After what feels like a very long wait, Super Mario Odyssey is finally here! But does it live up to the hype?
The game wastes no time in getting started, beginning with Bowser stepping up his creep game by not only kidnapping Princess Peach, but forcing her to marry him too. From then on, Mario is thrown together with an adorable talking hat called Cappy and whisked away on a whirlwind adventure across a series of wonderful kingdoms on the Odyssey—his hat shaped ship.
Each bizarre and magical location you visit will be packed full of the game’s main collectable, Power Moons. They’re sometimes in obvious locations or can be unlocked via certain challenges, but many may have you scratching your head figuring out where the next one could possibly be. To progress through certain points in the game, you’ll need to hunt down a set number of Power Moons, but as each area has a fair amount of them for you to collect, you’ll find that there will still be loads to grab even after you’ve hit your quota. There’s no doubt that this game will be keeping completionists coming back for a long time.
Mario games are constantly evolving, and Odyssey is no different. Exploration is an absolute joy and your new friend Cappy brings a lot more to Mario’s established arsenal thanks to his boomerang-like abilities. You’ll be able to find hidden coins, jump higher, smash and even capture certain enemies, which allows you to take control of them and access areas you may have completely missed. Cappy isn’t only a cute mascot—he’s an asset to have by your side and one that is even better when a second player joins you on your quest. Player two can take control of the loveable hat, which is not only great fun, but also incredibly useful. I played as Cappy for a considerable amount of time and have really enjoyed the experience.
At certain points during your journey, you’ll drop down a pipe and find yourself in an 8-bit Mario Bros. style area. These 2D platforming segments are short, almost too short, but they are immensely satisfying. They remind you not only of how far Mario has come over the years, but also just how fantastic the franchise has always been. There’s one section that is particularly memorable in New Donk City, but I’ll let you find and enjoy that moment for yourself.
What’s an adventure without being able to do some shopping? Grabbing some new duds for Mario and Cappy is not only entertaining, it’s also a must if you’re aiming to get every Power Moon, as certain areas require you to be dressed in a certain way. Each Kingdom you visit has its own shop, with items that you can only buy using their unique currency. These items range from clothing and stickers, to statues for the Odyssey.
There are also a few, rather addictive mini-games for you to enjoy, including a remote-control car race, jump rope and volleyball… I may or may not have poured a few hours into them. To make each one more compelling, every mini-game has its own online leaderboard, allowing you to see how you rank among other players and of course, your friends – which is great for more competitive players. Overall, Mario’s latest journey is aimed at everyone, from the hardcore gamer to the casual, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. If you’re someone who is looking for a challenge, then there’s plenty of unique obstacles awaiting you once you’ve completed the main story, as well as hundreds of Power Moons to collect, several of which are hidden behind some rather difficult platforming sections.
This fantastical adventure is not only a pleasure to play, it looks and sounds amazing, running smoothly both docked and in handheld mode. The soundtrack, as with most Nintendo titles, is memorable and a whole lot of fun, with the game’s theme song ‘Jump Up, Super Star’ being a standout track—even making it into the iTunes Top 40.
In 2017, the Switch reignited my love for Nintendo and now—a few months later—my love for Mario. From start-to-finish, Odyssey impressed me with its incredible level design, colourful characters, fantastic soundtrack, and wonderful ideas. Most impressive of all is how it all comes together so neatly, with so much to do. Considering Odyssey’s many different aesthetics, this game could’ve been a complete mess, but it isn’t. It still oozes charm and the developers have managed to keep everything under control.
No matter what sort of gamer you are, Mario Odyssey is a must-play game. 2017 is without a doubt, the year of Nintendo!