier this summer, the Super Mario Bros. Wonder direct has revealed an awful lot more gameplay for the new 2D Mario platformer, coming out on 20th October 2023.
Super Mario Bros. Wonder takes Mario and friends over to the Flower Kingdom, having been invited by the adorable little Prince Florian. Naturally Bowser has other plans, tries to grab the Wonder Flower, and… turns into a flying castle?!
Adventuring across the Flower Kingdom, you’ll have to hop, skip and jump your way through six distinct worlds that surround the central Petal Isles – Pipe-Rock Plateau, Fluff-Puff Peaks and Shining Falls were also revealed – for a total of seven regions. Each one looks to have a distinct tone, along the usual ice world, lava world kind of themes, but with a lot of detail packed into the backgrounds, and some new and surprising gameplay mechanics. Between levels, there’s both the traditional sequenced routes through a world, as well as new open areas to the overworld, in which you can freely roam the space and pick courses in different orders.
In courses, and you’ll bump into talking flowers who are strangely chatty – some have hints, coins, others just wonder what Goombas taste like…
Playable characters include:
- Toad (yellow and blue)
- Yoshi (green, red, yellow and light-blue)
All characters have the same core movement in Super Mario Bros. Wonder, but the Yoshi and Nabbit won’t take damage, making them a good choice for less experienced gamers. They can still lose lives if they fall down a pit, though, and Yoshi can flutter jump and eat and spit out enemies and objects.
There’s also new enemies:
- Hoppycats – these will copy the player and jump on the spot if and when you jump
- Melon Piranha Plants – spit seeds upwards
- Condarts – fly at you and try to stick you their beaks
- Konks – falling blocks that can even drop through goo
- Mumsies – these can be unravelled if you position yourself correctly alongside them
- Maw-Maws – huge-mouthed enemies that will each anything
There’s more new enemies besides these, as well as series staples Goombas, Koopa-Troopers, Boos, Lakitus and more.
New power ups are pretty wild in Wonder.
- Elephant (not Yoshi or Nabbit) – Get jumbo-sized and swing your trunk to flip enemies away, easily break blocks and dash across larger gaps. You can store water in your trunk and spray it out.
- Bubble – Blow light floating bubbles that can capture and defeat enemies. Blow in one direction or spin-jump to blow in two. Bubbles can pass through walls, and can be jumped on like platforms.
- Drill – Get a drill hat to be impervious to Spiky an other enemies from above. You can also drill into the ground, burrowing under the ground or ceiling
- Fire – The classic fire flower returns
The Wonder Flower
Find and touch a Wonder Flower in a course and the world will be transformed in a trippy fashion. Pipes can start moving, there can be a stampede of enemies, the world can tilt, you can fall through clouds, there can be a flood of bubbles, you can end up running across the background, and even float up into space.
They can also transform your character, turning Mario into a Goomba, spike-ball, or blow up like a balloon.
The effect is reverted back to normal upon finding and collecting a Wonder Seed – also earned from clearing a level. These can unlock further courses in the world.
A new system of ability badges can be earned and transform how you play.
- Parachute Cap – Press R to open a giant hat and float slowly to ground
- Wall-Climb Jump – Wall-climb upwards with a by jumping at a wall and pressing B to jump again
- Dolphin Kick – When underwater, press R to get a burst of speed (and smash through blocks)
- Timed High Jump – Time consecutive jumps and you’ll jump higher than usual. You can also jump high on sand
- Crouching High Jump – Charge up for an extra high jump
- Floating High Jump – Jump higher than usual and momentarily float
- Grappling Vine – Shoot vines in mid-air and stick to walls
- Safety Bounce – Recover from harmful drops with an automatic bounce
- Sensor – Find important items and secrets with a visual indicator
- Coin Magnet – Draw in nearby coins automatically
- Invisibility – Turn invisible to enemies…. and yourself!
- Jet Run – Always dash, and run in the air for a bit.
You can only apply one badge at a time, equipped from the world map, when starting a course, or when re-starting after losing a life. Badges can be earned by completing badge challenges, and others bought from Poplin shops.
Four Player Co-op and online shadows
There’s four player local co-op built into the game. As in previous games, any fallen buddies will then float around as a ghost with a few seconds to catch and revive them.
Players can ride on the backs of other players that are Yoshi… even if they are themselves Yoshi, or an elephant…
There’s also online connectivity that will show other players as live shadows as you run around. Like in local co-op, they can revive you by running into your ghost, or by placing Standees that can do the job as well. You’ll earn heart points for helping other players, and can gift items, try to reach the goal post together and more to do the same. you can also create a lobby with your friends to play as ghosts together. You’re not really playing together (outside of the friend races, but kind of are at the same time.