Playing Super Mario Bros. Wonder feels like eating a decadent dessert. The game honors the spirit of the Super Mario Bros. franchise, and yet injects so many new ideas into its levels. And local multiplayer means I get to share the experience with my close friends. But even as I’ve loved every minute of playing, my gaming partner and I have run up against a snag: The multiplayer camera, instead of splitting the difference between players, focuses on whichever character has the crown — aka the character who “won” the previous level by getting higher up on the flagpole or getting there first — at the expense of the other characters.
I’m not alone in this sentiment: As I’ve trawled Reddit for advice, I found others with similar camera woes. Others have pointed out the fact that this puts the non-crowned player at a disadvantage. The secondary character gets put in ghost form — basically, the character dies — if they get far enough away from the crowned character.
While I haven’t found a perfect workaround for multiplayer camera woes, I have found a new, beloved solution for local two player co-op — one that’s made me cackle so much it makes up for the system’s drawbacks. Let’s say it may not be the best fix, on its face. But it is easy to implement, and has absolutely minimized all of the frustrations that I had with the game’s co-op camera issues.
The answer is that one of you plays as Yoshi, and the other hitches the occasional ride.
Here’s how my partner and I have done it. In sections of the game where it’s easy to get separated — levels with a lot of vertical platforming, or tough water portions, for example — I have Toad hop onto Yoshi’s back. Whoever feels like doing the platforming challenge takes the controller and operates for both of us, during the duration of those sequences. It doesn’t matter who has the crown, because when you’re on Yoshi’s back, you simply move together.
It also means you get to make some ridiculous memories, like watching Yoshi haul your character in Elephant form (this reminds me of Elden Ring’s horse Leonard hauling around Starscourge Radahn), or jumping into a Lakitu Cloud together.
Yoshi has unique perks and limitations, which will influence whether you think it’s worth trying this strategy: He doesn’t take damage (a plus!), but also doesn’t get power ups (a bummer).
I’ve found the tradeoff to be absolutely worth it. My partner and I play most of our levels while not, erm, riding each other. But if we do end up wanting to replay especially fun levels, one of us will select the friendly dinosaur, and the other saddles up.
Toad riding Yoshi ends up looking so goofy that it’s an entirely new and different delight. And that kind of joy feels emblematic of the Super Mario Bros. games, and a continuation of their innovative spirit over many years.