Jump Up Superstar!
Mario makes a return in Super Mario Odyseey for the Nintendo Switch, his first 3D platformer since the 2010 game Super Mario Galaxy 2 on the Wii. What a fantastic return is has been. In my review I will enlight you about all the new things and what I personally liked the most about our new adventure. But first, the plotline: Peach gets kidnapped. Alright and… what is the new thing this time? Well actually Super Mario Odyseey does nothing really new in the story, it’s a game about gameplay and how it can evolve in different locations and settings really. The actual story of Super Mario Odyseey is, that Princess Peach gets kidnapped by Bowser, because Bowser wants to marry Princess Peach. In order to do so, Bowser travels from land to land to pick up all the necessities such a marriage foresees. His first item is Tiara, a living tiara that is one of many hat-ghost-like beings in the Super Mario Odyssey universe. While Mario attempts to stop Bowser, of course he fails and gets blown of Bowser’s ship. He wakes up again in the Cap kingdom where he finds cappy, another hat like ghost entity. Cappy is the brother of Tiara and of course also wants to stop Bowser. So what do our two heroes do? They take the journey together. As Mario’s signature hat got shredded in the fight against Bowser, Cappy uses his transformative abilities to take the place on Mario’s head. From then on it is a journey through various kingdoms until the final bossfight against Bowser on the best possible wedding location I can think of: the Moon.
Same old, new cover
In Super Mario Odyseey our progress is determined by collecting power moons, which we previously knew as power stars. But tomatoe tomahto (please excuse this slaughter of the written language). The power moons help us to refuel our new hat shaped ship, the Odyseey, which is taking us from world to world. On our way we meet different lands and locations, such as the famous New Donk City, a metropolitan area with big skyscrapers, or the Cascade kingdom, which has cliffs and waterfalls in it, including a sleeping Tyrannosaurus! Mario can use his well known utility set of different jumps to move throughout those lands, while also taking his new partner into his expanded moveset. Yes, cappy can be thrown and swung around, to be used as a weapon, but he can also be used as a jumping point. The most important aspect of Cappy is, that when you throw it on a controllable NPCs, you actually take over the controls of that NPC. That leads to increasingly more different gameplay aspects, such as using a giant T-Rex to open new paths, using enemies against each other with their weapons and of course also to reach places Mario himself can not reach out to on his own. There are many examples in the world and the hat aspect actually gets reflected even further into the game.
Everybody was hat-fighting
While not only Cappy helps you on your way, hats become an essential accessoir. Enemies start wearing hats so you have to hit them at least twice with Cappy, one time to get their hat of their head and one more time to actually take control of their head with your hat. If you feel dizzy reading this, I might have thrown my hat onto your head already. But for real, this game makes a great use of clothes, not only as a weapon, but also as our first time we can suit up Mario. While each world holds a vast amount of moons in it, there are also kingdom specific coins to be found and used to buy different sets of clothes for Mario. Pairs of Hats and suits are sold for those specific coins, to not only make Mario look fitting on his journey throughout the lands, but also to open up new paths on his way, as NPCs react to you as a player depending on what you wear in specific locations. And since you can’t have enough moons in Super Mario Odyssey, it is both fun and useful to collect all different sets of clothing for Mario.
Mario can also throw cappy to attack enemies that are in his way to rescue Peach.
Beyond the Moon
Super Mario Odyseey is a fantastic collect-a-thon game, that both offers great challenges in its worlds, but also of course fantastic boss fight encounters. No fight really is like another, unless you face one of the reoccuring enemies again. Those are of course Bowser, but also his weddingplanners, the Broodals. Humanoid like rabbits that are also of course trying to secure their main event, the marriage between Princess Peach and Bowser. Unlike the great kingdom specific encounters, the Broodals are actually quite boring and short fights. They have only one main loops of attacks and openings for attacks from your side. Overall, these are the more forgettable side characters inside of a Super Mario game. In the post game, after the credits have been rolled through, some more challenges await you. As not only a new kingdom is available for you, which is definitely a fantastic throwback for fans of the series, even more power moons get spread over the kingdoms to be collected from you. Up to 999 power moons can be found throughout the game, making this game not only a fantastic investment as, at least for me, the game was also a great fun to enjoy after finishing the main story, it also rewards you greatly when you continue to collect everything on your way. From more exotic costumes and familiar outfits from non-appearing franchise characters, over to even more worlds opening up their path for you.
The return of 2D 8-bit levels
One more thing I have to talk about is the fantastic inclusion of 2D surface, 8-bit designed Super Mario levels. These are coming straight from the Super Mario Bros. NES era and can be found everywhere in any kingdom. Partially being hidden behind endgame content or directly being a big part in the main storyline of the game. For example is New Donk City not only reminiscent of the very first Mario game, Donkey Kong arcade, but it is also a linked to a nice festival, a celebration of the success and story behind Donkey Kong Arcade and the rise of course, for our favorite Mario. Sometimes the general level design gets literally thrown on its head and you continue parts where you hang from the ceiling. Then there are also traps in some of those levels that would put you right back into the 3D world, in which you will fall down an endless pit, forcing you to restart the section again. There is never a whole kingdom or large part of the game in that 2D 8-bit level style, but it feels nice in those parts of the kingdoms that include it, making it a nice throwback and another great addition to the collection of gameplay aspects, Super Mario Odyssey has to offer.
Super Mario Odyseey does great things with what little premise it begins. From the start our partner Cappy is not only useful, but also opening up the game to more gameplay aspects than we’ve ever seen before in a 3D Mario game. It’s story might be again nothing new, but enough twists and turns that both surprise and amuse me as a player, help me to look past the sometimes repeating sections. Overall, Super Mario Odyseey is a fantastic game that needs to be in every gamer’s Nintendo Switch library.