Video gaming

Super Mario Odyssey could be another Nintendo Switch contender for year’s best title

The world’s most famous plumber has a whole new range of abilities, thanks to sidekick Cappy, while levels such as New Donk City feature incredible environments and mechanics

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 August, 2017, 2:17pm
UPDATED : Friday, 18 August, 2017, 5:12pm

The Nintendo Switch may have the best opening-year line-up for any console ever.

The hybrid system that can both be taken on the road and played on the living room TV launched with the likely game of the year in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Nintendo has followed that up with a string of great games that include Arms, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Splatoon 2, while the upcoming Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is increasingly looking like a great new strategy game.

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It appears that Nintendo will be capping the year off with another candidate for game of the year with Super Mario Odyssey. At the recent Electronic Entertainment Expo 2017 in Los Angeles, Nintendo showed off the game and it was by far the most impressive hands-on experience at the event.

Those who got to try the game spent time in two areas: Metro Kingdom and Sand Kingdom. They offered two different experiences. Sand Kingdom was more conventional and showed off what Mario and his new sidekick, Cappy, can do against enemies such as Goombas and Bullet Bills.

As its name implies, Cappy is a magical hat, which Mario can toss to defeat rival Bowser’s minions. But being a makeshift boomerang isn’t Cappy’s only power and the Sand Kingdom level also showed off its special ability. If Mario throws it at certain enemies, he can transform into them. Mario needs to throw Cappy at Bullet Bill to become the enemy so he can fly across long gaps. In addition, he can also use Cappy as a stepping stone to cross chasms that he couldn’t normally cross.

In Metro Kingdom, in which is a place called New Donk City where most of the action takes place, Nintendo showed off more of the unconventional elements and platforming in Super Mario Odyssey. Here, Cappy can take over telescopes so that Mario can get a better lay of the land. It can use electricity lines to get to other parts of the map. Metro Kingdom is also the place where Mario can ride a scooter. That’s the first time he’s ridden something not named Yoshi in a long time.

Super Mario Odyssey also boasts shops that take special coins found throughout each map. Special coins can only be used in worlds they are collected in. They don’t work between levels. Regular coins can also be used at shops, and this is how players can buy different costumes and even power-ups.

In terms of structure, Super Mario Odyssey most resembles the first 3D Mario title, Super Mario 64. In each level, Mario has to find “Moons” scattered throughout the stage. Each map is essentially a playground where players can both explore and experiment with Mario and Cappy’s abilities. They can find Moons in a variety of places such as blocks, shops and hard-to-reach areas. Once players have enough Moons, they can travel to other stages.

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Super Mario Odyssey takes Nintendo’s famous plumber to new places, and the novelty is refreshing for the series. Players can get their hands on the game when it is released on October 27.