2017 will probably go down in history as Nintendo's year of redemption. After a particularly difficult time mainly caused by a relatively unpopular console (Wii U), the launch of Nintendo Switch has seen the Japanese giant revitalised. Despite a shallow line-up, at least in its first months of its life, the Nintendo Switch has seen respectable titles that have been praised by both the public and critics alike. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and last but not least the recently released Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle; all great titles that have launched within the first six months of the console's life.
It wouldn't be a Nintendo console without its iconic mascot, Mario, and it seems Nintendo is putting together one of the best sandbox platforming games since Super Mario 64 (which is still considered the best Mario game by many). Officially announced at the Nintendo Switch's reveal event back in January, Mario's new game was an extremely welcome surprise to the audience, who have been longing for this sort of Mario experience. We have already mentioned Super Mario 64 as Super Mario Odyssey clearly borrows from the concept, putting the focus back on exploration as players make their journey onboard the Odyssey ship.
Recently, we were invited by Nintendo to preview three worlds, different from those we tried at E3, including Cap Kingdom, Luncheon Kingdom, and Seaside Kingdom. This intense session allowed us to experience not only the innovative gameplay mechanics we will find in the game (such as the use of Cappy, which is extremely versatile and original) but also a couple of mini-boss fights and an exciting and deliciously complex boss battle.
After a brief introductory sequence revealing the backstory (we can't tell you anything at the moment, alas!), we have been catapulted into Cap Kingdom, a world where Mario meets Cappy, the character who will join us on our long journey around the Earth. This section works essentially as a tutorial where, along with Mario, we begin to learn the basic mechanics needed to navigate the game world. As you already know, Cappy - who in this game replaces Mario's iconic red cap - allows the moustached hero to turn himself into objects and characters around him, solving some small puzzles or simply allowing him to advance.
To do this, the player must launch Cappy in the direction of the corresponding object or character, using either the "Y" button or by swinging the Joy-Con while imitating the movement your hand would make to launch a hat. We found both configurations extremely intuitive and easy to use, even though we preferred to use the motion controls, as it provides further precision. Cappy can also be used as a weapon -
as a sort of Frisbee - to hit enemies, and this is also very simple and intuitive.
However, as we said, Cappy's most interesting aspect lies in the fact that it transforms Mario into a huge variety of Mushroom Kingdom objects and characters. This allows Nintendo's mascot to acquire abilities specific to the given object or character, enabling him to explore the map more effectively or overcome certain obstacles. In the case of Cap Kingdom, for example, we could turn Mario into a frog, which allowed our hero to jump higher. This mechanic also allows Mario to reach secret passages and otherwise inaccessible areas, which often hide not only the Power Moons to collect in order to beat the levels, but also amazing surprises or collectibles.