Well, I’ve had about a week to sink my teeth into Mario’s latest adventure, so what do I think so far?
So far, so good. There are obvious comparisons to be made with Mario’s other 3D open-world adventures, some of which I have enjoyed and others, not enjoyed, but where does Odyssey stand in the hierarchy? It stands pretty tall.
As is by now fairly normal for Mario’s 3D outings, Odyssey introduces a gimmick, a means of helping the player, albeit a fairly novel and interesting one. In Super Mario 64 you didn’t really have any extra gimmicks, aside from new jumps and leaps. In Sunshine (urgh) you had the soaker, in Galaxy you had the power to throw gems to stun enemies, but in Odyssey you have the power to take over certain enemies and use them to help you out. This gives rise to a pretty wide range of abilities, all of which serve a purpose, existing to help you progress, rather than being included for the sake of it.
For example, it can be pretty fun to throw Cappy (your latest companion, who is quite literally a hat) and take over a Bullet Bill, but it soon becomes clear this is actually more than just fun – you’re going to need to in order to destroy certain walls and move on through your quest. At times you’ll take over Podoboos (the odd name for the fireballs that jump around in various Mario games) in order to traverse particularly fiery or hot lakes. You can take over Goombas (who are firm-footed even on icy terrain), Hammer Bros and all sorts of creatures, all with their own useful traits.
Graphically the game is gorgeous, reflecting the increased power of the Switch over its predecessors, offering big, detailed and varied worlds, ranging from deserts to a beach world, to New Donk City (which offers up an incredible nostalgia treat for the player), to a world devoted to lunch. The soundtrack is unobtrusive, letting you get on with the game.
As you can see, there are passages within the game that recreate the original Super Mario Bros – these sections are absolute gems and a clever touch.
My only, tiny complaint so far is that it’s pretty easy, though Mario games aren’t necessarily aimed at experienced gamers, but rather, are intended to be accessible for everyone. That being said, whilst I’m flying through the main quest, I am very far off finding all the power moons (this games key collectible), having recently learned that there are 52 in the beach world alone – I have found enough to move on to another world, but finding all of them will be a major quest in itself.
All in all, I am finding this game to be a cut above Mario’s previous open world adventures. It is full of secrets, so many in fact that it reminds me a little of Super Mario World, and I would quite happily put Odyssey up there with the best of Mario’s adventures. 9/10.