Super Mario Odyssey is the newest entry in the huge series. It was developed and published by Nintendo themselves in October 2017.
It has happened. Bowser has finally got a wedding with Princess Peach. But of course it’s not under normal circumstances. Plus who’s there to stop him from his devious plans? No one else but Mario! That is until he knocks Mario far, far away! Into the land of Caps! Where he meets his new companion Cappy! Cappy has a reason to go after Bowser as well, as he stole his wife too!
So Mario and Cappy set off on their adventures in the Odyssey, to venture around the world, and put an end to Bowser’s plans…again! The story is just as silly and loose as you would expect from a Mario game. There’s no emotional parts, or heart pounding, tense scenes. It’s all just fun! Light hearted fun.
As you play through the game, you soon learn it’s unlike any other Mario. The worlds are large and expansive, and there is a ton to do in each one of them. As each world has many, many power moons to find. You’ll be getting one every other minute sometimes! Yes there’s usually a straightforward objective in each world, but it’s about how you get there. Do you explore everything, then go? Do you briefly look around on your way to it? Some objectives for power moons are easy. Like finding a hole in a wall. Or jumping to the top of a building. But then some are a bit more challenging and require some effort. Like finding all of a Toads lost sheep. Or stacking Goombas up on top of each other and not getting hit.
In traditional Mario games, the game is set up in a specific way to help you progress. Whether it’s a fire flower to help you defeat enemies, or a cap that gives you wings. But all of those power ups are tossed out the window here, and the only thing that exists is Cappy. Cappy is a special hat, where if you throw him at anything living, your consciousness is then put into said thing. So a Chain Chomp for example. You enter its body, then shoot it at a solid wall to break it down. Or enter a Bullet Bill, so you can use it’s booster to soar over a giant pit. It was all so exciting and refreshing, but part of me missed the simplistic nature of Mario, and the smaller, tighter levels.
As much as I enjoyed exploring each Kingdom, especially the Seaside Kingdom, and the Snowy Mountain Kingdom, I felt like the gameplay wasn’t as exciting as games that came before it. You’re just given these big playgrounds to go explore in, and find enough things to progress, then go to the next and repeat the process. I truly wasn’t expecting the game to be so open world. Heck it was even jarring when I would pick up so many power moons one after the other. Whereas Super Mario 64 has 120 Stars, each with their own unique goals, Odyssey has something like 900 moons, eventually it’s just like “I got another….okay…”.
There are some fun retro tie-ins to the game though! In the form of 2D sections. In the levels, whether it’s secret areas, or part of the critical path, sometimes Mario enters 8-Bit pipes and the game turns into old school Mario. These were fun and exciting and I was always so happy when I found them. But they didn’t last too long. But the ones that did last a long time were frustrating. Not because they were challenging. In fact they were perfect. It was the controls that were frustrating.
Now normally in Mario, everyone knows that when you collect 100 coins, you get a 1-Up. But Odyssey does it a little bit differently. In each world, there is a store, and in each world there is a special kind of currency coin you can find, along with normal coins. You then use the coins into shops, for power moons, extra health, or clothes. That’s right, you can get Mario out of his old overalls and into a nice pinstripe suit, to have him lookin’ fly! But that also means that there are no lives in this entry. What happens when you lose all your health then? Well you just lose 10 coins and go back to your last checkpoint.
Sometimes the point of a checkpoint isn’t quite clear though. Sure there’s checkpoint flags in the worlds, but these are used as fast travel points. That’s how big the worlds are. They all have their own fast travel systems! But even when I activated one, sometimes it just didn’t show up on the map. You can look at the map to see how many moons are in a world, and even a list to see what ones you have. But you don’t get any hints for them unless you pay a certain NPC, and even then, it’s vague at best. Or it was the few times I tried using it, and got nowhere. Needless to say, the game was just a much different experience than I expected.
- Gorgeous World’s
- Fun 2D Retro Sections
- Fun To Be The Enemies
- Moons Don’t Feel Special To Earn
- World’s Felt Needlessly Large
This game was a lot different than I expected it to be. Maybe I’m just used to old school Mario, so this didn’t hit me the same way. But I think at the end of the day I prefer tighter levels, as opposed to large open areas, when it comes to The Jump Man himself. Either way, I’m glad I finally got to play this, as it was a ball.
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