Nintendo PAX Previews

Super Mario Odyssey Hands-On Preview – Nintendo’s Killer App

On March 3rd, 2017, Nintendo released their seventh major video game console alongside launch titles like 1-2-Switch and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Since then, the Nintendo Switch has proven to be a massive success having earned the title as the fastest-selling console in the company’s history with a total of 4.7 million units sold worldwide.

During PAX West 2017, I finally had the opportunity to spend some hands-on time with Super Mario Odyssey, a flagship Switch exclusive title that is destined to increase those sales numbers even further. Here is a brief overview of my overall experience and why this game will definitely convince you to pickup a Nintendo Switch if you don’t already own one.

The premise of Super Mario Odyssey revolves around Mario trying to prevent a forced wedding ceremony between Princess Peach and Bowser by traveling to various kingdoms in search of unique items called Power Moons. Our hero commandeers a hat-shaped ship titled the Odyssey and uses a spirit consumed hat named Cappy to attack and consume enemies and objects. Levels are designed similar to how they were in both Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine but with a greater emphasis on size for free-roaming exploration and styles ranging from photorealistic to fantasy-driven environments.

The PAX West Demo that I played was essentially the same demo that was on display at E3 2017 back in June. Players are given the option of exploring one of two kingdoms between New Donk City and The Sand Kingdom’s Tostarena. Certain objectives must be completed within these worlds in order to progress further in the storyline and explore other kingdoms. I chose to playthrough a portion of the New Donk City level and was presented with a quest to help Mayor Pauline find four suitable jazz musicians for a city concert. Due to time constraints, I was only able to get halfway through this quest before the demo concluded.

Exploring New Donk City is the most fun I’ve had in any Mario game in recent memory.

Cappy’s addition to Super Mario Odyssey really elevates the overall gameplay experience to a whole new level. While the cap proves to be a useful weapon against enemies, the ability to possess items also allows Mario to interact with his surroundings more efficiently by doing things like traversing throughout different areas of a kingdom. These features coupled with the open-ended 3D platforming aesthetics succeeds in making exploration both fun and rewarding while also adding a bit of mystery as to how Mario will react to whatever Cappy captures.

Graphically speaking, Super Mario Odyssey is visually impressive and another great showcase title for the Nintendo Switch. While there is a bit of controversy over the news reports regarding the 720p docked resolution and 60fps performance, none of this stuff ultimately matters to me if the end product is enjoyable. The art style perfectly suits the game and I believe in the end that will be more than enough to win both new and diehard fans over.

Cappy adds another layer to the overall outstanding gameplay experience.

Rounding out my thoughts on Super Mario Galaxy is how the default controls feel. While the game can be played in a variety of ways, the Joy-Con setup was the only option available at the booth. I was always skeptical of these controllers when it came to comfort, but was very surprised by how natural they felt in my hands. I was able to maneuver through the level with ease and do everything from running to wall-jumping without any slight hesitation. Ultimately, I still may pick up a Pro wireless controller to see how different things feel but the Joy-Cons are definitely solid options for those who can’t afford another accessory now.

While my time with Super Mario Odyssey was very brief, I’m very confident in saying that this is one definitive reason why you need a Nintendo Switch. Playing this game reminded me of my childhood and brought me back to a time where I enjoyed everything that Mario games had to offer. Nintendo’s decision to launch this title close to the holidays is a smart move and proves that the future is very bright for the Switch.

Super Mario Odyssey launches worldwide on October 27th for the Nintendo Switch. Are any of you looking forward to experiencing Mario’s next adventure firsthand? Please feel free to let me know your thoughts on this upcoming game and more in the comments section below.