Super Mario Bros Wonder review: a sensational send-off for Nintendo Switch

Mario Wonder's side-scrolling platform play is a polished testament to Nintendo's expert game-making credentials

T3 Platinum Award
Super Mario Bros Wonder screenshot
(Image credit: Nintendo)
T3 Verdict

Super Mario Bros Wonder feels like winding back the clock, yet also feels fresh, showing that even seemingly 'simple' games can showcase a level of polish beyond many AAA games. Nintendo is the master at this – and you'll no doubt be addicted to the solo and multiplayer side-scrolling action. Wonder is a sensational send-off for the Nintendo Switch, a stone-cold future classic.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Classic side-scrolling play is oodles of fun

  • +

    Difficulty curve mastery progresses perfectly

  • +

    New Badges mechanic adds layers of complexity

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Badges could have been utilised more thoroughly

  • -

    Another world or two would have been welcome

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Nintendo has been in my life for almost as long as I can remember (by virtue of my brother, who owned a SNES back in 1990 – I was the Sega guy, for my sins) and in the near-to-25-years since then Mario has been a staple in my life. Save for a handful of titles, I adore Mario games.

So when Nintendo announced it was to release a new Mario title for SwitchSuper Mario Bros Wonder, which harks back to the side-scrolling old-school style of those decades-old originals – I was stoked to receive a pre-release review copy of the game. Especially as we're in the send-off stages of the Switch's life, with a Switch 2 (or equivalent) expected in 2024.

I didn't realise quite how special this new Mario game would be, though, and as I've been travelling extensively of late it gave me an opportunity to pack my Nintendo Switch OLED and play while on the road. That's something I've not done for some time, because as excited as I'd been about the Switch's Zelda sequel, Tears of the Kingdom, that game was (for me at least) a damp squib. 

Super Mario Bros Wonder on the other hand? It's a sensational send-off for the Nintendo Switch and a future stone-cold classic already. Here's why it's a must-buy for any Nintendo fan.

Mario Wonder: Price & Availability

Super Mario Bros Wonder is a Nintendo Switch exclusive, whether you play on Switch, Switch OLED or Switch Lite, you'll need a Nintendo console to play. It's on sale now, from 20 October 2023, across the globe. 

Nintendo's first-party games rarely get big discounts, and Mario Wonder's £49.99/$59.99/AU$79.95 initial price is likely to stick at or close to that for some time. It's worth the cover price in my view, but if any deals do appear they'll show in the real-time shopping widget embedded above.

Mario Wonder review: Classic side-scroller

Super Mario Bros Wonder was an almost-surprise release, with little lead-up from announcement to release. But you can tell that Nintendo has spent a lot of time polishing this game to perfection. Wonder goes fully classic in its side-scrolling depiction of Mario and co., complete with an isometric overworld through which you can pick (and revisit) levels. It's got an air of the best bits of 90s Mario classics with all the modernity you'd expect from a 2023 Nintendo Switch release. 

Wonder does exactly what its title describes: delivers a feeling of wonder from the very moment you begin in the Flower Kingdom. Only that Bowser is once again wreaking havoc on the inhabitants and, lo and behold, it comes down to Mario to stomp his way through various worlds to put things right. Well, I say Mario, it's actually much broader than that – you can pick from a multitude of characters, from Toad to Yoshi, Princess Peach to Daisy and beyond, some with unique play characteristics.

Super Mario Bros Wonder begins gently, just as you'd expect of any Mario classic, but quickly asserts Nintendo's mastery of the difficulty curve. It's not crazy-difficult, mind, just superbly judged in the way it introduces layers and collectables to the levels, plus a suite of actions (called 'Badges') that you also need to master. You'll certainly need these, especially when you gain access the particularly difficult secret world (which I'll leave unnamed, to not spoil the surprise). 

Mario Wonder review: Badges of honour

Not only can Mario transform into new forms – yes, there's the new elephant power-up (amongst plenty of others), which you'll experience from the initial levels – but those new Badges abilities, only one of which can be active at any given time – add additional complexity. As the Badges accumulate there's a sudden realisation that Wonder delivers a level of depth that's well beyond many Mario titles before it. 

But that's what I really love about Mario games: I can plod through and finish the main story fairly easily; but in Wonder being able to 100-per-cent the game has meant a whole lot of dedication. But it's felt like a pleasure throughout: in the weeks I've been away and playing the game it's been always thrilling to jump in and try to achieve another level completion, or to go back and find, say, that one elusive item.

The Badges are wide-ranging too, and while I won't spoil the fun of exactly what they all do (self-descriptive as many are) there are a lot: Parachute Cap, Wall-Climb Jump, Dolphin Kick, Crouching High Jump, Safety Bounce, Grappling Vine, Auto Super Mushroom, Invisibility, Floating High Jump, and yet more. You can only apply one at a time, including in multiplayer, however, so no combinations are possible. 

There's plenty of new stuff to dig into, too, from buffalos that dash through the world, to time-trail defeat-all-enemies races – all that stuff that brings a smile to your face. Even when messing up and dying, Mario is one of those few games where I can just chuckle and find it entertaining, not want to throw my controller at the wall.


Super Mario Bros Wonder is so much fun to play – whether on the handheld in my hotel room while away, or big screen TV when back at home – that I've been eagerly grabbing moments to dive back into the game in between work. 

The game feels like winding back the clock, yet it also feels fresh, showing that even seemingly 'simple' games such as this can showcase a level of polish beyond many AAA games upon their release. Nintendo is the master at this – and I've been addicted enough to finish every level solo, plus there's collaborative multiplayer too.

It's been a fairly long time since I've used my Switch so frequently, but Super Mario Bros Wonder has no doubt reignited my love for Nintendo's console ahead of the rumoured incoming Switch 2. It's a sensational send-off, the ideal swan song, and a must-buy for Nintendo and Mario fans alike. 

Mike Lowe
Tech Editor

Mike is the Tech Editor at He's been writing about consumer technology for 15 years and, as a phones expert, has seen hundreds of handsets over the years – swathes of Android devices, a smattering of iPhones, and a batch of Windows Phone too (remember those?). But that's not all, as a tech and audio aficionado his beat at T3 also covers tablets, laptops, gaming, home cinema, TVs, speakers and more – there's barely a tech stone unturned he's not had a hand on. Previously the Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint for 10 years, he's also provided work for publications such as Wired, The Guardian, Metro, and more. In addition to his tech knowledge, Mike is also a flights and travel expert, having travelled the globe extensively. You'll likely find him setting up a new mobile phone, critiquing the next MacBook, all while planning his next getaway... or cycling somewhere.