Super Mario Bros. Wonder lives and breathes diverse level design. Each level has unique enemies, environments, and gimmicks that continually delight and surprise. Of them all though, these are our picks for the top 10 Super Mario Bros. Wonder levels, ranked from fine to phenomenal.
10. Fluff-Puff Peaks Special: Climb to the Beat
At number 10 we have a Special World level, the second one to be exact.
This stage has the player climbing up a snowy obstacle course where platforms disappear when the beat changes. It’s essentially a rhythm platform challenge, and it’s very tricky to get right.
The music is perfect as it synchs up to the platforms and your own jumps across them. This stage also gets good use out of a multitude of badges. The Boosting Spin Jump badge is my personal favorite to use here because it offers some leeway for slight miscalculations in timing. For those asking for more challenge, take this stage on without a jumping badge; it’s a wonderful delight.
9. Muncher Fields
Muncher Fields was my introduction to the Fungi Mines theme (even though it’s located in Petal Isles). What immediately sticks out to me most is the music.
There’s a lo-fi quality to the musical track that suites a fungal mire stage perfectly and it’s one of my favorites in the game.
What separates this level from other Fungi Mine levels is the ubiquitous Munchers. Munchers make a fun return here from their memorable Mario 3 days. Super Mario Bros. Wonder makes excellent use of their peculiarities by spreading them out across the ground and using the background as a way to progress forward.
Wonder-enhanced Bowser is seen ominously floating in the background, adding visual flair to the already-moody Muncher-filled level. The Wonder Flower gives you Star power to run across the Munchers at the end too, which is a perfect finale to this atmospheric level.
8. Here Come the Hoppos
Hoppos are one of the earliest enemy types you’ll come across in Super Mario Bros. Wonder. Yet, they’re not really enemies, are they?
No, they’re adorable bouncy balls that plug in death pits, and we love them. This level is a wonderful tutorial to death pits and to the bounce jump mechanic. Hidden secrets are found by utilizing the bounce jump, and you also learn how to properly manipulate objects/enemies with the Hoppos to boot. Plus, it’s just so fun to play around with these oversized bouncy ball animals.
It’s a well-laid-out level with plenty of early-game challenge, and it’s just good fun.
7. Outmaway Alley
One of the earliest Fluff-Puff Peaks levels also happens to be one of the best.
The Outmaways are bullies that rebound anything you throw or kick their way. One of the cool twists this game throws at the player is realizing these little guys catch any shell you throw at them and throw them back, opening up opportunities for creative gameplay solutions aplenty.
You’re also introduced to the Fluff-Puff Peaks piano music here. This track fits the snowy theme perfectly with those sleigh bells and jazzy piano. The background of lit-up trees and snowmen is a delight to watch too, especially as you get ‘outmanned’ in the alleyways.
The icing on the cake for this decorative level is the Wonder Seed transformation that puts the player on top of a giant rolling snowball-engulfed village. It’s a visual splendor and a highly engaging cut of gameplay in equal measure.
6. High-Voltage Gauntlet
This is one of the later levels just prior to facing Bowser, and it’s one of the best.
As the name suggests, High-Voltage Gauntlet features electric lasers that must be avoided using careful precision and timing. The rooms darkening so you only see the lasers is a brilliant platforming gimmick that gets used quite a bit in this stage. We also see a rare appearance of Shadow Mario (shadow version of whoever you pick), as they follow your trail and try to collide with you.
Out of all the levels, this is the one that reminded me most of Super Mario World or Mega Man more specifically. High-Voltage Gauntlet features the kind of precision platforming typically found in more difficult franchises, and proves why the Mario franchise still stands right alongside them when it wants to.
5. Where the Rrrumbas Rule
Get ready to rrrumble! You like running away from boulders, right? Well, this stage does even better, it lets you become a boulder.
Yep, the Wonder Seed for this level turns you into a boulder so you can jettison through cavernous ruins with glee. It’s a good thing this isn’t the only level featuring the boulder transformation, because it’s one of the most fun forms to take on in the game. Jumping off ramps and destroying everything in sight is a blast.
Before becoming the boulder though, the game makes you run from them earlier on. Making the player fear and run from the Rrrumbas before turning them into one is just so clever. The flow throughout is also suited perfectly for running and rolling, not dissimilar to a Sonic game at times.
4. Condarts Away!
Not only are the Condart enemies in this level really cool, but this particular Wonder Seed transformation is one of the very best in Super Mario Bros. Wonder.
Condarts are birds that shoot platform darts from their beak. You can get hit by the pointed edge of these darts, but can also use them as platforms when they’re attached to a solid surface.
If you have the ‘Add ! Block’ Badge, the blocks will protect you from the deadly darts; a pretty cool utilization of badges and level gimmicks. But really, the shining star of this well-designed level is the Wonder Seed which flips the camera to a top-down perspective, which lets you walk around obstacles like it’s a 2D Zelda game.
3. Sproings in the Twilight Forest
This is one of the first secret levels you can reach in the game, as you must find the hidden exit in the Bulrush Express level from the first world. This unlocks a mountain path leading to the Special World. But the first level up the secret path is Sproings in the Twilight Forest, and it’s a modern-day classic.
The entire level consists of darkened silhouettes in a forest. Lighting plays a pivotal role in navigation, but the change in perspective also just looks cool and unique. The Wonder Seed is truly wondrous in this level too. You get turned into a tall Sproing, and so does everything else, including the background trees. When you crouch, the trees also lower to reveal coins that you can then collect, all silhouetted in shadow, of course.
The walking platforms and crouching trees just add a touch of weirdness to an already weird level, and make it downright unforgettable as a result.
2. Pirahna Plants on Parade
Yep, the second level in the entire game is also one of the best ones.
Nintendo kicked things off with a bang via this charming Pirahna Plant level. It’s more or less straightforward and easy to get through, but when you get the Wonder Seed, the magic you’ll find through the rest of the game becomes apparent and the stage is set. All of a sudden, dancing Pirahna Plants start singing a musical number and the entire stage lights up on a parade.
The entire level is a delight from start to finish and has good tutorial-based segments and visuals throughout. The icing on the cake is the hidden exit that most players won’t find until after seeing the credits. I won’t spoil where the hidden exit is here, but we have a guide to help you get 100% on this amazing level.
Piranha Plants on Parade isn’t merely charming; it’s also the perfect introduction to this game’s many surprises and secrets, and exemplifies the creativity this game bleeds.
1. The Final-Final Test: Badge Marathon
And finally, the best level in Super Mario Bros. Wonder: the Final-Final Test Badge Marathon.
This is the best level because it accumulates most of the challenges in the game into a single marathon level. Yes, it’s a super long level with no checkpoints, and yes, it doesn’t really reward you with more content, but it’s some of the most fun you can have in the game if you like a challenge.
This level cycles through a bunch of unique Badge challenges in a row, so you have to be on alert and very familiar with the functions of all the Badges. The level design itself is great too, with good flow and a difficulty that isn’t unfair or lazy. This is the true challenge in Super Mario Bros. Wonder, and it’s worth overcoming.
Also, despite not rewarding new levels or extra characters or what-have-you, it does give you the final Badge in the game, which offers surprises and charm even when everything else is complete.
It was no easy task narrowing Super Mario Bros. Wonder’s best levels to just 10. This game has a ton of fun levels that offer replayability and variation from one another. But these 10 represent the best level design and raw wonderment out of all of them. Are there any levels you think should’ve been included instead? Let us know and check back for guides, top-10s, and reviews here on Twinfinite!