Super Mario Odyssey

Super Mario Odyssey

Super Mario Odyssey is a 2017 platform game developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch. An entry in the Super Mario series, it follows Mario and Cappy, a sentient hat that allows Mario to control other characters and objects, as they journey across various kingdoms to save Princess Peach from his nemesis Bowser, who plans to forcibly marry her. In contrast to the linear gameplay of prior entries, the game returns to the primarily open-ended, 3D platform gameplay featured in Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine.

The game was developed by Nintendo’s Entertainment Planning & Development division, and began development soon after the release of Super Mario 3D World in 2013. Various ideas were suggested during development, and to incorporate them all, the team decided to employ a sandbox-style of gameplay. Unlike previous installments such as New Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario 3D World, which were aimed at a casual audience, the team designed Super Mario Odyssey to appeal to the series’ core fans. The game also features a vocal theme song, “Jump Up, Super Star!”, a first for the series.

Super Mario Odyssey received acclaim from critics who called it one of the best games in the series, with particular praise towards its inventiveness and originality. It also won numerous awards, including for game of the year. The game sold over 20 million copies by March 2021, making it one of the best-selling Switch games.
Super Mario Odyssey is a platform game in which players control Mario as he travels across many different worlds, known as “Kingdoms” within the game, on the hat-shaped ship Odyssey, to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser, who plans to forcibly marry her. The Kingdoms in the game return to the exploration-based level design featured in Super Mario 64. Each Kingdom has Mario searching for and clearing various objectives in order to obtain items known as Power Moons, which are the power sources of the Odyssey and grant access to new Kingdoms. Checkpoint flags littered throughout each Kingdom allow Mario to instantly warp to them once activated. Certain levels feature areas called “flat” zones, where Mario is placed in a 2D side-scrolling environment similar to his appearance in the original Super Mario Bros.

In addition to his existing moves, like triple-jumping and wall-jumping, Mario can throw his cap, the physical form of a hat spirit named Cappy, in multiple directions to attack enemies and use as a temporary platform. When the cap is thrown at certain objects, enemies, or non-playable characters, Mario is able to take possession of them, referred to as “capturing”, allowing him to use unique abilities. For example, Mario can capture a Bullet Bill to fly across large gaps, a Tyrannosaurus to trample things, a bolt of electricity called a Spark Pylon to climb up electric wires, and a tank called a Sherm to fire at enemies and break blocks for passage. Some actions can be accelerated by using motion controls in the Joy-Con controllers, but the game is otherwise fully playable when the Joy-Con are attached to the Switch console. Throughout the game, Mario can pick up coins, including purple ones unique to each kingdom, to spend on items such as new hats and outfits, some of which are required for completing certain objectives. The game uses a health system similar to the Super Mario Galaxy games, although Mario has unlimited lives; the only penalty for dying is paying up to ten coins. The player can also collect items known as ‘Life-Up Hearts’ which grant three extra hit points. The game also features cooperative play, in which a second player takes control of Cappy and can attack enemies independently of Mario.

The game requires a minimum number of Power Moons to be collected from each Kingdom to move onto the next, though these may be obtained from any source, making major objectives largely optional. Once Bowser is defeated, each kingdom is repopulated with more Power Moons. Collecting enough Power Moons allows for additional outfits to be purchased and unlocks two bonus areas. One of these areas is a boss rush called Dark Side, with 250 Power Moons required to enter. The other is a level called Darker Side that combines many elements of the game, and requires 500 Power Moons to enter. In addition to this, there is also a level based on Peach’s Castle from Super Mario 64 unlocked by beating the game. This level allows Mario to face harder versions of previously-defeated bosses and earn additional Power Moons by completing in-game achievements.

The game features a photo mode that allows players to use a free-moving camera to take and save screenshots, with additional options such as filters and stickers. Use of the Odyssey-themed Mario, Peach, and Bowser Amiibo figurines allow for special in-game abilities and unlocking special costumes which are otherwise unavailable until after the player completes the game and collects enough Power Moons. Other Amiibo can be scanned to provide hints to finding Power Moons.

A hide-and-seek minigame, called “Luigi’s Balloon World”, was released as part of an update on February 21, 2018. In it, players have 30 seconds to hide a balloon somewhere in a kingdom, which is then able to be played by others attempting to find it. A leaderboard system ranks the players who have found the most balloons. On April 25, 2019, the game was updated to be compatible with the Nintendo Labo virtual reality kit. In this mode, Mario must complete challenges in a number of Kingdoms to recruit musicians and give them instruments by completing tasks related to musical notes.

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