Super Mario Odyssey

*SPOILERS FOR THE GAME SUPER MARIO ODYSSEY WILL BE TALKED ABOUT IN THIS POST*

First off, I’d like to say that this game will always have sentimental value for me.  It’s the last game that I got from my grandmother who passed away about 3 years ago.  I  used the last gift card she gave me for Christmas a few years ago.  She had passed away around Christmas time 2015 and I just couldn’t bring myself to spend it.  It wasn’t much, but I wanted to spend it on something that would be worth it.  The card was going to expire and Super Mario Odyessy went on sale a few months ago.  It might not have covered the full cost of the game, but enough for me to want to purchase this.  So, thank you for the game, Nana.

This has to be the best Mario game I’ve played in a while.  Maybe even ever.  Everything just feels so right with the game.  The look and feel of Super Mario Odyessy is beautiful.  The controls of the game are great and responsive.  The music is some of the best that I’ve heard.  If there was a game that just felt right, it would be this one.  There is not much that I find about this game that is negative.

It’s your basic Mario story.  Princess Peach is captured and Mario must save her from Bowser.   Same Mario rescue princess story since 1985.  I’m not disappointed, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.  A simple premise that will always worked and will continue to work for the series.  Even if it’s the most made fun of story cliché.  However, the ending I found has a bizarre twist that I’ll get into later.

There are no power ups in the game.  No super mushrooms, fire flowers, tanooki leaf, 1-up mushrooms, nothing.  Your only ability is Mario’s athleticism and a hat. After Bowser beats you and destroys Mario’s iconic red M hat at the start of the game, you meet a sentient hat creature called Cappy.  Bowser kidnapped his sister named Tiara to be used as Peach’s wedding dress, umm, Tiara.  (It’s weird to say when you type or say it but it’s a Mario game)  Mario meets Cappy in the Cap Kingdom, the game’s first level.  Cappy joins Mario to help with the rescue.  Cappy provides Mario with the ability to possess certain enemies and objects.  You need to do this in order to advance in the game and collect certain power moons.

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You will always remember your first power moon

Stars (and shine sprites) from the prior Mario games have been replaced with Power Moons.  It’s not a big deal to me.  The only oddity is when you face certain mini bosses or bosses you collect a tri moon.  Three moons for the price of one.  Just seems like a way to signal a level midpoint or an end of the level.  There are 880 moons to collect.  Once you achieve this, the sail on the Odyssey becomes gold.  So far I have collected 595 moons.  Some of them ranged from really simple to why am I still trying to get this, it’s freaking impossible.  I have two videos below of easy (On top of the rubble) and hard power moons (On the North Pillar) as examples.

What’s really good is that once you get a power moon, you can continue the level from where you left off and not go back to the beginning of the level.  There is no main hub besides The Odyssey ship you and Cappy travel on to go between worlds.  At the time of this post, I’m trying to complete the darker side moon challenge, Long Journey’s End.  It’s a no checkpoint long level like Champion Road from Super Mario 3D World and the daredevil comet challenge of Grandmaster Galaxy from Super Mario Galaxy.  It is one of the hardest challenges of the game.  Thought, not as hard as the two I listed from the prior games.  But I have yet to beat the final challenge in the game.

There is no 1-up mushrooms.  Instead, when you fail, you get 10 coins taken away.  When you run out of coins, fail or are defeated you just stay a zero coins.  No more game overs or extra lives, just failed attempts and lost coins.  It’s interesting to think about how outdated an extra life can seem for most platform games, particularly Mario games.  If you got a game over in Super Mario 64  you can begin with all of the starts you currently collected.  Even going back to Super Mario World, the game had a save feature that let you continue where you left off even after a game over.  The game focuses on coins a lot more in this game than prior games.  100 gold coins used to equal an extra life, but now you can collect coins and use them to buy certain outfits that Mario can wear.  Some can even get you certain power moons if you wear them in the right instance.

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They don’t add any other benefits to Mario aside from some different conversations from non playable characters in each world.  Each level also has either 50 or 100 purple coins for you to collect. These coins can unlock outfits specific to each area. You can also purchase souvenirs and decals specific to each area as well with the purple coins.

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A kind of good thing that you can do is buy power moons from the store with gold coins. There is no limit to how many that moons that you can buy and the maximum The Odyssey ship counter can hold is 999 moons. It’s a way for people who are struggling with finding power moons to view another type of ending viewed at the Mushroom Kingdom.  It also takes out that help mode that some Mario games had where if you fail a level a certain amount of times, the game will beat the level for you or give you an invincibility suit for you to beat the level.

The worlds and the inhabitants are mostly background filler.  I couldn’t even remember what the inhabitants were called.  (For example, I called the inhabitants of the forks in the Luncheon kingdom the flingy forks).  We do have new characters, like the Broodals, mostly a mid boss group of rabbit baddys who help Bowser with gathering the wedding materials from each kingdom.  We even Pauline, from the Donkey Kong arcade games makes an appearance as the Mayor of New Donk City.  She’s not in any trouble, other than New Done City under siege from Bowser and ask Mario for help.  It’s a nice touch to expand the mushroom kingdom universe, if they can only add characters like Donkey or Diddy Kong in the next Mario platform game.  I’d like to see that

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I love how this game looks. The design of the levels and style of the outfits all match a world that Mario can live in and wear.  Even the Metro Kingdom, when Mario runs and jumps around in the city, it feels natural. Even Mario is a lot shorter than most of the human inhabitants.  To me in a way, looks like how a cartoon character would walk or move around in the real world. (Kind of like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the way toons interacted with that world.) The music is some of the best that I’ve heard in a Mario game.  From the serene music of the lake and moon kingdom the jazzy music of Metro Kingdom, it’s one soundtrack I’d like to have.

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When you load the game, you get this suggestion screen for controls.

Though not mandatory you can use the joy con controllers for motion controls detached from the grip, on the joy con grip, or the pro controller. I find that the best controller setup to be the joy con controller. There might be one or two instances that motion controls have an advantage, like with Mario rolling around or some of his cap throws but the pro control setup is just fine is getting the power moons as much as I struggle.

As complete as the game is, it does has some DLC. Luigi’s balloon world is a hide and seek type game where you either look or a balloon or hide a balloon for others to find. It’s more a distraction rather than an actual add-on to the game DLC.  Nintendo also released more outfits for Mario to wear and spend with coins. It’s not anything special, but it is free.

My last takeaway is the ending. After Mario saves Peach, Bowser stills tries to win her over and Mario does as well. She rejects both of them and heads or the Odyssey. She finally calls for Mario to board the ship as it takes off. It’s such a bizarre and twisted ending to me, but I kind of liked looking into that ending.  Not Peach rejecting both Mario and Bowser, but Bowser on blended knee trying to win Peach back after kidnapping her and forcing her to marry him.  People say Peach might have Stockholm syndrome, but Bowser looks like he can’t get over her. It can be viewed as, kind of abusive relationship Peach and him share.  He captures her, forces her to marry him, and then begs for him to take her back. It’s just so strange to see this theme in a Mario game.

That’s all I have for this game. Thanks for reading and if you have any thoughts or comments, please let me know.

 



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