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Super Mario Odyssey: A Return to 3D Roots

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Super Mario Odyssey: A Return to 3D Roots

By Kevin Galasso, Editor

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January 12, 2017

The first trailer for Super Mario Odyssey was released during the Nintendo Switch Presentation and I was in shock and awe during the whole thing. Seeing Mario run and jump through huge sandbox like levels brought me back to the time when I was playing older games of the same style, such as Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy. I couldn’t wait for it to come out and was waiting in anticipation.

Now fast-forward to Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2017. During Nintendo’s conference, they released another trailer for Super Mario Odyssey. Watching it on the livestream, myself, along with everyone else who was watching the stream, grew to maximum levels of excitement during it. Everyone about the trailer was fantastic. The new features and abilities Mario has, the new possession mechanic which shakes up the traditional Mario formula, and the music, especially the music. The song during the trailer, Jump Up Super Star, was the perfect choice bringing a sense of grandeur to Mario’s adventure. At the end, they gave a release date: October 27,2017.

Now here we are, November 3rd, and the game has been in my possession for a week. What do I think about it? Well, I think that Super Mario Odyssey is a contender for both my favorite 3D Mario Platformer and my favorite game of 2017.

Let’s start with the story. Now the main plot point for every Mario platformer is the same. The evil Bowser has kidnapped Princess Peach and Mario must go save her. It is always the same and it works because of simplicity. This time, the stakes are raised a little bit higher. The game starts with Mario being knocked off Bowser’s airship and falling to his doom. We see that Bowser has forced Peach into a marriage with him and it’s up to Mario to stop the wedding. Joining Mario is Cappy, a creature that resembles a hat and can shape shift into other hats. Cappy’s sister Tiara, was taken by Bowser as well, so Mario and Cappy team up to defeat Bowser. The story is not much, but it doesn’t have to be. The focus of Mario platformers was never the story, but everything else which this game excels at.

Mario in the Luncheon Kingdom

The presentation for this game is stunning. The graphics for the game are what I want in a Mario game, colorful and clean. All the models for the game look great and some of the backgrounds and worlds look amazing. My favorite world for visuals is the Luncheon Kingdom. The pretty background along with all the colors of the different foods make the world look beautiful.

The music, like most other Mario games is excellent. The soundtrack carries a lot of styles such as more bombastic pieces such as Metro Kingdom and more ambient quiet pieces like Lake Kingdom and Wooded Kingdom. My favorite piece is Jump Up Super Star, the main theme of the game. I love the big band style and this song is a joy to listen to. Overall, the soundtrack is great which I expected in a Mario game.

Now let’s get to the big part of the game, the gameplay. The game is a 3D non-linear platformer in the style of older Mario games such as Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine, games that have big worlds where you given a suggestion of where to go, but you can go wherever you want. It is great to see this style of game return in Mario as while I enjoyed the more linear games like Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2, I will always enjoy having a huge world where I can do whatever I want.

Speaking of the worlds, the levels in these games are some of my favorites I have seen in a Mario game. They all are creative, huge, and have many secrets to find throughout them. My favorite level in the game is the Metro Kingdom. The whole level is a huge NYC-like city full of skyscrapers, taxis and so many homages to Donkey Kong that it was shocking to see.

Mario standing in from New Donk City in the Metro Kingdom.

 

In terms of controls, Mario is more athletic than he has ever been. He has a new roll ability that allows you to gain speed down hills and increase movement over large areas. His arsenal also includes Cappy which opens a whole new mechanic. With Cappy, Mario can throw him at enemies, act as an extra platform, and pulls levers, switches, and whatever Mario needs. The big addition with Cappy is his CAPture ability. On specific enemies, Mario can be transported into the body of the enemy such as a goomba, chain chomp, or cheep-cheep and can use them to explore the level and find more secrets. This ability really fleshes out the game as with these new abilities, more creative ideas can be made for finding Power Moons and enhance the level design.

Mario transformed into a Gushen

Instead of the normal stars like in other Mario games, you are collecting Power Moons. Power Moons act as your main collectible for your journey. They are used to power up your ship, The Odyssey, which is how you go from place to place. Each world requires a specific amount of power moons, but you are free to choose which moons you go after. You could follow the main story, or go off the beaten path and find some secret moons. The idea of non-linearity creates a great feel as even after beating the game, I am still finding secret power moons.

Mario inside his way of travel, The Odyssey

 

Now I’ve been showering this game with praise as it deserves. But, I do have one small problem with it and it has to do with the bosses. While half of the bosses are very creative and fun, the other half of the bosses are repeated. You fight one of the villains constantly throughout the story and while they have different attacks, they still feel kind of the same every time. But besides that, I don’t have any problems with the game so far.

Honestly, I could talk about this game forever, but I don’t want to spoil everything, so I’ll wrap it up.

In conclusion, Super Mario Odyssey is a great game that reflects what made the 3D platformers of old so fun. With the huge worlds, interesting mechanics, and the charm and character, Super Mario Odyssey is a great addition to the Mario Series and another killer game for the Nintendo Switch. If you own a Switch you should be getting this game. I recommend it to anyone. Overall, I give Super Mario Odyssey a 9.5 out of 10.

 

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Super Mario Odyssey: A Return to 3D Roots