In early 2017, the Nintendo Switch Presentation gave Nintendo fans a look into new and exciting installments of beloved franchises. One of the many games showed off was Super Mario Odyssey. After watching the first reveal trailer, I knew this game would be a success and a blast to play. I am delighted to say that I was 100% correct. Before I go on, I should warn their are spoilers ahead.
Super Mario Odyssey is a return to the 3-D platformer stylest of Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine. It launched on October 27, 2017, and at the time of writing this, Odyssey has already sold over TWO MILLION copies! The story is mostly unchanged, Bowser has kidnaped Princess Peach, this time to marry her against her will, and it’s your job as Mario to rescue her. When Odyssey loads up for the first time, you are greeted to a cutscene of Mario losing a fight to Bowser, which to me was a bit of an odd way to set the tone, and then the game just starts. After falling into what is essentially the tutorial area, Mario meets a being named Cappy. Cappy turns into Mario’s hat, as he had lost his original one during the cutscene, and they join forces to save Peach and Cappy’s sister, Tiara.
Within the first five minutes of playing, you can do everything and anything you can do in later parts of the game, and doing all of these movements feel great. The actions are incredibly responsive and are easy to learn, and Mario handles like a dream. A problem I have though is that the game tries really hard to reinforce motion controls, which I do not understand. Every action can be done without them so I did not see the point in having them. At sometimes they are too responsive, resulting in undesired actions. It is annoying that you do not have the option to turn them off, and the same goes for changing the button layout. The button layout is in no way annoying, in fact, it’s great, but I still wish the option was there.
The main gimmick of Odyssey is the capture mechanic. The action is as easy as throwing Cappy at an enemy. While capturing an enemy, Mario gains its abilities. I loved some of the things I could do with the capture ability like destroy things as a giant T-Rex or flying around as a Bullet Bill. Capturing enemies is encouraged throughout the game, as it’s used to find secrets and defeat bosses. The capture mechanic replaces all existing power-ups, but while I will miss being invincible with star power-ups, it cannot compete to becoming a derpy plant thing! Another strange thing about Odyssey is how it measures its life system, in that it does not have one. Instead, you only lose ten coins when you die, encouraging you to explore more with less consequences. Not to say that losing coins is not bad, as they now can be spent on costumes and decorations. You can use two types of coins: normal gold coins or purple regional coins that can only be used in a certain kingdom.
Super Mario Odyssey has you exploring fifteen expansive kingdoms. Every kingdom in Odyssey is interesting and crammed with detail and stuff to do. I love exploring the Mushroom Kingdom and really enjoyed the atmosphere of the Wooded Kingdom. To explore new kingdoms, Mario must travel in his ship, the Odyssey. The ship looks like a flying hat and can even be decorated. I never found myself decorating it, but when I did I thought it was really fun. The Odyssey runs on the collectibles, Power Moons. Power Moons fuel the Odyssey so Mario can travel to new kingdoms. They can be acquired by defeating bosses, solving puzzles, playing games, or just doing something completely random. One of my favorite missions was when I had to wear a poncho and sombrero so I could play in a mariachi band. What’s great about Power Moons is that they are everywhere. There are so many, I am nowhere near close to finding them all, making it a fun challenge for completionists.
Throughout Super Mario Odyssey, Mario fights a multitude of bosses. The most common of these are the Broodals. These are a group of four or five rabbit wedding planners that can be defeated by knocking off their hats and jump on there heads three times. Interestingly, the Broodals use different attacks and become more challenging the more Mario progresses, which made Odyssey more challenging. Other than them, the bosses are almost always thematically tied to the kingdom they occupy, from the metallic wiggler in the Metro Kingdom, to the dark, scary dragon in the Ruined Kingdom. The majority of these non-Broodal fights involve capturing an enemy or throwing Cappy at something to defeat. The Final Bowser fight is just cool. I won’t spoil it here, but it’s amazing!!
Super Mario Odyssey has a personality like nothing I’ve ever seen! Like I said earlier, players can dress Mario and Cappy in many different outfits, but they can also take fun screenshots of them in Snapshot Mode, the game’s built in photo mode. You can add filters, adjust the angle, and zoom in and out. It can lead to some really funny shots! Not only that, the game is just funny in general. For example, at the end of the game, Mario and Bowser ask Peach for her affection; Bowser with Piranha Plants, and Mario with a normal flower. Peach turns down both of them leaving them in shock and their jaws drop, but the Piranha Plants’ jaws also drop too! And there are tons of these moments in Odyssey!
Super Mario Odyssey is a system seller that will help launch the Nintendo Switch into a class of its own. Nintendo as a company has really been innovating in good ways these past few years, and it shows in Odyssey! As much as I’ve talked about this game, it’s only scratching the surface. This is one of, if not the best, 3D platformer I’ve ever played in a long time and arguably the best Mario game.
Score: 9.8/10 – Spectacular
The only reason Odyssey doesn’t have a perfect score is because of how it almost demands that you play with motion controls, which is awful and unnecessary. Other than that, this game is perfect and personally one of my favorites.