Super Mario Bros. Wonder is out and enthralling the Nintendo community. The brand took a relatively big swing with this one, providing gamers with what was attempting to be one of the most unique Mario games in the almost 40-year catalog. Thus far, it’s proving to be great for Nintendo.
After the dull Super Mario Bros. U and its less-than-inspiring Deluxe rerelease for the Nintendo Switch, the Mario side-scrolling genre was not exactly thriving. While the 3D games were thriving with Super Mario Odyssey and the remasters of 64, Galaxy, and Sunshine, the 2D side-scrollers (once the only thing the Mario brand was known for) were not.
That forced Nintendo to try something creative. They hadn’t even tried a new side-scroller in four years, and they were back trying to announce something that looked rather trippy and chaotic. From too dull to too exciting seemed to be the path the gaming titan was taking with this.
Giving Mario colorful backdrops and chaotic levels was a big swing. There’s a tried and true formula with these games. As bland as U was, it was still pretty successful. People still played it, so Nintendo didn’t need to take any major risks, but they did.
It worked wonderfully. Super Mario Bros. Wonder has been out for three days, and it is receiving rave reviews and taking the gaming world by storm. It’s not likely to compete with some of its counterparts in the awards scene, but its 93 and 9.1 on MetaCritic are some of the best ratings all year.
The idea that the game would be chaotic and trippy has held true. It is chaotic, and it makes for an absolutely joyous time. The levels are intensely creative, and there’s plenty of fun to be had even if you’re just sitting down for a brief playthrough. It is trippy, especially when trying to capture the wonder seed from each level. That makes it so much more fun.
Nintendo can largely do what they want and it will still be successful. At this point, they’re almost too big to fail. They could have made a boring, terrible Mario game and it would still get played and they would survive any financial distress it could have caused.
Instead, they did not rest on their laurels. They tried to infuse the brand with a creativity that hadn’t been there for a long time. Instead of banking on the Mario character being good enough to get sales, they made a game clever enough to attract a massive audience.
A lot of Nintendo players were understandably looking for more 3D games. An Odyssey sequel has been teased, and everyone wants that. Not many were thinking to themselves that they’d like to see what Nintendo has for them following U. That was an oversight, and Nintendo’s creative choice and risk-taking approach has proven that. Super Mario Bros. Wonder is legitimately one of the best Mario games in a while.