Let’s a go!
Nintendo has had one heck of a year. Their new console is flying off of shelves, the latest Zelda game was monumental, and now we get to close the year with what is probably the best 3D Mario since 64. It could not have been a better year for Nintendo. Super Mario Odyssey feels like the culmination of fan requests from the past two decades. The game returns to its 3D roots and delivers one of the most finely crafted experiences this generation. On top of that, it is literally impossible to play this game without a huge smile on my face.
Super Mario Odyssey feels like the successor to Mario 64 in both game play and design mentality. Each world feels like a playground of joy with tons to see and do. Nintendo has been excellent in their line-of-sight design, keeping the next moon to collect within eye shot. There are hundreds and hundreds of moons to collect, but the minimal amount to see the credits means everyone can play at their own pace. It is Nintendo design at its finest. There was plenty to do, and even more opens up for those that desire it after the credits roll.
Price I’d Pay: $59.99
Each world has its own unique theme and set of challenges. The new Cappy mechanic plays into this. Every new world would present a new way to traverse the area and focus on that. While it makes sense, it also leads to the really cool designs getting left behind when moving on. Instead of training the player for later scenarios, each idea seems forgotten after moving on. I would have loved to see more ideas integrated into other areas more.
There are also 2D sections of levels that simply delight. They feature 8-bit remixed versions of the world’s tunes and play like a dream. They also integrate seamlessly into the world. The final section of New Donk City is simply delightful. There are numerous “spoiler” moments in this game, and I cannot recommend enough going in without knowing what they are.
Controlling Mario feels like a refined version of 64. He can triple jump, butt stomp, and plenty more. The addition of Cappy though has really opened up the platforming. Combining traditional controls and motion inputs, experienced players can pull off some truly amazing feats. Speaking of motion controls I am sorely disappointed that some of Mario’s moves cannot be accomplished without them. This makes playing in portable mode frustrating. While none of these moves are essential to playing the game, they do add some flavor to the platforming.
Each option for controls feels good. The Pro controller is what I played with mainly, and I was able to push through the entire game without much issue. The separated Joycons is how Nintendo suggests, and when using motion controls is the ideal method. Portable mode suffers the most because motion while holding the Switch is not ideal. It could end up with your expensive machine on the pavement, and nobody wants that.
The best thing about Mario Odyssey is that it keeps on giving. The main worlds are great, but after beating the game new options open up. There is a new kingdom that tugs hard at my nostalgic memories. New moons become available to collect and a host of challenges unlock that give players access to new costumes. There is simply an abundance of joy to discover in the game. I could see myself returning to this game well into next year. It is great for those times when I only have 15 minutes to play a game.
Nintendo has always been king when it comes to art design on their hardware. Mario Odyssey is a beautiful game. Each world feels unique and the game runs great. There are noticeable differences when switching between docked and portable mode, but they don’t affect the game play, which is the most important aspect. As I said before everything about this game makes it impossible to play without a gigantic smile on my face. The music is also some of the best Mario music in ages. Each track fits into the world, and there were plenty I was humming by the end. Also vocals in a Mario game work much better than they have any right to.
There are endless joys to discuss with Super Mario Odyssey. Being a huge fan of Mario 64, this game is a love letter for me. I enjoyed every minute I was playing it and cannot wait until I get some free time to return and continue collecting moons. Switch owners need this game, players without a Switch need to go buy one to play it. Nintendo knocks another one out of the park, and this may very well be their best year of games since the Super Nintendo.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.