Better late than never. This one is a special review, I purposefully avoided all content over the past few months so that I could go into Super Mario Odyssey completely blind and I am so glad that I did. Not only do I find myself now playing this game daily but every single time I play I discover something new and fun which really is what an actual Odyssey is all about. So, no time for chit chat, Let’s-a-go!
The story of this game- ok I don’t want to insult everyone’s intelligence by recounting the story of A kidnapping B so C must go rescue them so let’s just state that it’s your typical Mario formula. The difference this time around however comes in the fact that instead of Mr King Koopa wanting to simply capture Peach he actually wants to marry her this time, not exactly sure what the appeal here is. In his efforts to stop this plan Mario is stranded in a new land without his hat, luckily he just so happens to come across the ghostly being known as Cappy who has a shared interest in stopping this wedding. With this in place Mario and Cappy start their adventure across the entire globe, meeting new people, fighting new enemies and generally exploring brand new landscapes. While it is the same formula I can’t fault the effectiveness of giving us a simple goal to work towards as the entire main story seems to feel like a big cat and mouse game. There’s even some extremely interesting set-pieces that Bowser throws our way to make things a bit more of a challenge for Mario and his partner. It’s servicable, there’s a reason why this formula has stood the test of time. What is most important to take into consideration however is the fact that this is just the main story of the game which in actuality is a small portion compared to what the game actually offers so keep that in mind.
The presentation of this game is absolutely stellar as a main Mario title should. The graphics look crisp, clean and vibrant with plenty of colour and variation in the places that you visit. I absolutely adore just how different each world feels with not just how it looks but with how the societies that live in them are all unique and interesting. These seem less like stages and more like actual worlds that people live in. Some of these places, like New Donk City, are sure to become staples in the Mario game timelines from here on out. The music too is absolutely incredible, I often found myself humming along to pretty much every track that played in the game. I even found myself singing when not playing the game and that is a tricky thing to pull off. I also appreciate the fact that you can listen to any music from the game at any time simply by pulling up a menu. This game also uses nostalgia very well that doesn’t feel as though it’s pandering but instead adds to the game and the theming of it. Several sections in the game require you to enter a two-dimensional space and play a similar rendition to the original Super Marios Bros and there’s even an entire world you can eventually go to that is basically a giant nostalgia goldmine. If you are a Mario fan then this game feels almost tailor-made for you and that is extremely appreciative.
The gameplay is the biggest pull for Mario games and to no surprise at all this is one of the best aspects of this entry. The biggest change is the focus on Cappy who sits upon Mario’s head taking the form of whatever hat he chooses. From there he can perform maneuvers such as collecting coins that are out of reach, hitting small enemies or even holding in place to act like a mobile jump pad. The biggest thing about him however is his ability to possess the body of any enemy in the game that isn’t wearing a hat. Each enemy you take control by doing this has their own set of mechanics, gameplay styles and attacks to provide a huge variety of things to do in the game. You can take control of a goomba and use it to stack on top of others to complete puzzles, take control of a tank and the game becomes a third-person shooter, take control of a living fireball and swim through molten lava, the possibilites are endless. This game really treats the mechanics of taking control of other enemies as it’s sole focus rather than just a neat gimmick and goes absolutely wild to give you so many things to do. There’s even a collection of enemies you have taken control of, showing just how much they want you to do this. As I also mentioned the exact amount of things to do in this game is absurd. You complete each level by collecting Moons which are essentially this game’s equivalent of stars however you can get them by completing minigames, doing story objectives or even just finding them around the area. There’s so many of these things that completing the story will only nab you around 10-15% of the amount of Moons available which is crazy. The replayability in this game is a huge focus allowing you to keep exploring the lands and find new Moons, relive story moments and even re-fight bosses again which is something I’ve always loved and wanted in a Mario game. Movement and control is also very well handled as Mario has a lot more moves available to him thanks to Cappy and the Switch controllers feel natural and comfortable when using them in this game as two seperate controllers. There’s even a pseudo local multiplayer that allows one person to control Mario and another to control Cappy. If you’re looking for a game that will keep you occupied and satisfied for a long period of time then Odyssey is certainly not a bad choice.
In terms of negatives about the game the only thing I could really say is that in comparison to the whole game the main story does feel a bit short, though that’s more of a point in favour of the game at just how much post-game content there is. The other thing is that as with all 3D platformers the camera sometimes refuses to behave and causes an undeserved death. This rarely happened to me but when it did it was certainly frustrating, however it didn’t detract from the overall game at all for me.
This game then, truly it lives up to the legacy that it continues. I’m so glad I took my time and went into this with a clear head and no spoilers as Super Mario Odyssey is absolutely an incredible game. From the gorgeous presentation to the incredible fun gameplay and the massive amount of content to keep you busy if you own a Switch I simply implore you to buy this game and let yourself enjoy the adventure. Now all we need to wonder about is how on earth will they top this for the next game, only Nintendo knows.