There’s always one big game at E3 that (almost) everyone wants to get their hands on. This year that was Super Mario Odyssey on the Nintendo Switch.
After a 2 ½ hour wait in line, my chance to tryout Nintendo’s latest addition to the Mario series finally arrived. I nervously put on the headphones, took the joycon controllers in my hands, and gave it a try.
I was given the choice of 2 areas to play; New Donk City (populated with people and traffic) AND an orange, glowy, open desert. I had watched the person in front of me play the urban terrain, so I chose to hop onto the sand.
Like everyone in line, I was given about 10 minutes to play, 3 of which I spent getting used to the controls. True to Mario fashion, the mechanics aren’t easy to master. But, once you do, you’re in for a platformer’s dream world with lots to explore.
The first thing that grabbed my attention was how close Mario’s move sets resemble that of “Mario 64” and “Super Mario Sunshine.” The gameplay is as fun as ever and Cappy is a wonderful new toy to enjoy. In fact, I’m not sure that calling him a toy or even a hat is enough. He’s very much a character of his own so much so that Mario disappears when Cappy is in charge.
To engage Cappy, simply throw him toward the object or person you want him to take over, and with the press of a button, he’s ready to go. Up motion with the joycons makes him move upward. Down motion makes Cappy stumble on his side down the terrain. Quickly moving the joycons side to side moves him around in a circle.
My personal experience with Mario’s new buddy involved using him to take over a stone monument which had the ability to see what was otherwise invisible. Hidden paths and docks suddenly came to light.
One of the coolest things about Cappy is that, like a weapon, he doesn’t take damage. It also appears that there’s no time limit on how long you can use him which means you’re probably going to want to use him a lot (which is probably the point). The one thing to keep in mind (which I didn’t confirm in gameplay but am guessing) is that the person or object that Cappy controls probably can take damage if you make a mistake.
A surprising part of the game is a 2D level, reminiscent of the “Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds” (on the 3DS), where you climb a tower and solve problems by going through pipes. Another unanticipated part of the game is that Mario can roll into a ball to maneuver around, “Metroid” style.
Gold coins and upside down green pyramids are used as currency for purchasing in-game outfits and power-ups. This time, moons are collected instead of stars and are used to help fuel Mario’s Odyssey ship. You will also collect them to help you get to the next level.
Another notable part of the game is the theme song. It’s a cool, jazzy ditty that was belted over intercoms throughout the whole Nintendo area on the E3 show floor. It’s so catchy that I and many others couldn’t resist bobbing our heads and shaking our shoulders to it as we stood in line, waiting to play the game.
Although the desert area was a little lackluster in look, it was extraordinarily fun to play. With its challenging levels, huge amount of hidden things to find, the addition of Cappy and the hearkening back to great games like “Mario 64” and “Super Mario Sunshine,” Odyssey is the Mario game fans have been wanting for a long time.
I look forward to playing much more of the game when it releases on October 27th. I also look forward to trying out the 3 wedding themed amiibo coming out the same day.
NOTE: For those who prefer to use the Pro Controller,it will be compatible with the game. We just didn’t have that option with the demo.