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. 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. 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. 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.
Use amazing new abilities—like the power to capture and control objects, animals, and enemies—to collect Power Moons so you can power up the Odyssey airship and save Princess Peach from Bowser's wedding plans!
Thanks to heroic, hat-shaped Cappy, Mario's got new moves that'll make you rethink his traditional run-and-jump gameplay—like cap jump, cap throw, and capture. Use captured cohorts such as enemies, objects, and animals to progress through the game and uncover loads of hidden collectibles. And if you feel like playing with a friend, just pass them a Joy-Con™ controller! Player 1 controls Mario while Player 2 controls Cappy. This sandbox-style 3D Mario adventure—the first since 1996's beloved Super Mario 64™ and 2002's Nintendo GameCube™ classic Super Mario Sunshine™—is packed with secrets and surprises, plus exciting new kingdoms to explore.
Super Mario Odyssey isn’t simply a retread of its 64-bit cousin though. The main new mechanics focus on throwing Mario’s hat, which has been replaced with a friendly character named Cappy. It’s Mario’s primary way of attacking enemies (besides jumping, of course) and unlocking secrets in the game, giving him a bit more range. It also increases his movement options tremendously, as he can bounce off of Cappy, which pairs with a new diving move to allow for some crazy jumps. But of course, what really stands out is Cappy’s ability to “Capture” enemies and other creatures and things, allowing Mario to possess them. This opens up even more possibilities for puzzles and attacks, and brand new ways to get across the stage. Granted, some just feel like simple power-ups, but it’s cool to control anything from a frog to a Goomba to a Tyrannosaurus rex and see what you can do with their abilities. While a bit more variety in the creatures you can capture might have been nice, the mechanic adds a ton to the game and really makes it feel like a unique take. The controls are smooth as silk as well, as one would expect from this series, and it’s easy to figure out how to use each creature and to master Mario’s own moves. I could see this mechanic crashing and burning in another series.
As great as all of that is (and it’s really great), I do have some complaints. The game’s main story progression is extremely short and easy, and while the post-game content adds new areas and challenges, I still felt like I breezed through it all a bit too quickly the first time around. Another large stage in the same vein of the Metro Kingdom or Sand Kingdom would have been nice and really made the game feel full to the brim (no hat pun intended). Getting around in some of the stages is also a lot more difficult than it should be, which is why there are still some I haven’t revisited at all after beating the main story. And finally, there are a few enemies you can Capture near the end of the game that I really with appeared elsewhere, not only because they’re fun to control, but also because they’re classic enemies.