A Return to the 64 days in Super Mario Odyssey

Ailbhe Daly

Nintendo have had a pretty impressive year as far as things go. The release of the Switch has been met with acclaim and now they have not just one but two genuine contenders to scoop Game of the Year awards across the board.

Mario Odyssey is nothing short of a joy to play. From the opening scenes where you are acquainted with Cappy, a cap that allows you to possess whatever it lands on. There is something about the almost hallucinatory ride that Odyssey is insistent on taking you on that will keep you coming back to it.

As you (unsurprisingly) pursue Bowser who has once again kidnapped Princess Peach, you are treated to a menagerie of kingdoms featuring NPCs such as sentient utensils and top-hatted rabbits. There is no way to encapsulate what this game actually is because you’d just be selling it short. While it is a 3D platformer that is reliant on you collecting lots of things, it is so much more than just that. It’s an exploration of imagination and something that you would only really expect Nintendo to come out with.

It’s a nice break from the usual run of the mill worlds you expect from a platformer when you’re rolling on corn on the cob while possessing a stack of Goombas and genuinely wondering if the dev team behind Odyssey are mentally sound. The worlds feel fresh and are fun to explore, teaching you new ways to overcome obstacles and collect Moons, the game’s integral collectable.

While the main story won’t take you a huge chunk of time to get through, it will keep you entertained as you travel through a world full of lunch items, a Metropolitan land remnant of New York City and a strange ice world where you race each other by bouncing. It’s wacky, it’s inventive and it’s everything you want from a platformer.

While older gamers will have no trouble with the main quest, there is so much post-game content to access that finishing the main story isn’t the be all and end all that it usually can feel like. For younger players, beating the story is an achievable accolade, again illustrating Nintendo’s ability to make a game that caters for a wide demographic rather than just one focus area.

You chase Bowser as he collects things for his planned wedding through all these different kingdoms, which becomes increasingly funny as the obvious things disappear and you’re left wondering just what else he could actually want next.

Nintendo have succeeded in releasing a Mario game that shakes things up, similar to how Super Mario 64, the first jump into 3D for the iconic plumber did. Finding new things to possess, new ways to beat enemies and areas in levels that you missed before is just a sample of all the things that Odyssey has executed incredibly well. Odyssey has managed to be quirky and unique in a way that will keep you guessing at every corner.

Ailbhe Daly