Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros Wonder lives up to its title, playing off of the classics, while adding plenty of terrific new content.
October was, to put it mildly, a crowded month for massive game launches. The tidal wave of titles proved to be even more than there usually is, with both legit Game of the Year contenders and just plain ol’ marquee games arriving seemingly every week.
Those releases included the likes of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 and Alan Wake 2, plus Assassin’s Creed Mirage, Forza Motorsport, Lords of the Fallen, and… Super Mario Bros Wonder. But while it was a packed time period, only one of those games could take the crown as our pick of the litter.
As you can see from the above, that winner was the latest adventure to star a certain plumber from Brooklyn, NY. And if you’re a long-time Super Mario fan, Super Mario Bros Wonder was both a game that brought back some heavy memories, and also one that changed the formula to a decent degree.
Sure it’s still “Mario”, but this time around he’s in a totally new place, loaded with new characters and gimmicks. And speaking of, not only does Mario and crew have fresh power-ups to take advantage of, but there are badges that can grant special abilities, and of course those Wonder-ful new course-altering triggers called Wonder Flowers.
Super Mario Bros Wonder
Release date: October 20th, 2023
Sending Mario and the whole Mushroom Kingdom gang into the Flower Kingdom, Super Mario Bros Wonder pits players against Bowser in a series of new ways. For one thing, the big, green Koopa has actually turned himself into a castle in order to to lay waste the landscape.
His forces are bulked up considerably too, with Koopa Troopas begin joined but totally new foes, and some that we haven’t seen in some time. But harkening back to the likes of SMB2 and 3 isn’t all that Wonder does, as the aforementioned Wonder Flowers shake the whole thing up considerably. You’ll need Wonder Seeds to proceed in the game, and the only way to get them is by finding and using them to completely alter courses.
Those alterations can come bring warp pipes to life, cast stages almost completely in silhouette, and even turn Mario into a big, red slime. Sound wild? It is, and it’s also told of fun. On top of all the new stuff, Nintendo also delivered a gorgeous game that stocks a pretty lengthy adventure and some serious challenges (especially in the Special World). If you love Mario, then it’s a game that’ we’d be shocked ‘s as close to a ‘must play’ as you can get.
Silver Game: Marvel’s Spider-Man 2
In any other month, Sony and Insomniac’s Spider-Man sequel would probably have topped our list. This direct sequel to the PS4 original brought Spidey, Miles, and a cadre of foes and allies to the PS5 in as grand a way as possible.
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2
Release date: October 20th, 2023
Not only does the game look and sound absolutely stunning, but developer Insomniac made significant alterations to traversal this time around too. With the ability to travel to (limited sections of) other NYC boroughs, web-slinging just wasn’t gonna cut it, and so the web-heads can now glide massive distances on their webbed wings.
And as it turned out, both heroes needed that and more with the likes of Kraven and a series of other villains hunting them. Adding to the advantages was the appearance of the symbiote fro the end of the original Marvel’s Spider-Man game. Of course, that resulted in the famed black costume, and a bonding that offered Peter Parker some serious power boosts… complete with bad attitude and tendrils.
Speaking of, let’s not forget Venom. While he might be a little divisive given his origin and host in this game’s unique universe, this is one monster symbiote and he looks phenomenal. It might just be the start for him too, which is something to also keep in mind. There’s a rumored spinoff all his own floating around, to be commissioned if enough fans want one.
Bronze Game: NONE
While there were plenty of games that could have places third this past month, none garnered any votes. Mario and Spidey split our internal tallying, with no other titles grabbing any support. That’s not to say that none deserved a nod though.
We mentioned Alan Wake 2 before, and that’s getting all kinds of acclaim, and this writer is personally enjoying Assassin’s Creed Mirage quite a bit. So even if neither of our award-winners grab your attention, there’s still plenty of great stuff out there that’s just been released that just might.