Super Mario Odyssey (Switch)

We can always count on Nintendo to make a quality 3D Mario experience, but this time, the success of their newest hardware is on the line.

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  • System: Nintendo Switch
  • Genre: Platformer
  • Max Players: 1, 2
  • Age Rating: Everyone 10+
  • US Release: October, 2017
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Similar Games: A Hat in Time

I don’t remember the last time I spent over nine months in anticipation of a game. I haven’t been this excited for a videogame (or dare I say, anything?) for a very long time.

The bar was set incredibly high for Super Mario Odyssey. I think we can all agree that Nintendo will deliver an enjoyable experience when it comes to their 3D Mario titles, but doing that alone wouldn’t be enough here. Odyssey was set to be the Switch’s proudest exclusive work—the first game you think of when it comes to games that can only be played on the Switch (especially considering that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild can be played on a Wii U). If the game flopped, it would negatively impact the console’s potential to sell as a whole. A lot was on the line for the public image and general well-being of the Switch—Nintendo had to create something outstanding.

(Spoiler alert: They did.)

Part of the pressure was on them, though. They went as hard as they possibly could when it came to the marketing, and their advertisement strategy for the trailers was absolute genius: Keep the audience guessing, and fill it up with as much gameplay as possible.

At the very least, it got people to talk about the game. I’m sure the music video helped, too.

The game was released worldwide on Friday, October 27th, 2017. Nintendo even made a bundle release to sell the Switch, a digital copy of the game, and an Odyssey-themed carrying case all together.

In case you’ve vanished from the gaming scene for about a year (It’s been that long, hasn’t it? The Switch Presentation trailer hit the world on January 12, 2017) and don’t want to watch the two trailers, here’s a short explanation of the premise of the game.

Bowser has taken Peach yet again—this time, to drag her to their wedding, because he forgot about what happened the last time he tried doing that. Here’s the problem: In a fight with Mario, Bowser wins, kicks Mario with the force of a blue shell making a beeline for first place, and flies off.

Is it weird that this got to me? Because it did. It might’ve only taken a second in the trailer, but actually seeing it happen when I first got the game was quite the trip.

Mario’s not on his own, though—a top-hat named Cappy has beef with Bowser (who also took his sister, Tiara) as well and decides to help Mario along the adventure. Though, Cappy isn’t just some supporting character that doesn’t affect the game at all; it’s like the game is centered around the proper usage of him as a teammate. You can use him to Capture enemies, grab collectibles, and even assist in moving around!

I’m sorry if this spoiled for any of you that Mario’s hat survives the game.

The game is massive in size and scope. The main collectible of the game, Power Moons, are plentiful and will always leave you with something to do. After all, there are more moons in this game than there are stars and shines in every 3D Mario game before this one combined. The first time you play through a world, you’ll be rewarded with tons of them for exploring, or maybe even just stumble upon them by complete accident. And with levels being packed with moons, you won’t end up leaving the area and having to start over every time you find one, unlike the adventures in the past.

Each moon also has a subtitle, in case you want to ask someone how to find a specific one. There’s a list you can look at to see what you have left to get, too.

While exploring through the many different worlds in Super Mario Odyssey, it is clear to see all the thoughtfulness and labor that was put into creating them. Each level has its own unique feel, making each one stand out from the rest despite the number or worlds there are. The worlds are beautifully crafted and each have their own theme, from a city thriving in the middle of a desert to an ocean tourist town to a snowy wonderland. The graphics of Super Mario Odyssey just look so appealing to the eyes—and presentation is key in gaming these days. The first thing someone will look up when they’re interested in a game is either some gameplay, reviews, or screenshots. So much detail and thought was put into the style of everything. There wasn’t one world that I did not like graphically; there wasn’t one detail missed in the designs of each world.

There are 2D segments mixed into each level, but for some reason, despite how completely different they look from everything surrounding them, it doesn’t jut out or feel wrong. It still flows seamlessly.
Another cool thing Nintendo did with level design is mix in different sizes of worlds. You won’t always be traversing through a giant world, which helps to keep you moving through the game.
Pictured: A map of a smaller level. Notice how there’s additional information on the sides—that’s because it’s not just a map—it’s also a tourist’s pamphlet!
Not only did Nintendo make the levels themselves look good, but they also made the whole Mario cast look phenomenal as well. Nintendo did an amazing job with the attire for our cast. Bowser looks absolutely dapper in his outfit (man, any gal would be lucky to have him!) whereas Peach looks stunning in that pearly white dress (watch out boys!). And even though Mario doesn’t get a snazzy wedding outfit until the end of the game, one of the really cool features is the ability to dress Mario in a few different outfits. You can buy them in the different shops using each worlds’ own currency. This allows you to customize how Mario looks. The best part is that you can mix and match between all the different outfits, too! So if your dream was to have Mario wear a sombrero while running around in swim trunks, well, you’re in luck!
A little change of clothes can go a long way.
The game also features a “snapshot mode”, which allows you to pause the game, play with the camera, and take screenshots. Combined with your ability to dress up, this opens up so many possibilities. You can even apply wacky filters and resize it to fit your phone’s wallpaper.

Another amazing feature of Super Mario Odyssey was the addition of Mario’s new friend, Cappy. The two set out on a quest to save Peach and Cappy’s sister Tiara. With the introduction of Cappy, Nintendo has allowed for some new possibilities for gameplay: It is now possible to Cap-ture your enemies to help aid you in your travels. Hate water levels like I do? Hate them no more! Just throw Cappy onto a Cheep Cheep and cruise through the water without having to get anxiety over that drowning countdown. Tired of falling into lava and dying? Fear not! Capture a Lava Bubble and swim your way through it.

So does this mean we’re getting a Battletoads title for the Switch?

Not only does Cappy allow you to Capture your enemies, but he also allows you to pull off some sick jumps. Mario can actually flip above or bounce off Cappy, greatly increasing your mobility and allowing you reach new places faster when controlled by a skilled enough player.

In terms of controls, Mario is in peak shape as far his acrobatics go. If you’ve seen him do a jumping maneuver in the past, you can probably use it here. The triple jumps, side flips, wall kicks, long jumps all here—and performing them successfully feels great with these Joy-Cons.

Assuming that you have played one 3D Mario title in your life, it would probably be easier to talk about the changes rather than explain everything from the ground up. Mario’s dive does not deal damage to enemies and is now used by performing a ground pound, then canceling it to leap forward instead. It’s a quirky control decision (especially considering there are two “throw hat” buttons), but it also has a positive side: said dive also gives you a bit of height and speed. It may allow you to make a jump you barely couldn’t previously.

There’s only two complaints I have, and the first is that there’s no attack button—Mario can’t do his standard two punches and a kick. To be fair, he hasn’t been able to do that since Super Mario 64, so maybe we’re just supposed to forget that it exists—but it would be nice to have for the segments where you’re supposed to play hatless (though, I think there might only be two of those that have any amount of combat). The second complaint is that some actions are locked behind the motion controls, such as attacking while capturing a Cheep Cheep or performing a straight-downwards cap throw. However, very few actions are motion control-locked, and the motion controls themselves work very well.

The game also features “3D Rumble”, a mechanic much easier to experience than to read about in an article. Some collectibles are hidden in the ground, but can be scouted out through the rumbling Joy-Cons. The 3D aspect of it comes from how the rumbling becomes much more intense the closer you are to it, like a dowsing rod.

We all have different music tastes, but next time someone asks what kind of music you’re into, make sure you add “the Super Mario Odyssey soundtrack” to the list of noteworthy mentions. Obviously, music tastes differ from person to person, but it’s rather telling when the game’s soundtrack is so enjoyable that they end up making a music video for the opening before the game is even out.

Somehow, I feel like they had no idea it would catch on as much as it did.

Though, my personal favorite is Steam Gardens, which plays in the Wooded Kingdom. It doesn’t feel like Mario, but it sure feels great.

Nintendo put as much effort into this game as possible to make it a game worth being proud to own and have played, but they also put so much love into the game. You know that feeling you get when you see a detail that isn’t all that meaningful, but it’s nice that it was included? It’s like this game was made of those. And just to name a few:

It’s pretty clear that New Donk City is a tie-in to Donkey Kong, but it goes deeper than that. The steel girders around the level are the same ones from said arcade game, and the streets are even named after Donkey Kong characters.

The streetlights? They’re actually blocks. Meaning they have coins in them. There’s money hidden in the lamps.

Mario is very animated in this game and has all sorts of idle motions. If you stand close to something that plays music, he will dance.

In other news, Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix is now 100% canon.

Many of Mario’s clothes are actually clothes he has worn in the past. Many people can probably recognize that you can buy his Super Mario Maker outfit, but it goes further than that—much further.

These might be only a few examples, but it’s only a taste of the level of detail that the game contains.

We can’t sing enough praise of this game. Super Mario Odyssey exceeds all of the expectations that we had formed from the already-high bar Nintendo set for themselves. With a familiar story, an incredible soundtrack, tight controls, unique ideas, the amount of love necessary to include all the details and throwbacks to the Mario franchise, and all packed into Nintendo’s ace system exclusive for their newest hardware, not only is Super Mario Odyssey great, but it’s the perfect success story for the company that created it.

While I don’t remember when the last time was I waited nearly a year for something to be released, I cannot tell you the last time I’ve felt this much genuine glee to play a videogame. The anticipation and excitement was one thing, but actually experiencing the game myself was an incredible experience—I feel as though I’ve truly gone on an adventure.

Now that I sit here writing this, I actually realize something that hadn’t occurred to me—the Mario history is quite rich, in a way. Looking at the clothes selection alone goes to show how many wacky things Mario has done over these—what, 30-or-so years? Seeing this history continue to flourish as I continue to grow up myself is such a beautiful thing.

The only thing left now is to see how well the game’s legacy holds up. Will it be as loved (and sell as many copies) as Super Mario Galaxy (whether it be 1 or 2)? Was Odyssey actually a better or worse experience when compared to either of those?

I lied. There’s one more thing left to do now—watch the growth of the beauty that is this game’s speedrunning community. I swear to all of you, it is going to be wild.

  • GameCola Rates This Game: 10 - Perfect
1 vote, average: 10.00 out of 101 vote, average: 10.00 out of 101 vote, average: 10.00 out of 101 vote, average: 10.00 out of 101 vote, average: 10.00 out of 101 vote, average: 10.00 out of 101 vote, average: 10.00 out of 101 vote, average: 10.00 out of 101 vote, average: 10.00 out of 101 vote, average: 10.00 out of 10 (You need to be a registered member to rate this post.)
Hello world, I am Brancliff. I like long walks on the overworld and actually-thought-out YouTube comments. My goal is to become internet famous.

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