To talk about this game we can only start from two concepts, the first of which is easy to understand. Despite being often defined – and even advertised – as such, Super Mario Odyssey, at least, strictly speaking, is not the sequel to Super Mario 64.
The second concept is slightly more complicated and almost as old as the work mentioned in the title of the game: EPD Tokyo has sinned, so to speak, by hybrids. It was superb in the conception of Super Mario Odyssey and arrogant in its realization.
Because this new three-dimensional platform, directed by Kenta Motokura and produced by Hayashida and Koizumi, is not limited to want to revive the mechanics of Super Mario 64: he takes the strong point of every predecessor and challenges him to a duel, all while trying to harmonize and merge these very different dynamics together. It is inspired by the exploration of the forefather on Nintendo 64, re-proposes the thematic missions of Super Mario Sunshine, inherits the variety and gravity jokes of Super Mario Galaxy, and even the last Super Mario 3D World, theoretically so different, it picks up the rhythm and plenty of content.
Not enough, in terms of transformations and power-ups, it does what every Kirby fan would want from his three-dimensional iteration, inspiring himself – in this field – to the Rareware works of the beginning of the century, in particular, Conker’s Bad Fur Day. to put it to Tolkien, “a platform to tame them, a platform to find them, a platform to bring them and in the darkness to chain them”.
JOY-CON IN THE WIND
We can not but begin the examination of the game from the most important aspect of any platform, namely the control system. From this point of view, Super Mario, in over thirty years of history, has always represented a certainty, and this last episode is no exception. The Odyssey controls are a delicious compromise between the extremely free and malleable ones of Sunshine and the slightly more tied ones of Super Mario Galaxy.
In any case, for DNA derive directly from Super Mario 64, so there is a triple jump and absent the button to run. Long jumps, jumps in series, backflips, flipped at 180 °: all the classic repertoire returns, with a slightly faster pace than usual.But, as we said before, this Odyssey does not deny any of its ancestors, and the added value of the control system is given by the recent past, by some moves inherited from 3D World.
Then come the rolled in series and the jumps up “post-culata”, but above all the sense of rhythm that the game, unlike all other three-dimensional Mario, was able to give. And this return is refined and elegant in the way it integrates with the classic controls.
Since there is no longer the stroke button, and not being able to accelerate at most with the analog stick, the fastest pace is reached by rolling and jumping for a long time. Trying to maintain this speed, which by inertia is transiently transferred even to classic jumps, is the most satisfying thing ever done in a three-dimensional Super Mario, and in some advanced stages.
It is even necessary to complete certain challenges. This time Mario is endowed with constant company, an animated hat – Cappy – that can be launched: It is useful both to novices, who can hit without having to jump, and to experienced players, since some complicated leaps are made only with the help of the flying headgear. The game recommends using the separate Joy-Con so that you can launch Cappy through the motion sensors: it is true, some actions in this way are more simple and intuitive, and some (rare) moves are relegated to this setting.
However, we found the game in the traditional way just as pleasant. A pleasant surprise is represented by the HD Rumble, which is finally expressed in all its potential: it is not a technology that marks a first and a later in the history of video games, but it is still a significant step forward compared to the past.
THE FLYING HAT
The game is subdivided into various realms, the levels of the various settings and structuring, but they all share (or almost) that totalizing yearning we were talking about initially: each inside contains a base of territory devoted to exploration, enriched by some pure action sub-sections. The fear that the latter were the only repositories of the DNA platform was legitimate, but fortunately, it is not: even in Super Mario Odyssey, as it happened very often in Super Mario 64, exploration and acrobatics are fused together. However, there is no equivalent to the Castle of Peach, since one moves from one kingdom to another through a hat-shaped ship, the Odyssey, which, in order to travel, needs Lune; an alternative source of energy.
Diversification is not only formal, however: the Lunes in this game are much more numerous than the traditional Stars, and generally hidden differently. They are more similar to the old blue Super Mario Sunshine coins, so they could be hidden behind a house, or under a relief: in fact, the most complicated missions, the main ones, usually donate a bunch of Lunes, not just one. In this regard, it was surprising to note how the game, at least in the path relative to history, is linear.
Do not get us wrong, exploration and research are an integral part of the main missions, but we wanted to make the adventure to everyone pleasant. those players who appreciate these components less.
HIDDEN MOONS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM
Of the main missions, enlivened by the transformations and enlivened by the magnificent controls, we must mention two other surprising elements. First of all the two-dimensional sections, with a dazzling brilliance, reachable by some pipes and often integrated, or even structured, on irregular surfaces: it is Super Mario Bros. applied to current technologies, and it is as beautiful to play as aesthetically relevant, because celebrates the postmodernist vocation of Odyssey, so skilled in mixing, approaching and highlighting different ludic languages.
A second element that surprised us, since the saga has never been famous for this reason, are the bosses: not even this time represents the best part of the game, but they are more fun and brilliant than in the past, especially thanks to the variations granted from the transformations.
Odyssey is a title that, despite being devoted to exploration, completely repudiates dead times: someone could say that it is a concession made to the portability of the game, and is a statement with a probable bottom of truth, but on the other hand we must still underline the inordinate ambition of this title, which, although different from Super Mario 3D World, although theoretically justified to have “merely” discursive parts, refuses to allow pauses, and limits the decorative elements to a minimum .
THAT BOWSER PROCO
The story is the same: Bowser kidnaps Princess Peach, and Mario sets out to save her. This time the kidnapping is double (the rat also involves the little sister of Cappy), and especially aimed at marrying the princess.
The narration is pleasant, in particular, thanks to the new hat of Mario, never intrusive and often brilliant in the bars: considering how important it is in Odyssey, especially for the influence on the game mechanics, we will hardly see it again in the next episodes. We are sure however that it will be remembered by fans of this saga, a bit like what happened to Midna in The Legend of Zelda.
Regarding the character of Peach, while starting from the usual way, we communicate – for the record – that has developments evidently influenced by progressive feminism: he makes some rather surprising choices and reveals himself, an oxymoron, an anti-Penelope. As we had anticipated this article, despite the mix of different styles sometimes seems out of tune, is certainly functional: it manages to communicate a feeling of adventure, and exploration of the unknown, which is Super Mario was missing for a long time.
Not even the space setting of Super Mario Galaxy was so successful in the intent: it is now more alienating to see Mario in New York than among the constellations.