Super Mario Odyssey Impressions

Super Mario Odyssey, as its name suggests, is a Switch game of epic proportions. Who knew an anthropomorphic hat could be so cuddly, cute, and full of wonder? Nintendo. It’s always Nintendo.

What powers Nintendo’s amazing predictive abilities? I do not know. Instead of answering the unanswerable, I’ll simply give you my impressions after tooling around with Super Mario Odyssey:

From SNES to Switch

I was lucky enough to snag a SNES Classic off an Amazon Treasure Truck when it launched. I’ve been playing Metroid, A Link to the Past, and Super Mario World fervently. This fact has colored my experience with Super Mario Odyssey. I was primed for an amazing experience. By the same token (or coin since we’re talking about Mario here), my expectations were sky high.

When I got my SNES Classic, I had the opportunity to return to the era of Nintendo’s masterpieces. I had never had a chance to play too much SNES when I was a kid, so this was an eye-opening experience for me. I couldn’t believe how compelling and addictive 2D platformers could be.

I spent weeks dividing my time between playing SNES Classic games and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on Switch. Interestingly, Super Mario Odyssey plays like a melding of those gaming experiences.

Cappy’s your chappy

Initially, I had a few reservations about a hat with eyes.

How is that a gameplay mechanic? I asked myself, naively.

Needless to say, Cappy is adorable. He sits on your head, provides you with some advice here and there, and says adorable things. So, as a mascot, he’s pretty bang on. I wasn’t too surprised that Nintendo was able to pull this off.

I was very surprised by how fun using Cappy is in the game. I often find myself hurling the hat around as I jump around, scrounging for coins in the level’s impossibly placed nooks and crannies.

Old-school cool

Super Mario Odyssey captured the balance of Super Mario World. Everything feels right. The puzzles are fun, challenging, and imbued with a special Nintendo something — the whole (Super Mario) world is filled with glee and nostalgic wonder.

As you’ve probably read elsewhere, old-school platforming puzzles are also scattered throughout the game’s levels. These levels actually look like they are transposed from an original Super Mario Bros game. This adds another layer of creamy nostalgic goodness to the mix. And, thankfully, the controls are improved. You can enjoy some 8-bit platforming fun without worrying about wonky controls.

Pretty presentation

At its core, Super Mario Odyssey is an old game; it follows a tried-and-true Nintendo formula without straying too much. On the surface, however — it’s all new. In other words, it’s got more than a great personality. It’s an astonishingly pretty game despite the Switch’s limited hardware capabilities. I often find myself spinning the camera around, taking in the adorable vistas, and am reminded of the watercolor world of Breath of the Wild.

Book a trip

The world wasn’t ready for Nintendo’s return to greatness. The world wasn’t ready for a magical, Pixar-esque cap — but Nintendo delivered it anyway. And thank goomba they did.


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