It finally happened! The sequel to Super Mario 64 that I've been waiting for since I was a child. Yes, I loved Super Mario: Sunshine and I thought Super Mario: Galaxy brought interesting ideas to the table (and perfected those in Super Mario: Galaxy 2). But to be honest, they never quite had the same amount of wonder, excitement and detail that Super Mario 64 did (at least for me).
But in Super Mario: Odyssey, that wonder and excitement is captured yet again. The worlds each feel unique, Mario's ad libs feel natural and unforced, and the sound design is spectacular. The music fades in and out in just the right intervals, and enemies feel varied and compliment each of their worlds in a manner that just feels right.
Now to quickly address some of the issues that I THOUGHT would be prevalent in the game but have instead proven my expectations completely wrong. First and foremost, the game lacks a central hub world as Super Mario 64, Super Mario: Sunshine, and even to a degree what Super Mario: Galaxy did. While at first I was worried this would remove some key sentimental gameplay element that previous games parlayed perfectly, it in fact did not. Actually, after playing the game without the hub world, I think having such an element would have removed some of the pacing and intensity of the game. Secondly, I was worried that the cap-throwing mechanic would detract from what makes a 3D Mario game a 3D Mario game. I was troubled and believed that we would spend more time running around as other creatures and figures rather than double-and-triple jumping our way to that final Bowser boss battle. Instead, the cap mechanic flows naturally and adds suttle bits of gameplay and strategy that are most welcome in the Mario universe (one of my favorite uses of this mechanic is becoming Bullet Bill and drifting through tight corners to get around obstacles).
From a technical standpoint, Odyssey holds up incredibly well. On the portable screen it runs smoothly at 720p (the highest possible) and at a high frame-rate with 1080p resolution when docked. In either case, the game looks absolutely beautiful. Button functionality makes sense and the doubling of buttons (some buttons perform the same functions) makes sense when you decide to drop into two-player mode or if you're someone who likes to switch up their play style from time to time.
The environments are well-modeled and the lighting dynamics make every texture the way you would expect in a Mario game (note the image above which takes place in the "real world" and how Mario just seems to fit right in despite his cartoonish appearance). It reminded me of Who Frame Roger Rabbit in a strange way.
To go any further would deem this an area full of spoilers, so for now I will reserve judgement (and as such I have yet to complete the full main game although I am steadily approaching the finish line with several hours of gameplay already logged).
For now, Super Mario: Odyssey nets a solid set of reviews from Tek5Music.com. Check the stats (and trailer) for the game below:
Teknical Score: 9.75/10 (An achievement in gaming)
Personal Score: 10/10 (I haven't been this addicted to a game since Fallout: New Vegas).
Author - Steve Douglas
Steve is a music producer, film editor and photographer who founded Tek5 Music in August of 2017. He currently works and resides in Roanoke, Virginia while preparing for the release of his next project "Roses Are Blue".