Hands on with Super Mario Odyssey

When the latest trailer for Super Mario Odyssey debuted and people scratched their heads as to why a T-Rex was wearing Mario’s cap, you knew then that the game was going to be unique, weird, and amazing all at once, and after getting some hands on at E3 this past week, I can safely say this game will live up to the hype surrounding it.

The E3 demo consisted of two play areas, New Donk City (which seems to be modeled after New York City from the ’30s or ’40s), and a desert area type kingdom. Both areas do a nice job of showcasing Mario’s new and unique skills, with his hat being front and center, as it now seems to have a life of its own and can be thrown at objects like blocks or enemies or even used to take control of enemies (ie. Goomba, Bullet Bill, Boo) as well as objects in the environment (in the trailer we saw him take control of a cab, a T-Rex, and even a Frog).

New Donk City was a ten minute timed demo where you are tasked by Mayor Pauline (yes, the same Pauline from the original Donkey Kong) to find musicians in around the city to help her put on a concert. Once you are free to roam around, the game instantly reminds you of Super Mario 64, as you can go or do anything you want in no specific order, so long as you find those musicians for Pauline. As you roam around and find each musician you are awarded a Power Moon, which are Odyssey’s version of Stars or Shines and are needed to move to new worlds using your spaceship. These moons are practically everywhere, and you can grab one every time you do a mission or scour the city looking for them. Once you have all four musicians, Pauline puts on a concert for the citizens of New Donk and you are treated to the theme song heard in the trailer. This area of the game is highly detailed and offers some unique ways to traverse large buildings to seek out higher ground.

The other area in the demo is a desert like kingdom that you saw in the trailer in which Mario is dressed in a Sombrero running around a vibrant town. This area was also a timed demo and the objective was to make it up a large central tower. As with New Donk City, the environment was rich, and the inhabitants fit perfectly in with their surroundings. The coolest section of this area was a portion of the tower where you enter a green pipe and come out in 2D against the wall (think Zelda A Link Between Worlds) and Mario looks exactly like his 8-bit self. This neat little area got the biggest response from people who I saw playing the demo. Unfortunately due to the timed demo, I was not able to make it to the top of the tower as I spent way to much time roaming around this huge sandbox area, which will most likely happen to anyone who plays the retail version of this game.

One new feature in the game are the unique world coins that you come across. For instance in the desert area, the coins look like pyramids and in New Donk City, they look like purple coins. These coins are used to purchase new hats and outfits from stores located in each area. The coins you find in each area are specific to that area and can not be used anywhere else, so you’ll definitely want to spend time looking for those as it helps to upgrade your outfits in each new area you visit.

Super Mario Odyssey also has some unique combat techniques, as you can now use your cap (aka cappy) to defeat enemies, break open boxes, take over other characters, and use as platforms to make it to hard to reach areas. Not only can you throw cappy, but you also can perform the following moves:

  • You can flick the joy-con to throw the cap
  • You can flick the joy-con and then shake it for a homing cap throw
  • You can flick both controllers to the side at the same time to do a spin throw

I am sure there are other moves that have yet to be unveiled, but the ones I tried at the show were intuitive and fluid without much issue.

From the short time I had with Mario, I can safely say that this game is definitely about exploring the worlds and searching every nook and cranny of it to find just about everything that is backed in each area then it is about moving onto the next world. You’re going to want to spend as much time in each area, you are going to want to look for every coin.

Some other little nuggets of info that I learned during my time with Super Mario Odyssey are:

  • Each area has multiple checkpoints, and get this, you can use those checkpoints to fast travel, which should give you an indication on just how large each area will be.
  • There are no more lives. Coins will now play a bigger role in your life. When you die, you will lose coins.
  • Since this is for the Switch, there will most likely be multiplayer, but nothing has been confirmed as of yet.

Super Mario Odyssey – Nintendo Switch (Video Game)

Manufacturer:  Nintendo
ESRB Rating: 

New From: $54.80 In Stock
buy now