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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Mario Wonder uses wackiness to its advantage

Mario, Luigi and friends playfully pose in the title art for Super Mario Bros. Wonder game. The Nintendo Switch game includes new character powers while maintaining past game elements. (Courtesy of YouTube)

Nintendo’s newest game from the Super Mario Bros. franchise introduces several unique mechanics and challenges with some goofy additions. 

The levels of Super Mario Bros. Wonder are designed with 2D as the main theme but also have 3D free roam when moving to different levels in the hub world. 

The story of the game involves the central antagonists of the series, Bowser and his son Bowser Jr., stealing Prince Florian’s castle and a Wonder Flower, using both to transform Bowser into Castle Bowser, a literal flying castle fused with his own soul. 

Players must progress through the game levels, collect as many Wonder Seeds as possible to unlock more levels and face off against Castle Bowser. Throughout the story, each player can choose which character they want to be like Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Princess Daisy, Toad, Toadette, Yoshi or Nabbit. 

Multiplayer is also available from the beginning of the game. When playing together online, players can complete each level as a team of four, and when one member of the team dies, they can resurrect on their teammate’s checkpoint. 

Regular levels each have two Wonder Seeds: One can be earned by reaching the end-goal of a level like normal; however, the other seed is usually hidden somewhere in that level and can be harder to find depending on a level’s difficulty. 

Merely finding the second Wonder Seed is only half of the battle, as players must then complete a challenge in order to obtain the seed. These challenges can completely rewrite the rules of the levels and mix in a bit of wackiness. 

From dancing piranha plants and singing warp pipes to slowing down or speeding up time, no challenge is entirely the same, and each one is just as crazy as the last. Of course, each world has their own unique enemies which can also have their behavior affected by the Wonder Seeds, hence the dancing piranha plants. 

To help with completing each level, players can equip special badges in the loading menu that yield special abilities and perks. The Parachute badge, for example, grants the ability to glide across short distances and treacherous terrain while the Auto Super Mushroom automatically grants a Super Mushroom power-up at the start of each level. 

More of these badges can be obtained through badge challenges or by purchasing them from shopkeepers scattered throughout each map. 

Along with new abilities comes three, brand new power-ups as well. 

The first one, the Elephant power-up, changes the user’s appearance into that of an elephant and grants them a trunk that can defeat enemies and store pockets of water. 

The second power-up, Bubble, allows you to blow bubbles that can defeat enemies, extinguish flames and serve as one-time use platforms. 

The third and final new power-up, Drill, grants the user a drill hat and the ability to dive underground and pop up again beneath enemies or breakable objects. 

There are still some familiar power-ups from previous games like the Fire Flower, the Super Mushroom and the Star power, which now has the added effect of drawing in coins along with invincibility. 

The game displays new and interesting mechanics that offer an unexpected way of progressing through each level with some testing a player’s skills with the controller. Nonetheless, it still provides a joyful, classic experience with its talking flowers and friendly atmosphere that could make any player chuckle.

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