Nintendo It had been 11 years without releasing a ‘Super Mario Bros.’ in 2D, from that distant ‘New Super Mario Bros. U’, the fourth installment that closed this latest and lucrative incarnation of the plumber and his fauna outside of 3D environments. It seemed like the last word in Mario’s native genre, and it’s no surprise: the mechanics had barely changed since the founding ‘Super Mario Bros.’ of NES, and it is logical that Nintendo did not want to squeeze more than necessary a game (a concept, almost) adored by generations of fans.
We have had the opportunity to try the surprising (it was announced just a couple of months ago) new Mario adventure for Switch, ‘Super Mario Bros. Wonder’, and although it has only been a demo for a few levels, the sensation is pure 2D Mario : every jump, every platform, every enemy is a blow to the preconceived ideas we have about the franchise. That special feeling of good Mario games, in which at every moment the game can veer towards new tests and challenges, is here. It’s pure classic Mario.
And like a good classic ‘Mario’, it all starts with a map from which to choose scenarios. From there, situations, objects and recognizable enemies: pipes, walks through the clouds, coins, mushrooms… For some time now, each new ‘Super Mario’ is almost a catalog of common ingredients that we already know how they will behave and how they will react to our presence. This time, however, in ‘Wonder’, Nintendo plays more often than usual to disappoint our expectations.
And it does so primarily with the Wonder Flower: we will find one in each level, and they will have different effects (although always the same within each level). Psychedelia and lack of control will invade the levels when you catch them, and we will have pipes that crawl, enemies that acquire a huge size and destroy the entire stage, stampedes that we will have to ride, showers of stars and momentary immunity… Each level of ‘Super Mario Bros. Wonder’ is going to include one of these flowers, ensuring continued surprises.
Everything different so that everything remains the same
This is just the high note of each level, but along the way, Nintendo makes sure there is not a single decision that doesn’t have a surprising effect. And all with the delicious, accessible and intuitive design usual of Mario gamesalmost a canon of how to teach a game without the need for long tutorials or secondary badges: rewards that indicate paths, invitations to experimentation without punishment, natural elements (water, gravity, movement) that have logical behaviors… as always , a master class in video game theory.
Some of that, and also some of Nintendo’s commitment to surprise and light-hearted fun, have the power-ups that the characters can earn. Sometimes they are transformations into animals (we have tasted the almighty elephant), sometimes tools (we have seen the drilling cap, very useful for opening new routes, but also for moving at ground level, in a fun feature that fools around with the idea of open spaces in the most closed space possible), sometimes insignia. These can be equipped one at a time on the character we choose and give a simple but welcome strategic component to the action.
Finally, the multiplayer. We have played a game for four, and although the obvious attraction is very clear (family games, without risks – the Yoshis and other characters, if chosen, are immortal-), we also There is a certain tendency towards chaos that already existed in the ‘New Super Mario Bros..’ and that can end up overwhelming. Of course, now the possibilities have been outlined in this way so that some players cannot mess around. There is no competition on this trip.
And perhaps that is the inevitable drawback that can be put to ‘Super Mario Bros. Wonder’: it is tremendously affordable, it is designed to the millimeter so that anyone can come and play. It’s clear that Nintendo isn’t going to allow its most famous IP to alienate anyone, but perhaps the callous gamer or anyone who wants a challenge on par with an old ‘Super Mario World’ is going to have to look elsewhere. Maybe in the 3D incarnations? This is nothing but fun for the whole family. Of course, unadulterated fun in the slightest.
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