Super Mario Odyssey

Super Mario Odyssey

Most games form a positive first impression with me, only to have that goodwill drain away the longer I play as I notice more and more of their little issues. Super Mario Odyssey is the rare kind of game that gets better the more I play it. Taking control of enemies isn’t as innovative a concept as it used to be, but the beauty of Odyssey isn’t the fact of its mechanics – it’s the expansiveness and invention with which it uses them. More than any other piece of the franchise, this game embraces its status as experience as much as entertainment. The everything-including-the-kitchen-sink approach to gameplay and visual design isn’t cohesive by any metric, but it all contributes to an ever-growing sense of discovery and joy that washes over the player as they explore, unhindered by controls that are about as good as a 3D platformer’s can get.

The question of whether its mountain of content makes Odyssey feel bloated is a bit of a tricky one. It packs roughly the same amount of stuff into its locales as physically larger sandbox games, but several of the capturable entities (and the obvious afterthought of a two-player mode) are extremely underwhelming. Additionally, the huge number of collectibles – of which only a few are required – means the challenge level is effectively whatever you want it to be. You can take on gruelling platforming challenges or coast by on rewards that you’ve practically tripped over. This means that anyone can enjoy the game, but also that no one will want to conquer 100% of it. By the same token, while it’s not my favourite Mario title, the idea of someone disliking it feels downright impossible.

8/10
8/10

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