Super Mario Odyssey Review
The Italian plumber is back!
I bought Super Mario Odyssey last year when it came out. I played it pretty intensely for some weeks, burning through the story and completing the game. Since then I have been playing it on and off, trying to get all the stars. These are my thoughts.
The game hits all the right notes. Having grown up with Nintendo and Mario it really takes me back to the good old days. I remember first playing Super Mario Bros. 3 on my aunts and uncles NES. Some years later I got my own SNES with Super Mario Allstars. Then came the N64 with Super Mario 64, which I first played at my friends house. We spent ages just playing around with Mario’s face on the start screen. Not long after that I got an N64 myself. I missed the GameCube sadly, but borrowed one from a family member, just to play Super Mario Sunshine.
After I finished high school, I bought the Wii while doing my compulsory military service. Great console with Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2, Zelda, Mariokart and lots of other games. I also got the WiiU, where I really enjoyed the asymmetric gameplay the joypad brought. Mario Chase is one of the best and most funny party games I have ever played.
Many people got the Switch solely for the new Zelda game. I didn’t, as I wanted to play it on the WiiU. The console it was originally developed for. It was only after seeing Super Mario Odyseey, I knew I had to get a Switch.
Super Mario Odyssey plays like all the other old school 3d Mario games. You have big open levels / worlds to run around in with no time limit. Mechanically the controls are just about perfect. Mario is easy to control and with Cappy, Mario’s new sidekick, you get some new moves that enables you to get around in ways not seen before. Where it differs from the other games, is that a level is not complete when you get a star. In fact, some levels have around 100 different stars located all over the place. Most of them is pretty easy to find and get. That means that even if you only have 5 minutes to play, you can pretty much find a star or 2. While I can see why they have done it that way, I would have wished for some more difficult stars. It turns more into a game of hide and seek, rather than challenges. Sometimes you just have to pound sand (literally) and out pops a star. Fewer stars but with more rewarding / challenging levels would have been better in my opinion.
As usual, Nintendo delivers a stunningly beautiful game. They have again proven that you don’t need a beast of a console to make a pretty game. The game plays without any noticeable hiccups or stutters (or at least so far in between I haven’t noticed them). Each world got its own distinct look and gameplay elements. I would have wished for some of the worlds to be bigger, as some of them seems just a teeny bit too small. You don’t have to spend much time, before you have seen everything in each world. Then it’s just a matter of finding all the stars, which sometimes turns into a chore.
The art direction really fits the game and Nintendo have done something new which we haven’t seen in a Mario game before. We got costumes! There’s a costume themed for each world and then there’s a lot of costumes sending nods back to old Nintendo games and other Nintendo characters. The costumes doesn’t have any effect on the gameplay, other than some places barring you entry if you don’t have the correct dress. Though it is quite refreshing seeing Mario run around in swimming trunks or a skeleton costume.
While the music is good, it isn’t as catchy as in the older games. I simply can’t remember any songs – maybe because there’s so many and it is hard to single any of them out. That doesn’t mean the music is bad. Not at all.
A really great Mario game. It brings back the old school 3d world gameplay. It is a bit on the easy side and some of the worlds could be bigger with a bigger focus on exploration. It is not on the same level as Super Mario Galaxy, but that doesn’t mean it is a bad game. Not at all.
I’m looking forward to seeing what Nintendo can do with another Mario game, if they expand on the formula. Knowing Nintendo it is probably going to be some years before we see a new Mario game like this again. Until then this game is going to keep my busy with finding all the stars hidden around the various worlds.