Super Mario Bros. Wonder is the return of good old Mario in 2D into which we would have injected all the technology developed in video games since 1985. We didn’t think it was possible to have so much modernity in this retro mode. We were wrong.

The adventure begins with the choice between 12 canonical Nintendo characters, from Mario to Peach to Daisy and three types of Toad. We also have as a bonus three kinds of Yoshis and Chipin, characters who do not suffer damage but cannot use special objects, perfect for beginners.

Up to four players in local mode can find themselves in the same tables.

As tradition dictates, Mario and his friends were walking peacefully in the Kingdom of Flowers at the invitation of Prince Florian when they discovered that Bowser had transformed into a flying castle and was causing chaos in this peaceful little world. It’s up to you, disguised as Mario or the character of your choice that you can modify, to bring peace by accumulating trophies.

The mission consists of wandering through the seven regions of the kingdom, with names as evocative as Mount Nebulous, Floral Islands, Plain of Pipes. Each has half a dozen scenes, often themed, where you must swim, fly, jump, slide on the ice or avoid lava to survive. Each table offers a certain number of “prodigy seeds” and its difficulty is displayed in number of stars, from 1 to 4. The tables can be tackled in any order we like, with the exception of some which require a certain number of wonder seeds.

The game takes place in 2D, but the characters placed there are in relief. It is actually enriched 2D. From time to time, we can play in a third dimension in depth, moving from a 2D painting in the foreground to another in the background.

That’s the basic presentation. What each of these paintings contains is of overflowing creativity that it would be impossible to describe succinctly here. Almost deceptively, we begin the adventure in the same spirit as in the Super Mario Bros of the 80s, jumping on the heads of evil mushrooms, collecting the coins and falling more often than not into the chasms beneath our feet .

First, our Mario no longer just grows bigger, he can become an elephant that blows its trunk, a white Mario that throws flames, a pink one that sends bubbles that trap the enemy, a drill hat that protects the head and allows you to dig into the walls.

Some paintings contain a “wonder flower” which, when caught, turns the whole decor upside down. Then emerge hordes of cattle which ravage everything, a gigantic snowball on which we must surf, pipes which snake to allow us to avoid the burning lava, the ground which begins to lean. The show ends when we manage to get our hands on a prodigy seed.

At regular intervals, we come across a “badge” which will give our character new powers. The parahat allows you to stay in the air longer, the coin magnet clumps the coins around us, the climbing jump allows you to go higher with a second jump, the turbo boots make you run faster, the blow dolphin allows you to swim faster. The challenge here is to choose the right badge before the start of a painting. Sometimes it’s even better to try a new character if the board proves too difficult.

And the challenges are often very tough. The game may provide the basic tips for survival, but some passages require extraordinarily precise coordination and took us many attempts to get through them. If we come across little talking flowers in our travels that give clues – in French, not Nintendo gibberish – we often have to try everything to find the tip, the mystery block and the unexpected passage that will allow us to uncover the treasure. It’s not easy, sometimes, to understand that such an action will allow access to a higher level where the promised damned prodigy seed is hidden. On a few occasions we have the impression of not having received the instruction manual for skipping a particular passage or accessing a particular reward.

And, more cruelly, you sometimes need to have the right tool chosen at the start of the table to find the solution. The possibilities are a little too immense. Despite our amazement at each discovery, we had a few moments of weariness after a dozen hours of taking on these challenges. A word of advice: this game can be enjoyed in controlled doses to provide a few dozen hours of pleasure. There’s no rush, and Super Mario Bros. Wonder is full of so many discoveries that you can’t finish them all in one go.