It goes without saying that since the arrival of the Nintendo Switch, there were three franchises that fans couldn’t wait to get their hands on. The first was Legend of Zelda, which came out during the Switch’s launch. The second was Super Smash Bros., which hasn’t been announced for Switch yet. And the third was Mario. From the moment we saw the teaser for the Mario Switch game in the initial “commercial” we knew something special was coming. Then we found out it was to be called Super Mario Odyssey, and the hype grew from there. But was it all worth it?
Oh yeah, it was.
Game Name: Super Mario Odyssey
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 10/27/2017
You no doubt have heard by now how amazing the game is, and even how well it’s selling, but I truly believe to understand just how great it is, you have to understand how fun it is. There is such joy and purity and fun in Super Mario Odyssey that it’s intoxicating. As I spent my time bouncing and flying from kingdom to kingdom I saw new wonders, new joys, new ways to have fun, and surprises galore! There were times when I just couldn’t stop smiling at what was going on in the game. Of the Nintendo Entertainment Podcast crew, I was the first to finish. As I wanted to “beat” the game and give a review. The other two? They’re having too much fun finding ALL the moons in the game and finding secrets, and that just proves the game is a blast to play.
There is a story, ironically enough, and it’s more than just “Princess Peach has been kidnapped!”…again. Bowser is going to try and marry her (don’t worry, they don’t go to Vegas), and to do so, he’s making sure that EVERYTHING is accounted for. And I mean everything, Bowser goes to great lengths to plan the perfect wedding, and you’ll chase him all over the world to various kingdoms to try and stop it from happening. But you don’t do it alone.
Enter Cappy, one of the denizens of the Hat Kingdom. Turns out, Bowser kidnapped his friend to be Peach’s tiara for the wedding, and when Cappy sees Mario beaten by Bowser early on, he decided to team up with him and help save both of them. Make no mistake, Cappy is a full-on character, and his ability to “capture” creatures is what really separates Super Mario Odyssey from other Mario games.
It may seem like a simple thing, and in a way it is. But as my NEP co-host Will said once, “Every new capture opens up the game even more”, and he was right. You could easily lose yourself in just trying to capture various creatures in the world and see where you can go and what you can do with them. Want to swim somewhere deep? But you know you won’t have enough air? Capture a Cheep Cheep! Need to break through some rocks? Get a Chomp-Chomp, or…
— Todd Black (@Guardians_Comic) October 29, 2017
Yeah, you can do that, and in the second level! That’s the beauty of the game, a lot of the things you’ve seen in trailers and such are available pretty quick, and allows you to explore and see new things that’ll surprise you. For example, that T-Rex? It’s going to show up in a place it really shouldn’t be.
Nintendo REALLY outdid itself with its placement of the Power Moons. These items are what you collect to fuel your flying hat ship, the Odyssey. But…though you only need a certain amount to get from level to level, there are hundreds to find, and you’ll find them in the most interesting of places. To get them all you’ll need to be observant, think like a game designer, and behold the wonder of it all when you find one you didn’t expect.
Each kingdom is beautifully designed. There’s a depth of field and detail that rivals any game out there, including Breath of the Wild, and that’s saying something! You’ll be blown away when you go to New Donk City and see just how far the city goes. Or see all the caverns and underwater tunnels of the Lake and Seaside Kingdom. It’s a truly beautiful world, and it’s teeming with life.
That’s actually something I didn’t expect, was seeing a bunch of all-new races within the game. Sure, we had known about humans officially making a debut, but there are skeletons, mermaids, sunglasses-wearing stone people, it’s good stuff. Nintendo really went far to make this world feel alive, and they succeeded.
Back to the gameplay for a second, Nintendo really pushed the mechanics far. Think “capturing” things are easy? Well, there’s a monster that’ll grab Cappy, refusing to be caught. Plus, you can’t capture all monsters, and sometimes they’re wearing things that’ll need to be knocked off in order to be captured.
Don’t want to do everything 3D style? Great! Here are some 2D sections for you. Such as…
Point is, the game is just so much fun. And it’s amplified by the music and audio of the game. Each world has its own feel, its own texture of music if you will, and you’ll find some truly amazing tracks out there. Of course, the best one for me is “Jump Up, Super Star!” sung by Mayor Pauline, and wait until you see the special level that’s dedicated to that song, it’s pure magic and nostalgia.
Now…you might be this far and think that I’m giving it a perfect score…I’m not. Not because I’m trying to break the perfect score trend, far from it. But, much like the review I gave for Breath of the Wild, I have some issues with the game.
One of them is the camera, there were many times where I was trying to accomplish something and the camera let me down in one way or another. It’s not the worst camera I’ve ever had in the game, but I did get frustrated with it at times. Many times even, including during key boss battles. Then, there’s the final battle with Bowser. Compared to other world bosses, he was tame, and that’s sad, as Bowser should be the toughest of all, but I honestly didn’t have too much of a problem beating him, and that felt wrong to me.
All that being said though, Super Mario Odyssey is by far the most fun I’ve had in a Mario game in a long time. It’s fun, full of life and wonder, and just when you think your journey is over…it’s not. After all, aren’t you the one to decide when your Odyssey is complete?
Super Mario Odyssey had a lot of potential, and it lived up to it in just about every way imaginable. Go get this game, it’s one of the best ones out there.