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2023 has been a huge one for gaming, and what better way to round out the year than a showdown between the Webbed Warrior and Mushroom Kingdom Supa-Star? Both Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 by Insomniac Games and Super Mario Bros. Wonder by Nintendo release on October 20, pitting two heavily anticipated contenders for 2023 Game of the Year against each other.
The third story in the franchise, Spider-Man 2 culminates the enriching stories that began in Marvel’s Spider-Man and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales. The game encourages users to “Be Greater Together”, following both Peter and Miles as they balance their civilian lives and webbed adventures around New York City. The Spider-Men are sure to be challenged once the Symbiote plagues New York, suggesting a different interpretation of the game’s tagline. Additionally, characters pulled from a rich history of Marvel’s Spider-Man comics are sure to provide an amazing experience for single-player fun.
Super Mario Bros. Wonder is the latest in a long-spanning history of Nintendo’s side-scroller games. Bowser has accessed the mysterious power of the Wonder Flower, merging with Prince Florian’s Castle in the Flower Kingdom to become a formidable force to be reckoned with. Multiplayer fun has never felt so good, with local co-op of up to 4 players and a unique online co-op experience.
At this point, you might be scratching your head and asking yourself which to play first. Perhaps the decision is simple, but if you need a little more help, we’ve compiled a list of some of the biggest things to look forward to.
While playing as multiple characters isn’t a new feature for either franchise, both games revolutionise how characters interact and engage within the story.
Super Mario Bros. Wonder features the largest cast of playable characters a game of this nature has ever seen! Users can select between Mario, Luigi, Peach, Daisy, Toadette, or Blue & Yellow Toad for the classic playable experience. For easier gameplay, users can also select Nabbit or Yoshi, who can be customised as either green, yellow, blue, or red. The easier characters don’t take damage and cannot obtain power-ups, but playing as Yoshi allows users to flutter jump across wider gaps. Like previous games, all playable characters can ride Yoshi in select levels… including the playable Yoshis.
Spider-Man 2 provides the opportunity to play as both Peter Parker and Miles Morales, switching between both webheads in the open world instantaneously. Each of these heroes is required for different stages of the main story and has distinct abilities required to complete side missions across the map. When you’re traveling through the open world, you’ll often find the other Spider-Man engaging in heroic acts by themselves. You will have the choice to observe them carry out their mission, or join them. This works both ways, as sometimes another Spider-Man will jump in and help you out on your pursuits as well. It’s also heavily implied that you’ll be able to take the symbiote out for a spin as well… whether that’s just on Peter Parker, or perhaps as someone a little more venomous…
If you’ve played the first two installments of the Spider-Man PlayStation games, you may have found yourself worrying about the map and how the developers could possibly expand this experience. Worry not, as recent trailers have revealed that the playable city is now DOUBLE the size of that from the previous games! Both Queens and Brooklyn are playable areas, and greater location promises even more side missions. The further through the open world you get, the more activities, storylines, and missions will become available. This game features more innovative ways to travel across the map, with classic web-swinging mechanics to span the city in a series of swoops, or the new web wings to glide around the city both speedily and in style.
For the first time ever, Mario and the gang will explore the Flower Kingdom to defeat Bowser in his wonder-fied form! The Flower Kingdom is made up of seven different stages, with each involving a rich variety of different levels to test Mario’s new abilities. In certain stages, users can play the course in any order they’d like, moving around freely in these open areas. And speaking of location… be careful of those Wonder Flowers…
POWER-UPS & ABILITIES!
The Super Mario games historically house an incredible arsenal of power-ups that change the way characters play. Super Mario Bros Wonder is no different. There are three brand new power-ups in addition to the powers of the elusive Wonder Flower. The Bubble power-up provides a means of capturing enemies, and reaching new heights within the game. The Drill power-up adds a new method of defeating bigger enemies and burrowing beneath the ground. The most exciting new addition is the Elephant power-up, which transforms your character into an elephant who acts as a force through the level, obliterating almost everything in your path! At this stage, the only confirmed returning power-up is the iconic Fire Flower which allows Mario to throw fireballs.
Touching the Wonder Flower triggers a “wonder effect” – a brand-new feature that transforms the entire level. Anything that can be imagined can occur; a stampede of enemies could appear, the environment could change, and Mario can even transform into a Goomba or Spike Ball! Once a player interacts with the Wonder Seed, the game returns to normal, but this new feature is sure to provide endless possibilities for adventure.
Unlike other Super Mario games, Super Mario Bros. Wonder features a badge system. When equipped, gameplay options are enhanced, with characters able to attract coins, turn invisible, and bounce double the usual height amongst many other possibilities. With all these features, this game is set to be like no Mario game before!
The first game in the franchise introduced players to a caliber of Spider-Man’s enemies. Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 has increased the heat, with huge villains from Spidey’s comic book catalog making their first appearance.
Venom will seemingly be the main villain of the game, but his identity remains a mystery. Harry Osborn will be re-entering Peter’s life in the new installment, but the question of whether he is a friend or foe is one keeping Spider-Man fans up at night.
Kraven the Hunter will make his debut in the highly anticipated next installment! Kraven will attempt to best the Spider-Men on their own turf, showcasing his incredible skills and defying the odds against both the superheroes and super-powered villains within New York.
In addition to the two main threats, Peter and Miles will go up against villains with a personal connection to each of the webheads. Formerly NYPD, Yuri Watanabe appears to be adopting her Wraith persona in her pursuit against superhumans and vigilantes. Miles’ uncle, Aaron Davis, will reappear as the Prowler, which is sure to cause some heartache for the Spectacular Spider-Man. And of course, who could forget about Black Cat, the Lizard, Taskmaster, and several other returning and new villains!
Both Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 and Super Mario Bros. Wonder promise a very different play experience, but together, sound like a great way to spend the weekend! Find Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 on the PlayStation 5, and Super Mario Bros. Wonder on the Nintendo Switch, launching October 20!