Nintendo has done it again. They’ve given us another internet meme with this year’s Nintendo Direct, and fans are eating it up all over the internet. This time around, we got a new Mario game (finally!) in the form of Super Mario Bros. Wonder, but the reveal also came with a not-so-secret post-credits scene that featured Mario turning into an elephant. No, not an elephant suit. An actual elephant form with distinct Mario features like his moustache, cap, plumber overalls and unmistakable blue eyes!
Historically, Mario games have always had some animal-themed suit power-ups. We’ve seen a frog suit, raccoons, penguins, and even the kitty cat pyjama suit (cat mario) that was featured in the recent Super Mario Bros. Movie. In the new Super Mario Bros. Wonder game though, they are taking a completely new design direction that might just breathe some new life into the world of 2D Mario games. Witnessing Mario consume the Elephant fruit at the end of that trailer instantly garnered attention from every corner of the internet, and people have shared some hilarious takes on this chonky fella on social media.
The last time we got a 2D Mario game this exciting was on the eve of Super Mario Maker 2, which was in 2019. Some would even argue that 2006’s New Super Mario Bros. was the only special 2D Mario game of the past few decades. Thankfully, Nintendo was creative enough to design this game in a way that completely separates it from what’s possible in Super Mario Maker 2.
Super Mario Bros. Wonder is taking things to a new level with the amount of personality shown in Mario’s animations. It’s not just a generic 3D Mario running around in familiar levels. This time around, he’s expressive. Little details like his feet while running in a sonic-like style, a comic-style panel that appears when he uses a power-up and his facial expressions make this game feel like a carefully crafted experience. In the gameplay department, there’s more than enough shown in this trailer that is worth digging into. Traversal seems grander than ever with new enemy variations to tackle. The scale is also huge, so the replay value will be timeless.
While the game features familiar game mechanics from previous releases, there are a few new consumable power-ups – like the Wonder Flower that unleashes the whimsy of the game’s world by bringing things like blocks and pipes to life. Then there’s also that new form that turns the plumber into a giant elephant man (which is showcased at the end of the trailer).
Wonder follows the adventures of Mario, Luigi, Toad, Princess Peach, Princess Daisy and Yoshi as playable characters — meaning we’ll likely see them as elephant characters too. Either way, taking on hordes of enemies as a giant elephant character is going to be interesting. “Pipes could come alive, hordes of enemies may appear, characters might change their looks for example – transforming the gameplay in unpredictable ways,” Nintendo said in the Super Mario Bros. Wonder press release. “Excitement and different surprises await in each course,” Nintendo continued. “
The Nintendo Switch is ramping up its investment in the Mario franchise with a few new titles coming along with this one in the coming year. An untitled Princess Peach game was teased, and while we couldn’t get a lot of details, it looks like she’s taking centre stage for something huge. Her role in the recent Super Mario Bros. movie was simply amazing. She was one of the highlights of the experience, and it was nice to see Peach break away from the “damsel in distress” stereotype for a bit.
Other games revealed this year were a few new DLCs for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Mario + Rabbids: Spark of Hope. We are also getting a remake of Super Mario RPG from the SNES. For Luigi fans, he’s shown some love in this year’s Nintendo Direct presentation with a remake / remaster of Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, the 3DS game. It’s safe to say that Mario fans are in for a fantastic run in the near future.
We can’t wait to try Mario’s newest power-up.
What are your thoughts on the Elephant Mario from Super Mario Bros. Wonder?