Super Mario Odyssey. Super Mario, Odyssey. Super, Mario Oddysey. Whichever way you say this title it will never perfectly represent how Super, nor how Mario, this game truly is.
3D versions of Super Mario have often been popular in the past, but for myself there has always been something missing. Growing up with the 2D platformers on the Nintendo Entertainment System had hard-coded the concept of Mario into my veins. Using the nearest warp zone to get to the likes of Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy used to take me out of my comfort zone. I found the dramatic change in conceptualisation too much for me to enjoy.
When I heard of Super Mario Odyssey I worried. I knew I had to purchase such a game – being the flagship game for the Nintendo Switch – but I didn’t think I would enjoy it nearly as much as the likes of Super Mario Bros U and Super Mario DS – the latest instalments of the 2D franchise at the time.
Then I loaded it up for the first time, and 85 hours later I regrettably completed it to 100% satisfaction.
Super Mario Odyssey is possible one of the most magical games I have ever played. There is no true way to categorise this game – regarding it as a collection-based 3D platformer would fall dramatically short of an accurate description. Every single element of this game is utter perfection.
The gameplay is a superb, fluid representation of everything Nintendo is about. From simple gameplay, such as jumping and generic movements, to mastering the ‘double-jump hat-toss hat-jump’ combo, it stays fluid and accurate. From the very first isometric three-dimensional game there has normally been areas of every 3D game where a camera angle causes confusion or problems, but this never occurred in Super Mario Odyssey. It suits people of all ages, with some tricky Power Moon locations for more experienced gamers, and offers casual play to younger gamers.
The music is truly excellent – offering a symphonic soundtrack to the player. The single from the game offers a first in the Mario universe with spoken words within the music and it truly captures what Super Mario Odyssey is all about.
The level designs are beyond epic. There are plenty of worlds to complete, explore and, upon completion of the game, expand upon. With a maximum of 999 power moons to collect I still never found any of these repetitive. Each level contains coins that you need to find, as well as collectables and costumes. With well over 2000 hidden items in the game my attention was totally consumed for the entire 85 hours I played this game.
The dynamics of possessing enemies in the game with a hat throw introduce so many new abilities to Mario. Traversing certain terrains, finding new ways of jumping higher, or travelling through the skies to previously unreachable areas are all made possible with this system and a small amount of puzzle-solving.
The entire game feels familiar. And this is where Nintendo smashed the market. The story is the same old story of Bowser kidnapping the princess. The enemies are familiar or new in a way that makes them feel known. But this game, with its open-world environment, moves into the realms of the likes of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It is a Mario game, but it is built on epic proportions.
This game for me has a perfect score – although it only has one flaw that I found. Two-player mode sees one person control Mario, while the other controls Cappy. Personally I found this frustrating and pointless, but I could not mark this game down for this small issue.
If you want to play a Mario game, and have not played Super Mario Odyssey then I could not recommend this more. And when you complete it – you will want to instantly start a fresh save and start all over again.
Simply Mario perfection!