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First Impressions: Super Mario Odyssey

by on June 13, 2017

Whew!  When I went to Nintendo’s booth this year, my jaw dropped.  The crowd was PACKED in there!  And with good reason – ever since the Switch was launched, millions of people have spent countless hours at home and out and about on their Nintendo.  The booth wasn’t the easiest to navigate, but I luckily found a short line and got my hands on a 10 minute demo.  While it was great to get a first hand experience with the gameplay, it left me curious as to how the story will look when it is released October 27th.

I want you to understand that his may be a spiritual successor to Mario 64.  The gameplay hardly resembles Mario 64, but you can see some similarities as they are both 3D platformers.  The demo gave you a choice to play in one of two kingdoms – Metro Kingdom and Sand Kingdom.  I played in the Metro Kingdom, but I was able to see some great gameplay as others tried the Sand Kingdom.

The Sand Kingdom was vast and contained numerous obstacles and enemies.  Each of the Kingdom had Moons for you to find.  What are they for?  I don’t know.  But they may hold the key to unlocking areas.  There are many moons for you to find in the Kingdom.  This requires your best jumping, navigating, and combat skills.  The classic jumping and stomping mechanic is there.  But there is a new mechanic – your hat.  You can throw your hat to take out enemies, hit blocks, and transport yourself up these electric cables.  And, more importantly, you can use your hat to possess NPCs and enemies!  I used the hat to control a citizen playing with a RC car and used the car to get a moon.  I saw someone control a Bullet Bill to get a moon as well as break rocks.  The trailer showed off the ability to possess countless people, including a T-Rex.  I hope the T-Rex will be in the actual game and not just be a tease that never gets into the full game.

There are so many things to do in Mario Odyssey.  You can play minigames to find moons or moon fragments.  You can complete quests given to you by NPCs.  You have a whole slew of customization options.  Now, I don’t know if the items you purchase give you special abilities or if they are just cosmetic.  But you have a lot of things you can purchase with regular coins or special purple coins.  The shape of the purple coins look different in each kingdom and can only be used in specific kingdoms.  Characters from Mario’s history may show up in Odyssey.  I even saw Captain Toad in my demo!

So the big question is, what do all of these things do for you in the grand scheme of things?  Are you supposed to save each Kingdom?  Do the moons mean something special?  Do you choose which kingdom to enter?  Or is it linear and you go to specific places in a particular order?  Those are huge questions that we won’t find out until later.

A lack of demo and information hurt my overall enjoyment of the demo.  The gameplay was fantastic and made the experience a ton of fun.  But I wish there was a little context as to why I was doing the things I was doing.  Perhaps they explained things in closed doors with other outlets and didn’t make the info available to the public.  I will make sure to bring you more information as it becomes available.  For now, Mario Odyssey is still on my most anticipated list, even if i am a little perturbed by the lack of information in my demo.  I’ll leave you with the trailer that was released today, showing the T-Rex as well as other surprises (like 2D Mario!!!!).

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