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- Mario has long been a bankable character for Nintendo and the brand has managed to keep his storyline fresh and interesting.
- Super Mario Odyssey (currently $49.99 on Amazon) is the latest Mario game to be released for the Nintendo Switch, and it’s a slightly different take on the character we know and love.
- After playing the game for a few weeks, I think Super Mario Odyssey is easily one of the best games for Nintendo Switch, both for new players and long-time Mario fans.
Mario has long been one of Nintendo’s most bankable franchise characters, thanks to classics like the early Super Mario Bros. games and more recent hits like New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe. The most recent title, however, is different from both of those.
Super Mario Odyssey (currently $49.99 on Amazon) is a 3D adventure, similar to the now-classic Super Mario 64, rather than a 2D side-scrolling game like the Mario games most players are probably used to. Since its release, the game has gotten rave reviews, so we’ve been playing Super Mario Odyssey for the last few weeks to find out if it lives up to the hype.
Setup and initial impressions
Setting up Super Mario Odyssey is simple – just put the game cartridge into your Nintendo Switch, fire up the game, and hit “Start.” You’ll watch a short video that tells the story of how Bowser beat Mario, destroyed his hat, and kidnapped Peach in the process. You’ll then get taught how to play the game and team up with a new character called Cappy, who becomes Mario’s new hat and companion for the game.
Super Mario Odyssey looks and feels great. Once you get over the initial learning curve of controlling a character in a new game, you’ll find it easy to get Mario from point A to point B and overall gameplay felt natural. In classic Nintendo fashion, the graphics are fun and beautifully designed, but doesn’t delve into the photo realism that you might find on a more powerful console like the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One.
Naturally, the overall goal of the game is to find Bowser and rescue Peach, but to get to Bowser in the first place, you’ll have to go through each Kingdom and collect Power Moons to power your ship called the Odyssey.
Giving Mario a new companion is a cool take on the classic character and gives him a range of new abilities too. Turns out that when you throw Cappy the magical hat at a creature or character, you become that character and inhabit its abilities to solve new puzzles. You can also throw Cappy at enemies to get them out of the way or use Cappy to help Mario jump further and higher than usual.
There are other changes to Mario too. For example, in each world, you can collect coins and buy different “Caps” and other clothing to give Mario your own spin. Thankfully, you don’t have to spend real money here – and it’s really nice to see Nintendo do away with microtransactions, which are rampant in 2019.
It also makes collecting the different coins worth it. You may not care too much about giving Mario a different outfit and I actually like his classic look anyway, but it’s still a fun spin on the game. You might end up needing to tweak his outfit for different story elements, so it’s still worth collecting as many coins as possible.
The best thing about Super Mario Odyssey is how beautifully creative it is. That’s not just in the design either – it’s in the gameplay too. Graphics are colorful and fun, with each kingdom having its own unique look and feel. We loved the Lake Kingdom, in which you’ll swim for much of the time, just as much as the Metro Kingdom, a city modeled after New York City with high-rise buildings, cabs, and businesspeople all over the place.
You’ll need to get creative too if you want to unlock all the Power Moons. There are hundreds of ways to unlock potentially dozens of different Power Moons in each level. It’s unlikely you’ll unlock all of them the first time playing through the game (and you don’t have to unlock all of them to get to the next level), but for the completionists among us, you won’t get bored trying to find all the different Power Moons in each level.
The fact that there’s so much to explore is easily one of the most compelling things about this game. You’ll love playing it through the third time just as much as you did the first time – and there’s a ton to do after you’ve “finished” the game. After the credits roll, you can go back and find all of the Power Moons you may have missed, discover new things in each Kingdom, and more.
Playing Super Mario Odyssey after finishing the game is arguably even more fun than before the credits – simply because there’s still so much more you can play.
What we didn’t like
There’s almost nothing we didn’t like about this game, but the only thing to consider is that motion controls are required for some of the moves. If you’re using a Pro Controller or the Switch in handheld mode, you’ll be limited in some of the moves you can do, but you’ll still get through the game perfectly fine.
The bottom line
Nintendo has hit a true home run with Super Mario Odyssey. The game is not only beautifully designed but it’s super fun to play, and you’ll discover something new each time you play it through. There are new things to enjoy, like the new moves that you get with Cappy, but anyone who’s played previous 3D Mario games will feel immediately at home.
In my opinion, Super Mario Odyssey is the best Mario game ever. Maybe that’s up for debate, but the fact of the matter stands – Super Mario Odyssey is an absolute masterpiece and worth checking out for Mario fans and newbies alike.
Pros: Great story, awesome new moves, super creative design, immediately fun
Cons: Motion controls needed for some moves