This month is a 2-in-1 review! If you’ve been on the fence about buying the Switch, then wonder no more. You should finally take the plunge and buy one, because November saw the release of Super Mario Odyssey!
As mentioned back in our Breath of the Wild review, I didn’t see the need to get a Switch for BOTW or Mario Kart, since they were already available on the Wii U with next to no difference in gameplay and graphics. However, with there being no more first party games to be released on the Wii U, as soon as I saw Mario Odyssey (MO) announced during the middle of this year, I knew that would be the game to drive me to buy a Switch.
The unit, as you all know by now, is part handheld, and part home console. You can either play it on a nice big TV screen, or pick it up and take it with you out and about. Transitioning between the two is fairly seamless without having to disconnect cords and adjust settings; you simply remove it from the dock, attach the Joy Cons and away you go, and the reverse for playing it on a TV.
It’s basically how it looks in the promo videos for the Switch, only with fewer hipsters. While I don’t take mine to play outside, it’s a nice option when I want to laze in a different part of the house and play a little. Battery life in portable mode is decent, you get a good few hours out of it and having played Mario, Bomberman and Puo Puo Tetris, everything runs smoothly and games look great in handheld, as they do (naturally) in docked mode. I don’t really have any negatives regarding the Switch, and now that games are coming out thick and fast, it’s a great time to think about buying one.
As for Mario, I’ve mostly been playing it in docked mode, on the TV. It’s been quite a few years since a proper 3D Mario game has been out; the last were Mario 64, Mario Sunshine and the 2 Mario Galaxy games some 10 years ago, and beyond. Mario 64 is actually one of my all-time favorite games and MO brings everything that made it my favorite game, plus more, to deliver arguably the best game of 2017.
We all know the story by now: Princess Peach gets herself kidnapped by Bowser, and it’s up to Mario to go to the rescue. This time though, you’re assisted on your journey by Cappy, a magical cap that sits on Mario’s head and allows you to collect items, jump higher/further, and what I can only describe as ‘possess other living beings’. That does sound quite dark for a Mario game, granted, but it’s executed in a typically loveable Nintendo fashion.
By taking over other characters, you can progress deeper in each world and gain more ‘power moons’ (this games version of the classic Mario stars). Collecting power moons is the aim of the game and in doing so, you can power up the ‘odyssey’ (your hat shaped space ship) and go to new worlds, with the ultimate goal of getting to Bowser and saving the princess.
MO is a beautiful looking game, with vibrant and colorful visuals, amazing graphics, huge, varied open worlds and attention to detail in everything on screen at any one time. The level design is nothing short of genius, and shows why Nintendo is still, 32 years later, king of the platformer genre. This is the kind of game that when you see something and think ‘I wonder if I can do anything here’, 9 times out of 10 you can, and you’ll be rewarded for it. You’ll get so caught up exploring in MO most of the time that you’ll forget that you have a game with objectives to get through!
There are so many hidden references and nods to the last 35 years or so of Mario that, if you’re a fan of the series, or an older gamer like myself, you’ll constantly find huge smiles creeping across your face, while silently praising Nintendo on a job well done.
This is a game I would definitely advise you try and avoid looking at online, or on YouTube, before playing it for yourself. You really don’t want to have any single experience spoiled (hence why I’m light on details in this review…I don’t want to be that guy!).
If you’re looking for something new, fresh and exciting to play, ignore the Xbox One X. Forget the PS4 Pro. And whatever you do leave Call of Duty alone. Go and pick up a Switch with at least a copy of Mario Odyssey. As long as you love games, I’m confident that you’ll thank me for taking this advice.