Super Mario Odyssey

Hey look, another Mario platformer…

Super Mario Odyssey is the Switch’s obligatory tribute to the fat plumber that Nintendo pumps out every console generation. If you’ve played any Mario game since video games went out of 2D mode, you probably have a pretty good idea of what Odyssey is.

Mario’s normal hat gets destroyed early, so now you get to throw your companion around and possess things with it.

You probably read that and think I do not like Super Mario Odyssey, but you would be wrong. The game is engaging and entertaining, but while its new game play mechanic is interesting and adds some new elements to the series, it is still just a Mario game. If you liked it before, you will like it now. If you are not a fan of platformers, well, this certainly won’t change your mind.

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The new mechanic is fairly straight forward. Your hat is a sentient being that allows you to possess other people and enemies. This is used to allow alternative ways of traversing the level (like goombas don’t slip on ice) or altering the landscape (the tyrannosaurs rex that was so featured in the early footage makes his appearance once and early, allowing you to destroy a bunch of rocks and things, then never comes back unless you revisit his world.) It is a part of a few boss fights and definitely a focus of the game, but, like most Mario game innovations, probably won’t be back in the next installment.

Hello Mr. T-Rex. You won’t be the biggest thing I see today…

Collecting the game’s Power Moons (usually it’s stars, and is in one post-game level here, too, but for all intents and purposes they’re the same thing) is a lot easier in this game. Odyssey does not force you to restart a level when you stumble on a random one, it just lets you keep going. That is a very good thing, since there are a ton of Moons to find, often 15 to 20 before you can move on to the next world.

The story is the same old Mario story. Bowser has Peach and Mario must rescue her. Putting Bowser in a white tuxedo was an interesting choice and he looks pretty dapper in it, but his henchmen in this game, rabbit-like Broodals, are used repeatedly and do not pose much of a challenge. Bowser himself is not much of a threat either, but at least he looks good losing.

Bowser suddenly shows up on a Dragon and I feel like I’m playing Dark Souls again…

 

Overall, I enjoyed Super Mario Odyssey. It’s fun, if not particularly difficult and it does not try to force any kind of motion control things down your throat. They are there if you want them, and open up alternative things you can do with your hat and such, but you never need them to beat the game. If you like platformer games or are a fan of the fat plumber, pick up Odyssey; you know what you’ll be getting, but it’s done extremely well for all that.

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