Nintendo’s approach to multiplayer integration has often been marked by unpredictability. Online servers that fluctuate in stability and co-op experiences tailored for younger players can sometimes leave players wanting more. Fortunately, Super Mario Bros. Wonder is here to change the game. This new 2D adventure brings a refreshing take on multiplayer, potentially positioning it as one of the best Nintendo multiplayer experiences available on the Switch, alongside popular titles like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe or Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
In Super Mario Bros. Wonder, players can effortlessly transition to online multiplayer mode by a simple press of a button from the main menu. This action ushers in a multitude of engaging multiplayer features. One notable feature is traditional online multiplayer, allowing players to invite friends to join them in cooperative exploration of both the overworld and levels. Similar to the New Super Mario Bros. series, this mode supports up to four players, leading to uproarious and thrilling cooperative gameplay.
However, the crown jewel of Super Mario Bros. Wonder’s multiplayer experience is the competitive mode, turning friends into rivals. Prior to commencing a level, players can activate a race to the finish line by hitting a block at the beginning of the stage. This competitive mode is seamlessly integrated and adds immense replay value to the game, extending the excitement beyond the roughly 25 hours required for item collection. It empowers players to showcase their platforming skills in a manner previously reserved for speedrunners, converting casual levels into intense racecourses. It’s the multiplayer mode that the Mario series has been missing.
While the friends-only modes offer a solid experience, it’s the broader online features that truly shine. Venturing into Wonder’s online world populates both the overworld and levels with live ghost data from other players currently in the game. This seemingly small feature substantially enhances the liveliness of the game. Moreover, these ghosts serve a purpose; they can drop items and even revive other players.
What makes this system truly remarkable is its similarity to the mechanics seen in games like Dark Souls and Death Stranding. In these titles, players have the ability to leave helpful notes or markers for others to find. Super Mario Bros. Wonder adopts a similar concept with “standees.” By crouching and pressing a button, players can drop a cardboard cutout within a level. Although standees primarily serve as a means to revive fallen players, they have an even more valuable role. Standees can be employed to signal secret locations to other players.
For instance, consider Robbird Cave, which starts with a challenging Flower Coin that is visible but seemingly unreachable from the outset. Collecting it requires players to equip the Dolphin Kick badge and boost down into a nearby red pipe that emits an upward current. This pipe doesn’t appear to be one that you can traverse, making it a well-hidden secret. Once I cracked the code, I left a Daisy standee in close proximity, signifying to other online players that they can access the pipe. Although seemingly small in scope, no other Mario game, except for Super Mario Maker, has offered such a level of player communication. It imparts a sense of community, making the solo gaming experience less isolating.
If you’re currently immersed in Super Mario Bros. Wonder, it’s a must to delve into the online multiplayer mode, particularly if you’re in the post-game collection phase. Not only does it provide a compelling reason to continue playing, but it also connects you with a dynamic community of fellow players. You’ll soon discover that every opportunity to explore these unprecedented Nintendo multiplayer experiences is worth seizing.