Published on November 2nd, 2017 | by Zorbz
REVIEW: Super Mario Odyssey
Summary: That little spicy meatball of a man Mario is back embarking on his latest adventure in Super Mario Odyssey, the first mainline Mario game for the Nintendo Switch. Can Mario still deliver that special sauce?
Concept: Wait for it…PRINCESS PEACH HAS BEEN KIDNAPPED AGAIN! Although this time Bowser has taken it further by planning an elaborate wedding for him and Peach, against her will of course. This makes me question how she got into the wedding dress she’s wearing, hmm that’s actually pretty disturbing, but anyways Bowser is stealing prized possessions from kingdoms along the way to make this wedding truly grandiose including stealing a ghost Tiara, which just happens to be the sister of Cappy, Mario’s new possession powered hat-ghost-thing friend. So it is up to Mario and Cappy to rescue Peach, along with Cappy’s sister and stop this inter-species marital abomination. It may not be highly original but who cares, it’s fun, funny, charming, beautiful and let’s be honest pretty disturbing when you really think about it. What more could you want.
Oh luncheon kingdom, you so pretty
Graphics: Out-freaking-standing. This game is absolutely gorgeous and shows off what the Switch can pull off in the visual department. Just going to get it out of my system straight up because i’m obsessed, but god damn does the water look amazing. The effects when wading through or the reflections bouncing off, gah i could go on forever on this one aspect. Water aside though all the worlds are beautifully designed from a desert oasis to lands covered in ice, to a creepy Tim Burton/Nightmare before Christmas-esque location. Every environment you encounter is vastly different to the other with some even sporting a more realistic look like New Donk City or the Prehistoric themed land. These kingdoms can seem a bit odd seeing Mario bouncing around in these more lifelike locations, yet somehow they still seemingly work. I think Nintendo stepping out of the box from the traditional lands we have grown used to over the years in Mario games is a very welcome change. Still though, my favourite new Kingdom is easily the Luncheon Kingdom with it’s insanely stylized world filled with colour to the brim. Now onto the more tech side of things, everything runs super smooth with only an occasional hiccup of slowdown which never takes you out of the action and is pretty rare from what i experienced. I will say that most Switch games in my experience have looked a lot better in handheld mode with the visuals looking a lot smoother, however with Mario Odyssey I find it quite the opposite with the handheld mode looking a lot more jagged with a lack of anti aliasing, much like the 3DS, however this is mainly noticed in the more realistic looking locations where you have grassy areas. Throw it in the dock though and bam, everyone looks truly amazing and crisp, just how you would want it to be.
Gameplay: If you’ve grown up playing Mario games you will by this point expect tight and fluid controls down to a tee with mechanics that just work perfectly. This is still true here and adds in even more new mechanics to keep things fresh such as throwing Cappy as a weapon to defeat enemies or on certain select enemies, literally possess them and take control of them. This possession mechanic is the main crux of the game as you will take over certain enemies to complete certain missions to obtain power moons. What are power moons you may ask? well they are basically this Mario games iteration of stars or shine sprites, however unlike previous Mario games where the sweet spot seemed to be in the 120 mark of collecting…get ready for 999 of them to collect. Now like other games in the past you don’y actually need to obtain them all to complete the game, but they do come in handy unlocking new outfits, little trinkets and even extra levels. With such a huge number of them it can be a bit daunting, but each kingdom is literally littered with them to obtain and a nice list in your menu can show you the total amount in each given area, acting as a checklist to hunt them down. There are also new purple coins that are unique to each kingdom and these are used to unlock location specific costumes for example a corporate outfit or construction worker costume in New Donk City. These costumes are great fun mixing and matching and just add that little extra touch to personalizing how you want your Mario to look. Difficulty this time around isn’t as challenging as some of the previous 3D titles, but exploration seems to be the replacement as some power moons are straight up obvious, whilst others will take some time finding out how to obtain. Also I bet you would never have thought you’d be switching between 3D Mario and 2D sidescrolling sections that are seemingly straight out of the original Super Mario Bros game. These 2D sections are all little brief chunks of gameplay but they introduce new mechanics to gameplay that came out before i was born which is the perfect touch, bringing something new to something old. All in all gameplay is tight, mechanically sound and easy to learn but with enough to master and use to your advantage with the perfect melding of old and new.
Sound: Mario games are always full of amazing iconic music that keeps people humming along for years. The sound design has always been so carefully crafted with all the little unique touches to making every character or enemy sound unique and having music that fits the backdrop of the land or kingdom you’re currently in. Now there isn’t as many memorable tracks this time around, but what is provided is still great and fits the mood to each location and sports some amazing sound effects such as jumping into sparkling lake and hearing the sizzle as it bubbles up, or the roar of a T-Rex as you plow through enemies is simply magical. What makes the game even more special is it’s love to past Mario games, keeping some classic sounds and chimes as well as some classic tunes to strike up that nostalgia. Without spoiling it, the end game kingdom is where I was literally filled with so much joy just hearing classic tunes and sound effects that i remember so dearly.
Awesomeness: This has to be the biggest Mario game to date. It is packed full of content and power moons to discover without ever seeming like a drag (at least from my perspective) and has me constantly wanting to jump back in whether its for a quick play session or a long binge. The love and care put into this from the sound, the visuals, to the amount of content is enough to warrant this being straight up amazing, but for me it’s the touches of Mario’s past that Nintendo managed to cram in for fan service that really makes me love this game so much more.
I’d be running too, that damn Goomba looks like he’s on bath salts
Final Word: Honestly this is a no brainer. This game is absolutely fantastic and the reason Mario has been relevant for 30+ years. If you own a switch you need this game. If you don’t own a switch, then go buy one if you can and get this game. It is perfection that can be played both portably and at home on your couch. Here’s to the next 30 years of Mario.
Out of 5 Bugs