E3 2017 - Super Mario Odyssey - Hands On

The release of a new Mario platformer, at least the 3d ones, is always a good thing and when Nintendo announced Super Mario Odyssey at their Switch event in January, lots of people took notice and for good reason. After playing both sections of the demo at E3, I can say for sure that the game is a good as it looks.

The biggest change, if you watched the trailer, is that you can now use Cappy, to take control of quite a lot of things in the world, from people to enemies, items and more, this really changes things up. In order to take control you only need to throw Cappy towards the item you want to take control of, its quite simple, throw it at a Goomba and if its compatible, you will take it over. When you take things over though, you are restricted by their rules, so said Goomba is not going to start triple jumping all over the place. To throw Cappy though, you can either press the X button, or if you are playing with the JoyCon split, you can actually throw your hand forward and Cappy is launched as well. I would suggest motion controls, purely because they have more moves that while possible with the Pro Controller, its much more challenging.

When you throw Cappy out, he will spin out, attack whatever is in his way and then he comes back, when is out though, if you hold down the X button, Cappy will stay out there, spinning for as long as he can, or until you let go. In addition to that basic attack, you can also throw Cappy along the ground, rolling him along and you do that, by throwing forward the two JoyCon together. If you want to pull off that super attack, you need to do the cabbage patch, well not really, you simply need to shake both JoyCon in circles, which results in Cappy launching out in a spiral pattern, getting larger and larger until he eventually comes back.

While Cappy is the new addition to the game, there is still the tried and true Mario moves that you can employ, you know the double, the triple and the long jumps, but the Galaxy spin jump returns as well. If you are in the air and you throw Cappy forward, you can gain another small amount of distance, perfect for when you mistime a jump and want to try to save yourself. Though even if you still fall short, don’t fret, there is no fall damage to be found here, in New Donk City, I leaped from the room of the tallest building and landed on the NDC logo in the plaza and took no damage. In fact in all of NDC I did not take any damage, because there were no enemies to find. Once you enter the sub-worlds contained within, that does change, but for the main space, you are free to explore.

Speaking of exploring New Donk City, there is lots to do, with plenty of Power Moons to find all around the place, from buried under piles of trash, to locked behind a fence, exploring will usually result with a Power Moon, or at least a clearer picture of a moon. Once I hit up the desert world, the same exploration is available, at least while you are exploring the town, however, once you leave the safety of the village and venture out into the ruins, you will find yourself challenged. The issue with this, is that now when you die, no matter how it happens, you don’t lose a life, you only lose 10 coins, what happens when you run out of coins? No idea, it has not be disclosed yet, but the lack of punishment is a little disappointing. While losing coins may not seem like an issue though, this time there is actual need to collect the coins, as you need them, in order to purchase items. Each world will have 100 purple coins and those are used for special items, the standard golden coins are used for more regular items.

In my time with Super Mario Odyssey, I found myself in two mindsets, the first is the negative space, being that it’s the same controls, same moves and just more of the same, but that only lasted for the first few minutes. Once I had the controls for Cappy down, I was able to take control of a range of things, I was able to deal out large attacks to my enemies and while I failed at it, I was at least able to try the hat jump a few times. Will Odyssey be the game to inject more life into the 3d platformer, early indicators seem that it might, but I guess we shall find out on October 27th.


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