The Impulsive Buy

REVIEW: Kellogg’s Super Mario Cereal

Released last December, finding Kellogg’s newfangled Super Mario Cereal hasn’t been easy. Long story short, each package has some sort of QR-Code type thingy on it, and if you scan it with your Nintendo controller it unlocks some kind of new in-game content. Naturally, this has led to collectors/hoarders snatching up the product in droves, with online merchants reselling the cereal on eBay at triple, quintuple, and even 100 times the MRSP.

While strolling through the aisles of Walmart on a recent mechanical pencil and instant coffee run, I stumbled across a freshly stocked pyramid of the ultra-rare breakfast foodstuff. And while I was tempted to buy about 20 of them, hold on to them for 25 years and resell them at $200 a pop, I decided to be a good little consumer and only scoop up one. Hopefully, the karma will lead to the re-release of Dunkaroos, or mayhap even the resurrection of the Bell Beefer, in due time.

Aesthetically, the packaging is pretty pleasing. There are a lot of Easter eggs and in-jokes on the front box, so hardcore Nintendo fans will get a kick out of that. The activity panel on the back, though, is way too rudimentary. Even for a children’s breakfast item, the trivia questions on this one are far too easy. And of course, you have that little QR-Code scanny thing. I’m not sure what it does, precisely, but I’m sure your eight-year-old nephew can fill you in on the details.

As for the cereal itself, well, it’s pretty mundane. It’s marketed as having a berry flavor, but it doesn’t explicitly tell you what kind of berry. So as soon as you crack open the box, you’re greeted by this weird, artificially fruity scent that’s one part strawberry, one part blueberry, and one part scented unicorn sticker.

The puffy rice stars are decent looking, but the taste is quite bland – they absorb all of that pseudo-berry chemical flavoring and wind up tasting like Franken Berry and Boo Berry’s illegitimate love child. And maybe it’s just me, but I SWORE there was a mild (yet strangely convincing) bacon-ish undercurrent to each piece. Please, somebody out there back me up on this, for my own sanity.

The marshmallows, though, are the most disappointing thing about the cereal. Not only do they taste alike (which are like the regular cereal bits, except slightly chewier), they don’t even remotely resemble the classical Super Mario insignia they’re supposed to represent. The 1-up mushrooms are kinda decent, but the mystery blocks and Super Mario hats are just abominations.

Outside of the Mario branding, this is a really generic cereal that reminded me a lot of the Avengers: Age of Ultron cereal Kellogg’s released three years ago. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the exact same formula, albeit with slightly tweaked marshmallow shapes.

Sorry, Mario. You might still be super, but your tie-in cereal here is merely average.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cup – 120 calories, 10 calories from fat, 1 gram of total fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 grams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 55 milligrams of potassium, 27 grams of total carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 8.4 oz. box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: The packaging has a lot of neat nods and winks to the video games. The 1-up mushrooms are pretty nice. The cereal itself may or may not be secretly bacon-flavored.
Cons: The artificial berry flavoring is ho-hum. The puffed rice pieces are uninspired. A disappointing lack of marshmallow pieces shaped like Tanooki suits, King Boos, or Thwomps