Super Mario Odyssey: First Impressions


Super Mario Odyssey was revealed alongside a slew of other titles for the upcoming Nintendo Switch. Super Mario Odyssey is brought to us by the same teams that worked on Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy.  The two-and-a-half minute trailer brought us just enough information to unpack and try to best guess what this game has in store.

Because New Kong City was already taken - Super Mario Odyssey
New Donk City

Right away we are greeted with a setting unfamiliar to previous Mario titles: a realistic cityscape. “New Donk City”, complete with various references to Donkey Kong characters (Diddy’s Mart, streets named after Dixie and Cranky Kong), is a gorgeous environment with crisp details, really showing off the Switch’s graphics. More importantly, New Donk City is filled with actual, proportionally sized human beings. If not for spotting the mustachioed hero himself, I would not have pegged it for a Mario level.  As the name “Odyssey” implies, we are not in the Mushroom Kingdom anymore!

hat ship - Super Mario Odyssey

Mario wall-jumps, ledge hangs, and free runs his way through with lively animations. He then jumps into a hat-shaped spaceship contraption that whisks him away to another world in the search for Princess Peach.

The next level we see is a desert where the inhabitants are based on sugar skulls. Compared to New Donk City, this world is whimsical and colorful. I personally am reminded of Guacamelee! here. Another interesting tidbit to note is the collectibles in this game are not limited to coins, as we see Mario grabbing purple triangles during sections of the trailer. Mario also visits a forest, some long-forgotten and heavily vegetated structures, a food world (complete with sentient utensils), and somewhere very cold. Nintendo seems to have outdone themselves when it comes to making each locale feel unique. Art style and direction is totally different in every place.

sugar skull desert - Super Mario Odyssey

Mario’s hat is as iconic as his mustache. Without the hat, there is no Mario. In Super Mario Odyssey, Mario will be able to throw his hat, let it spin in place for a moment and use it as a temporary platform. A store called “Crazy Cap” shows up a few times in the trailer on different levels, possibly indicating Mario will get to upgrade his hat and get new abilities for it. It’s exciting to see Nintendo exploring this avenue. Even Bowser learned a few new tricks. Oh, and the hat has eyes (sometimes).

In an interview on Nintendo’s Treehouse Stream, Shigeru Miyamoto explained that with Super Mario Maker and Super Mario Run available already, he is comfortable making a more difficult game. With only this trailer to go off of, Super Mario Odyssey looks to be off to a wonderful start.

Super Mario Odyssey is scheduled for launch during the 2017 holiday season.