Get ready for the video game battle of the century! Super Mario Bros. Wonder launched for Nintendo Switch on October 20, 2023, with the remake of Super Mario RPG hitting shelves just four weeks later. No other time period has simultaneously touched the hearts (and emptied the wallets) of Mario fans worldwide.
With two phenomenal Mario games launching so close to each other, it begs the question: which is better? One is a legendary RPG that helped shape the genre into what it is today. The other is an outstanding platformer that revived the 2D mainline series in new, exciting ways. So which game has a bigger impact on the Mario universe?
Which Game Does Justice To Its Genre Better?
Super Mario RPG and Super Mario Bros. Wonder play very differently, so determining which has better gameplay boils down to which innovates from its predecessors and contributes more to its genre.
Super Mario RPG’s Gameplay
Super Mario RPG’s turn-based combat holds up remarkably well, thanks to its timed hits. The battles keep you constantly engaged by having you press a button at the right time to deal extra damage. This is complemented by an overworld with no random encounters and plenty of well-hidden secrets.
However, the Super Mario RPG remake takes a step back from the original regarding difficulty. Some new additions include splash damage that affects all enemies on-screen, and indicators that tell you when to time your hits. These elements make the game much easier, and you can’t turn them off.
Super Mario Bros. Wonder’s Gameplay
Super Mario Bros. Wonder breathes new life into the 2D format with the Wonder Flower, which adds a delightfully bizarre twist to each level. The new elephant, drill, and bubble power-ups are a blast to play with, and open new, exciting opportunities for platforming and exploration.
While every character plays the same, the new unlockable badges grant you additional abilities that suit different play styles. Super Mario Bros. Wonder doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but 2D Mario has never felt more versatile, creative, and satisfying to control.
Winner – Super Mario Bros. Wonder
If Super Mario RPG didn’t force you to play at an easier difficulty, it could’ve beaten Super Mario Bros. Wonder. However, Mario’s 2D adventure does a better job of innovating from its predecessors and takes the mainline games in a thrilling new direction.
Which Game Offers The Most Original Ideas?
Super Mario RPG and Super Mario Bros. Wonder are the most creative Mario games. Each provides a much-needed dose of original characters, humor, and fresh ideas to the series. But which game is more imaginative?
Super Mario RPG’s Creativity
Super Mario RPG is undoubtedly the most bizarre game in the series. One minute, you’re fighting a giant sentient wedding cake. Next, you’re traveling to a cross-dimensional realm to battle the embodiment of evil while Final Fantasy music plays. You never know what’s going to happen next.
It’s a breath of fresh air to experience a story that doesn’t revolve around fighting Bowser. Instead, Super Mario RPG offers a slew of new, memorable villains to give the experience a unique flair. Overall, Super Mario RPG expands the Mario universe in many meaningful ways.
Super Mario Bros. Wonder’s Creativity
Have you ever wanted to hear King Boo sing opera? You can in Super Mario Bros. Wonder. This game fully embraces Mario’s inherently silly nature by including dozens of goofy twists, from running through gorgeous silhouette levels to dodging flying hippos in Outer Space.
The best parts of Super Mario Bros. Wonder are the new musical stages, which feature catchy tunes performed by enemies like Piranha Plants, Boos, and even Bowser. A new wonderful surprise waits around every corner, ensuring each level is as fun and memorable as the last.
Winner – It’s A Tie
When it comes to creativity, you can’t go wrong with either game. Super Mario RPG delivers superb world-building with a beautifully quirky story that introduces dozens of original characters and locations. The creativity of Super Mario Bros. Wonder is more gameplay-focused, providing plenty of bizarre levels to keep you smiling.
Which Game Has The Better Cast?
Both Super Mario RPG and Super Mario Bros. Wonder introduce plenty of new heroes and villains while bringing back some fan-favorite characters. The better cast depends on which game has the most memorable playable characters and enemies.
Super Mario RPG’s Characters
Super Mario RPG has the best depictions of returning Mario characters while introducing many new faces that fit perfectly within the universe. Geno and Mallow are welcome additions to the main cast, featuring well-fleshed-out personalities, solid character arcs, and fascinating abilities.
This game shaped Bowser’s personality into the overly confident goofball you know and love today. Plus, Super Mario RPG offers plenty of new villains, like the childish Booster and the mysterious Culex. Not to mention the hilarious NPCs you encounter along your journey.
Super Mario Bros. Wonder’s Characters
Daisy fans unite! After decades of waiting, Princess Daisy is finally playable in a Mario platformer. If that wasn’t enough, you can choose four variations of Yoshi for the first time in the mainline series. This is the most diverse cast of playable characters in a main Mario game.
On top of the new heroes, Super Mario Bros. Wonder provides a barrage of marvelously quirky enemies, like roller-staking Koopas, raging bulls that destroy the flagpole, and large mummies that you must unravel.
Winner – Super Mario RPG
While it’s excellent that Daisy is playable in Super Mario Bros. Wonder, the cast of Super Mario RPG have more defined personalities, provide tons of humor, and are some of the most memorable characters in the Mario series.
Which Game Offers More Bang For Your Buck?
Video games are expensive, so it’s vital that you feel satisfied with the amount of content you get with your hard-earned money. Super Mario RPG and Super Mario Bros. Wonder are both known for having many secrets and collectibles to find. But which offers more content?
Super Mario RPG’s Content
In addition to the main story, Super Mario RPG is packed with secrets to find, items to collect, and side quests to complete. If you take your time and explore everything, the game will probably take you at least ten hours to beat.
As the cherry on top, Super Mario RPG offers new post-game content that wasn’t in the original. This mode provides tougher rematches with several bosses and a brand-new secret superboss. Completing the post-game will add a few extra hours to your playtime.
Super Mario Bros. Wonder’s Content
Super Mario Bros. Wonder has eight worlds to explore, including an unlockable secret world. Each stage has at least two wonder seeds and three Flower Coins to collect. Some levels even have hidden exits that lead to secret stages.
Outside regular levels, there are 24 badges to find, over 100 standees to buy, and several mini-stages. Reaching the credits takes roughly nine hours, while fully completing the game adds a few hours to that. Unfortunately, there isn’t much post-game content besides the special world.
Winner – Super Mario RPG
Both games offer plenty of things to do. However, Super Mario RPG has a little more content and a much more significant post-game. With many secrets, side quests, and boss rematches, Super Mario RPG will keep you entertained for hours.
Which Game Is The Best?
And The Winner Is…
While both titles offer boundless imagination, superb gameplay, and exciting innovations, Super Mario RPG is the better game. No other Mario game perfectly showcases the series’ potential for outstanding characters, boundless creativity, and meaningful world-building. Simply put, Super Mario RPG is a dream come true for fans of Mario and role-playing games.
That’s not to say Super Mario Bros. Wonder is a bad game. On the contrary, it’s a phenomenal 2D platformer and a must-play for Switch owners. But if you have to pick one, Super Mario RPG offers more content and exceptional characters. All hail the king of RPGs.
NEXT: The Best Games To Play If You Like Super Mario RPG