I just finished Mario Odyssey! Wow, that was an awesome adventure. Mario Odyssey returns to the Mario 64 style platformer, which I highly, highly prefer over the 2D/pseudo 2d-3d games we’ve had lately, and definitely over the Mario Galaxy style platforming.
In Mario Odyssey you are once again having to save the ever-a-damsel-in-distress Peach from the evil clutches of Bowser. This time around, Bowser is set on marrying Peach and is traveling across the globe to pick up items from each location in order to put together the perfect wedding.
At each location there are hidden moons and coins spread across a map of puzzles, dangers, and unique mechanics. The locations (I keep wanting to call them worlds) range from snow to desert, a real life city, a tropical island, and even the moon!
To get to these locations you’ll have to power up — you guessed it — the Odyssey. The Odyssey is a flying device of sorts with a magical sail/balloon powered by Moons. Each level has a specific number of moons you have to collect in order to proceed to another location, but if you play at all like me you’ll have 2-3x the number you need before you’re ready to move on.
Some moons are super obvious and you’ll come across them just by speed running your way through a level and defeating the mini-boss and boss. Others, you’ll need to look in out-of-the-way places or find hidden locations. Some you’ll even have to find by solving puzzles which may only be doable after the boss of that level is beaten. A lot of the content in Mario Odyssey happens after a boss — even after the final boss of the game. So be sure to spend time going back and looking around.
What makes Mario Odyssey super special and unique is your companion, Cappy. Cappy is your hat! Well, he’s a magical ghost-like being known as a Bonneter from the Cap Kingdom. Cappy transforms himself into whatever hat Mario is wearing to help him on his quest, and there are many of them thanks to an awesome costume changing ability where Mario can dress up in any number of acquirable outfits. The reason he’s helping is because his sister, Tiara, was with Peach when she was captured by Bowser. So you set off together on your globe-trotting adventure.
Cappy allows Mario to do a slew of moves including throwing the hat to interact with objects, using it as a platform to increase jump height, a frisbee-like weapon, and even the ability to possess enemies and take control of them!
This mechanic of controlling classic enemies from Mario games really enhances that feeling of Cappy being more than a simple tack-on character — he’s integral to the entire gameplay experience. In fact, Cappy is also where two-player (2P) mode comes in. Simply hand a joy-con or controller of choice to the second player, and they get to seamlessly control Cappy! My wife played the entire game alongside me. Having her control Cappy meant coordination was key, but that made the entire experience that much more enjoyable.
The worlds themselves are gorgeous and well-built. The challenges and puzzles are fun without being frustrating. There are plenty of new enemies with jaw-dropping cool abilities, and still many of the classics you’ll remember. Mario and Cappy together have formed a duo that won’t easily be forgotten. Overall, Mario Odyssey is the best game currently available on Switch, and (dare I say it) perhaps the best Mario game ever released. You need to get it, and if you don’t own a Switch then this is your reason to go out and buy one.