WAHOO! For the first review of Casual Couch Gaming, we look towards one of the biggest gaming icons ever…Mario! Mario’s trek around the world became a huge hit on the Nintendo Switch back in October of 2017….but why? Grab your hats and jump with me as we find out!
In his latest adventure, Mario is face to face with arch-nemesis Bowser once again, except this time he is pulling out all the stops to marry Princess Peach. The game begins in the midst of the fated clash between the two rivals with Bowser defeating Mario and even destroying his iconic red cap!
Mario plummets down to the mysterious Cap Kingdom where he finds his new traveling companion Cappy, whose sister was captured by Bowser as well. The two then start their journey to travel over many different kingdoms to stop Bowser’s nefarious schemes and rescue Princess Peach and Cappy’s sister.
This game is simply a joy to play. Pure fun to its core. When arriving in a kingdom, Mario is faced with a semi-open world to explore and find this game’s collectible…power moons! Power moons are the energy source for your world trekking machine, the Odyssey. Movement and jumping feel so good to do in this game, with simple controls to go along with the great gameplay. The last Mario game I played before this was Mario Galaxy on the Nintendo Wii, which had a more restrictive gameplay style. So for Mario Odyssey to use a more free movement akin to Super Mario 64 or Super Mario Sunshine was a great idea. Below is a video from Polygon showing some gameplay off for the game.
Along with tight movement and control comes Cappy who has the ability to take over or “cap-ture” enemies in order for Mario to utilize special play styles. Many of the games enemies can be captured, ranging from frogs to goombas to even a T-Rex! The capture ability really brings a lot of experimentation to the gameplay that makes exploring each world even more fun. The worlds presented to the player can be vast and deep to allow for all sorts of Power Moons to be found. But what is exploration without some jams? Well Mario Odyssey provides them. Below are some examples of the great pieces of music by Veteran Composer Koji Kondo. In short the music fits each piece of gameplay so well to the point that I have listened to Steam Gardens about a hundred times by now. Its an addiction I know and I love it.
Now towards the negatives to which I can note a few issues. First is regarding some unneeded motion controls that implemented within the game. To perform some specific moves with Cappy, like a swing of the cap that surrounds Mario, the joy-cons for the Switch have to be moved with a flick to the side. Now if you are like me and played the game with the joy-cons docked in the holders then you are out of luck. This is a small problem as the moves that use motions are only needed for very specific actions but they still feel tacked on as if Nintendo can’t let go of the Wii glory days.
Another issue I had was the placement of Some of the Power Moons. Within the games there is a clear distinction for many of the Moons as to how you get them or what you have to do for them. Some on the other hand are in completely random spots you have to perform a random action for. An example of this that pops to memory is within one of the first kingdoms where there is a moon located on a random cliff and if you hit the ground at the top then you get a moon. Maybe it is just me that was not paying attention but it just felt strange to have one of the collectibles hidden in such a strange way. This problem can be diminished somewhat due to the game allowing you to pay coins to a Toad (Seen below) in order to locate a moon in the world. The problem is that the Moon shown is random and the method of getting the Moon is not stated nor hinted.
These problems aside, there is not much to complain about when it comes to Super Mario Odyssey.
Mario Odyssey is simply a wonderful experience to play through. The gorgeous worlds,amazing controls, and the charming characters come together for a great adventure. If you have a Nintendo Switch, please get this game. Even If you have never played a Mario game before, now is a good time to start as Odyssey provides a simple yet satisfying ride for any player, new or old. The game is pure fun through and through. Super Mario Odyssey is available right now exclusive on Nintendo Switch. What is your favorite Mario game? Is this going to be your first? Feel free to comment down below.