Before I get started, it should be stated that I have only ever personally played two Mario games in the past, being “Super Mario Bros” and “Super Mario Bros 3” on the NES. I have seen gameplay of Sunshine, Galaxy, and a couple of others, though I haven’t seen them in their entirety. With that said, let’s talk about “Super Mario Odyssey”.
Never before could I imagine that a game where you forcibly enter people and creatures without their consent could be so much fun. “Super Mario Odyssey” is a trip in itself, no pun intended. It’s a creative little game that knows what the Switch is capable of and takes advantage of that anywhere they can, for better or worse. The plot of the Mario game is the same as a few others. Bowser’s captured Peach (this time for a wedding, as he’s done in the past) and Mario has to get her back, ruining Bowser’s wedding plans in the process.
So in order to get to each individual kingdom, you need to collect a certain number of Power Moons, of which there are 999 in total across all the kingdoms. Luckily, you’ll only need to collect somewhere between 10-30, and if you’re observant or a fan of exploring, you’ll find many of them before you even finish the level. When I finished the game, I had just over 100 Power Moons, so you don’t need to collect all of them to finish the main story.
Mario’s partner in crime in this game isn’t Luigi, but Cappy. Cappy is a hat-based creature with the ability to allow Mario to possess certain enemies in each kingdom. This takes up the majority of the game as you’ll need to possess certain enemies to progress through a level. The majority of bosses in the game are the few wedding planners known as the Broodals, and I do mean a majority. Beyond the bosses, each individual world has its own theme and creatures that help you get around. Each level also has its own optional areas where you can collect Power Moons, you just have to find them.
The music is phenomenal. Every track fits the world so well it’s clear Nintendo wasn’t going to half do anything. My personal favorite tracks are in New Donk City, particularly the musical number that’s in all the advertisements, “Jump Up, Super Star!” The game is also beautiful and clean. Each world is colorful and rich with its own personality. Each kingdom is just so unique in its own way with different types of civilians and creatures, and each with its own color pallet that ensures that no two worlds are exactly alike.
Now I want to talk about the movement and mobility of the game itself. There is so much you can do with the mobility that Odyssey gives Mario, that some areas you can completely skip over if you’re good enough with the controls. Luckily, I sucked at the mobility controls, so I got the full experience. One example is an area that’s covered in ice. It’s an optional area in one of the kingdoms, and the idea is that you’re supposed to make a bunch of icicles fall in order to get to the end of the area.
However, as shown on a Twitch streamer and Youtuber DuncanKneeDeep’s 24-hour launch stream of Super Mario Odyssey (it happens early on within the first hour or two, so don’t worry about trying to find it), you can easily jump, skip, and hop your way over to the end of the level without ever needing to make the icicles fall.
There are a number of other examples of this powerful mobility Mario is gifted with, but that’s the first one that comes to mind. I also skipped over an area in a water area because the creature I possessed could soar over the area. The mobility and the possession aspects of Odyssey replace the power-ups that previous Mario games gave us in the past, and I think it’s a fair trade-off.
However, with the controls comes a certain problem. Super Mario Odyssey, control-wise, is not very mobile friendly. What I mean by this is that many controls are motion-control exclusive. This gives the problem of having to sit down somewhere and clip off the Joy-Con controllers if you want to be able to do many of the controls and prevents you from trying to pull these off while actually on the move. This is a minor gripe, but one I thought worth noting.
As much as I’d love to give praise to this game, there were a few other problems I had with it over the course of my playthrough. For starters, the game has a habit of using the same bosses a couple times, and there isn’t enough variety between the first and second time you fight these bosses to warrant their reuse. Furthermore, I found that a couple levels, particularly the Shiveria level to be far too short. One could easily complete them in a quick fifteen minutes if they were going through their first time.
Nevertheless, I do want to end this review on a positive note, so let’s wrap it all up. The difficulty of the longer levels is pretty nice, as it requires constant patience that we’ve come to expect from playing old-fashioned games. While the game goes back to its basics with the thirty-year long storyline of Bowser capturing Peach and Mario having to save the day, I don’t feel like it’s tired with this game. I feel like the added aspects of this game make the old story come back revitalized.
And I have to say this: The final level of Odyssey is absolutely perfect. The level design, the battles, the challenge, and in the final scene where the game could not get anymore crazier, it proves it wrong with one last scene where everything from the thrills to the music is unquestionably wonderful. So all in all, “Super Mario Odyssey” is a must play for fans of Mario and platform games in general.
+ Beautiful levels
+ Music you can tap your toes to
+ Massive variety in terms of controls and mobility
+ More personality than the game knows what to do with
– Repetitive bosses
– Not the most mobile-friendly game
– Some areas are far too short
Replay Value: 4/5
I adore this game. The game has rapidly gained the reputation of being one of the best, if not THE best Mario game ever created, and I can definitely see why. Sure, while it’s not an absolutely perfect game. “Super Mario Odyssey” still has a lot of charm and a lot of personality.
I mean, you got memorable tracks from the Cap Kingdom to Bowser’s Castle, mobility that gamers dream of, and a diversity of levels is why I’ve determined the game is deserving of this score. It has its drawbacks, as any good game does, but the positives of this game far outweigh its negatives, and if this is a sign of what’s to come for Nintendo on the Switch, I think it’s a fantastic way to start. With this game, I can’t wait to see what comes from Nintendo next.
Title: Super Mario Odyssey
Developer: Nintendo EPD
Format: Nintendo Switch
Genre: 3D Platformer
Resolution: 900p when docked, 720p60 when mobile
Release date: 2017-10-27
Spent time: +8 hours
Average grade internationally: 98.17% Gamerankings.com
ESRB Rating: +10
Robin Ek – Editor
I bought the game with my own money.
DuncanKneeDeep’s Twitch Stream (in case anyone wants to see what I was referring to before)
The Gaming Ground
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