Review – Super Mario Odyssey
The Switch, Nintendo’s console/handheld hybrid system released in March of this year, has had a pretty solid first year, with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sustaining early adopters until Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Splatoon 2 released. This month saw the arrival of Nintendo’s biggest property: Mario, with Super Mario Odyssey.
Odyssey is, as expected, incredibly light on the story side of things. Bowser kidnapped Peach – again – and this time he’s apparently hellbent on marrying her. Mario gets beat up, his signature hat is destroyed, and he’s left stranded as the game starts.
That’s about as much of the story as you need explained, with Mario’s new companion – a creature named Cappy – taking on the form of his trademark red hat to introduce the new gameplay mechanics. This time around Mario can throw his hat, using it as a stepping stone to jump to higher places, as a weapon to destroy some environmental objects, to interact with others, and to possess enemies.
It’s that last ability that really shines. Throw Cappy onto an enemy’s head and Mario takes over their bodies and abilities. Possess a Bullet Bill to fly over gaps and blow up certain targets, for example, or take over the giant Tyrannosaurus Rex to trample pretty much everything in your path.
Aside from that new trick, Mario’s stable of moves is immediately familiar to anyone who’s played pretty much any game since Super Maro 64. Jump, long jump, triple jump – even the butt stomp is in there. One downside is that some of the moves require using motion controls to pull them off – a minor annoyance if you’re playing in docked mode with the JoyCons connected to the controller shell, a major one if you’re playing in portable mode and don’t want to wave the entire console around.
Fortunately, the aggravation is well worth it as this is easily the best Mario game yet. There’s a ton of Power Moons to find, the collectible that unlock new levels toward the main story as well as bonuses, and when you’re done the story there’s a slew of after-game content to take on.