It’s time for a legendary game. This one got hyped to no end as the big Mario game to end all Mario games. It was in development for ages and the developers were putting a ton of effort into it. That being said, could it live up to the hype? Well, I definitely think Nintendo really outdid themselves this time and it really is one of the best Mario games. It’s probably the third best platformer, after 64 and Sunshine. It has all of the elements that you’d want in a Mario game and even does its best to add in new features.
The plot is fairly basic as Bowser has kidnapped Peach once again and Mario tries to save her. Mario doesn’t act as if it’s an emergency though as he looks rather calm and happy during the cutscenes. Even when he occasionally gets serious, Bowser just one shots him once more and the cycle begins anew. Mario spends a surprising amount of time getting defeated by Bowser in this game. Still, he never gives up so Bowser better prepare for a big confrontation.
There’s a lot to cover here so lets start on the technical side. The graphics look absolutely great. The colors pop out and the level designs are fantastic. There is a little something for everyone here. Whether you want bright, green hills or a more realistic Final Fantasy esque level, this game has got it. There are many worlds and the game makes sure that no 2 worlds look the same. The Switch may not be as strong as some of the other modern consoles, but the game reminds you that you can always make a game look good regardless. A big piece of the puzzle are the character designs and how much time was put into the levels.
The game also has a pretty solid soundtrack. There are many remixes here from the Mario 64 game as well as many of Mario’s older titles. The intense theme for the final Bowser battle was also really good. We can’t forget the big lyrical song during the climax either which was excellent! There is a lot of music to listen to in this game so make sure you hear it all. While it may not be quite as hardcore or rock based as some other titles, it makes up for this with variety and skill. I’d definitely say that it passes with flying colors in this aspect.
As far as the gameplay is concerned, it plays like your classic Mario platformer. You run, jump, and interact with the level in order to reach the end and get your Stars. (I still call them Moons but all Stars are Moons apparently) One of the big focus for marketing in Odyssey was the cap. With it, Mario can take over anyone, whether it be Yoshi, A T Rex, or a Goomba. Each transformation has a special ability for you to master and they will allow you to get more Stars. It is pretty fun to take control of the enemies which is good since it is often mandatory to complete levels and take down bosses. The game was built around this system and it worked out well. I dare say that as a gimmick it probably does beat Fludd, even if Fludd was the more likable character.
That being said, you will also feel relieved whenever you have a mini level without the cap. It feels nice and retro and you have to rely on your platforming skills. There are also actual retro levels where you turn into your 16 bit version and play through more small levels. They are a nice distraction from the main levels and the different gameplay styles are all handled quite well. I can’t say this enough times but Odyssey was clearly developed with a lot of passion and effort.
The world variety is quite strong. There are a few spooky worlds like the Ruined Kingdom or the one with the Large Dragon. Then you’ve got the amazing Mario 64 homage which does an amazing job of recreating the classic Peach castle. There are also a few post game worlds that I have yet to unlock which are sure to be a blast as well. Start saving up your money from the start because it will really come in handy for buying all of the stars that are at the shop. There are likely hundreds of them to buy there.
There are also fun mini games to play like jumping rope, Volleyball, or connecting a puzzle. Going for a high score and trying to master them is sure to be entertaining. They’re pretty fun games.
Since there are over 900 stars, you’ll want to inspect every part of each world. Stars are basically around every corner and it’s up to you to find them all. Toad is available to give you a hint for 50 coins but I recommend not doing so until you’ve bought all of the stars and not until you’ve gotten as many stars as you could for the world. It would be a shame to waste 50 coins on a game you probably could have found yourself.
I suppose I should reference the ending right? Well, there isn’t a whole lot to say on that end for me. It’s a classic Mario ending although longtime fans may not appreciate it. It’s essentially Nintendo’s way of reassuring fans that they will always get the Mario that they grew up with. It won’t change and get older as they do and in a way that’s what a lot of fans will also want to see. At the very least, Mario got a good shot in at Bowser.
Well, unlike some games that are overhyped to no end, I can definitely see why some would call this the greatest game of all time or why they would at least put it into the conversation. I mean, there’s really not much more Nintendo can do with the concept or the genre. It’s basically been taken to its absolute limits here and that’s pretty impressive. While I personally don’t put it in the conversation for best game of all time since Super Smash has that without a doubt, I can definitely say that it should be in the conversation for best platformer of all time. I’m fairly confident that Nintendo also won’t be able to top this for quite a long time. Perhaps not until the next console.
There is a ton of replay value here. While you’ll beat the game with around 200 stars or less if you didn’t travel much, then you still have around 700 to go. It’s an incredible amount of stars to be sure. While a lot of them you have to purchase from the shop, money isn’t an issue. I suppose if you’ve been buying a ton of hints then it’ll be a little difficult for you though. Try not to buy them until you’ve gotten the easy ones first or the hint will essentially be a waste. You can also try to get high scores in the minigames and on the way to getting all of the stars you’ll get a bunch of costumes. I have no doubt that this is a 20+ hour game when you consider all of this and that might be severely low balling the amount.
Now for some miscillanius thoughts. I didn’t care much for the Broodals. They’re not bad I suppose, but they feel like absolute throwaway characters. I dare say that the Deadly Six from Lost World were cooler since at least the leader was good. That’s a start in the right direction. I didn’t talk much about the boss battles but they were all pretty solid. The Mario vs Bowser ones in particular are very satisfying, but another really good boss battle is when you’re zooming through the air with your water powers and stopping the fire octopus. The only missed opportunity in the game is that you can’t play New Donk City at night once you stop the monster. The scenery was awesome in the dark and the rain just amplified this affect. You just can’t win them all though and day-time New Donk is still as hype as it gets.
Overall, Mario Odyssey is certainly a must buy. I’m definitely glad that I ended up grabbing a Switch so I could pick this game up. I know that it might be fighting with Breath of the Wild over the Game of the Year award but personally I think Odyssey destroys it many times over with no real effort. you can’t even compare the two in my mind, but granted I didn’t enjoy Breath of the Wild quite as much as most. I only thought it was a good game while I consider this one to be an elite. If you haven’t checked Odyssey out yet, then you should fix that right away!