Look, yes, I know, there are a lot of meaningless comparisons to FromSoftware games on the internet, but I’m still in awe of just how much Super Mario Bros. Wonder‘s online multiplayer features appear to have been inspired by the asynchronous multiplayer features that have defined the studio’s output from Demon’s Souls through Elden Ring.
Super Mario Bros. Wonder offers co-op for up to four players both locally and online, but even when you’re going solo you can enjoy some MMO-like features. If you choose to connect online, you’ll see other players in ‘shadow’ form as they play through the game in real time – yes, just as in the Soulsborne games. You can even emote at other players, though I’m not sure if you’ll be able to praise the sun here. (Who’d want to praise the Mario’s sun, anyway? He’s a jerk.)
While FromSoftware’s asynchronous multiplayer lets you be helpful to online strangers with messages warning them of impending dangers, Wonder appears to let you give more direct aid, including items, to other players. All these helpful actions contribute to your Heart Points, a counter that shows up to anyone who runs across your shadow online.
Perhaps the most notable thing is that when you’re playing online, death won’t immediately cost you a life. Instead, you’ll turn into a ghost, at which time you’ll have a few seconds to touch another player in order to get revived without losing a life or any progress in the level. You can also drop standees that ghosts can touch for a free revival even when nobody else is around.
While this is maybe the closest thing Nintendo has ever built to the features in FromSoftware’s games, it’s not the first time the company has experimented with asynchronous multiplayer features. The Wii U’s Miiverse let players drop messages in games like New Super Mario Bros. U and Super Mario Maker. While the Miiverse is sadly dead, its spirit lives on in games like Splatoon 3 – and, apparently, Super Mario Bros. Wonder.
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