I know that I am a little late to the party on this one but being that I am incredibly opinionated I have to throw my hat into the ring (pun intended). A little back story first on why people are so excited about this game. Nintendo has been focusing on what made Mario great and brought him back to his roots to the platforming genre for quite sometime. It worked well for a while with the “New” Super Mario games, Mario 3D world and Mario 3D Land. They were able to bring a new-look for Mario in the 3D platformer genre while re-introducing everyone to why Mario is the king of platforming.
I’m glad Nintendo went back to the sandbox environment from previous titles like Mario Sunshine and of course Mario 64. Super Mario Odyssey was released October 27th, 2017 and was one of the Nintendo Switch’s most anticipated title releases aside from Legend Of Zelda Breath Of The Wild. We haven’t seen a Mario title with the sandbox environment since Mario Sunshine which was released back in July 2002. A lot of people argue that the Galaxy series were like sandbox titles but they were a bit too linear to be considered true sandbox titles. So, the bottom line is should you buy Super Mario Odyssey? Let’s go over a few things and find out.
Same Ole Song And Dance
Let’s begin with the storyline. Everyone knows how Mario braves the environment by stomping on little goombas, smacking ugly turtle things around and eventually going against the big bad himself, Bowser, because he kidnapped Princess Peach. If you’re looking for a different story element than that you will be very disappointed. It’s really the same thing as it has been for decades now but with a little bit of a twist. Bowser intends to marry the princess!! Think about what their children would look like! Actually, don’t think about that at all. That will give you nightmares. I like that there’s that bit of a twist to the whole Bowser kidnapping the princess shtick but at the end of the day it’s still the same thing for the most part. Eventually, after a fight with Bowser we find out hero Mario thrown from Bowser’s ship left to his demise.
Of course, Mario lives and finds himself in a strange new kingdom and comes across Cappy. We find out that Cappy’s sister Tiara was kidnapped by Bowser also and placed on Peach’s head as a wedding gift. It’s really messed up the more you think about it. Now with an ally, Mario sets off on his quest to rescue both Princess Peach and Cappy’s sister Tiara and stop the wedding of nightmares. What kept my interest in the story was the addition of Cappy and Tiara, we haven’t really seen anyone outside of Mario and friends go after Bowser before. Although it’s only a bit of a tweak to the formula, it works and makes the story a little more fleshed out.
Gameplay And Mechanics
With each Mario release, there is always the excitement to see the cool new things Mario can do. Sunshine had the Flood, Galaxy had the hopping between worlds aspect and Mario 3D world had…..cat suits. Lots and lots of cat suits. With this game, Mario’s new friend Cappy is a part of the core game mechanic. You can throw him at enemies, toss him in the air and jump on top to reach higher places and when you throw him at certain objects or enemies you possess that object or enemy. Not only is that an incredibly original idea but it is also a lot of fun to do. You will find yourself possessing as many things as possible with your playthrough of this game. You can’t possess everything but the things you can are plentiful. I could not stop smiling at how much a simple mechanic can lead to hours of fun going from being a lava flame, a hammer bro, a chain chomp or even a rocket ship!
Throwing Cappy around never got old to me because you can get creative with the moves at your disposal. The controls are very tight and intuitive, if you fall off a stage you know it’s due to no one’s fault but your own. Mario’s triple jump makes a return of course as well as his backflip. That round little guy is more athletic than I will ever be (sigh). If you enjoyed how Mario controlled in Mario 64 than you will love how he controls in this game. You never feel that you’re not in control of Mario at any given time. That in itself is really important because with good controls you’ll never get taken out of the game’s ambiance and the world as you’re playing. The camera for this game is very fluid, while you’re running through the worlds you will see everything you need to at just about any given moment. There are retro segments in the game as well and in these parts of the game, the camera will be of great service to you. It will allow you to look around your 8-bit environment in such a way that you will be able to see a lot of hidden passages or items.
I’ll use this as a segway to explain the 8 bit parts I just talked about. Nintendo knows how to play to everyone’s nostalgia on Mario’s early days and they hit the ball out of the park within this title. They have placed little challenges that take you from being Mario from today and puts him back into the 8 bit Mario sprite from days of yore. You go around these parts collecting more coins and finding even more moons. I am a sucker for these parts because that was the Mario I grew up within the NES days. My favorite part is when you go through this 8-bit challenge in New Donk City. The reason I love it so much is because you find yourself playing as 8 bit Mario and you get to listen to the full song of Jump Up Super Star performed by Kate Higgins. This song was stuck in my head for days and I did not mind one bit.
This game has some amazing concepts going for it which include new collectibles. As per every Mario game you go around collecting coins, how boring. This time you actually use these coins to buy stuff from hats to shirts. You can go around collecting these coins as well as coins that are unique to each kingdom. They stand out by being a completely different color purple. These purple coins act just the same as their golden brothers where you can buy new hats and shirts. Being these coins are unique to their respective kingdom you can buy items at shops that you can’t find in any other kingdom. This right here had me caring about collecting coins in a Mario title. It no longer feels like a mundane task that is only good for getting an extra life for every 100 collected.
The last collectible I want to talk about is, of course, the outfits you can nab throughout the game. I don’t think anyone ever knew they wanted to dress or even see Mario in anything other than his normal overalls and hat. Here we are though and this is something that adds another great aspect to the game. You can buy outfits like a pirate outfit, an astronaut outfit even a lab coat with jeans kind of outfit. There are more updates for the game that add new outfits coming very often and keeps the player waiting just to see what else they can buy with their hard-earned coins. I never thought I would keep returning to a game I have already beaten just to see what other things I can collect and what other outfits I can buy.
The new addition to the Mario franchise is a welcomed breath of fresh air. It has so many things crammed into one game that it is impossible to get bored with this game. Not to say it is without flaws. My biggest flaw is with the storyline, it has been done to death with Mario rescuing Peach that you have to wonder if Nintendo has just run out of ideas for storytelling when it comes to the Mario series. I believe it was a missed opportunity where Nintendo could have taken the story to so many other places. The story is incredibly short as well, if you have a free weekend you can finish the campaign before the end of the weekend. The game does focus more on exploring and collecting in which it shines like a diamond or a gold coin. So to answer the question I possed earlier, should you buy Super Mario Odyssey? Yes! If you have a Switch I highly encourage you to go pick up this game. If you don’t own a Switch I highly encourage you to go buy one and pick up this game as well.
There is a special Nintendo Switch Mario Odyssey edition that you can purchase. It comes with everything you need, the download code for Mario Odyssey so you don’t need a physical copy, the system, the joy cons and also a carrying case! You can buy it right on Amazon.
If you have this game and have played it or have any questions leave a comment below. I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts and opinions.
All4Gamerz score for Mario Odyssey: 9/10