Before playing Super Mario Odyssey late last year, I would’ve ranked my top 5 Mario games as:
- Super Mario Bros. 3
- Super Mario World II: Yoshi’s Island
- Super Mario 3D Land
- Super Mario World
- Super Mario 3D World
And after playing Super Mario Odyssey? My ranking has not changed.
Super Mario Odyssey is the 2017 Mario main series debut for the Nintendo Switch. It’s a 3D platformer more in the vein of Super Mario 64, with open worlds and a ton of exploration. I personally loved it but I was confused by how it was being treated as the greatest Mario game ever. For me, it just wasn’t.
The game suffers from having too many things to collect. I have never been a Mario completionist and collect-a-thons in general don’t appeal to me. Still, if the gameplay is good, I will at least make an attempt at getting everything. Super Mario Odyssey’s gameplay is fantastic but there was no way I was going to go after 900+ power moons.
That may seem like a petty complaint, especially since I have allowed this one issue to deflate my overall love of Odyssey significantly.. Throughout the game, I felt like I was getting a power moon for everything I did, whether it was challenging or not. Sure, some puzzles and platforming sections were rewarding to compete on their own, but the sheer amount of power moons you can receive in any given world devalued them for me significantly.
Beyond my issues with its gluttony of collectibles and devalued reward system, the rest of Super Mario Odyssey was really good. I am less a fan of Super Mario, the open world adventurer, as I prefer the focus of levels (probably obvious after seeing my top 5 list above). Still, Odyssey is a great iteration of the formula and managed to be fun throughout for me even though it wasn’t my preference.
I do think the game could’ve benefited from proper co-op. I really loved Super Mario 3D World since it had so much replayability with friends. However, I rarely got to play that co-op since it was local only. With Super Mario Odyssey, I had hoped it would bring the co-op back, especially since the console has been touted for its portability. I have a few colleagues in the office with Switches, so I could’ve easily played it with others on my lunch breaks.
Finally, the boss design is terrible. The bunny wedding planners felt like they belonged in a different game (maybe a Wario game). Plus, fighting them all multiple times felt like a cop out for a game that otherwise had so much creativity. I much prefer multiple unique bosses to repeating the same boss with slight variation, especially when I hated that boss’s design the first time I fought them.
Where would I rank Super Mario Odyssey overall? It is easily in the top 10 overall Mario games for me and definitely the best platformer I have played since Super Mario 3D World a few years back. I’d probably play a direct sequel to it, but I won’t be as hyped as I was for Odyssey before I played it. It was fun and exciting, but not the style of Mario game I love most.