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The Switch’s new Odyssey

Nintendo has just released their new next generation of Super Mario game, Super Mario Odyssey, on their most recent of consoles, the Nintendo Switch. Mario’s latest adventure finds him trying to stop Bowser yet again in his latest scheme, to force a wedding with Princess Peach. Battered and defeated along with a torn up hat, Mario teams up with a paranormal ghost hat named Cappy to crash Bowser’s forced wedding. Another simple plot that only Mario can pull off while still keeping a similar premise to previous titles.

Nintendo had some big shoes to fill for this being the first stand alone Mario game on the Switch, so did they stack up to expectations? Well for starters, the gameplay is one of the main changes. Mario can still run, jump, backflip, all that jazz. But the new addition of Mario’s friend, Cappy gives Mario more moves to work with, most of them related to combat. He can throw Cappy, jump on him, and even home in on enemies who might be difficult to strike. This is where a completely new mechanic is introduced: capturing enemies. If Mario throws Cappy at a specific enemy, Mario will be in control of said enemy and sport the classic Mario hat and mustache to add some variety and also give a little laugh in seeing classic and new enemies with snazzy Mario features.

Speaking of snazzy features, Super Mario Odyssey breaks tradition and raises the classic total of 120 stars, or whatever the collectible is for the game, to a stunning amount. Mario’s new goal is a Power Moon, and they are literally everywhere. From personal experience, I found that if you see one moon in the distance, there will probably be about 6 or 7 moons on the way. None of the moons except the main mission ones never feel obvious and instead are like a reward for inspecting more than intended. For example, you can follow a dog around in a town, but keep following it and the dog will reward you by digging up a Power Moon. It was unexpected, but I felt surprised in glee finding this moon by just doing something silly. Power Moons aren’t the only thing to collect either. Purple Coins are back from Super Mario Galaxy, but with a new twist. The stores in each kingdom, called Crazy Cap, where you can buy costumes and souvenirs (even a Power Moon) only use the purple coins you found in that kingdom. None of the purple coins are invisible, but they can prove to be very out of the way if you are simply just following the objective. And it is all optional, you are never forced to get the purple coins, you can just spend regular coins on costumes (but some costumes and souvenirs are purple coin only).

No game is perfect sadly, and this game is no exception. One issue I found is in the controls, to be specific Cappy himself. Most of Cappy’s moves rely on motion controls, and really only work properly when you have the joycons in each hand. However, when using controllers or the Switch console itself, it is still locked on motion control, and there appears to be no real option to turn it off. So you have three options. A, play with the joycons in each hand. B, jolt the entire console or controller to the side and hope Cappy moves the way you wanted.  C, just do not use the moves at all. These moves are really useful too, but the homing and spin moves: some of the most useful moves for me in the game, require you to shake the joycons in specific ways. Also, the only way for you to check your total Power Moons is by looking at the mast of Mario’s new ship, the Odyssey, where it displays your total. But the Odyssey does not follow you, and checking the map of the current kingdom only shows the total moons of that kingdom. It is a minor thing, but it still bugged me that a grand total option was not in the map section.

Overall, Super Mario Odyssey is a fresh breath of air to the Mario formula and has a welcoming sense to it when arriving. The game runs smoothly, looks fantastic on the Switch, and is now available to all Switch owners to play inside or on the go.

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