Super Mario Odyssey Review

Super Mario Odyssey captures the essence of a Mario game: platforming and fun. With multiple kingdoms, over 800 objectives, and new mechanics never before seen in a Mario game, Nintendo has really knocked it out of the park.

Travellin’ Round the World

Super Mario Odyssey starts off like any other Mario game: Bowser has kidnapped Princess Peach, and it’s up to Mario to save her. Only this time, Bowser doesn’t stay in a castle, waiting for Mario to show up. Instead, he’s on a ship, going around the world in an effort to steal supplies for his attempt at marrying Peach.

Mario manages to get on the ship, only to be thrown off of it by Bowser into the Cap Kingdom, where he meets Cappy, a hat-wearing ghost. Cappy also has a stake here, since Bowser kidnapped his sister and put her into a tiara, which he forces Peach to wear. Cappy agrees to help Mario, and takes over his cap (which was torn up by Bowser).

After defeating one of the broodals, who are a group of rabbits in charge of planning Bowser’s wedding, Cappy tells Mario that they can chase after Bowser using the Odyssey, which is in the next kingdom over. The Odyssey is a ship like Bowser’s, only a bit smaller, and it runs on power moons.

Mario and Cappy find the Odyssey, and chase Bowser all over the world, collecting power moons and defeating broodals along the way. Eventually, they manage to stop the wedding and save the day.

The story mode of Mario Odyssey is short, and can easily be completed in a week of casual play. The real meat, however, is the post game content. Only 120 or so moons are required to reach the final kingdom, but there are 880 moons that can be found. So there is a lot more to do with Mario and Cappy after defeating Bowser.

Past Affecting Future

Super Mario Odyssey is the first open-world Mario game since Sunshine in 2002, and Nintendo has clearly taken inspiration from the previous games. In Mario Odyssey, you can roam around a vast open world and find moons in practically every nook and cranny. Unlike 64 and Sunshine, you don’t have to pick the moon you go for. Instead, every moon is available from the moment you enter the kingdom.

Speaking of the kingdoms, there are a total of 18 in Odyssey, with two being used mostly for boss fights. Each kingdom has a theme, ranging from Desert, to Lake, to even Food. The inhabitants of each kingdom also reflect the theme. For example, the residents of Luncheon Kingdom, the food kingdom, are fork-shaped chefs.

In certain places, you can go into one of Mario’s trademark pipes and transform into a 2D version, much like the original Super Mario Brothers on the NES. In these sections, your moveset is limited, only letting you run and jump – the very basics of Mario gameplay.

Run Jump and Cap-ture

Super Mario Odyssey has a large moveset. Mario’s standard jumps are facilitated with the help of Cappy. Mario can throw Cappy and dive onto him, for a height boost in almost any normal jump. Mario’s non-Cappy jumps have also been improved. The tried and tested moves like the ground pound and backflip are featured in this game, along with new moves such as a reworked dive.

Almost every Mario game has a gimmick. This game’s gimmick is capturing. Cappy can be thrown towards enemies, capturing them. Mario then possesses the enemy, allowing the player to control it and use its abilities, like jumping higher when possessing a frog. Captures are used extensively throughout the game, with a lot of moons only being accessible with a capture. I think it’s an interesting mechanic and would love to see it make a comeback in future games. (Potentially a sequel to Odyssey?)

Movement in Mario Odyssey has certainly improved since the previous 3D games. It feels very fluid and it looks cool too (when pulled off right, of course). Parkouring around the world is great fun, and it will undoubtedly lead you to discover more secrets and moons.

Cha-ching!

Mario Odyssey finally gives us a use for all the coins you accumulate throughout the game. A chain of stores named Crazy Cap has been introduced in this game, letting players spend their gold coins on clothes and caps that they can wear at any time.

Gold coins can be found anywhere in the world, but there are also regional purple coins. These purple coins can only be used in the kingdom in which they are found, and they let you buy souvenirs and outfits related to that region. For example, you can buy a caveman outfit with regional coins in the Cascade Kingdom, a sort of prehistoric themed area.

An Open World to Rival the Real World

Super Mario Odyssey perfects the art of the open-world game. Every corner of a kingdom is brimming with life. Even the dead and abandoned kingdoms (such as the Ruined Kingdom) have a sense of personality. The moons scattered throughout the world often play into the environment, giving off the feeling that the world is truly alive. NPCs go through their own struggles, and some even have a miniature story arc that progresses with the game. A lot of secret areas exist as well, usually rewarding you with regional coins or yet another moon. Indeed, it’s hard to play this game without discovering something new every time.

In conclusion, Super Mario Odyssey is one of, if not the best Mario game to date. New mechanics, new fun, and new companions make for a wonderful experience. I would definitely recommend it, unless you heavily dislike open world games.

Super Mario Odyssey can be found on the Nintendo eShop here.

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