The Super Mario Odysseyreviews are in and almost every single critic is in love.
Odyssey is the first open world-style Mario game since 2002’s Super Mario Sunshine. It’s also the first big Mario game on Nintendo’s still-new Switch.
In Odyssey, Mario traverses around the world with a new companion: Cappy, the sentient hat that allows Mario to capture and control enemies, each of which has unique abilities he then absorbs.
The innovative new capture ability paired with the beautiful worlds of Odyssey, Mario’s new outfits, and that unmistakable Nintendo charm captured the hearts of critics. The game, out Oct. 27, has received positive praise from just about everyone, with only a few notes of criticism.
Kotaku (Chris Kohler)
Odyssey’s levels are, down to the last little patch of terrain, breathtakingly gorgeous, intricately designed, and wildly varied. Whether you’re swimming along a cliffside beach and the reefs underneath it, crawling through the dark underbrush of a forest where a realistically rendered Tyrannosaurus rex is skulking around through the trees, or leaping through an expansive desert of rust-red sand, the levels are alluring. Come over here, they say. See what’s around this corner. Don’t go to bed. It’s not 2 AM. I had to play Odyssey on a very tight schedule for this review, but I think my play sessions would have been marathons even if I wasn’t on deadline.
Claims that Super Mario Odyssey is a modern, open-world entry in the series (like what The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was for Zelda) are overstated, but when I say that this game has really, really, really big levels, I mean it. Although I appreciate how the main campaign keeps Mario on a linear track, I’m more inspired by how much the game invited me to explore where and how I wanted.
The new abilities:
Waypoint (Patrick Klepek)
I don’t know how Odyssey was developed, but it feels as though Nintendo’s designers had a game jam, where they came up with wild and unexpected ways of interacting with a 3D Mario game. Instead of picking and choosing a few, though, they tossed all of them into a single game, coming up with a clever connective tissue—a hat capable of inhabiting objects and enemies, granting new powers—to justify their existence in the same creative stew.
USGamer (Nadia Oxford)
Super Mario Odyssey would be a top-tier Mario game even without the presence of the sweet-mannered Cappy and his ability to “capture” each level’s enemies and native fauna, but exploring each Kingdom with their aid is what makes Mario Odyssey “special” rather than “excellent.” There are over 50 transformations in the game, each of which let you see Mario’s world through a fresh set of eyes—and let you explore Odyssey’s exotic terrain with a new pair of feet. For example, a tropical Wiggler can’t jump or defend itself, but its ability to stretch its body, accordion-like (appropriate sound effects included), make it a champion at nabbing coins perched in precarious places. Overall, Odyssey’s capture mechanic makes exploring your surroundings a treat; even the lowliest Cheep-Cheep can dive to the bottom of deep trenches with a swift grace two-legged Mario can never hope to match.
Polygon (Philip Kollar)
I had one single and minor frustration: the controls. Let me be clear here that the controls aren’t bad by any means, but given the sheer number of possible moves at Mario’s disposal, there’s, uh, a lot to learn. Certain complex moves can require eventually holding down three or more buttons, all pressed with perfect timing, or letting go of buttons at the right time. And most annoyingly, a few options require the use of motion controls.
If you’re playing with the Switch’s Joy-Con controllers, the motion control moves are pretty easy. But as someone who still regularly experiences desyncing problems with the Joy-Cons, I preferred using the Pro Controller or playing in handheld mode. While motion controls still work with both of those setups, they’re awkward as hell to pull off.
Giant Bomb (Dan Ryckert)
As fun and creative as these story objectives are, Super Mario Odyssey’s greatest joy lies in the exploration. Moons are everywhere in this game. Yet somehow, it manages to never feel like a collectathon. You’re not hopping around and collecting dozens of floating icons devoid of context. Moons can be hidden behind puzzles, given as rewards for foot races, discovered by a friendly dog, or gifted to you by a lonely man on a bench that’s thankful for your company. You can get them by recommending the perfect music track to a Toad, herding sheep, using binoculars to spot something interesting in the sky, or crashing through a stone wall as a T-Rex.
IGN (Ryan McCaffrey)
I expected to be able to continue playing even after the plot had been resolved, given Odyssey’s 3D sandbox structure, but I wasn’t prepared for just how much there is to do after it’s “over.” In fact, some of its finest moments follow the credits, from new unlockables that nod lovingly toward the past, to a clever new implementation of an old friend, to entire new worlds. I’m still not ready to put Odyssey down, nor do I expect to be for quite some time.
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