Thanks to Nintendo Australia, I had the chance to play Super Mario Odyssey, the newest 3D Mario platformer and his first ‘solo’ outing onto the Switch, and I was pleasantly surprised with what I got my hands on. Odyssey definitely has its own style, but it still feels familiar to an experienced 3D Mario gamer. I quickly found myself long jumping and ground pounding easily on the Joy-Con. While I don’t actually own a Switch, Odyssey is really making me question how much I have in my wallet (plus with Xenoblade Chronicles 2 coming, I’m gonna have to buy one soon, aren’t I?).
The demo dropped me straight into Cap Kingdom, a dark, moody, black and white tutorial level filled to the brim with hats (by the way, CAPS ARE FRONT ONLY, THEY AREN’T CAPS…but that was in caps). While many other platformers lock away some maneuvering options like wall jumping and double/triple jumping, Mario has always given you full reign from the beginning, and even the cool hat jump is usable straight away. Also given to you here is the ability to throw Cappy, your new talking hat, to take over control of enemies. This is one of the major mechanics that you’ll find yourself using in Odyssey to grab those pesky sta…Moon shar…Power Moons.
After capturing a frog and leaping into the end of Cap Kingdom, I was shifted to a much more vibrant place: The Luncheon Kingdom. Each Kingdom has it’s own fitting style with surprisingly pleasing graphics, and the Luncheon Kingdom is no different, filled with fruit and animate forks. A lot of the Kingdom was locked away, driving you to complete some of the main quests first. Map design is amazing, with multiple paths for whether you want to go capless or jump into a Fireball conveniently placed in range for a cap throw and swim through the lava. Manually aiming cap throws was a bit janky, sometimes Cappy just didn’t go exactly where you wanted it, but the homing properties on motion controlled cap throws (when shaken repetitively) assisted in these issues.
Before too long, it was time for a beach getaway, and Nintendo had the place. The first thing I did after hopping into the Seaside Kingdom was to go to the costume shop and throw Mario into some snappy boardshorts. After completing a few quick platforming puzzles, Mario was thrown into a boss fight, and this is where the game really starts. From what I played, the boss mechanics were varied and challenging in their own ways, yet the game eases you into these battles by teaching you throughout the levels; master these and you’re on your way to getting those sta…POWER MOONS.
Super Mario Odyssey feels comfortable to a Mario fan and the new mechanics are interesting and easy to pick up, but potentially hard to master. From what I played, the difficulty is a little hard for a younger inexperienced audience but for a Nintendo enthusiast, it’s right where it needs to be. Hopefully the full Super Mario Odyssey experience maintains this quality on display, and even if it may not end up go down as Mario’s greatest odyssey, it’ll definitely be up there as a big reason to grab a Switch.
PS. Hopefully it spawns a Luigi’s Mansion-esque game where Mario gets trapped in a Boo or something. Or is this just terrible fan fiction?