With the huge success that has been Super Mario Odyssey on the Switch, Nintendo looks to strike while the merchandizing hammer is at its hottest, extended their most recognizable mascot to…breakfast cereal? Yes, the Super Mario Cereal is a limited-time cereal by Kelloggs that will be hitting your local grocery store on December 11th. Our own Josh Harmon and Ray Carsillo had a chance to get their hands on a box a little early and, in a rare EGM DoubleTaste, here are their thoughts.
|Ray||So, Josh, mascots have been a big thing in cereal to try to get kids to beg their parents for it for as far back as I can remember. Count Chocula, Toucan Sam, the Trix Rabbit, Snap, Crackle, Pop, the Lucky Charms Leprechaun; I could go on and on. I don’t think any of them have the brand power, though, of Mario. Before we get into the cereal itself, what are your thoughts on Nintendo extending their brand like this? I think it was a no-brainer decision.|
|I mean, I think it’s a good call, and it’s probably a solid sign that Nintendo is doing a lot of things right this year. I don’t think Mario ever really died down in prominence, but it’s obvious that with the Switch doing so well, Odyssey being a huge hit, and Super Mario Run being so highly downloaded, Mario’s star is brighter than it’s been in a while. Funnily enough, while I was writing up the news story on the cereal, I actually learned that Nintendo got into the cereal biz once before, back in the ’80s, with the hilariously named Nintendo Cereal System. Maybe cereal offers only come rolling in when you’re on top of the world. Certainly seems like Nintendo is headed that way again. So what did you think of the cereal itself?||Josh|
|Ray||It’d be easy to make a direct comparison to Lucky Charms here. You’ve got your basic oats cereal buoyed by the sweetness of marshmallow shapes. But there are some key, notable differences. Super Mario Cereal’s oats are star shaped, a common emblem in the Mario universe, but have a hint of berry sweetness themselves that up the flavor of each spoonful of cereal. I, personally, prefer a sweet cereal (Reese’s Puffs and Count Chocula are always near the top of my shopping list), so this was a nice surprise. But I guess Nintendo’s obsession with balance in their games has bled over into this product because to counteract the unusually sweet oats, there was an absolute dearth of marshmallows compared to what I was expecting. There were also only three marshmallow shapes (question blocks, 1up mushrooms, and Mario caps), most of which were so deformed that it was difficult to tell what they were at first. I think Nintendo could’ve made a bold move by going with a generally sweeter cereal than mainstays in the genre they’ll be competing with, instead of this direction that felt somewhat safe. What about you?|
|I think you’ve missed the most obvious comparison to Lucky Charms here: Both mascots are highly exaggerated, hat-wearing racial stereotypes who are obsessed with stars and moons. I think you’re more or less right on taste, though. The cereal is functionally just a slightly different take on Lucky Charms, which is a little odd because that’s a General Mills cereal and Mario’s is from Kellogg’s. Maybe the marshmallow ratio is different because it’s a knockoff of a formula they don’t have, rather than any intentional decision. I think the taste was fine, particularly because I find those rock-hard cereal marshmallows to be cloying sweet when there are too many of them, but I also no longer have the palate of a sugar-addicted child. I wouldn’t say it was bad. Just not particularly memorable. I’m not sure I’d say there’s any reason to buy this cereal on taste alone. Thankfully, Nintendo made sure to pack in another selling point.||Josh|
|Ray||Yes, besides the usual distractions of mazes and trivia found on any children’s cereal box, Super Mario Cereal features a NFC tab on the bottom of the box that serves as an amiibo. I was pleasantly surprised when scanning it with Uncle Amiibo that he commented this was a “delicious” amiibo, but the real use for it is that it could provide a near endless supply of coins and hearts if you so choose. Each scan of the box provided a heart, one coin, or three coins, making Super Mario Cereal easily the cheapest amiibo on the market. It’s another brilliant marketing ploy by the Big N and gives added value you won’t find anywhere else in the cereal aisle, because you like you said, the cereal’s taste alone doesn’t do enough to differentiate itself from the competition. So, what do you think of Super Mario Cereal overall? If you had to give it a score, what are you thinking?|
|Well, I haven’t spent my life training to review cereal, so I don’t feel particularly qualified to go throwing numbers around. I guess if I had to do it, I’d break it down like they did in the old days of GamePro (RIP). Taste: 5/10. Sound: 0/10. Graphics: 7/10. Fun factor: 1/10. Also, to complete the GamePro feel, imagine while you’re reading this that I am a cartoon dragon. Like, it’s a perfectly fine cereal, but the fact that the amiibo functionality just gives you the same items as any random, unsupported amiibo is a little disappointing, especially because the blurb on the box promises special content. I think if it actually did unlock something unique, like a cereal bowl hat for Mario/Cappy, I’d say this is a must buy for Odyssey fans. As it stands, if feels like they could have done more with both the cereal itself and the amiibo stuff. What’s your verdict?||Josh|
|Ray||Those are all fair points. And, considering I’ve done over 300 reviews now for EGM, I’ll stick with our tried and true formula and give it an overall 5/10. It’s alarmingly average when you look at the entire picture. The good is that it does offer something more than just your regular cereal box with the amiibo support. It tastes fine and hopefully we’ll get more fun products like this from Nintendo in the future, just with a little more thought and care. The bad is a poor oats to marshmallow ratio and the box itself may be bright and colorful with that iconic Mario red everywhere, but the plumber himself blends too much into the background. The ugly is that nuclear green color the milk takes when done with it all after all the sugar has rubbed off from the marshmallows.|