2017 has been an incredible year for Nintendo with the release of the Switch and SNES Mini Classic Console. Not only has Nintendo shown that its classic games remain as entertaining as ever, but its latest releases, such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, prove the company has big plans going forward.
Super Mario Odyssey shows that the essence of beloved Mario games similar to Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine remains alive and well. The bright, colourful worlds represented in earlier games look even more stunning on the Switch, as Odyssey captures the charm and uniqueness that made its predecessors so brilliant. Not only does Odyssey add a plethora of new locations and kingdoms, but also a unique mechanic that allows players to possess pesky enemies and creatures alike using Mario’s hat, Cappy. Mario’s character design has also seen a minor improvement with all-new nose wiggling mechanics.
During a gameplay demo, OnlySP had the chance to explore the Metro Kingdom. This world sees Mario start by running around the rooftops and scaffolds of a metropolitan city brimming with light fixtures and skyscrapers that accentuate the verticality of the game. On entering the main hub world, the character is free to roam the city, completing mini-games and collecting moons. Surprisingly, the kingdom is densely populated with plenty of NPCs wandering about and cars driving down busy streets.
Not only does Mario’s new possessed hat allow for some creative combat experiences, but it is also used as an exploration tool to traverse zip wires Mario would not normally be able to manoeuvre around. Mario must use Cappy to shoot up winches and wires left around the buildings to climb higher to uncover the many hidden gateways dotted around the city. Thankfully, despite reaching great heights, Mario receives no fall damage from clumsily wandering from a ledge, however the current invulnerability could change in the final version of the game.
What players may find distressing is just how easy the game appears at face value. While journeying through the main city, little-to-no harm could come to the plucky plumber, making exploration feel somewhat plain despite the vibrant location. However, as players explore the city, they will begin to uncover the many gateways that lead to more challenging areas of the game. An example of one such gateway lays on top of one of the many skyscrapers dotted about the city. Upon entering a gateway, Mario is transported to an enemy-infested part of town, complete with collapsing platforms and breakable Bowser propaganda. Players must balance combatting swarming enemies with avoiding falling to their deaths on the unstable walkways. Completing or failing the mission will spit Mario out where he entered, daring players to have another attempt.
The closing moments of the gameplay demo left a yearning for more time exploring the vast cityscape. Despite only a brief exposure to what Super Mario Odyssey will have to offer in the full game, the demo offers well-developed gameplay wrapped up in wondrous, and scenic environments. Not only does Odyssey bring out the best of its predecessors buts adds new and exciting ways for gamers to delve back into the world of Mario.
Super Mario Odyssey will be available for the Nintendo Switch on October 27, 2017.