Y’know, I kinda had trouble writing this article. One reason is because I was having too much fun playing Super Mario Odyssey. It’s pure video game bliss, pretty much. The other is that Super Mario Odyssey is a game that I struggle to write about; not the most common occurrence for me. The thing about Super Mario Odyssey, the beauty of it, even, at least at the point I’m at, is that it doesn’t reinvent the wheel. What worked in Super Mario 64, Sunshine, the Galaxy games, and even a bit of 3D Land/World is here, and expanded upon, and what didn’t work is nearly eliminated. Like in 64, Super Mario Odyssey’s Kingdoms are all decently expansive and filled with things to discover, and though some are much larger than others, none feel too small or too big.
There are a ton of Moons (this game’s version of 64’s Stars) along with 50 of each kingdom’s currency (somewhat analogous to Red Coins) scattered around, waiting for you to collect them, and they’re perfectly scaled to each Kingdom, which means exploring and finding new things is always an utter joy. Obtaining Moons is different from previous collectibles, however; gone is the mission select screen with hints as to how to obtain Moons (though one or two can be obtained at random from a bird named Talkatoo). Obtaining Moons is as simple as exploring, investigating things that seem interesting, and collecting. The “missions” vary greatly in length, but I would say that in both length and the way they’re set up, they’re not dissimilar to Breath of the Wild’s shrines. This makes the game great to pick up and play. While this open-endedness does lead to some Moons feeling far too cryptic to collect, the game is pretty good about making them clear enough to not result in too many “who would think to do that” moments. Of course, none of this exploring would be worth it if it wasn’t fun to move around, but thankfully, Super Mario Odyssey’s controls feel fantastic. I’d liken them to a somewhat tighter version of Sunshine’s controls, but without the FLUDD and with a long jump, along with a new move, the roll, which is as simple as that: a roll. It’s really fast when going down hills, and feels great to use.
Speaking of FLUDD, Mario has a new companion this time around: Cappy, a ghost… hat… thing? I don’t know exactly what his deal is, but he takes the form of Mario’s hat and allows the player to throw their hat and “cap-ture” (punny!) enemies and friendly NPCs alike, effectively possessing them and allowing you to take control of them. This mechanic, at least so far, has seemed somewhat underutilized, and I hope it sees some more use as I progress into the game, but it works well and feels like a natural part of Mario’s moveset. The hat-throwing ability is also used for combat against certain enemies, and for interacting with objects in the environment. It’s also useful for platforming, as you can use it in the air to turn around instantly, get a slight boost, and stall for a little bit, which is helpful for adjusting your jumps. You can also hold the button to create a temporary platform for Mario to jump onto, but it’s less useful than it sounds, and I can only recall ever using it once, maybe twice.
That wraps up my quick, slightly scattered, day one thoughts on Super Mario Odyssey. I would’ve talked about more, but I don’t want to spoil anything, and I want to save things for my review, which should be coming sometime next week. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for the full review!