Super Mario Odyssey
Super Mario Odyssey is a platforming game for the Nintendo Switch released on October 27, 2017. It is the eighteenth title in the Super Mario series and the sixth 3D Mario title on a home console after Super Mario 3D World in 2013. The game has sandbox-like elements and revolves around Mario exploring Earth-based settings, similar to Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine, with his new partner, Cappy. Unique to this game, Mario is able to throw Cappy onto certain enemies and objects, allowing Mario to take control of them. Mario can also dress in different costumes, several being based on previous games.
The game allows for two-player co-op, allowing a second character to use a single Joy-Con to control Cappy independently from Mario. The game also has online functionality, which allows players to compare their times/scores in certain events. In addition, amiibo can be used to unlock certain costumes early as well as obtain free hints towards the locations of Power Moons and regional coins.
Beginning "in the skies above Peach's Castle," Mario and Bowser are seen fighting one another on Bowser's airship, with Princess Peach on board as well. Bowser punches the ground as Mario jumps backward. Bowser jumps at Mario and shoots fire at him, which misses. Bowser then throws his hat at Mario, which misses while knocking Mario's cap off his head, and then turns around, hitting Mario, sending him flying. Bowser then takes his airship towards the skies, as he prepares a forced marriage to Peach. He leaves Mario's cap adrift into the ship's back propellers, shredding it in the process. A piece is obtained by a Bonneter named Cappy, who eventually finds Mario in Bonneton, located in the Cap Kingdom.
Afterward, Cappy pokes Mario. Mario wakes up, surprising Cappy, and catches up with him after he flees. Then Cappy introduces himself and explains to Mario that Bowser not only had attacked the kingdom, destroying its airship armada, but had also kidnapped Tiara, Cappy's sister, using her as Peach's wedding headdress. Mario and Cappy team up to stop Bowser's plans and save both Peach and Tiara, and using the piece he collected, Cappy transforms into the Mario Cap, allowing Mario to use Cappy's abilities. Cappy also informs Mario that they may be able to find a usable airship in the next kingdom, accessible from the Top Hat Tower. However, upon reaching the top, Mario is encountered by the Broodals, who were hired by Bowser as his wedding planners. After defeating one of the Broodals, named Topper, Mario and Cappy use a spark pylon to travel to Fossil Falls of the Cascade Kingdom, where they find the airship, named the Odyssey, which uses Power Moons as energy to travel. Soon after, Mario and Cappy find and defeat Madame Broode, the boss of the Broodals, and her Chain Chomp. Using the power of the Multi Moon obtained from Madame Broode, the Odyssey is ready for sail, and Mario and Cappy use it to chase after Bowser and the Broodals.
Mario and Cappy travel through several kingdoms. After going through Tostarena of the Sand Kingdom, Lake Lamode of the Lake Kingdom, and the Steam Gardens of the Wooded Kingdom, they encounter and defeat Bowser in the Nimbus Arena of the Cloud Kingdom. Bowser then shoots at the Odyssey, causing it to crash and land in the Forgotten Isle of the Lost Kingdom.
After Mario rescues Cappy from a Klepto and collects more Power Moons to restore the Odyssey, they travel through New Donk City of the Metro Kingdom, Shiveria of the Snow Kingdom, Bubblaine of the Seaside Kingdom, and Mount Volbono of the Luncheon Kingdom. They then attempt to enter Bowser's Castle in Bowser's Kingdom; however, they are encountered by Bowser before they get there. Instead of fighting Mario and Cappy, Bowser orders the Ruined Dragon to attack the Odyssey. This causes the ship to fall to Crumbleden of the Ruined Kingdom, where Mario and Cappy directly fight and defeat the Ruined Dragon. After restoring the Odyssey again, they finally go to Bowser's Castle and find Bowser with Peach. Bowser reveals that he plans to hold his wedding on the moon, and leaves Mario and Cappy to fight the Broodals in the RoboBrood.
Mario and Cappy destroy the RoboBrood, sending the Broodals flying as they recover another Multi Moon. They then head off to Honeylune Ridge of the Moon Kingdom to stop the marriage between Bowser and Peach. They interrupt the wedding as Bowser is attempting to put the Binding Band that was previously stolen from Tostarena on Peach. Bowser then stomps the floor, revealing a trapdoor under Mario and Cappy. Cappy grabs Mario by the fingers and tries to pull him out of the trapdoor, but his hands slip, causing him to drop Mario and fall into it himself. Bowser jumps in after them and engages them in battle, but he is defeated. Mario, Cappy, Peach, and Tiara are reunited but soon discover that the area they are in is collapsing. Mario uses Cappy to capture Bowser and escape, with all of them eventually returning to the moon. Mario and Bowser then simultaneously propose to marry Peach, with Mario offering a Rocket Flower and Bowser offering a Soirée Bouquet. However, Peach rejects them both and leaves with Cappy and Tiara. Mario and Bowser get upset, but Peach then calls from the Odyssey, saying, "Let's go home!" As the ship takes off, Mario and Bowser run after it. While Mario successfully jumps on it, he stomps on Bowser, leaving Bowser stuck on the moon.
The Odyssey later lands in the Mushroom Kingdom near Peach's Castle, where Cappy says that he enjoyed the adventure and wishes to continue traveling with Mario to collect more Power Moons. They do so, going through the Mushroom Kingdom, as well as Rabbit Ridge of the dark side of the moon and Culmina Crater of the darker side of the moon in the process. Meanwhile, Peach and Tiara travel the kingdoms on Peach's "own terms," while finding Power Moons themselves that they give to Mario when he meets up with them.
Super Mario Odyssey returns to the explorative sandbox-like gameplay seen in Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine, where Mario explores various areas in order to collect Power Moons to power the Odyssey airship to fly from kingdom to kingdom. There is no central hub world, as the Odyssey is rather used to move from one location to the others. Mario maintains his moveset from previous 3D titles, including the Triple Jump, the Long Jump, the Side Somersault, the Backwards Somersault, the Roll, the Ground Pound, the Ground Pound Jump, the Spin Jump, and the returning Dive. In addition, a new character called Cappy allies with Mario and takes possession of his cap. Mario can throw Cappy as if he were a boomerang for a long-range attack. He can use Cappy as an extra platform to bypass obstacles, use Cappy in conjunction with his dive move to cross large distances, and also use Cappy to "capture" certain objects and enemies to take control of them, replacing the traditional power-up system seen in the previous Super Mario games since Super Mario Galaxy. There are 52 capturable targets in total.
The game also features a co-op mode. During this mode, the second player as Cappy automatically hovers over the first player's head until they press the button, where they gain independent movement, where they act as an animate Cap Throw. When the second player is hovering over the first player's head, they can move the stick on their Joy-Con to move Cappy 360 degrees. When the second player is hovering over the first player's head, the first player can still perform all actions with Cappy as in normal gameplay; however, they cannot perform these actions when the second player is not hovering above them. If the second player, while being independent of the first player, presses the button again, they will automatically travel back to the first player's head until they press the button again. The camera follows the first player in this mode, and due to this, the second player can fly only a certain distance away from the first player until they are stopped by an invisible wall. When the first player walks a certain distance away from the second player, the second player will be pushed towards the first player.
Mario's life meter also returns with three health, similar to in Super Mario Galaxy. Additionally, there are no lives (and, by extension, 1-Up Mushrooms and Game Overs) in the game, making this the only 3D Mario game not to feature them, as Mario instead loses ten coins upon dying. The coins that Mario collects serve as currency. There are two types of coins—global yellow coins, which can be found and used in any kingdom, and purple regional coins, which are different in every kingdom and can be used only in the kingdom they were found in. Mario can spend his coins at the Crazy Cap stores to buy items for the Odyssey and costumes. amiibo support includes Mario, Peach, Bowser, and a new character called Uncle amiibo, which unlocks more costumes, including ones based on Luigi, Wario, Waluigi, and Diddy Kong; others reveal Power Moon locations on the map, though the latter four amiibo also do that before unlocking the costumes. This is also the case for the new "wedding" variants of the former three amiibo.
The game features a "Snapshot Mode," where players can suspend the game with and take screenshots. Players are also able to alter the shot by zooming in and out, tilting the camera for a vertical shot, or applying one of several filters, such as blurring the surroundings, adding a sepia tone, changing the camera to a fisheye lens, or applying an NES-, Game Boy-, or SNES-styled color scheme.
Super Mario Odyssey is playable in 13 languages: English, European French, Canadian French, German, European Spanish, Latin American Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Russian, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, and Korean.
Balloon World is a minigame similar to hide-and-seek that was added to Super Mario Odyssey in a free update released on February 21, 2018. In order to play, Mario must find Luigi in a kingdom and talk to him to begin. Mario is given a balloon that he can hide in spots around the kingdom for other players to find. Mario can also find balloons that other players around the world have already hidden. There is a time limit for placing and finding the balloons.
Certain enemies will wear different gear depending on the area they are found in. Enemies whose use is mandatory to advance, such as capturable enemies, respawn shortly after getting defeated or after being captured. De-capturing an enemy leaves it in a short dizzy state, which offers the player another chance to capture it before it disappears and respawns at the place it was first encountered.
Items and objects
Blocks and platforms
There are seventeen named locations that Mario can explore, most of which are in what the game calls "kingdoms." Each location has a specific theme, some being similar to themes seen in previous Super Mario titles, others being original themes. Some locations are based on a real-world location (e.g., Metro Kingdom's main area, New Donk City, is based on New York City). Bowser is after various items in some of these locations, which all tie to his preparations for his wedding.
When asked about "coming home" to the Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine style of gameplay, Shigeru Miyamoto explained that when he was developing Super Mario 64 with Yoshiaki Koizumi, they realized that the title would be more directed towards the "core gamer," rather than the casual, pick-up-and-go gamer. After Super Mario Sunshine, their focus reshifted to more accessible, casual gamers, hence encouraging them to make Super Mario Galaxy with more progression-oriented gameplay corridors.
As Super Mario Odyssey was developed alongside the Switch hardware, Yoshiaki Koizumi encouraged the game's developers to share their requirements and suggestions with the hardware development team. This directly led to the inclusion of the two motion-sensitive controllers and the HD rumble feature on the Nintendo Switch hardware, which became a prominent part of Super Mario Odyssey gameplay.
Early ideas and prototypes
Development for Super Mario Odyssey began right after Super Mario 3D World was released in late 2013. Miyamoto sought more senior developers and staff teams who had been involved in past 3D Mario titles, in order to really "go back to the roots" of Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario 64. As a result, Yoshiaki Koizumi was made the game's producer, and Super Mario 3D World director Kenta Motokura again took on the role of director. Miyamoto remained with a consultative role throughout development, and although he contributed a lot of feedback, he was also very accepting of the development team's ideas. Motokura revealed that early stages of development involved creating a "huge" number of gameplay prototypes with numerous ideas, and the capture ability was one of them.
Many of the other different prototype ideas were still included, providing for the diversity in-game mechanics throughout the game's stages, known as "kingdoms." These "fully realized worlds" were influenced by the kingdoms from Motokura's favorite Mario title, Super Mario Bros. 3, as well as Japanese hakoniwa box gardens that bring rich landscapes to life in a miniaturized form. The sizes of these worlds were often adjusted to ensure that the player can regularly discover an engaging action to perform. This was also intended to allow handheld players to still accomplish a Power Moon mission, even if they have only a few minutes to play.
Super Mario Odyssey's theme is highly focused on "surprises" and "travel," and the developers incorporated many of their travel experiences around the world. For instance, elements of the Sand Kingdom were derived from Kenta Motokura's experiences during a trip to Mexico, and the Luncheon Kingdom's food aesthetics was inspired by Italy and other European countries.
The developers recognized that when people travel to foreign countries, something that really has an impact is the different currencies. Therefore, they wanted to have Mario collect and use different regional coins in each kingdom. Since the player travels outside the Mushroom Kingdom, the diverse art style between all the different kingdoms aimed to recreate the feelings of surprise and discovery when visiting foreign lands. It was also noted that a lot of time was spent in getting the right balance between familiar Mario concepts and completely new ones.
An example was the realistic T-Rex that is able to be captured by Mario. The developers looked back for inspiration from familiar Super Mario World elements in Dinosaur Land, although they wanted to use a design that was "unseen" in a Mario game. Familiar gameplay elements include the "8-bit" side-scrolling areas of the kingdoms, reminiscent to Super Mario Bros. in which progress is more "confined" and "precise." This was intended to be an engaging contrast to the 3D sandbox environments.
The developers knew that they wanted to have a city environment in the game that would resonate with players. As Donkey Kong-inspired elements in the city came about, Pauline's presence in the series inspired the team to have her be the mayor of New Donk City. Some character development for Pauline was required in her transition from a damsel in distress to a major character, and it was decided that she would have an interest in jazz. This led to the composition of the game's theme song shown in the E3 2017 trailer, titled "Jump Up, Super Star!" which was made to give the game energy and help get the audience excited.
To develop the game's camera system, the team looked at previous 3D Mario games. Miyamoto discussed how the 3D camera in Super Mario 64 worked very well, as it had the joystick as well as the C buttons to adjust the automatic camera. Super Mario Sunshine had the C stick in order to control the camera freely, although they received feedback that the camera control was "a little bit difficult." With later 3D titles such as Super Mario Galaxy, the minimal control of the camera also attracted some negative feedback. Miyamoto added that it is "very difficult to find the right balance."
A unique aspect of this title is a vocal main theme, "Jump Up, Super Star!" sung by Pauline (interpreted by Kate Higgins, credited as Kate Davis). The song is big-band jazz style and details an adventure across the worlds from this game, with Pauline referring to herself as Mario's "1-Up Girl." It was released worldwide on October 20, 2017, on the iTunes Store, while the short version was downloadable for free until January 2018. The song's lyrics are also printed inside both the Western and Japanese packaging on the paper part of the cover.
On December 21, 2017, Nintendo announced an original soundtrack album for the game, which was released in Japan on February 28, 2018. The album contains four discs with 136 tracks in total, as well as two stickers and a booklet containing concept art of Pauline and comments from the staff. Additionally, the Super Mario Odyssey Sound Selection containing 12 tracks was released worldwide on the iTunes Store on December 22, 2017.
On the weekend of September 15–16, 2018, the Super Mario Orchestra Concert took place, where music from Super Mario Odyssey was played as well as tracks from other games such as Yoshi's Story and Super Mario 64.
Nintendo Switch bundle
A starter pack for Super Mario Odyssey with a strategy guide was released on September 28, 2018, in North America.
Nintendo Labo VR
Through the version 1.3.0 update that was released on April 25, 2019, Super Mario Odyssey features compatibility with the Nintendo Labo's Toy-Con VR Goggles in the mode "Playing in VR," which allows players to experience a small variation of the game in virtual reality. The experience includes three mini-missions set in the Cap Kingdom, Seaside Kingdom, and Luncheon Kingdom; another New Donk City Festival performance; and two cutscenes. The player can choose not to use the Toy-Con VR Goggles and instead play the mode with the normal view.
In each mission, Mario must find all three musical instruments and deliver them to the correct musicians in the area. Each instrument is revealed after finding a treble clef and collecting all of its notes. The objective is marked complete if all three musicians have been recruited and Mario has collected at least 100 coins. Like in Assist Mode, Mario cannot be defeated, and if he falls into a hazard or goes out of bounds, he is encased in a bubble and brought back to stable ground.
In order to play online, players must have downloaded the most recent software update.
An update was released on October 27, 2017. The following changes were made:
An update was released on November 30, 2017. The following change was made:
An update was released on February 21, 2018. The following changes were made:
An update was released on April 25, 2019. The following changes were made:
Talkatoo Camera Lock
If the player performs a Cap Throw at Talkatoo and talks to him at the same time, the camera will lock into place. Additionally, if the player performs a somersault and quickly turns the camera to face Talkatoo, he will be standing in midair. This glitch can be used to cheat the Jump-Rope Challenge in the Metro Kingdom and get a maximum score of 99,999 jumps. The player can return to regular ground by shaking their controller or pressing and can end the glitch completely by entering another area such as the Crazy Cap shop or by speaking to someone else. If the player performs this glitch and performs a Cap Throw at a Scarecrow, the screen will move the position as it normally would and freeze there instead. If the player performs this glitch and captures a pair of binoculars or a spark pylon, the screen will not move, and inside the binoculars, the vision is that of what is usually inside a pair of binoculars.
As of the February 21, 2018, update, this glitch has been patched, with the worldwide and friends rankings for the Jump-Rope Challenge having been reset.
Dog Jumping in Air
If the player bounces off the Nintendog when it is in midair, the Nintendog will remain in midair for a while before jumping again. Consecutively repeating this glitch allows the player to gain immense jump height as long as they keep performing Cap Throws in between to maintain their height. This glitch can be performed in any kingdom where the Nintendog appears.
Take Letters Anywhere
In New Donk City's park, if the player captures the letters in the Metro Kingdom and lines them up so at least one is on the boundary of the park and the "M" is facing towards the Odyssey, they can use a Motor Scooter to push said "M" into the other letter. By doing this, they will be able to capture the letter and take it out of bounds, letting them bring it anywhere they want in the city. This then has various effects throughout the level.
Pre-release and unused content
The pre-release box art of the game featured Mario wearing a sombrero and poncho in the Sand Kingdom. The final box art was changed to him being in the Lake Kingdom due to supposed criticisms about the appearance of a "Mexican Mario" on the box art and being described as a negative stereotype of the Mexican people.
During the E3 playthrough of this game, certain items had different names. Multi Moons were originally called "Grand Moons," and the Binding Band was simply referred to as the "Wedding Ring," which were literally transliterated and translated, respectively, from the Japanese original. The regional coins of the Sand Kingdom and Metro Kingdom were called "Pyramid Coins" and "City Coins," respectively, but they are not used in the final game. Additionally, the mission Showdown on the Inverted Pyramid was named "Inverted Pyramid Showdown."
During the Nintendo Switch Presentation trailer, Cappy was not shown with eyes. Similarly, during the Switch Presentation and E3 trailers, Peach's tiara is shown as a regular tiara rather than Tiara herself. Both were most likely done to avoid revealing the characters too soon. Also during the Switch Presentation trailer, the electronic billboard for Steam Gardens found in New Donk City showed that the location was originally named "Kogwald."
There were also minor details that were changed, such as the hat on the door of the Odyssey being much smaller, and the Metro Kingdom's Power Moons being more bronze than brown. Several of the quotes uttered by NPCs are different than in the final game, such as the RC Car driver in New Donk City originally saying, "Is there a better way to spend free time? Nope," before it was changed to "How are my kids so good at this?" The HUD during the E3 demo did not feature the instructions to press to view the map and for the menu, or the compass underneath the Health Meter. When there is only one hit point left, the Health Meter flashes differently than in the final game. When the player acquired a Life-Up Heart, the extra health meter was colored green alongside the first one instead of light blue.
In New Donk City, there are signs present in certain areas that are not in the final game, and the Mayor Pauline Commemorative Park has a rocket ship taking the player to a bonus area. In the final game, the player must first find a hidden room inside a building and reach the pipe at the end, and they will be taken to a hidden area with said rocket. The rooftop pool beside the top of city hall was significantly deeper in the E3 demo, with the water level being just over Mario's head; in the final game, the water level approximately reaches Mario's neck. It is likely that this change was due to the original water level leaving Mario susceptible to drowning, as demonstrated in a YouTube video uploaded by gaming news site Polygon during E3. Additionally, an unused sprite of an 8-bit Metro Kingdom regional coin exists in the game's files, but it was left unused in the final game due to the minimal presence of 8-bit sections in that kingdom.
Super Mario Odyssey has received widespread critical acclaim. Prior to its release, EDGE Magazine gave Super Mario Odyssey a perfect score of 10, praising the game for "taking big risks with an established formula and having them all pay off handsomely." Ryan McCaffery of IGN had a similar view, also giving the game a perfect score of 10. Despite criticizing the camera controls, McCaffery was ultimately very impressed with the game, saying that it "is a brilliant adventure and love letter to the series that made Nintendo a household name." Phillip Kollar and Allegra Frank of Polygon also praised the game, scoring it 9.5 out of 10. While Allegra somewhat criticized the boss battles, the two reviewers ended with "Super Mario Odyssey is almost certain to be counted among the best games in Nintendo's star series." Andrew Webster of The Verge called the game "A weird, wild world bursting with ideas," praising how the game was always surprising, saying, "Because each world is so different from the last, I found myself constantly discovering things I didn’t expect or hadn’t seen before." Peter Brown of GameSpot praised the game for its variety of platforming challenges and puzzles and how "The opportunities introduced by possessing others isn't just an easy source of laughs, but also works hand in hand with Odyssey's ever-present challenges," while criticizing how some of Cappy's actions require motion controls. He gave the game a 10/10. Dave Thier of Forbes praised how unique the game was, saying, "Super Mario Odyssey is a wide-open challenge that never stops changing, even dozens of hours in," while heavily criticizing the game's motion controls. He gave the game a 9.5/10. The game currently averages 97% on review aggregate site Metacritic (based on 67 reviews) and 97.42% on GameRankings (based on 58 reviews), making it the third-highest-rated game on the latter website.
Awards and acknowledgements
Super Mario Odyssey was nominated for six awards at The Game Awards 2017, winning one, in the following categories:
By December 31, 2017, Super Mario Odyssey had sold 9.07 million copies worldwide. By March 31, 2018, it reached 10.41 million copies, making it the best-selling game for the Nintendo Switch. As of January 31, 2019, it reached 13.76 million copies, although Mario Kart 8 Deluxe sold 15.02 million copies worldwide, lowering Super Mario Odyssey to the second-best-selling first-party game for the Nintendo Switch.
A book full of concept artwork and insight into the development of the characters and locales of the game, titled The Art of Super Mario Odyssey, was published by Dark Horse Comics and released in Japan on September 28, 2018, and in English-speaking countries on October 22, 2019.
References to other games
References in other games
Names in other languages