Cappy has captured our hearts and Super Mario Odyssey has proven to be a show stopper at PAX West!
With Super Mario Odyssey being one of the most highly anticipated games of 2017, it’s no secret that I was dying to get my hands on it at PAX West. I don’t think there was any other game on the show floor that I was more looking forward to or more excited to play than Super Mario Odyssey. Because of that, I made sure I was one of the first people to arrive at the Nintendo booth on the dawn of the first day of PAX during press hour.
When I arrived, I was ushered into Nintendo’s booth and made my way to an unoccupied Super Mario Odyssey demo station. The demo station felt powerful and evoked such excitement from deep within me. Maybe I’m being a bit dramatic here, but I felt like there was a second where I forgot how to breathe. I was so ready for what was about to come. From the Nintendo Switch themed headsets to the massive television screens that decked out each demo station, everything felt ripe for the awesome Super Mario Odyssey experience I was about to have.
The demo they had running on the show floor featured two of Super Mario Odyssey’s unique Kingdom locations. Players got to choose between playing in either New Donk City of the Metro Kingdom, or in Tostarena of the Sand Kingdom. I chose to play through the Sand Kingdom while our other writer, Joe, played through New Donk City.
The best way that I can describe what playing Super Mario Odyssey reminds me of and feels like is by calling back to previous games in the series. Although Super Mario Odyssey is an entirely new and unique game, it’s undeniable that the developers heavily took inspiration from Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine. These developers took some of the best aspects of each of these games, injected it and then reinvented it within a new game. One of the things that I loved the most about Super Mario Odyssey is how brings you back to the days of open-world exploration and gameplay previously seen in the Super Mario franchise.
My play through began with me as Mario in a vibrant and lively desert. Immediately visible were ice pillars and a town that felt heavily inspired by Cinco De Mayo. I do recall it feeling odd to see ice in the middle of the desert, but this also added to the unique charm of this location in the game. I was impressed and instantly hooked.
The controls feel great and Mario handles really well. It took me a couple of seconds to rewire my brain from the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild controls that I was so accustomed to the Super Mario Odyssey controls, but once I did it was all very comfortable and intuitive. This game was made for the Switch. Everything about it feels right. My favorite control also had to be the Cappy mechanic since you could perform it either by pressing a button or with motion. With an intuitive flick of the wrist, you can send Cappy flying out in front of you.
I had about 15 minutes of hands-on time with Super Mario Odyssey and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. During that time, I got to explore parts of the Sand Kingdom, interact with npcs, control Bullet Bill, warp into a wall and collect 3 of the moon pieces that were hidden within the area along the way. I experienced so much in such a short amount of time that I can barely wrap my head around it. Thankfully after I was finished playing, Joe got his chance to take a whack at playing and I got a chance to observe. That gave me a bit more time to process what all I was experiencing during my play-through.
Needless to say, observing Joe’s play-through only reinforced how amazing this game is and how amazing it is going to be once it’s fully released. Witnessing the contrast between the Metro Kingdom and the Sand Kingdom, two completely different areas, at times made me feel as if I was watching an entirely different game being played. Despite that, Super Mario Odyssey still was able to maintain a familiarity and sense of belonging between the two kingdoms. These two drastically different places fit together perfectly, while each adding their own unique aspect to the overall gameplay experience. It’s apparent that nothing was off limits to the developers and even the craziest of ideas were acceptable in this newly created world of Mario.
All eyes are on you Nintendo! My hands-on experience with Super Mario Odyssey has me excited and wanting more. Only time will tell how good the game actually is, but I have high hopes. It’s no secret that as gamers we’ve been conditioned over the years to not set our expectations ridiculously high, especially for games that have yet to be released for fear of another No Man’s Sky, but can you blame me for being this excited? Everything that I’ve seen or heard thus far about Super Mario Odyssey is phenomenal. My excitement has only heightened after getting a chance to play it. I’m more confident than ever before in this game and what it is going to do for the gaming community. It would not surprise me if this title ends up being one of the best, if not the best, games of the year.
We here at MR were so impressed by Super Mario Odyssey after our hands-on experiences, that we even decided to nominate it for two awards: Best Console Game and Best of Show for PAX West 2017. Super Mario Odyssey then went on to win the award for Best Console Game! We can’t wait to get our hands on Super Mario Odyssey after its release for the Nintendo Switch on October 27th. I, along with many others, will be purchasing this game in a heartbeat.