Super Mario Odyssey Review

Nintendo released the newest game to join the Mario franchise on October 27, 2017. Super Mario Odyssey is here and joins the ranks of the other great 3D Mario games, such as the much loved Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy. After a long look into the ins and outs of Super Mario Odyssey, here are my thoughts on the game as a whole.

Graphics 10/10

Super Mario Odyssey has some of the best graphics I’ve seen in a Mario game since Super Mario Galaxy on the Wii back in 2007. Each of the game’s 17 Kingdoms has a unique feel to it (bar a few that are in nearly the same region). If you were to close your eyes and pick a kingdom at random, once you’ve landed you would know exactly which kingdom you are in just by looking at the screen. Each Kingdom is filled with color and their own unique NPCs. I found myself walking around each area just talking to them to hear what they had to say.

It’s great that Nintendo added in a Snapshot mode because there are some amazing panoramic views that Mario visits on his journey. The game downgrades its resolution to 900p while in handheld mode, but in docked mode it runs the game at a stellar 1080p resolution. Even in handheld mode, the game looks amazing. There are also 8-bit platforming sections that feel just like an old-school Mario game and add to the overall feel of Odyssey.

Super Mario Odyssey's Luncheon Kingdom's Peronza Plaza
The most colorful of all the Kingdoms, Luncheon Kingdom’s Peronza Plaza is the central hub of the good eats in the Odyssey world.

Sound 10/10

The soundtrack in Super Mario Odyssey is just as amazing as the areas Mario visits. While I was out exploring, I was delighted by each Kingdom’s unique soundtrack. There were a number of times during my play-through of the game that, if I needed to step away from it for a bit, I would just leave it on and let the music play in the background. Even better, as you progress through the game, you get the ability to play any of the soundtracks you’ve heard at any point, enabling you to listen to your favorites any time you may have a daunting task or puzzle to solve.

There are even chip-tune versions of each of the songs that come up during the 8-bit puzzle sections. Super Mario Odyssey’s main theme, “Jump Up, Super Star!” is the first fully vocalized Mario track and is a great addition to the game’s many wonderful songs. Also, the sound effects of hitting enemies and blocks are on point.

One of the many fun musical moments in Tostarena Village where Mario gets to play his Hammer Space Guitar.
One of the many fun musical moments in Tostarena Village where Mario gets to play his Hammer Space Guitar.

Story 8/10

The story in Super Mario Odyssey is a little predictable. As with every other Mario game, Mario is off to save Princess Peach yet again. This time though, he is also helping his new companion Cappy rescue his sister and stop Bowser from marrying the Princess. As you travel from Kingdom to Kingdom, Mario and Cappy discover different wedding themed items that  Bowser and his minions have stolen, and it’s up to them to get these items back. All in all, the story was fun to play through and ended on a fun note between the characters. As Mario and Cappy progress through the kingdoms, they are searching for Power Moons by completing different challenges in each area. Some of these challenges are as simple as progressing through the area, while others can be obtained in out-of-the-way locations or even defeating the boss in each zone.

Cappy jumps in Super Mario Odyssey
Through out the story players will need to capture enemies with Cappy to get through the challenges that lie ahead. From the lowly Goomba to the mighty T-Rex.

Gameplay 9/10

Gameplay in Super Mario Odyssey is superb, although has a few drawbacks. The game likes to point out every time you start it up that you should play with detached Joy-Cons. There are some things that you can do with Cappy that are much easier to do with the Joy-Con that the game almost feels like it punishes you for using them attached to a pro controller. The game itself can be finished without detaching the Joy-Con, and using them that way brought back that Super Mario Galaxy feeling to Odyssey. Most of the game, I switched back and forth depending on my mood, but the game is designed to be played which ever way the player decides.

On occasion, it felt as though your button presses for some of the more advanced jumps had to be in pin point precision or the controller would falter, and you end up slamming down into a pit instead of cap jumping it. Other than that, the game handles wonderfully and felt like a refined Mario game. One big difference for Super Mario Odyssey compared to the other 3D Mario games is that with every Power Moon you collect, it doesn’t reset each area. Instead of loading into the same area ten times for ten different Moons, you can collect all ten in one play through of that area.

Super Mario Odyssey
While the game can be completed without the use of advanced techniques such as the Long Jump Cap Dive pictured here, knowing these techniques will open up shortcuts throughout some of the areas players visit.

Content and End Game 10/10

The amount of content in Super Mario Odyssey, for the average player, is outstanding. Throughout the entire game, as you collect power moons your Odyssey gets a bit of a power boost. There are 836 challenges in the game to complete, with some of the end game challenges testing everything you have learned throughout the rest of the game. While getting the maximum 999 Power Moons doesn’t unlock a new mode for the game, getting to that point will take many hours of game play.

Moon totals vary from Kingdom to Kingdom, with some having as low as 5 or as many as 104. Each Moon has its own challenge tied to it. As you play through the story mode, you are only allowed to collect so many moons before you need to finish the story to collect the rest. If you get stuck, there are hints that you can buy for locations and hints on what those challenges might be, but those are both optional.

On top of all the different Power Moon challenges, each Kingdom has two shops. One shop has different cosmetic items that you can use to dress up your Mario by spending regular coins. Each Kingdom has its own currency, and usually 50 or 100 coins hidden throughout the area, to earn additional costumes and items to deck out your Odyssey. As I said, the amount of content is enormous, especially when compared to the predecessors of Odyssey. Super Mario Odyssey is filled with stuff to do from beginning to the very end.

Super Mario Odyssey
Some of the end game missions are crazy, like this one in the Metro Kingdom where you have to drive a Scooter from rooftop to roof top.

Final Thoughts

Super Mario Odyssey is a great addition to the franchise and a must-own for any Nintendo Switch owner. If you are thinking about picking up a Switch for the holidays, this is a game I wouldn’t pass on. Super Mario Odyssey can easily be a contender for Game of the Year and has already been getting great marks across the board. Super Mario Odyssey gets a 9.5 out of 10.

Keep up on all things Nintendo by following our weekly Ninten-News article every week. Check out the latest Ninten-News here. Be sure to check out our other reviews, like our first impressionsof Middle Earth: Shadow of War here.  

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Derek Sherman

Nerdy husband and father of two, Derek has been playing video games and reading comics since he was a wee lad. Derek is also the host of the Halftone Hero Podcast and long-time loyal Nintendo fan.