Super Mario Odyssey Review

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Mario has finally made his way to the Nintendo Switch in a brand-new adventure with a new twist. Find out what we thought in our Super Mario Odyssey Review.

Release Date October 27, 2017
Genre Platformer
Platforms Switch
Developer Nintendo EPD
Price $59.99 US
ESRB Rating Everyone
Players 1-2 Players

 

Mario is a character that is older than I am. He’s one of the most beloved characters in all of video games so you can understand why a lot of people might have been disappointed when they found out that we wouldn’t be seeing a Mario game on the Nintendo Switch at launch. We didn’t have to wait too long though as his next adventure has finally arrived! This iconic character has been involved in some crazy adventures, but I can honestly say that Super Mario Odyssey is one of the craziest ones yet – and that’s a good thing.

Super Mario Odyssey Review
Mario travels between Kingdoms in his Odyssey ship.

Odyssey takes a different approach to gameplay than the last handful of games by returning to the 3D sandbox formula of Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine. While it does have a similar feel to those games, Nintendo has done a lot to make this one stand on its own like mixing 2D gameplay in a 3D world and even a new capture mechanic that breathes new life into the tried and true Mario formula.

Super Mario Odyssey Review
Bowser returns as the main villain in Super Mario Odyssey.

The capture mechanic in Super Mario Odyssey all starts with Mario’s new companion/hat, Cappy. Cappy is a hat with a soul who wants to teams up with Mario to take down their common threat of Bowser who has kidnapped Cappy’s sister Tiara and Princess Peach. It’s a charming story, but nothing that different from what we’ve seen before. Cappy is quite unlike anything we’ve seen before, though. His capture mechanic allows you to possess a variety of characters and objects by simply throwing him at whatever you’d like to capture. This puts Mario’s body into the enemy and gives you complete control over their powers replacing the need for power-up blocks of the numerous other Mario titles. Cappy can also be used as a weapon and a jumping pad giving Mario a bit more versatility.

I’m not going to spoil some of the best captures that are to be discovered in Super Mario Odyssey, but I will say that these moments are some of the most enjoyable parts of the games. Whether it was causing destruction with a realistic T-rex early on in the game or swimming around as a Cheep Cheep, there’s no shortage of fun possessions that change the way you play the game on a regular basis. It’s one of the few Mario games that I’ve played that didn’t feel repetitive during my entire playthrough because there was always a new element being introduced multiple times in each world.

Super Mario Odyssey Review
Yes, Mario can become a T-Rex. No, it doesn’t have to make sense.

Super Mario Odyssey includes an ode to the past with the integration of 2D gameplay within the 3D worlds. Every time Mario enters a pixelated pipe, he ends up being transported to a 2D space complete with 8-bit art reminiscent of the original Super Mario Bros. game. They even include Mario’s new costumes which all translate to 8-bit wonderfully. All of these 2D sequences take place on the surface of an object in the 3D world and it’s done in such an organic way that it doesn’t feel gimmicky at all to me. Most of these sequences sadly aren’t too long, but they do add new elements to this type of gameplay that haven’t been utilized before such as switching gravity and wrapping the scene around a 3D object. It would have been easy to just add 2D portions without changing any of the mechanics, but the development team went even further and I appreciated that attention to detail in what was a small portion of the game.

The worlds in Super Mario Odyssey are fantastically crafted and perfect for exploration. There are forest areas, beaches, underwater areas, snowy areas, and even an urban area in the Metro Kingdom which was by far the most interesting place to visit in the game. Mario has never been in an urban area before and this it’s so fascinating to see him among the other normal sized humans walking around. Mario can do things like flinging himself off poles, ride electricity lines, bounce off car hoods, and drop into sewers. There is even a jump rope challenge and an RC car race. It’s the most outside the box Mario level I’ve ever experienced and yet, I loved it. I hope that Nintendo continues to experiment with things like this for the series in the future as it really feels like nothing is impossible in a Mario game at this point.

Super Mario Odyssey Review
Capturing a stack of Goombas is oddly satisfying.

One of the best things about Super Mario Odyssey is just how much there is to do in the game. Collecting coins (and the new purple coins) actually mean something in this game as they allow you to buy costumes and other items they may help you get new Power Moons (which allow you to travel to new kingdoms depending on how many you collect). The main plot doesn’t take a crazy amount of time to complete if you’re trying to just get to the finish, about 20-25 hours depending on how you go about it. You can continue collecting Power Moons even after the credits roll. There are hundreds to go around and some are quite tricky to acquire. Even when you’re paying attention to every little area of a map, you’re still bound to miss a bunch of moons. After the main game is complete, there are even more unlockables to obtain and entirely new worlds to explore. The game is full of secrets and will keep you busy for a lot longer than you expect.

If I had any complaints about Super Mario Odyssey, most of them center around the camera. It’s simply an annoyance often times and doesn’t follow you like you’d like it to. This is even more of an issue when playing with a second player where the game becomes a slog as one person has to worry about controlling the camera which often gets you into trouble with enemies. The other thing is that Odyssey is fairly easy. I know that Nintendo probably would like this to be accessible to the masses, but I really think that something like a Hard Mode would be a great way to allow more experienced gamers to get more of a challenge.

Super Mario Odyssey Review
One of the many bunny bosses in the game.

Super Mario Odyssey is everything I wanted a new entry in the Mario franchise to be. It’s familiar and yet it still feels new with the introduction of Cappy. I enjoyed this game thoroughly and it’s one of the few games this year that I’ve had a hard time putting down. It’s pure fun from start to finish and offers a ton of reasons to come back and play even after you’ve finished the main story. This may be my favourite Mario game of all-time. It’s original, it’s innovative, and it’s just flat out weird at times, and that’s what makes it so much fun. It’s a masterpiece for the Switch and I recommend it to everyone. 

*A copy of this game was provided to FYIG by Nintendo for review purposes*

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