Game Review: Super Mario Odyssey


Super Mario Odyssey has very inventive mechanics and expertly tuned level design. Its charismatic wit and absurdity will keep you smiling all along the way. It has new worlds to explore, fantastic enemies, and unique gameplay ideas. Its environments are bigger and some of the most interesting ever seen in a Mario game. Your mission to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser ultimately becomes the hunt for Power Moons, collectables rewarded for feats big and small. Overall, it’s a fantastic new game for the Nintendo Switch.

Acquiring a moon can require great platforming skills or the ability to answer trivia questions from a Sphinx or the exploration of surroundings for buried treasure. You can always find new moons as you engage with new possibilities. You're guided through all of this by Cappy, Mario's new sidekick: a living hat that can possess the minds of other creatures and put you in the driver's seat. When you spot another character without a hat, you can simply throw Cappy on that person’s head.

There's usually always something in sight that you can possess and some way to exploit its traits. Cappy can also be thrown like a boomerang to retrieve coins or used as a trampoline to extend the range of your jumps. It's also possible for a second player to join in and control Cappy as an independent character capable of collecting coins, defeating small enemies, and remotely possessing targets while Mario does his thing. This can be a great source of amusement.

You can dress up for fun by mixing and matching a large selection of hats and suits from Mario's past. There are only a handful of chances to use a costume to your advantage, but opportunities for dressing up keep the game feeling fresh. Each Kingdom offers access to two stores where you can pick up new costumes. One takes special coins found in limited supply in each kingdom (another collectable) and the other takes generic coins found throughout the game.

It’s difficult to grow bored, as a significant number of new moons and hidden levels open up in each kingdom. Once you reach Odyssey's more significant moon demands, you're rewarded with access to small but meaningful new areas. In short bursts, Odyssey can be challenging throughout, but it's generally forgiving. This game is sustained beyond its major milestones through the sheer joy of controlling Mario, who has never felt more responsive or dynamic.

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