It’s finally time to fill that Super Mario Galaxy-sized hole in your life – Super Mario Odyssey has landed.
Mario’s returned to his open-world sandbox days of old, with the loveable Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario 64 paving the way for this year’s release of Super Mario Odyssey on the Switch. Aside from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, this is one of the new hardware’s most anticipated games, and we’ve finally got the chance to get our hands on it. Good news – you won’t be disappointed.
Super Mario Odyssey (SMO) pits you up against Bowser once again, who in this game is joined by Bowser Jr. and The Broodals. This time, he’s out to marry the Princess in the biggest white wedding in history. Of course, we can’t let that happen, so it’s serendipitous that Mario should find himself in the Cap Kingdom, where he encounters for the first time his new companion Cappy the, uh, cap. As it should happen, Bowser has kidnapped Cappy’s little sister to use as a crown for Peach, so the anthropomorphic cap is willing to do anything he can to help you get to the angry, fire-breathing turtle.
The game does a good job of teaching you the controls as you need to use them – we’d recommend playing with the two Joy-Cons detached – but anyone who’s played a Mario game before will grasp them pretty quickly regardless. There’s the usual crouch jumps and ground pounds, but now that you’ve got Cappy you can also jump off him to get to places, too.
You’re going to need to learn to navigate Super Mario Odyssey‘s vast open worlds if you want to collect all the Power Moons. Ah yes – thanks to Cappy, Mario’s found himself an airship of sorts – the Odyssey – that’s powered by Power Moons scattered around each of the worlds – in this case, Kingdoms. You’ll have to find a certain number of them in each Kingdom to be able to travel to the next one. Sometimes they’ll just be lying around, but others will require you to be a little more creative to find them. Each Kingdom’s big boss Broodal will drop a Multimoon when defeated; the equivalent of three moons. You won’t have to collect all the Power Moons in a Kingdom to advance, but you know you won’t be able to help yourself from coming back later to finish off the job.
When you aren’t travelling from Kingdom to Kingdom in the Odyssey, accessing your minimap using (-) is handy not only to see which areas of the map you haven’t covered, but also to ‘warp’ to locations you have already visited at no cost. Opening up the map even has a bit of little information on the area you’re currently in. When you’re flying between Kingdoms, Cappy will remind you of a move you can do – and all these can be accessed at any point in the Action Guide in the pause menu, should you forget.
Each Kingdom you’ll visit is unique. From a sandy Kingdom with Goombas in sombreros, to a city Kingdom with taxis and suit-clad businessmen, there’s always something new to look at. Each Kingdom has the normal Mario coins, but also purple currency specific to its region. Coins in SMO are used to purchase cosmetic upgrades like new clothes and hats – some of which will grant you special access to previously-unavailable areas. It’s nice to give your pal Cappy a new look every once in a while.
Of course, Cappy isn’t just for show. You can use him to attack enemies, grab out-of-reach coins, or cap-ture them (see what Nintendo did there?). The capture effect will differ depending on what you’ve taken over. For example, you can capture a Goomba, and keep jumping on top of more Goombas until you have an intimidating Goomba stack. You cap capture sentient Easter Island Heads and put on your super cool sunnies to see invisible platforms. You can even capture Chain Chomps. Nothing, it seems, is off limits.
You’ll be happy to know, too, that the game autosaves frequently, but there is a manual save that you can access at any time through the pause menu.
Super Mario Odyssey is a highly cap-able game that may be just what some folks needed to finally get their hands on a Nintendo Switch. It rewards exploration, is well-structured, and has something for everyone – Mario fan or otherwise. It’s a truly captivating adventure.