Despite starting other games, how can I refuse a one-way ticket on the Mario hype train? I decided to jump right onto the Amazon Prime preorder discount, thinking that Nintendo titles are hardly ever discounted, and surely they’d deliver on this title.
A few weeks ago I posted about what I had hoped the series would be able to bring to the table. In addition, I recently posted a review compilation of what the big review outlets thought about the game.
Having played through several kingdoms so far, I can say that (1) my hopes for the series have been shining and (2) the reviewers unanimity on the strength of the title appear to be real,
First, when I got the game I immediately popped it into my Switch. There was a minor update required, but then I was right into the game. I’ve grown slightly accustomed to having download some large update either the game or the system so it was nice that I could actually just plug and play.
The opening sequence got right down to business, with Bowser stealing Peach away once again and Mario left behind to figure it all out. The opening sequence was pretty straight forward and the “story” is not the main focus of a Mario platformer.
After the brief cutscene introduction, you are put into the first kingdom which happens to be inhabited by a variety of hat-like creatures, with of course, Cappy, finding and pitching to Mario to team up services.
On your way to the opening objectives the game does a slick job of introducing you to the mechanics and how the controls work. Perhaps my familiarity with Mario titles made this feel more seamless than it was.
However, I have had some consistent controller problems so far in my playthrough. Not that my controllers don’t work, but that the motion controls (which can be turned off) are sometimes difficult to get just right. I have also heard that the actual motion controls are optimal in terms of game play. I have been playing with loose joycons.
The big new mechanic — throwing your hat to “take over” enemies — is fully at work in Odyssey. Taking over enemies adds a new twist for each new enemy in each new kingdom. It adds a twist to the platforming and the ability to reach strange places. I’ve enjoyed its implementation so far, however it has felt strange that the cap attack has replaced the “punch” attack of Mario, making jumping attacks the main form of basic damage.
The basic structure of the game definitely echoes the Mario 64 and Sunshine predecessors. This is exactly what I personally wanted, although some more prefer a Galaxy or more traditional Mario platforming experience, and thats OK.
The sandbox of the kingdoms makes for some fun exploration. As you acclimate to Mario’s platforming abilities, as well as that of the enemies, you start looking around for ways to “break” the level and get to places you thought impossible. It feels like the developers have purposefully built the game with this in mind, and anticipated this devious exploring (and reward those able to pull off fun stunts).
Finding moons is a satisfying experience (although I wish they were stars for pure nostalgia sake), although the sheer amount of them may give the illusion of “easy” difficulty. While I think that some of the moons are easy to obtain, its not at the expense of the more creative moons. There’s simply a balance of reachable moons, making the game even more enjoyable.
The sound, music, colors, and movements all invoke the great Mario platforming feel that I have not fully embraced since Galaxy. While most of the 3D Mario titles are all strong, Odyssey seems to just hit a slightly different note that is perfectly timed, equal parts familiarity and refreshing newness that makes it potent blend. I’m definitely excited to play it thought to completion.
Have you played Mario yet? What are your thoughts? Did you preorder? Comment below!