Mario, Mario, Mario. What are we going to do with you? You’ve jumped, rolled, karted, and spun your way into our hearts through the many worlds and galaxies that Nintendo has thrown at us from the NES to the Nintendo Switch. And through it all, we’ve been through journeys and experiences, learning about the nation’s capitals to blasting knock-off versions of Mario characters with energy blasters- that’s Mario’s Missing and Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle for you- what better way to go with Mario than to different worlds and get a catchy big band song while doing so?
Super Mario Odyssey, developed by Nintendo, is a 3D platformer that harks a return to the semi-open world that Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine had, while keeping it polished with new and old game play mechanics and gimmicks. Run, jump, dive, and capture the bodies of your enemies and friends as you save the princess from an awful wedding between kingdoms.
The story is the Mario formula, Princess Peach is kidnapped by the king of the Koopas, Bowser, and you play as the titular hero to save the day. But this time, Bowser is going all out on a gigantic wedding, complete with posters, wedding planners, and a campaign to steal wedding items around the world before marrying on the moon. Mario and Bowser duke it out, but in a twist, Bowser throws Mario off of his airship and- gasp- shreds Mario’s classic red cap. As Mario tumbles, a strange being called “Cappy” tries and saves the Italian plumber. Cappy explains that his sister “Tiara”, was captured by Bowser and the two agree to work together. They set off in pursuit in a hat shaped ship against Bowser through various locales throughout the world in hopes of, as always, saving the princess from the tyrant’s clutches.
The gameplay is fresh yet familiar in its simplicity. It can be described as easy to pick up and hard to master. Mario can jump in the usual way; either with a rhythmic jump button press a la Super Mario Galaxy, crouch, side jump, and backflip his way around levels. New abilities like slam jumping and diving in midair gives Mario different variations of jumps. A neat addition that Nintendo added was the retro levels; in certain areas, different pipes brings Mario to the 2D pixels he was for specific and classic platforming sections. Your job is to collect Power Moons all around the kingdoms, from the main missions and boss fights to exploring the area itself by using the camera and hints scattered across the area. From easy to hard, collect all the moons to unlock a special final level in the game. Collectible Kingdom Coins are used for costumes or decorations on your hat shaped ship, the Odyssey.
Speaking of hats, let’s talk about Cappy. His gimmick is you can throw your cap shaped comrade at enemies for damage and coins, hold him in place for an added leap off, or capturing your enemies. By doing so, you possess objects, particular enemies in the world, and are able to manipulate or use their powers to your advantage. For example, say you need to get a particular ledge but it’s too tall. But, there are a bunch of Goombas hanging around. By possessing one and jumping on the others, you are able to create a stack of Goombas to get to that ledge and continue on. It is essential in Mario Odyssey to explore and use your abilities creatively to get the most out of this game.
I can’t talk about Mario Odyssey without gushing about the worlds themselves. From Cascade Kingdom to New Donk City, each location you get to explore through is a different art style that blends with the cartoon themes of Mario. Even New Donk City, which has regular humans walking the streets in its metropolis glory, fits into the roster of kingdoms. Even the realistic Ruined Kingdom fits as a dramatic boss stage. Each one stands out and fits in with clashing and matching personalities.
Mario’s foray into new lands, new friends, and entirely different system is a great first start into the Nintendo Switch’s library. If you recently got one, it’s a must buy, alongside Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The glitz, glamor, hours of fun, and acknowledged nostalgia makes this another great title in the Mario library. Nintendo, you did well with this game, as always.
Super Mario Odyssey was released on October 27th, 2017. It is rated E+10 and is priced for $59.99