As with every Mario game, fans were kept waiting a long time for Super Mario Odyssey. Arriving almost half a year after the Switch had launched and Zelda fans had their fill of Breath of the Wild, this new adventure brought us the usual mix of familiar Mario themes as well as some unique new twists on the world of the gaming icon. With our new pal Cappy we could do things we never thought possible, and what's more, we could do it all on the go thanks to the Switch's hybrid functionality.
Cappy wasn't just there to spice up our wardrobe though, as we could actually use Cappy to 'possess' other creatures in the world around us in order to complete certain challenges. Yes, whether it was wooing female goombas, becoming a Bullet Bill to traverse gaps, or even taking the form of a giant T-Rex, Nintendo introduced a truckload of new game mechanics via this feature. It kept things fresh and exciting with each level you visited, and the constantly shifting mechanic introduced new and fun challenges along with it.
As if Cappy couldn't get any better, he came with even more features that just possessing other creatures. For instance, you could jump on him to get around the environment or use him to embody things like power lines to get around the levels, but there was also the added benefit of co-op. If another person wanted to join your adventure, they could just play as Cappy, and while this proves a little more challenging in terms of puzzle solving, it's still a lot of fun.
While using level design we'd seen before in the series, such as your classic sprawling green hills first made famous in Super Mario 64, there were plenty of surprises in Odyssey too. For example, going into certain pipes put you into NES-style 2D platforming sections, and the New Donk City metropolis was unlike anything we'd seen in the series before. It worked nicely in combination with the more classic elements, even if the people of the city looked a sight more realistic than our Italian friend.
Lives were also out the window with this entry in the Mario franchise, being replaced by a checkpoint and continue system which favoured the open worlds we were provided with. Each sprawling sandbox had a ton of secrets to find and Moons that you could use to power your ship and progress, so it was a welcome change to have checkpoints you could easily travel between, avoiding the dreaded backtracking.
It's hard to say if we've ever had a bad Mario game in the mainline series, and Odyssey keeps up the tradition of strong games with yet another one on the Switch. Whether it's docked and in front of the TV or with you on the go, Mario's newest journey keeps you on your toes with innovative mechanics and large worlds for you to explore, rewarding the curious and even throwing up some surprises along the way. Switch users had to wait a long time to see the mascot in action in his own game, but it was worth it in the end, and we were treated to probably the best Mario game to date.
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