Release Date: 10/27/2017
Available Exclusively On
Nintendo always has a knack for making one huge innovation to their franchises per console cycle and the Switch is no exception. Odyssey is a well-crafted game taking many years of experience and gameplay honing and creating one of the best video game experiences in the last decade. Odyssey is massive with dozens of hours of content and a variety of things to do.
Like all Mario games, there’s not much of a story, just your typical Bowser kidnapping Princess Peach story again with no cut scenes or anything else, but that’s fine as Mario is all about the gameplay. The main gameplay hook in this Mario game is his hat. He can throw it to take control of enemies, for combat, and to get out-of-reach items. The hat works so naturally and feels great to use that I never had any issues. Once you arrive in the Cap Kingdom you will be leaping and bounding similarly to Super Mario Galaxy in the way Mario moves and jumps. Taking control of certain enemies gives you special combat abilities or allows you to access certain areas Mario can’t. It’s so much fun and I always looked forward to the next thing I could control.
Another element is the new 2D levels. These are hidden throughout the game and give you moons that are needed to power up your Odyssey ship to get to Bowser. There are 880 moons in the world. I know it’s a monster of a task, but it’s so much fun. Your first playthrough allows you to get the first batch, then after you beat the game, there are meteor rocks that you can smash in each world and they send the rest of the moons flying. Anyways, these 2D levels are just like the 8-bit games with Mario wrapped around the 3D world jumping and hopping along.
Mario can also swim, fly (with controller enemies), and pretty much do anything you can imagine as the game is so varied and there’s so much to see and do. Not one world is alike and each one has new things to do and discover. Mario can also change his hats and outfits this time around by buying them with coins or using special world-specific coins. Some outfits are needed to access bonus areas. These bonus areas are actually the most fun and challenging, but well worth it for the moons.
There are boss fights with Bowsers minions the Boonals which are evil bunnies. The boss fights are really easy and so is Bowser at the end of the game. It’s clear that the game doesn’t rely on bosses for challenges as some bonus areas had me stuck for over an hour restarting until I got all the jumps right. Thankfully most of the game is a perfect challenge and some of the challenges are just figuring out how to get to the next moon or bonus area. Some are in plain sight while others require you to think a little bit and do certain things. There are music note challenges as well as scarecrow timer challenges. All of these things combined make for an exciting game that is incredibly hard to put down.
I really can’t find anything negative to say except that all you do is collect moons and there’s no other end goal. There are at least fast travel points in each world so even that isn’t a problem. The visuals are fantastic and the entire games just feel alive with character and personality. It’s hard to hate a game made this well, 30 years of perfection really shows with zero control issues, framerate problems, or anything else. No matter how you slice it this is essentially a perfect game. The amount of variety just boggles my mind and I don’t know how the developers managed to make every bonus area, challenge, and world completely unique, especially to house 880 moons.
Overall, Super Mario Odyssey is a must-own for Switch fans and a good reason to buy one. There is no other platform that offers this kind of gaming perfection other than Nintendo. They are masters of video games and it shows in every one of their unique main title games.