Super Mario Odyssey Review

Noah Conley, Reporter

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  I found myself straight up applauding as the credits rolled on what is quite possibly the greatest Mario game ever made, and what is DEFINITELY the greatest 3D Mario game ever. I am of course referring to Super Mario Odyssey for the Nintendo Switch.

  Super Mario Odyssey has the quintessential Mario plot: Bowser kidnaps Princess Peach and it’s up to Mario to travel across various kingdoms to find Bowser, defeat him, and rescue the Princess. But the twist in this one is that Bowser is trying to marry Peach (I assumed so he can become King of the Mushroom Kingdom) and is hopping from kingdom to kingdom to steal various items, such as a world famous dress, a magic ring that binds two people to each other forever, and a flower that only grows in one place to help make it the best wedding of all time.

 And there is another twist too; there is a cut scene right at the beginning that shows Mario getting his butt handed to him by Bowser and thrown off his flying ship as he leaves with Peach.

  After that, you wake up in the Cap Kingdom, where you meet Cappy, a floating hat whose sister, Tiara, was kidnapped by Bowser so Peach could wear her at the wedding. Cappy and Mario decide to work together to rescue their loved ones from Bowser, and Cappy turns into the Mario cap and becomes your new companion. And this is where things start to deviate from your typical Mario game.

  See, you can throw Cappy to knock out enemies, collect coins, and open special doors. But the number one function of Cappy is his possession ability. If you throw Cappy at something not already wearing a hat, then you can take over that thing to use its special abilities. For example, in the beginning level I had to become a frog and use its high jumping abilities in order to reach previously inaccessible areas. The whole “Cappy thing” allows Nintendo to introduce new gameplay mechanics and challenges in each new world (called ‘kingdoms’ in this game) you visit, but it never feels forced or gimmicky. Nintendo also uses Cappy to capitalize on the Switch’s motion controls, as playing with the detached Joy-Cons lets you do special moves like a spin throw or a homing shot in case you missed. There are buttons you can specifically press to throw Cappy if you are playing in the Handheld mode or with a controller, but I found myself almost always playing with the motion control option, and it is quite fun to play in that mode.

  The platforming gameplay is also fantastic. It is a 3D Mario game, but the 3D platforming is quite fun here, and while the camera can cause you to misjudge the distance between two platforms sometimes, the platforming is quite fun, and it’s easy to pick up and learn if you are new, I enjoyed it quite a lot.

  Another thing I must praise is the sandbox design of the different kingdoms: they’re designed as these big sandboxes you can explore and the game motivates you to do so and discover the kingdom’s secrets. The kingdoms also all feel unique in their own way, with different mechanics, enemies to control, and artistic styles in each one. The game also motivates you to explore in the form of Power Moons.

  When you’re playing through the story, you need to collect items called Power Moons to go to the next kingdom, requiring usually 16 to progress. The Power Moons are expertly placed to where you can see most of them in any given world, but some are hidden away in secret challenge rooms or through secret green pipes. It is quite fun, and also a bit of a challenge to collect them. Once you beat the game, you can go back to any given world to keep collecting them. There are over 900 total Power Moons, so there are plenty of secrets and collectibles to find, which I like in a game.

  Something I quite like in the game is the boss battles in each world. Yes, you still have to do something 3 times to beat the boss, be it jumping on its head or hitting it with bombs, but each battle feels unique, and they do get quite harder the further along in the game you get. And, there are two bosses per world, with the first one usually one of Bowser’s lackeys, and the second one being unique to that world. The boss battles were actually sometimes my favorite part of any given world, and some actually made me want to rage quit.  The last game I expect to make me rage quit is a Mario game, and for that, I applaud Nintendo.

  The game also had a stellar soundtrack. Seriously, who ever was in charge of that, give them a medal because the soundtrack of each kingdom felt specifically tailored to that kingdom. The boss battle music was tense, fast paced, and heart pounding in all the right ways. The level music in Super Mario Odyssey is honestly some of the best I’ve heard, and I sometimes find myself humming the theme of a certain kingdom without realizing it during my day to day activities. 

   In short, I would give Super Mario Odyssey 10 howls out of 10; a must have game for any one with a Nintendo Switch, Super Mario Odyssey checks every single box a good Mario game should check and more, thanks to its fun game play and boss battles, unique kingdoms, stellar soundtrack, and a new standard for what we expect in a Mario game, or Nintendo games in general for that matter.