By: Hannah Calvert
Super Mario Odyssey encourages you to go out of traditional boundaries. It wants you to do things you normally wouldn’t need to do, like going on a support beam of a tower for extra points. The game feels very sandbox-like, while maintaining the principles that makes it a Mario game.
What’s clear about Odyssey is how much it breaks from convention that Mario games usually follow. In addition to the 3-D platforming, Odyssey includes 2-D levels mixed in the environment of the world. The music changes from the flourished background music to a retro sound. You can seamlessly switch between the two elements, and it’s something that you wish was in Mario’s other games. There are some other amazing ways that Nintendo integrated this feature into the game, but I won’t spoil them all here.
Odyssey lets you have fun in a way that doesn’t punish you. You don’t have a set number of lives. When you die, you lose coins, of which there are plenty. It’s okay to experiment with what’s possible. For instance, the only way to get to certain areas is to literally jump off the map into the abyss.
Mario can dress up in all kinds of costumes, just for fun. I used my Waluigi “amiibo” on a whim, and I got a Waluigi costume. Dreams really do come true. Other costumes include a clown outfit, Dr. Mario, and Peach’s wedding dress.
Odyssey reminds players what makes video games so fun.
The player can throw Mario’s hat at a small dog for it to catch, and it will chase you until you take it back. It is an absolute joy to have a dog relentlessly follow you around to give back Mario’s hat. While you can get in-game bonuses out of it, it feels like a small gift from Nintendo.
The art in Odyssey is spectacular. Alongside the standard sand, ice, forest and water levels you get in every Mario game, there are brand new kingdoms.
For instance, there is the Metro Kingdom, aka New Donk City. While some may find it jarring to see Mario next to a normally proportioned human, I personally found it very fresh of Nintendo to poke fun at these differences, since Mario is from Brooklyn after all. Since you will discover New Donk City much later in the game, you feel more like you are exploring a mystical world like you are already doing with other kingdoms. It’s not as bizarre as the trailers make it out to be.
Odyssey is a visually engaging game. With the snapshot mode, you can remove screen icons to take better photos. And with filters available, it’s very easy to make beautiful pictures to share. While it abides by the tried and true art Nintendo usually does, exploring Mario’s world in HD is a fun ride.