Arts & Culture

New Mario game is a platforming odyssey


THOMAS GROBBEN | grobb001@rangers.uwp.edu

VIA NEXTLEVEL GAMING

Following its official reveal in January of this year, “Super Mario Odyssey” began generating an incredible amount of hype. It would be the first 3D Mario game since 2013, and the very first main series entry on Nintendo’s brand-new Switch console. In short, “Odyssey” was under a lot of pressure to deliver the goods. The game finally released at the end of last month, and deliver it has. “Odyssey” has dazzled gamers all over the world since its release, garnering stellar reviews from critics and audiences alike. It is a simultaneous return to the series roots, as well as a breath of fresh air for an overly familiar franchise.

Classic premise with a twist

After witnessing the abduction of his love interest by his long-time (and very spiky) rival, Bowser, Mario is forced to undertake yet another quest. But this time the princess is not in another castle; she is aboard an airship that is flying across a vast, unexplored world. Mario is joined in his pursuit by a new friend, Cappy, a ghost-like being who possesses Mario’s hat. This gives Mario a new look, and gives “Odyssey” its most intriguing gameplay mechanic; the ability to possess creatures and objects. By throwing Cappy onto specific targets, you can play as classic Mario villains such as Goombas, or even as a Tyrannosaurs Rex. This creates a significant amount of gameplay variety, and opens up a ton of ways to approach problems.

Platforming at its very best

The gameplay of “Odyssey” is very similar to that of previous 3D titles, such as “Super Mario 64” or “Super Mario Sunshine”. The player travels to various regions in pursuit of Bowser, and must collect Power Moons in order to power up the titular Odyssey, which is Mario’s very own airship. Each region contains a variety of enemies and obstacles to be overcome in classic Mario fashion; but in “Odyssey”, the classic Mario approach is often not enough. An essential part of “Odyssey” is learning how to use Cappy to his fullest potential. By possessing a ball of flame, for instance, Mario can traverse a pit of molten lava, taking him to places that would otherwise be inaccessible. Cappy is also an important part of figuring out the various boss fights throughout the game, which are a distinct gameplay highlight. The boss battle design is varied and imaginative, and can be approached in multiple ways.

A triumphant return

“Super Mario Odyssey” is an excellent debut for Nintendo’s mascot on the Switch console. It has reinvented Mario in key ways, while still maintaining its classic appeal. It is refreshing to play a game that has such a singular focus on having fun. Sometimes, the best graphics or story come at the expense of gameplay, and “Odyssey” is the perfect example of this fact. In terms of pure gameplay mechanics, “Odyssey” puts the competition to shame.

Score: 95/100

 

Categories: Arts & Culture, News

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