Reviews - Updated on April 13, 2022

Relevant for platform: NSW

We live in a strange time. People spin spinners, catch Pokemon with their iPhones, disappear en masse in PUBG, which is so hard to play. Great studios like Visceral Games are closing down. In an era of tension and instability, only the ancient Japanese company Nintendo remains true to its principles: gameplay is above all, the achievement system is evil, and Mario is a plumber who breaks bricks with his fist.Super Mario Odyssey game review

Mario, Bowser and Peach are a simple Swedish family.

Mad Hatter

But sometimes these principles break down. And Mario is no longer a plumber. Officially. Now his social position roughly corresponds to the title character of the film The Big Lebowski. Depriving the hero of the profession, Nintendo decided to experiment with his identity. Therefore, the evil tortoise-dragon Bowser here kidnaps not only Princess Peach, but also a magical living tiara, and the Italian goes to look for this couple along with a no less lively Cappie hat, which allows you to transform into any more or less large enemy.

Face-shifting is not a new idea for the series. Back in Super Mario Bros. 3 could become a flying raccoon or a fast swimming frog. But in Odyssey, this story is taken to its limit, because the puzzles at the local levels are often solved only through transformations. Need to cross a huge gap? Let’s “slap” a live bullet with an evil grin and quickly fly over. How to break a particularly strong cheese rock? Of course, to become a turtle – a hammer thrower!

More than fifty transformations guarantee that it will not be boring. Here you can build a tower of a dozen goomba mushrooms and roll up to a woman goomba to get a “blue moon”. You can turn into a tank and shout “Russians don’t give up!” set up a branch of Call of Duty in a magical world. Step into a 2D mural that looks exactly like the first Super Mario Bros. and reclaim your “when-you-got-Dendy” year. Or just get on a fancy Vespa moped and race with a Tyrannosaurus rex. In general, everything related to the ways to achieve the goal is incomparable.

Super Mario Odyssey game review

“The blue moon is to blame…”

Anti-wedding trip

But what about the goals themselves is no longer so cloudless. The main storyline is Bowser’s desire to marry the princess. To play a wedding, you need to collect a lot of things around the world – from a multi-layered cake and a dress to a bride’s bouquet and a festive dish. Therefore, the unemployed man and his cap fly after the scoundrel across different kingdoms on the Odyssey spaceship. And in order for the miracle of technology in the form of a hat to fly further, energy moons must be found in each kingdom.

This system is also not new – in the same way, Mario went forward in each of his three-dimensional campaign. In Odyssey, they decided to make “sandboxes” fashionable now out of the world-kingdoms. Our device lands in the middle of waterfalls, deserts or snows – and come on, gamer, run, look for the luminaries. Most often, magical crescents are hidden cleaner than Koshcheev’s death. They want to seek and find, not to find and not to give up. Sometimes, having solved a problem after many attempts, you feel a feeling close to happiness.

But many moons lie, if not quite on the road, then next to it. Sometimes quests are made entirely for children: they turned into a flying goomba – fluttered to one corner of the map, steamed to another – plus two moons. For children (as well as fanboys) a change of costumes is also attached. They almost do not carry a gameplay load, except that sometimes you will be allowed on a special quest only in the uniform of a builder or researcher.

In general, the level design and the variety of tasks hold up to a very high level – neither in the story, nor after it, I did not want to postpone the Switch, although I collected more than two hundred stars for this review. And those zones that turned out with inspiration, for example, the realm of food with Italian touches or Bowser’s samurai citadel, are remembered for a long time. And of course, the series has never had such vast spaces to explore.

But not all kingdoms are drawn to the pinnacle of game design. Some, like the snowy one, are not “sandboxes” at all, but just a “hub” leading to unrelated rooms with simple tasks. Others are tiny and only serve one “boss” fight, though they could be developed into great spaces to explore.

Super Mario Odyssey game review

My personal favorite is Steam Gardens with an absolutely brilliant tune and veg.

Hundreds of moons later

Perhaps Nintendo wanted to motivate you to climb every nook and cranny. You can run the story campaign in about six hours. And it will be the easiest part of Super Mario. At the same time, there will be enough content for all sixty. “Postgame” opens up new kingdoms and a huge number of moons, the ability to get into the shoes of another classic character in the universe, complicated versions of “bosses” and just hardcore reaction tests. All this is magical, the game literally grows before your eyes, it gets better with every hour spent after the decisive battle.

But, unfortunately, having delved into entertainment after the final credits, the developers did not catch one important trend. If seven or ten years ago, during the Galaxy dilogy, it was very cool to make a small campaign and huge expanses for research past it, now, especially after all sorts of Breath of the Wild and The Witcher 3, a situation where the storyline is not quite included in the research, pleases not so much. Yes, Odyssey uses Nintendo’s signature trick – to get your attention with some little thing and turn it into a mini-quest. But this technique, as the only feint of a football player, has already been learned by everyone.

And what, unfortunately, is clear, Mario was assembled in a hurry on the odyssey. This is indicated by kingdoms very different in quality, and minor technical problems, and the short duration of the storyline. But this decision was absolutely correct, because in the last generation, the excellent Super Mario 3D World appeared too late, when many people had already buried Wii U. And now the platformer, which every Switch owner is waiting for, came out literally six months after the launch of the console.

Super Mario Odyssey game review

The city kingdom was the most promoted, but, alas, it turned out to be not as huge and beautiful as it might seem.

full and empty moon kingdom

Yes, there are technical problems here too. The graphics in some places (see the screenshot above) reminds of Super Mario Sunshine, and she just turned fifteen years old. The case is complemented by small bugs with shadows and not the most pleasant “ladders” on the characters and scenery – although the characters are more detailed than in the recent Mario + Rabbids. Separate textures are clearly taken from the storerooms for the second time, the spaces sometimes look empty, and therefore the picture, in general, has not gone much ahead compared to Wii U.

Of course, there is also a chic water with highlights and overflows, nice lighting effects, but in general, the cartoon style will not allow Switch owners to brag about the “grafon”. But the game can easily be shown to any friend by simply giving him one of the Joy-Con controllers. In 2-player mode, Cappie is controlled by a second person, and it’s just a great co-op option if you have kids or younger siblings.

In the variant for one, we are slightly forced to control the movement – with it, you can climb faster and (in theory) make some of the hat throws easier. But in reality, your lunges are not always perfectly recognized, and using a regular gamepad to control Mario’s pirouettes is much more convenient. I’m devoting an entire paragraph to this because, as always, there are challenges, such as getting moons in turtle runs, that require near-perfect hero control. “Odyssey” is only basically childish – only real masters can collect everything and everything.

Super Mario Odyssey game review

Nintendo knows what to do with your money!

***

In the major league of platform games for Odyssey, a place of honor is reserved. Just not next to the ingenious Super Mario 64 or Galaxy, but at the level of Super Mario 3D World. That is, a game that does not create anything fundamentally new, but simply adequately uses and develops what has been done before it. For Switch owners, this is another must-buy exclusive and a powerful argument in favor of the console, but in order to consider Odyssey the best in the series, one must well forget the previous adventures of the former plumber.

Pros: a brilliant idea with transformations and its chic implementation; the largest open spaces in the series; a lot of content; after the storyline, the adventure becomes even better, more hardcore, more diverse, grows along with your skills; very nice fan service – from 2D levels to costumes, characters and kingdoms.

Cons: it is clear that the project was done in a hurry, so in some places the graphics lag behind, then the quality of the worlds and tasks.

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