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Super Mario Odyssey Review

December 18th, 2017 by

Mario 001My love for the Mario franchise began over two decades ago when I was far too young to realise the impact of gaming over the coming years. Nintendo carved themselves the perfect little niche of Mario (and Zelda) games, plus their spin-offs, and have continued to see success with Mario in whatever capacity he is presented to us.

This new installment is no different. In fact, it’s not an overstatement at all to say it’s one of the best ever. If you’re thinking about getting, or playing, ‘Mario Odyssey’, you’ll be handed the perfect slice of whimsical adventure, fun and nostalgia all in one. For this game, the Odyssey is a hat-shaped spaceship that requires Power Moons to fly to new kingdoms to find Bowser in order to rescue, and marry, Peach. The Moons replace the previously over-used Power Stars in all of the preceding games.

The Mario games have always followed a pattern – there is a game mechanic, which is to be used repeatedly throughout the story, to see you cause Bowser’s demise in order to rescue your beloved Princess Peach. In the case of ‘Mario Odyssey’, it’s the hat mechanic. This very-well marketed function allows you to throw your hat as a weapon to kill enemies. Its main feature though, is to let you take on the form of enemies (or surrounding NPCs) to be able to use their powers to collect Power Moons and further unlock and complete levels.

The levels aren’t particularly difficult on first glance – and play. However, upon powering up the Odyssey (with the least amount of Moons required) and flying to the next level, you begin finding secret tunnels and passages that take you back to previous levels to collect more Moons you’ve either previously missed – or to collect the ones that have now opened up.

It is then that you realise there are around 50-70 Moons per level that you start to feel rather inadequate in your ‘mooning’, and subsequently try harder to explore and furiously throw your hat at anything that moves in the hopes for a little metamorphosis. Post-campaign completion sees the game open up by about 50% more to reveal how laughable your efforts truly are to show you how much harder you have to work for 100% completion of the game.

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The levels vary in difficulty, size and most importantly, visual design. One of my most favourite levels in the game is New Donk City; a busy metropolis with skyscrapers and busy town-folk watching musicians playing jazz perfectly embodying New York City.

If there were to be one downside, it would be that the motion-controlling aspect of the game with the Joy Cons is a tad bit fiddly. It’s not that easy to grasp all of the motions with ease and if you only wanted to play the game on the handheld device, you’re limited on the controls available to you, as you have to perform some actions with the Joy Cons to be able to collect all of the Moons.

You are able to spend the coins you collect in each level in the designated level shop, where you’re able to buy Mario costumes to deck him out in the coolest clothes. Many of the clothes serve no purpose other than to make Mario more visually appealing, although, there is one set of costumes you must buy per level to open up an area to collect more Moons, without which you’re not able to enter.

The gameplay itself is utter perfection – there is no doubt about it. We are given the correct balance in learning and playful discovery where you’ll lose hours of your life and forget how long it’s been since you last ate a proper meal. And despite allowing you to explore the game in a brand new and unique manner, you can still play the same old-school Mario game you adore where you’re able to run, jump, long jump, soar etc. to your heart’s content.

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The mustachioed charm is not lost; merely back in style for another much-loved addition that you’ll certainly be revisiting rather than collecting dust on your game shelf.

Midlife Gamer Rating: 9/10     Format:  Switch   Release Date: Out Now

Disclosure: Midlife Gamer Staff Writer Serena Haywood reviewed her personal copy of Super Mario Odyssey. The title was reviewed over the course of 5 days. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.

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