Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Super Mario Bros. Wonder Revealed at Nintendo Direct, Features New Elephant Power-Up

Nintendo just revealed its next major Super Mario game at its Direct showcase event, held late Wednesday. Dubbed Super Mario Bros. Wonder, it’s a 2D side-scrolling game that brings a slew of new mechanics to the beloved platformer, such as a new power-up that turns the titular Italian plumber into an elephant. It marks the first brand new side-scrolling Mario game from Nintendo in 10 years and comes with local multiplayer and lots of trippy effects that change the world around you. Super Mario Bros. Wonder releases October 20, exclusively on the Nintendo Switch.

The gameplay trailer for Super Mario Bros. Wonder begins quite normally — as one has come to expect from side-scrolling Mario games, over the years, albeit with high-definition visuals that almost resemble 2.5D textures. You’ve got your standard secret items, coins, green pipes, and snoozing Goombas to stomp upon, as you head towards the next level. Talking flowers in the background are a new addition, often encouraging you on your journey and pointing out interesting items in the world to interact with. At points, you will encounter Wonder Flowers, which upon interaction, completely change the look of your world — in an almost trippy animation that causes pipes to come alive, Mario to get cartoonishly taller, and hordes of weird enemies. At one point in the trailer, you can see him running atop a herd of sheep, which feels super out of place with the surroundings.

It appears as though the goal of Super Mario Bros. Wonder is to collect Wonder Seeds — a selected number of which are scattered around its different maps with varying difficulty levels. However, the game does not limit you to Mario and lets you play as other characters from the franchise such as Princess Peach, Princess Daisy, Luigi, and Toad, all with unique animations. Support for local multiplayer is also present, with Mario at one point, riding atop Yoshi to float across levels. A lot of the gameplay still revolves around the basics — hopping across platforms, grinding on rails, and swimming up waterfalls. At the end of the trailer, we get to see Mario’s new power-up, whereupon consumption of an odd-looking fruit, he grows in size and turns into an elephant. Most of his abilities are kept secret for now, though we know he can kick off serene Goombas with ease. No button presses are required — simply walk up to them, and the contact will be enough to do it.

Nintendo has had a tremendous year, starting with a theme park, followed by the success of The Super Mario Bros. Movie, which crossed the billion-dollar mark in less than a month since its release in April. Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto was heavily involved in both projects. Furthermore, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom opened to rave reviews, despite the entire game leaking two weeks early that allowed PC gamers to play it in advance via an emulator.

Super Mario Bros. Wonder is out October 20 on the Nintendo Switch. Pre-orders are now live on the Nintendo eShop.

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