Let’s get this out of the way, we’re awarding Super Mario Odyssey a 10.
So, yeah, you can choose to stop reading here, safe in the knowledge that Super Mario Odyssey is the best 3D Mario game Nintendo have ever done, and that your pre-order is more than justified. Or you can take a few moments to find out why.
Seas the Day
Super Mario Odyssey genuinely ticks every box and makes for one of the single most entertaining gameplay experiences I’ve ever embarked on. The hard part is knowing where to begin.
In a sense, this is traditional Mario. You’ve got the triple jumps, the ground pounds, dashes, and somersaults. You drop down drainpipes, collect coins, and find oodles of collectables. But where Odyssey shines is with Cappy, Mario’s newest companion.
At first, he just seems like a cosmetic substitute for the plumber’s vintage red hat, but where he excels is in capturing other beings and creatures and assuming their abilities. For example, if Mario throws Cappy onto a floating Goomba, he becomes that floating Goomba, complete with a change of controls and a pretty swishy moustache. And yes, you do get to be that T-Rex you saw in the trailer. It’s bad ass!
But Cappy also helps Mario reach greater heights, home in on enemies like a missile, and even execute a powerful spin attack. Then there’s the costume changes – the ability to turn Mario into a Clown one minute, a Chef the next – and any number of combinations thereafter. Odyssey invites the player to put a stamp on this world the likes of which no other 3D Mario has done before.
And that’s just one of the many lessons Odyssey has learned from its predecessors. Another is being able to hop into a vehicle and travel around at high speeds, or hop between the various fast travel flags planted in the ground. Simple touches, but significant brushstrokes in the wider picture.
That bigger picture being the game’s varied kingdoms which take Mario all over the world in search of Bowser and Peach. As the trailer has already shown you, Mario has to stop their wedding, with each Kingdom housing something Bowser wants to collect to celebrate the occasion. To do this, Mario sails in the Odyssey, a hot air balloon come-ship and needs to collect a series of power moons – Odyssey’s version of Stars – whether that means trudging through the snow, sifting through the sands, or even roaming through a metropolis. The environment variety is truly impressive.
Pretty Fly for a Plumber Guy
In another new take for the Mario series, occasionally the game will give you multi-choice destinations, allowing you to pick where you want to go first. In addition to being able to backtrack and replay previous levels to try and collect all the Power Moons, this ensures Super Mario Odyssey is always able to stay fresh for the player.
So, yeah, you won’t need to worry about replayability, there are hundreds of Power Moons to find in various different ways. Believe me, this is going to keep you busy for a very long time!
But that’s not the only type collectable. Each Kingdom has its own currency, which can then be spent on unique Kingdom souvenirs to decorate your ship, region-specific costumes, and even the occasional moon.
Super Mario Odyssey is massive. Like, Breath of the Wild levels of massive. And the amazing thing is, unlike other Open World games out there, it never feels like a slog, it somehow manages not to feel like you’re retreading your steps around some new textures, and you won’t be able to stop playing.
Fortunately, Mario has detailed maps to follow and is always gaining new moves, as well as allies who can offer him hints on where to find the next Moon. The way Nintendo pace
Of course, it wouldn’t be Mario without some fantastic boss clashes, and while one or two feel a tad filler’ish and repetitive, there are also some of the best in Mario history. Ones I won’t go into for spoilers. I think there’s been plenty of those already…
And it’s impossible not to mention how amazingly this runs in portable mode. It doesn’t even seem possible that the biggest, best-looking, and greatest 3D Mario title ever made can be played in the palm of your hand. But Super Mario Odyssey not only runs fluidly, the gameplay feels like it’s been designed to take advantage of an on-the-go mentality. It’s easy to collect a few Power Moons during a commute to work, just as it is to have a hardcore weekend session tucked up in bed. That feat is perhaps Switch Mario’s greatest Odyssey.
Odyssey to believe
It’s something of a cliche to say, but Super Mario Odyssey is a genuinely magical game. It manages to elicit awe and wonder at every turn, from the luscious environments to the creative mechanics, and gorgeous score. And Cappy adds more to a 3D Mario environment than even you will believe possible.
With games like Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Splatoon 2, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom and now Mario Odyssey, it’s hard to believe that Switch is comfortably still in its first year. And in that first year, Switch already has two bona-fide Game of the Year quality titles.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that come December, Super Mario Odyssey will be winning awards. 2017 has seen some incredible games, some of the best of this generation, but they’ve all been keeping the throne warm. Despite all the fantastic new IP, the rise of Augmented and Virtual Reality, new turns in multiplayer gaming, and an inspired run from ambitious indies, it’s a 32 year old franchise that is once again making the headlines.
Super Mario Odyssey is a practically perfect game that will be used to educate developers of the future in the years to come. Unquestionably, it’s the greatest 3D Mario Nintendo have ever made.
+ Gorgeous art
+ A massive world full of content
+ So many Easter Eggs and fun surprises
+ Epic boss battles
+ A real sense of magic and wonder
– One or two Boss Battles feel a bit repetitive and Kingdoms a little weaker than others
Super Mario Odyssey
10 out of 10
Tested on Switch