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Mario is Back and Better in ‘Odyssey’

Griffin Schmoyer, Staff Reporter

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As the flagship franchise for Nintendo, the character of Mario has become synonymous with not only the company, but with video games as a whole. And somehow, over 30 years later, Nintendo is still able to pump out hit after hit with this franchise. “Super Mario Odyssey” is no different.

The game takes place, as usual, in the Mushroom Kingdom. But this time, Bowser has hatched a plot to tie the knot with Princess Peach, and Mario must pursue him in order to crash this unholy marriage.

The core gameplay is a return to a primarily open-ended 3D exploration-based adventure: the likes of which Mario hasn’t seen since his travels all across the universe in “Super Mario Galaxy 2,” released in 2010 for the Nintendo Wii.

The biggest change for this game is the inclusion of Mario’s newest companion, Cappy, who takes over Mario’s hat, and joins our protagonist to save his sister, Tiara, who was also kidnapped by Bowser. Now with Cappy at his side, well, on his head, Mario is now able to use his “CAPture” ability to help him find secrets hidden in every nook and cranny of these colorful worlds.

The capture ability takes everything you knew about traditional power-ups, and throws it off the top of a ten story building. There are no more mushrooms, fire flowers, or invincibility stars: nothing. Mario is now able to transform into some of the native creatures in these new worlds and use them to help solve puzzles, or reach new heights previously inaccessible to the player.

The game also gets rid of the trivial 1-Up/Lives system, and instead gives a penalty of deducting ten coins from you. Especially after the story, the game gives coins a bigger role in purchasing collectables, and if you get stuck on a certain part, it adds up pretty quickly.

This game provides level after level of joyous scenery and exploration, and each is packed with collectables and secrets that truly make the experience rewarding for the player. There are over 800 main collectables in the game, but the game leaves it up to the player for how much of the game’s main collectable, the power moon, they want to collect. You only need 120 moons to beat the game and 500 moons to get the real ending, out of a total of 830 unique moons. But, for completionists out there, you can get up to 999 moons! And as far as I’ve gotten, it becomes extremely tough to find these moons, but very rewarding when you accomplish your goal, and the moons only become more difficult after the main story.

“Odyssey’s” imaginative, vibrant art style gives each level its own unique feel, and the open world aspect of the game really put the power in the player’s hands as to what they want to do and how they want to complete the game. Unless you deliberately try, no two playthroughs are exactly the same. The game compiles the best parts of the most elite Mario platformers: the multiple collectables a level aspect of “Super Mario 64,” the tight controls and precision platforming of “Super Mario Sunshine,” and collect-a-thon of “Banjo-Kazooie.” It is executed near-flawlessly, but comparing it to those games does “Odyssey” a disservice. What makes this game unique is that it still feels like a  brand new game, despite the obvious influences.

The only problem I can find with this game really only pertains to those who want to fully complete the story: all 999 moons. You really have to pick each level apart, pixel by pixel, to find every power moon. And sometimes, the way you find the power moons becomes repetitive. The story is also kind of shallow, but Mario games have never really been about the story, which is only there to provide context and backbone to the game.

     “Super Mario Odyssey” is the ultimate Mario experience, the perfect amalgamation of everything you have ever loved about this franchise, and then some. It is so easy to lose yourself in the kingdoms you explore, and lose track of time playing it. I personally clocked over 60 hours on this game, and I have almost 700 power moons as of writing this article. There is no other game like it on the market, and it truly feels like this is what Mario has been leading up to.

Nintendo knocked it out of the park. I give this game a 10/10. It is worth every penny. If you don’t have a Nintendo Switch already, or don’t have the game, it is the perfect gift for the Nintendo fan in your life.

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Mario is Back and Better in ‘Odyssey’