Everything We Learned From Today's Super Mario Bros. Wonder Direct
Super Mario Bros. Wonder is right around the corner, but outside of the initial reveal trailer, we didn't know much about Nintendo's latest 2D platformer. However, today's showcase was packed to the brim with gameplay reveals and new details, and now we've got a much clearer picture of what this game will look like. Wonder no longer: here's everything we learned from the Super Mario Bros. Wonder Direct.
The game starts when Prince Florian, ruler of the Flower Kingdom, has his castle stolen by Bowser. After fusing with a Wonder Flower, the king of the Koopas is able to fly over this new land, populating it with his chaotic cronies. As always, it's up to Mario and friends to save the day, but this time around, he's got more buddies than usual. In addition to Luigi, Peach, and a pair of Toads, Toadette and Daisy are also along for the ride. Unlike some past games, each character here plays the same, meaning Peach has no built-in floating ability and Luigi jumps just as high as Mario.
For younger or less-skilled players, you can also play as Yoshi or Nabbit, the latter of which is returning from his debut in New Super Luigi U. Neither of these characters takes damage from enemies, so they're useful for people who want to play the game with less of a challenge. The Yoshis also retain their signature flutter jump and swallowing abilities, and they can even be ridden by other players.
The Flower Kingdom is made up of seven worlds: Pipe Rock Plateau, Fluff Puff Peaks, Shining Falls, The Petal Isles, and three more that have yet to be named. The map is traversed like a standard Mario overworld, locking you to certain paths on your way to a set order of courses, but there are also sections where you can move around freely and tackle courses in any order. There will also be a course menu you can use to easily access courses, in case you don't feel like walking there every time.
Once you enter one of the courses, there are a few new power-ups to make use of. The Elephant power allows you to use your trunk as a weapon, smash bricks more easily, run across large gaps, and store water for later use. We also saw a Bubble power that allows you to summon bubbles for offense or platforming, along with a drill powerup that can damage enemies above you and allow you to burrow into the ground or ceiling.
Other than traditional power-ups, there are other ways to give your characters new abilities. The flashiest examples of this are Wonder Flowers, which trigger dramatic visual and artistic stage transformations. As examples, we saw warp pipes jump to life, hordes of enemies spawning, and characters transforming into balloons or spike balls. Once you collect a Wonder Seed, the stage will return to normal. These seeds can later be used to unlock new courses.
The other new abilities come from badges, which are equipable items that alter your gameplay style. Examples here include a parachute cap, a dolphin kick that gives you a burst of speed underwater, and a grappling vine. You can only equip one at a time, and you'll have to unlock them over the course of the game, but this seems like a subtle way to massively change your gameplay experience.
Finally, the Direct gave us a look at Super Mario Bros. Wonder's multiplayer options. You can play with four players locally, but instead of turning into bubbles when they die like in previous games, they become ghosts. If another player can reach them before their timer runs out, they'll respawn with no life lost. If you enable online play, you'll be able to see other players as shadows, playing courses at the same time as you. They can also bring your ghost back to life, either by manually touching you or by placing a standee in a course. Standees are basically signposts modeled after characters and can be purchased from a Poplin shop.
If you want to play online with friends, some courses will also allow you to race through them. By hitting a race block with shadows in the same course, you can trigger a timer to see who can reach the end first – though this will sometimes require you to defeat a boss or collect a Wonder Seed as well.
That's everything we learned about Super Mario Bros. Wonder, but the Direct didn't end there. We also learned about a Mario-themed OLED Switch, out just a few weeks before the game. Even though this game won't feature Charles Martinet as the voice of Nintendo's iconic plumber anymore, we can't help but be excited to leap into the Flower Kingdom.
What did you think of today's presentation? Let us know in the comments!