Review: Super Mario Odyssey
Title: Super Mario Odyssey
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Nintendo EPD
Release date: Out now
tl;dr:: Mario’s latest outing could be his greatest yet.
Price: $60 / £45
Family Focus: Click here for more information.
Super Mario Odyssey is incredible. Go buy it now. Why are you still here? You haven’t got a Switch and you want me to convince you to shell out for a brand new console to play this exciting new Mario title? Okay, well let’s break the game down into segments and see if I can convince you at all.
Super Mario Odyssey is the latest in the mainline titles for the Mario franchise and oh boy, does this game stand out from the rest! I’ve never really been a big follower of Mario as I grew up with a Sega Mega Drive, or a Genesis to our American cousins. So Sonic was my hero growing up until I started watching Dragon Ball, and then Goku became my hero, and still is to this day… shuddup. I didn’t really get introduced to Mario until I owned a Nintendo 64 and borrowed a copy of Mario 64 from my friend, but Mario still didn’t really jump out at me because I had already fallen in love with Ocarina of Time and Banjo Kazooie.
A gaming relationship with Mario seemed like a lost cause as I grew up; I moved on to more and more JRPGs, leaving platformers behind me until I went to college and met a few new people who showed me Super Mario Sunshine. This game was incredible; I felt my passion re-ignite for platformers from the 90s as the colours, characters, and level design burst from the screen into my retinas. That feeling was re-ignited again when Nintendo presented Super Mario Odyssey at the Nintendo Switch Presentation in January; I just had to get this game. I had never been so excited for a Mario game before.
The objective in Super Mario Odyssey is to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser, who is attempting to marry her this time. After some events, Mario wakes up to a talking Top Hat called Cappy, whose sister has also been kidnapped by Bowser. So, you know, simple Mario storytelling, except you’re exploring massive kingdoms with various different locales. For example, one kingdom is a lake, one kingdom is made entirely of food, and one kingdom is essentially New York City. You make your way to all these kingdoms using the Odyssey, a hat-shaped flying ship that is powered by Power Moons, which are exactly like the Power Stars from previous entries except moons, you obtain these by completing tasks such as freeing a citizen of the kingdom from a trap or solving a puzzle.
Visually, Super Mario Odyssey is gorgeous, just so colourful and vibrant; each kingdom bursts with colour, especially the Food Kingdom, with the various different fruits and vegetables popping out from the rosy pink background in a glorious 1080p. In terms of performance, Odyssey runs mostly at a solid 60fps only with the occasional dip in frames when too much happens on screen; this is most prominent when entering New Donk City from the level entrance, but generally, it only loses a few frames for a couple of seconds.
Now, let’s discuss controls, as there is a variety of ways to play Super Mario Odyssey, and it’s very clear which is the best way to play. You can play either with the Pro Controller, the Joy-Cons in the grip, the Joy-Cons detached or in handheld mode… can you tell me which is the best way to play? Correct! The detached Joy-Cons are definitely the way to play as to perform certain actions, the game requires you to shake them in certain directions to perform the various moves. This becomes an issue especially in handheld mode, as you are shaking the screen about, plus you look a tad crazy on the bus when you’re shaking your Switch to make Mario spin his cap… Now, it’s possible to perform these moves without the detached Joy-Cons, but it’s a lot harder to do than just shaking the controllers.
Overall, Super Mario Odyssey is a strong contender for Game of the Year, but as a Legend of Zelda fanboy, I hope it doesn’t take the title away from Breath of the Wild. The plot may be typical Mario but that doesn’t matter as Odyssey is definitely a delight to play, with ability to possess enemies and friendly characters it adds a flair to gameplay and with so many Power Moons to collect (around 883, to be precise) you can definitely find a lot to do, and with the portability of the Switch, you never have to stop adventuring even when you to travel.
Unless you’re driving.
Then you probably shouldn’t.
With so many titles released this year, Nintendo has definitely landed back on their feet, and if you haven’t got a Nintendo Switch yet, I highly recommend you grab yourself one with Super Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild, as these two games alone make the Switch a worthwhile purchase. With Metroid Prime 4 and full adventure style Pokémon from Game Freak on the way, the Nintendo Switch is only going to get better!
- Replayablity is strong as there is content post game.
- Visually stunning.
- Strong and steady framerate giving Mario a fluid feel.
- Some moves restricted to detached Joy-Cons.
Super Mario Odyssey is rated E for Everyone and PEGI 3. It’s Mario, so are meant for kids… although that piano in Super Mario 64 still gives me chills to this very day.
This review is based on a retail copy of the game purchased for the purposes of this review.