Super Mario Odyssey (“Odyssey”) has finally landed on Nintendo’s newest console, the Nintendo Switch, and before delving into a review of quite possibly one of the greatest Mario games, here’s a little aside and a point we thought was interesting.
In today’s gaming world, full of 4K consoles and high-definition graphics hype, Nintendo has managed to launch an amazing home/portable console with one of the best launch titles of all time; Legend of Zelda:Breath of the Wild, as well as some of the best first party titles, including Legend of Zelda, Arms, Splatoon 2, and Mario Kart 8, which are not even at full HD. Many of Nintendo’s games go on to win Game of the Year awards and be recognised as some of the top games in gaming history, and all this via small handheld consoles, at 720p graphics at best. How do they do it? Just some food for thought and something that we should all consider when thinking about a developer/publisher’s success.
Now, back to the Odyssey review. As with all Mario games, the story is quite simple. Bowser has kidnapped Princess Peach and plans to marry her, but not before flying across the globe to steal some priceless items for their wedding. Of course, it’s up to Mario to chase after them. However, in this game, Mario is not alone, he’s joined by his new best friend, Cappy, a ghost who digs cool looking hats and gives Mario the ability to throw his cap at an enemy and essentially possess them. You’ve no doubt seen the giant T-Rex with a Mario mustache and cap.
Not only does Cappy give Mario this cool new ability, it also allows Mario to pull of some awesome movement tricks, a feature which certainly impressed.
While movement is key to every game, not all games manage to utilise movement well and get it ‘right’. The thing that Nintendo nails with Mario’s movements in Odyssey is that it feels great to everyone, no matter the skill level. For example, a child could pick this game up and have no trouble beating the “base” game. All that is required is to run, jump and throw Cappy around. Easy.
However, those of us who consider ourselves a seasoned gamer will start to notice the ability to “combo” Mario’s moves with each other to access areas quicker than normal, or areas you typically aren’t meant to get to. For example, quite early on in the game there is a large wall you have to scale. The “standard” route is to enter a pixelated pipe into the wall, where you turn into 2D Mario and you complete some platforming to make it to the top.
An alternative is to do a “Ground-Pound-Jump” next to the wall and at the peak of your jump throw out Cappy, dive towards Cappy and bounce off him. Then when you’re at the peak of that jump, throw out Cappy again over the wall and dive towards him again. Now, you’re at the top of the wall having dodging the “standard” route completely. The fact that this game appeals to both old and new, casual and hardcore gamers alike, you know this is a gem made by Nintendo.
In terms of the difficulty curve, there are 999 Moons you need to collect. You only need about 200 to finish the ‘base’ game, which is perfect for the young ones. Collecting the next 800 Moons? Oh boy, they range from “give me a real challenge” to “I’m about to break my $500 portable gaming machine” yet we keep returning to this game because there’s so much to explore and see.
Speaking of seeing, the visuals are a treat. Normally, and in many video games, we are treated to a Water World, Desert World, Lava World, Forest World, Beach World, Space World, City World and sometimes even a Back-In-Time World. Worlds we’ve all seen plenty of times before, but that doesn’t stop Nintendo from putting a new spin on them and making them look gorgeous. To top it all off, you can now dress up Mario.
One of the highlights of Odyssey is it’s soundtrack. Nintendo has always had an incredible soundtrack for its games and certainly knocks it out of the park for Odyssey. The Overworld world themes match their levels to a T. The 8-bit variations of the Overworld themes are amazing. Nintendo’s 8-bit pieces are some of the best video game soundtracks, and the music piece that happens in the City World… Well we won’t spoil it for you but that’s one of our favourite Odyssey moments. Enjoy one of our favourite tracks from the video game at the end of this review.
Overall, Odyssey is an instant Nintendo master piece that will put a smile on every player’s face regardless of how old or young. With such a hit, we consider this as one of our Top 10 games of all time. After all, why wouldn’t it be, when it gets a…