Mario is one of those age-old characters that has been around for literally forever. Growing up with video games surrounding you, it is hard to not see everyone’s favourite red hat wearing plumber but while Mario has been going for such a long time, there aren’t many game-changing iterations to the series. This is because Mario is a classic and always will be but my time spent playing Super Mario Odyssey at EB Expo 2017 showed off this amazing new open world Mario game, and I for one couldn’t be more excited.
I knew as soon as the EB Expo lineup was announced that I wanted to get some serious playtime in with Super Mario Odyssey and after waiting in a line for half an hour (wonderfully quick) I took up the Nintendo Switch Joycons and began roaming around the Desert Oasis with its colourful and wacky Day of the Dead characters and of course, hordes of Goombas.
Super Mario Odyssey has a wonderful charm as you roam through the open world finding puzzles and mini-games to solve, similar (at least to me) to those found in Super Mario Sunshine. In the small demo we were allowed to explore, there were several moments when the open world turned 2D once again as we entered a pipe and became retro. During these nostalgic moments, you had to play Mario as he has been played for years, jumping, collecting coins and dodging enemies, all to exit in an occasionally not-so-obvious fashion back into the 3D world with a seamless transition.
The best part of Super Mario Odyssey would have to be the newest change, the Cappy, which, for those who don’t know is Mario’s trusty red hat which apparently has been possessed by a very clingy ghost. It was amusing running around and throwing Cappy at random objects to see if they could be possessed. From random boxes to bricks to the dopey Goombas hats were flying. For the most part, the hat just dealt damage or destroyed the object entirely but it was a joyful time when Mario disappeared and the flying rocket was zooming around under my control.
For me, this introduces something much needed in the Mario franchise: mystery and discovery. Super Mario has been a time-honoured classic with a set of moves and skills that has not varied much over the years. The addition of Cappy brings back the excitement and wonder, while surrounded by new and familiar allies/enemies. It blends the current with the nostalgic in a wonderful blend and I for one am excited to try the full experience out for myself when Super Mario Odyssey releases on October 27th, 2017.