This was, without a doubt, a great year for Nintendo. A year that saw the emergence of Switch, a console sold to rake in millions of dollars on this planet and was followed by one of the best games ever that Nintendo consoles have ever had the opportunity to play: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
However, if that were not enough, it was reserved for the end of the year, Super Mario Odyssey, which, as we had the opportunity to lay hands on, was accompanied with the promise of being one of the best games ever.
TechLector has already tried out Super Mario Odyssey and … did the prophecy come true?
The Breath of the Wild was once considered the best game for Nintendo consoles, but here comes the Super Mario Odyssey, another game that over time has been winning every time more relevance and expectations. And in good time it arrives. Not only because it comes in time for Christmas but above all, because it comes as a statement of the Nintendo Switch and its potential.
This new adventure, or rather, Super Mario Odyssey comes with some news and other returns as we will see over the next few sentences that make this also one of the best games ever for the Nintendo consoles.
And the game starts in a somewhat confused way. At the beginning, we are presented with an animation that shows us a fight between Bowser and Super Mario. After the fight, Bowser flees in his flying boat, and Mario appears in a World inhabited by strange Phantasmagoric Hats. In this first phase of the game, we immediately take a little notion of the freedom of movement that Odyssey will make available to us throughout the game. With a freedom of exploration of the three-dimensional maps, we are presented with the basics of the movement of Super Mario and some of his skills. However, this first section presents us with another detail… or, more importantly, that will be very important throughout the game: Cappy.
With the help of Odyssey, a special ship, Super Mario thus kicks off his adventure in an attempt to rescue Peach (and the Kingdom of the Hats) from Bowser’s hands.
The game presents to the player a succession of Maps (Worlds) which we must complete in order to unlock the next one (s). Simple but effective.
The basic idea of the game is to clear each World of the presence of the henchmen of Bowser until able to save Peach. In every World, there is a need to pick up a certain number of Moons (which are the fuel of Odyssey). With the right fuel, we can fly to the next, but not before defeating a boss in a fight that is both fun and demanding.
Every World we go through there are dozens of Moons to be collected and, in most cases, they are relatively accessible (some more than others). In fact, the game presents a level of demand that will please both ” Greeks and Trojans, ” which is good. There are so many more complicated Moons to catch, as there are many more accessible moons.
Besides the moons visible on the map, there are others that are given to us after we have overcome some obstacles. This other way of obtaining Luas appears in the form of puzzles/tasks that Mario has to complete, which becomes a particularly interesting detail because it allows the obtaining of these new Moons in a non-direct way. It’s something new in the Mario Universe.
The game does not penalize too much those who have more difficulty in catching the Moons because there are always various ways of doing it and it is only necessary to take a small amount to fill the Odyssey and leave for the next World.
Let me tell you that the visual and dynamic wealth of each map is perfectly thought out and idealized. In every World, no matter how varied, there are life, color, numerous reasons of interest. Some with which we can interact and others merely decorative. But more … besides all this, there are still several hidden arenas, secret passages or mini-games waiting to be discovered.
Each World has its own style (The Lake World, full of water, Donk City, a metropolis, …) and each World presents a very own crazy as well. For experts of Super Mario and Nintendo games in general, it is easy to feel passionate about each of these Worlds we go through, and the fact that we can continue to explore later is a must. It is extremely easy for us to wander just to observe the fantastic details that abound.
And this is important because with the open-world dynamics of Odyssey and with so much diversity and quantity of points of interest, it leads the player to try new and crazy ways of interacting constantly.
Odyssey does not present a classic system of some lives. When Super Mario dies, we only lose a few coins (extremely abundant, coming to be coins under the stones, literally) to make respawn. In this way, the player feels constantly compelled to play further.
The motto is “If I can get there, I’ll try it.” And it tastes so good!
Given the abundance of activities, actions, possible interactions, it can sometimes happen that the player is temporarily lost on what to do next. No problem … again, the game is ready to immediately provide tips or clues that put us back on track. There are at any time NPCs scattered on the maps with which we can interact, and that point us in the right direction.
This level of help can be considered by many as an exaggerated easiness but, let’s not forget that this is a game for the whole family and this helps you to become accessible to everyone from the bigger ones to the bigger kids.
One more detail is the fact that each map has its own coin that we collect during our exploration and that can be used (only on this map) to acquire items and accessories that may be useful for the passage to the next World.
But let’s talk a bit about Super Mario. There is not much left to say about the world’s best-known plumber. In this Switch adventure, Super Mario appears lighter. I’m not sure how to explain it .. maybe more freed from moorings and more crazy. Controlling Super Mario is as fun as ever, and his athletic abilities remain unchanged. Super Mario continues to be able to jump (double jumps, triple jumps, backflips, …), to run like crazy, to roll like a crazy beast bug, to jump and to crush mushrooms… anyway, all the madness that has accustomed to us throughout the years.
However, in Super Mario Odyssey comes a novelty (perhaps the biggest of all) that I mentioned in the beginning. This is the appearance of Cappy, a talking hat that can change its appearance and turns the whole experience of playing Super Mario in Odyssey.
Although the game is Super Mario, I think it will not hurt to say that Cappy becomes the star of the company.
Cappy is in Super Mario Odyssey a character of its own, with much of the game depending on its action. We are witnessing a birth of something. It remains to know the path that will lead to this birth in the future.
Cappy, which is delivered to us in the First World we passed through (that of the Talking Hats) is then a character with personality and life of his own. With the appearance of Cappy, Super Mario ends up winning a wide range of new actions that transform super-positively the game’s gameplay. This is a real breath of fresh air to the series.
The most immediate function of Cappy is, as one might expect, to be used as a throwing weapon. However, Cappy can still be used as a whirling platform to which we can jump and use as a springboard to reach inaccessible points.
Finally, Cappy presents another feature, perhaps the most important, is the possibility of “capturing” any character in the game. For example, we can launch Cappy to a Goomba and thus take control of Goomba. This is one of the most important features of the game, as it allows for different interactions with the Worlds we pass through and even allowing new tactics to be used during the game. For example, in the World of the Lake, we can catch a fish and thus stop being condemned to die drowned after some time.
The attacks with Cappy are varied, and with Joy-Cons we can make almost manual releases with effects. Okay, maybe it’s not quite like this but … almost. Incidentally, I must mention here that throughout the adventure I have used the Joy-Cons as well as the Hand Grip.
Something I considered a bit annoying throughout the game was the aiming system that is not always able to be accurate and correct in relation to our “launches.” When launching the Cappy in a frontal launch is easy to err by very little the opponents. However, there are always a number of other attacks that quickly fix these issues (such as the Spiral Cappy launch that spins around us).
I would not like to finish without mentioning two final points. On the one hand the sound effects and musical arrangements that are at the highest level of Super Mario. On the other hand, I would like to mention one of the features of Odyssey that was most popular before the game was released. I refer to the possibility that, in certain game areas, the gameplay moves from 3D to classic 2D inside a wall. It is not a new effect but one that is superbly used in Super Mario Odyssey, it is undeniable. Even the sound reminds us of these first adventures of Super Mario in the 8bits.
Finally, finish by just mentioning that even when we end a World, there is much more to discover or collect. The amount, quality and diversity of interactions that Nintendo has included in each World is impressive. The game seems to have a life of its own and that we are continually being fed by new motives of interest.
The Best Super Mario to date. Easily recommended for all those who like and dislike Super Mario.