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Super Mario Odyssey[a] is a 3D platform-adventure video game developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch. An installment in the Super Mario series, the story follows Mario and Cappy, a spirit that possesses Mario's hat and allows him to take control of other characters and objects, as they set on a journey across various worlds to save Princess Peach from his nemesis Bowser, who plans to marry her. In contrast to the linear gameplay of prior entries, the game returns to the primarily open-ended, exploration-based gameplay previously featured in Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine.

Super Mario Odyssey
Super Mario Odyssey (artwork).jpg
Packaging artwork, featuring Mario and his anthropomorphic hat, Cappy
Developer(s) Nintendo EPD
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Director(s) Kenta Motokura
Producer(s)
Designer(s)
  • Futoshi Shirai
  • Shinya Hiratake
Programmer(s)
  • Norihiro Aoyagi
  • Wataru Tanaka
Artist(s)
  • Rikuto Yoshida
  • Naoki Mineta
  • Sho Murata
Writer(s) Hiroaki Hishinuma
Composer(s)
Series Super Mario
Platform(s) Nintendo Switch
Release
  • WW: October 27, 2017
Genre(s) Platform-adventure
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Development began after the completion of Super Mario 3D World in 2013. Various ideas were suggested during development, and to incorporate them all, the team decided to employ a unique, sandbox-style of gameplay. Unlike the casual-oriented 3D World, Odyssey was designed to specifically appeal to the series' core audience. The game was released worldwide on October 27, 2017, and received universal acclaim from critics, with many calling it one of the best games in the series. Within three days of its release, the game had sold over two million copies worldwide.

Contents

GameplayEdit

The player navigates the Seaside Kingdom as Mario, controlling a Goomba Tower using Cappy's capture ability
A "flat" zone in the Cascade Kingdom, one of many side-scrolling segments that imitate the gameplay and visuals of the original Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario Odyssey is a platform game in which players control the titular protagonist, Mario, as he travels across many worlds on the Odyssey, his hat-shaped ship, in an effort to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser, who plans to marry her.[1][2] The game sees Mario traveling to various worlds known as "Kingdoms", which return to the free-roaming exploration-based level design featured in Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine, with each featuring unique designs ranging from photo-realistic cities to more fantasy-based worlds.[3][4][5] Each kingdom has Mario searching for and clearing various objectives in order to obtain items known as Power Moons, which can power up the Odyssey and grant access to new worlds. Checkpoint flags littered throughout each world allow Mario to instantly warp to them once activated.[6][7] Certain levels feature areas called "flat" zones, where Mario is placed in a side-scrolling environment similar to his appearance in the original Super Mario Bros.[8]

In addition to Mario's existing repertoire of moves, such as triple-jumping and wall-jumping, Mario is able to throw out his cap, which is the physical form of a spirit named Cappy. The cap can be thrown in multiple directions to attack enemies and can also be used as a temporary platform.[6][9] When the cap is thrown at certain objects, enemies, or non-playable characters, Mario is able to take possession of them, referred to as "capturing", allowing him to use unique abilities. For example, Mario can possess a Bullet Bill to fly across large gaps, a bolt of electricity to climb up electric wires, and a tank to fire at enemies.[10][11] Some actions can be accelerated through the use of the motion controls in the Joy-Con controllers, though the game is otherwise fully playable when the Joy-Cons are attached to the Switch console.[12] Throughout the game, Mario can pick up coins, including purple ones unique to each kingdom, to be spent on items such as new hats and outfits, some of which are required for completing certain objectives.[6] Mario loses ten coins if he dies, either by falling into a pit or taking damage; there is otherwise no penalty for death. The game also features cooperative play, in which a second player takes control of Cappy and can attack enemies independently of Mario.[13][14]

The game requires a minimum number of Power Moons to be collected from each Kingdom to move onto the next, though these may be obtained from any source, making major objectives largely optional. Once Bowser is defeated, each level is repopulated with even more Power Moons, some of which require advanced techniques to obtain.[15] Collecting enough Power Moons allows for additional outfits to be purchased and unlocks two bonus areas, one of which is a boss rush. There is also a level based on Peach's castle from Super Mario 64 that allows Mario to jump through paintings and face harder versions of previously-defeated bosses; this level also has additional Power Moons that can be earned by completing in-game achievements.[16]

The game features a photo mode that allows players to use a free-moving camera to take and save screenshots, with additional options such as filters and stickers.[17][18] Use of the Odyssey-themed Mario, Peach, and Bowser Amiibo figurines each allow for special in-game abilities as well as unlocking special costumes which are otherwise unavailable until after the player completes the game and collects enough Power Moons.[19] Other Amiibo can be scanned to provide hints to finding Power Moons.[20][16]

PlotEdit

Mario attempts to stop Bowser from kidnapping Princess Peach to take her in marriage, but Bowser, with help of the Broodals, a group of anthropomorphic rabbit wedding planners, knocks Mario off Bowser's airship and shreds his signature cap in the process. Mario wakes up in the Cap Kingdom and meets Cappy, one of several sentient hat-like creatures called Bonneters that inhabit it. Cappy tells Mario that Bowser has taken his sister Tiara for use as Peach's wedding tiara, and deduces Bowser is collecting more objects related to his planned wedding from other kingdoms. Cappy, seeing a scrap from Mario's cap, transforms into a duplicate of it, and provides Mario with the ability to fling him and "capture" other creatures and objects, allowing them to set off and rescue Peach and Tiara. They first travel to the nearby Cascade Kingdom and recover The Odyssey, an airship capable of chasing after Bowser once fueled with a number of Power Moons.

As Mario and Cappy explore the various kingdoms of the world, they find their progress stalled by Bowser and the Broodals, at times damaging The Odyssey and forcing the pair to restore it with Power Moons before they can travel again. Eventually, they catch up to Bowser in his own kingdom and defeat the Broodals, but Bowser departs for his wedding on the moon. Mario and Cappy give chase and make their way to a cathedral on the moon where the wedding is about to take place. After being dropped into a cavern under the moon's surface, Mario and Bowser face off once again, and Mario gains the upper hand, knocking Bowser out and freeing Peach and Tiara. However, the cavern suddenly starts to collapse. To escape with Peach from the core of the moon, Mario uses Cappy to capture Bowser, using his powerful claws to burst their way free. Peach is grateful for Mario's help, but as he tries to propose to her, Bowser wakes up and attempts to woo her as well. Mario competes with Bowser, but Peach rejects them both, leaving with Cappy and Tiara aboard The Odyssey. Mario jumps off Bowser and makes it aboard just in time as they head back to the Mushroom Kingdom, leaving Bowser stranded on the moon.

DevelopmentEdit

 
Longtime Nintendo designer Yoshiaki Koizumi served as the lead producer of the game

The game's development began after Super Mario 3D World released in late 2013, and was created by the same development team.[9] Under director Kenta Motokura, the team experimented to find fun concepts based on the series' "theme of surprise". For example, the team found that throwing a hat was the most pleasing action to perform with the Joy-Con controller, resulting in the hat "capture" game mechanic.[9] The brainstorm resulted in a large number of eccentric prototypes,[9][21] and the developers sought to incorporate them by orienting the game as a series of dense, sandbox environments.[9] This led to the game's varied Kingdom environments, each with unique game mechanics.[21] The developers prioritized the city environment when selecting which environments to represent in Odyssey. They wanted a familiar aspect from the series to anchor players in the novel setting, and so chose Pauline, a character who first appeared alongside Mario in Donkey Kong, to be the mayor of the world known as New Donk City. Their character development of Pauline led to Odyssey's theme song, "Jump Up, Super Star!", being performed by her voice actress Kate Davis, which was the first game in the series to use a musical theme with vocals.[22][23] Some of Mario's costume options reference the character's costumes in prior games of the series, such as Mario's Picross and Super Mario Maker.[24][25]

Odyssey was designed to appeal to Mario's core audience—a departure from the series' recent focus on casual players.[26][27][28] Unlike prior titles which send Mario back to the beginning of the level after finding each main collectible, the Power Moons are designed to be found in continual exploration, with the game having more major collectibles than previous ones in the series. The lack of required Power Moons for game progression gave players a wider liberty to explore at their leisure rather than advancing the story—a new direction for the series and a design challenge for development staff.[21] The developers wanted players to check everything that aroused their attention for secrets.[9] Shigeru Miyamoto, the series' creator, was not involved in the game's daily decision-making, but rather served as an executive producer, with the development team consulting him on the best ways to express game concepts. Miyamoto's feedback was highly specific and critical, but offered as suggestions rather than ultimatums, and highly supportive overall.[29] Composition of the game's soundtrack was lead by Naoto Kubo, his first leading role at Nintendo, with additional compositions from Shiho Fujii and longtime series composer Koji Kondo.

Promotion and releaseEdit

 
Three white wedding-themed Amiibo figurines were released alongside the game, each having its own unique effect on the gameplay.

Lead producer Yoshiaki Koizumi hinted that a new 3D Mario game was in development in 2014.[30] The title was teased in the Nintendo Switch's late 2016 announcement trailer,[31][32] and formally announced at Nintendo's January 2017 presentation on the new console.[26] Gameplay footage soon followed.[33] At E3 2017, a New Donk City-themed section with multiple kiosks was set up, allowing attendees to demo the game.[34]

On October 10, 2017, Nintendo uploaded a Broadway-inspired musical trailer of the game's main theme, "Jump Up, Super Star!", on the company's YouTube channel, which features live action dancers and Mario.[35] The song was released on iTunes later that month, breaking into the top 25 best sellers.[23][36] The game was released worldwide on October 27, 2017.[37] White wedding-themed Mario, Bowser, and Princess Peach Amiibo figurines were released to complement the game.[38] Nintendo released a limited edition Switch console bundle, which includes the console, a pair of Cappy-red-colored Joy-Cons, a Switch carrying case, and an eShop download code for the game.[39]

In promotion of the game, Nintendo partnered with food manufacturing company Kellogg's in November 2017 to create a Mario-themed breakfast cereal in the United States, known as "Super Mario Cereal". The back of the box contains an NFC tag to function as an Amiibo for use in the game.[40]

ReceptionEdit

Reception
Aggregate score
Aggregator Score
Metacritic 96/100[41]
Review scores
Publication Score
Destructoid 9.5/10[42]
Edge 10/10[44]
EGM 10/10[43]
Famitsu 39/40[45]
Game Informer 9.75/10[46]
Game Revolution      [47]
GameSpot 10/10[48]
GamesRadar      [49]
Giant Bomb      [50]
IGN 10/10[51]
Nintendo Life           [52]
Nintendo World Report 10/10[53]
Polygon 9.5/10[54]
VideoGamer.com 10/10[55]

At its announcement at E3 2017, Odyssey was the show's most popular game on social media and was considered best in show among developers in attendance.[56][57][56] Early impressions from critics noted that the game was dense with secrets and more focused on exploration than progression.[9][58] Andrew Webster of The Verge thought that the structure of the game lent itself well to the portable nature of the Switch, which players could play for either long sessions in order to follow the missions, or in short bursts while collecting "Power Moons", which the author compared to the "shrines", or hidden mini-dungeons, which were scattered throughout Breath of the Wild.[6] Despite the praise, Webster noted that the motion controls "felt frustratingly imprecise", preferring the accuracy of standard controls.[6] The ability for Mario to turn into his 2D Super Mario Bros. form in certain constrained segments was compared to the puzzles featured in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds,[8][59] while VentureBeat made note of the game's similarities to the Sonic the Hedgehog series.[60]

Upon release, Super Mario Odyssey received "universal acclaim" from critics according to review aggregator Metacritic, where it is the fifth-highest rated game on the platform, tied with a number of others.[41][b] Edge praised the inventiveness of the game's new ideas and the risks Nintendo had taken to deviate from the established formula of Mario games, which they believed had paid off. They likened the game to Super Mario 64 and called it the spiritual successor that had previously not yet been achieved. The magazine also complimented the introduction of Cappy and the capturing mechanic, which they called the most versatile ability in the Mario series to date, and enjoyed how the ability allowed Nintendo to reinvent a number of their favorite gameplay activities.[44] Famitsu gave the game a score of 39/40, the same as Super Mario 64 and the highest score for a 3D Mario game since then.[45] Perfect 10/10 scores were also awarded by IGN and GameSpot, who both praised the game's originality.[51][48]

SalesEdit

More than two million copies of the game were sold worldwide three days after release, with more than 500,000 of those being in Japan.[62][63] During its launch week, the game competed with Assassin's Creed Origins, which it was narrowly outsold by in the UK.[64] In the United States and Europe, it became Nintendo's fastest-selling Super Mario game ever, with 1.1 million copies sold in the US within five days.[65][66] According to the NPD Group, the game was the best-selling video game of October 2017,[67] and was listed by Amazon as the online retailer's highest-selling game of the year.[68] It sold 63,538 digital copies in Japan between September 25 and October 29, 2017.[69]

AccoladesEdit

List of pre-release awards and nominations
Year Awards Category Result Ref
2017 IGN's Best of E3 Best Platformer Won [70]
Best Nintendo Switch Game Won
Game of Show Won
Game Critics Awards Best Action/Adventure Game Won [71]
Best Console Game Won
Best of Show Won
Destructoid's Best of E3 Best of Show Won [72]
Gamescom Best of Gamescom Won [73]
Best Action Game Won
Best Family Game Won
Best Nintendo Switch Game Won
Most Wanted Consumer Award Won
The Game Awards 2017 Game of The Year Nominated [74]
Best Game Direction Nominated
Best Score/Music Nominated
Best Audio Design Nominated
Best Action/Adventure Game Nominated
Best Family Game Won

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Super Mario Odyssey (Japanese: スーパーマリオ オデッセイ, Hepburn: Sūpā Mario Odessei)
  2. ^ Super Mario Odyssey shares its status as fifth-highest rated game on Metacritic with Super Mario Galaxy, Super Mario Galaxy 2, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, Perfect Dark, Metroid Prime, Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto V, Halo: Combat Evolved, and NFL 2K1. The games that are rated higher than Super Mario Odyssey are The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, Soulcalibur, and Grand Theft Auto IV.[61]

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit