Momma always said…
As your momma always told you, “don’t make decisions in a vacuum!” “Be your own you!” “Dare to be different!” All that crap. Here is another one for you, “don’t make important decisions while under the influence.”
It is fair to say the Nintendo Switch community has been “under the influence” for the better part of a week. Couple that with the sleep deprivation required to play Super Mario Odyssey right at launch into the wee hours of the morning, and it is pretty easy to understand why so many are drinking the Mario-flavored kool-aid.
But after that long wait and all the marketing and social media noise surrounding Super Mario Odyssey, was the game over-hyped?
One feature inherent with Super Mario Odyssey is the excellent joy-con integration. Generally speaking, platformers are considered to be typical controller based games. Even in the form of handheld mode, you have the required buttons to complete your task easily. If you haven’t tried Super Mario Odyssey while utilizing joy-cons yet, then congratulations! You have managed to resist the spam marketing every time you fire the game up to conquer the next kingdom! What you have also done is missed out on an incredibly engaging way to play the game. Give it a whirl with the joy-cons. I won’t tell anyone.
If you are stubborn like me, the pro controller is an equally satisfying experience that allows you to kick your feet up and shake the controller like a spaz at random times.
The World of Super Mario Odyssey
The world got a lot bigger in Mario’s latest go round. The Mushroom Kingdom is only a small world within the world of Mario now. The tribute to literary works The Iliad & The Odyssey by Homer are fitting as Mario embarks on a journey by (air)ship across the world chasing after Bowser to rescue Peach.
Each stop along the way provides a unique and interactive experience. Mario’s first stop in Cap Kingdom is completely inadvertent, but adds a new character to Mario’s roster of buddies: Cappy. Cappy has the ability to change his look and style based on the outfits of Mario’s choosing. Each Kingdom comes with it’s own unique style and therefore Mario needs to be dressed appropriately to fight Bowser’s forces.
Cappy can be thrown in a variety of ways giving Mario some new tricks including the ability to jump on Cappy to cover more distance or reach higher places. Cappy also gives Mario the ability to mind-meld with his foes. Do you see that tank over there shooting at you? Throw Cappy at it to possess the tank and bring your enemies down in a reign of fire! Are those gold coins too high up? Toss Cappy at that frog and jump higher than you ever imagined! Having a hard time breathing underwater? Have no fear Cappy and that conveniently located fish are here! Oh, hello Mr. T-Rex. Shall we go on a rampage?
Maybe the best thing Cappy does for consumers is turn Super Mario Odyssey into a 2 player co-op adventure. This feature doesn’t really enhance the overall experience. If anything, it just makes your friends less jealous and less angry than they would be if they were just forced to sit and watch you play instead.
The game is stunning. There is no denying that. The Kingdoms are beautiful and well thought out. The mini games are engaging and addictive (stupid jump rope…) and the power moon hunt doesn’t feel too grindy.
The cut scenes are entertaining and well done. The story behind Super Mario Odyssey really holds up. Bowser seems a little larger than I remember, but I guess I can’t be the only one eating Doritos in my down time.
However, one thing that bothered me about the game was how easy it is. Mario, in all his forms, has always been easy to master, but short of jumping over the edge of the platform, it’s pretty hard to “die” in Super Mario Odyssey. Even the boss fights are simplistic. In an effort to keep this as spoiler free as possible, the basic recipe to beating a boss is:
- Find the weakness
- Attack the weakness
- Do it 2 more times
It might be unfair to expect some kind of ground-breaking boss fight experience. The game already delivers in so many other categories that the degree of difficulty shouldn’t be the main concern, but it is a legitimate concern. This is especially important when looking at the overall replay value of any game. So why should Super Mario Odyssey catch a break here? After you have collected all the power moons and explored every aspect of the game, what, if anything, is left? If you are a collector and purchased the physical game + amiibo figures, it at least leaves you with a trophy. For all the digital downloaders out there, your game may collect a good amount of e-dust. Especially since people are now beating the game in 90 minutes.
If you have read this far, thank you. There are already 17 million reviews out there on Super Mario Odyssey, so we will keep this short.
The story, concept, design, and game as a whole is truly amazing. Our one bugaboo is really around how easy it is and what that means for the replay value of a $60 game.
Super Mario Odyssey certainly lives up to the hype, but questions around replay value raise concerns on our end and Redonkulous Gaming gives the game a score of 9/10
Avid gamer across PC, Xbox, and Switch platforms. Check me out on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube.