Super Mario Odyssey Nintendo Switch Review
Super Mario Odyssey looks to mix up the traditional platformer with a significant change. Cappy and his ability to let Mario become other characters is a big shift in gameplay from previous titles. Does this change work or does it spoil the classic Mario gameplay?
What is the plot of Mario Odyssey?
Mario Odyssey is light on story. Bowser is preparing for his wedding to Princess Peach and sends Mario flying off his flying battleship. Mario teams up with Cappy to try to defeat Bowser and save Princess Peach.
To do this they have to travel all around the world collecting Power Moons to provide their ship, the Odyssey, with power. Mario and Cappy travel to all sorts of interesting and varied locations and gradually defeat Bowser’s minions to gradually stop the wedding. Bowser is travelling the world stealing a wedding ring, a beautiful wedding dress and even a posie, you must stop him!
What is the gameplay like in Mario Odyssey?
My first impressions of Mario Odyssey were, admittedly, not particularly favourable. The first world, Cap Kingdom, was dull and uninteresting. It wasn’t long before I progressed to Cascade Kingdom and discovered the T-Rex from the trailer. This was exciting but very short lived. I whizzed through Cascade Kingdom and into Sand Kingdom and here things slowed down. This is however where things got much more interesting.
The initial fast progress was not what I was expecting from Mario Odyssey but once it slowed down everything got much, much better. Once I slowed my progress I was able to appreciate the gameplay design of Mario Odyssey far, far more.
Much like this year’s Zelda: Breath of the Wild Nintendo have put the focus here on exploration. Each world (even the first couple that I had felt were pretty empty) are full of hidden Power Moons. I was stunned, even after spending a couple of hours exploring a level, to check the in-game travel guidebook to discover 40+ moons were still hidden around me. The more I’ve played the more I’ve appreciated just how much content is hidden throughout Mario’s globe trotting adventure.
Mario Odyssey’s capture mechanic
The Mario series’ greatest success is how it has taken the simple process of running and jumping and turned it into a generation spanning series. Various suits have added additional gameplay mechanics but never have there been so many new mechanics as Nintendo have with Mario Odyssey.
Mario’s hat, Cappy, can be thrown at enemies and can capture them, passing their control to the player. Capturing an enemy sees Mario enter their form and is able to control them. This allows him to use their move set. These moves usually then allow Mario to get to areas previously out of reach to him or to solve puzzles.
At first I was nervous of this mechanic. Running and jumping is where it is at in Mario games and Mario Odyssey sees players play as lots of characters other than Mario. With so many different characters to play as I was worried that the true Super Mario experience was going to be watered down. The capture mechanic is a lot of fun and I’ve not yet come across a creature whom I’ve captured that is not fun to play as. The menu shows that there are an impressive 52 enemies, creatures and objects that Mario can capture, I’ve not quite captured them all yet!
The levels in Mario Odyssey
Mario Odyssey sees Mario travel the world to some incredibly varied locations. Each one hides an impressive amount of content and all are a joy to explore. Without giving away too many spoilers here are some little details of some of the levels.
This Dinosaur themed world that features a sleeping T-Rex who can be captured and controlled. As the T-Rex you can effortlessly smash blocks apart to reveal new paths.
This woodland level features robots who have fallen on hard times. Exploring the Wooded Kingdom revealed beautiful flowered pathways that can be activated to allow access to secret locations.
I groaned when I saw Mario Odyssey featured a water based level. Thankfully the ability to capture a fish (Cheep Cheep) did make make getting around easy and enjoyable.
The graphics and sound of Mario Odyssey
The only way to say it is that Mario Odyssey looks and sounds amazing. Super Mario Odyssey is a highly polished, well put together package that does not disappoint. Both in handheld and on a TV it runs incredibly smoothly and perfectly showcases why the Nintendo Switch’s lack of power does not matter!
Most levels feature 2D, classic Mario sections that feel great. They remind me of Zelda: A Link between worlds on the 3DS.
The verdict on Mario Odyssey
I was nervous about Mario Odyssey. Zelda Breath of the Wild had been such an outstanding game by Nintendo just a few months earlier, could lightning really strike twice?
Thankfully Mario Odyssey has done nothing but impress me. My initial half an hour was admittedly underwhelming but once I started to explore I began to see what Nintendo were doing. This is a game with deep exploration, a lot of character and a great deal of gameplay variety thanks to Mario’s new companion Cappy. He certainly captivated me.
Check out our 12 Super Mario Odyssey Tips