Super Mario Odyssey | Games To Play Before You Die

Super Mario Odyssey
Super Mario Odyssey

Mario platformers have been an integral part of video gaming for decades now, to the point where pretty much everyone who has a passing interest in games has likely played at least one or two Mario titles over the years. While some might prefer the older entries in the franchise, such as Super Mario World and the like, or underappreciated 3D titles like Super Mario Sunshine on the also underappreciated GameCube, there’s one game in the whole franchise that deserves to be played above all else: Super Mario Odyssey.

Mario’s first foray on the Nintendo Switch, Super Mario Odyssey felt like a huge flex from Nintendo, delivering an adventure that’s still a must-have title over six years later. This is Nintendo at the peak of their powers, showcasing the best that Mario has ever been, while hopefully pointing towards a future for the Italian plumber that’s even brighter than it ever has been.

Part of the magic of Super Mario Odyssey is its increased scope, offering larger levels to explore filled with objectives and secrets to find, all in the pursuit of those all important Moons. Nintendo might have upped the open world ante even further with Bowser’s Fury, the campaign expansion for the Switch port of Super Mario Bros. 3D World, but Super Mario Odyssey strikes a nice balance between varied levels and genuine exploration.

The levels themselves provide some of the most memorable moments of the entire game, with New Donk City’s Jump Up Superstar/Festival level being Super Mario Odyssey’s unmistakable highlight, but the decision to have Moons obtainable through random exploration and mini-games made every moment feel rewarding. It also helped that Nintendo liked to hide coins, Moons and other goodies absolutely everywhere, encouraging that exploration even further.

Super Mario Odyssey’s real genius comes from the addition of Cappy, Mario’s new hat friend who is more useful than Toad ever was. Take that, Toad, in your big stupid face. More than just a rather fetching accessory, Cappy gets thrown around by Mario like Rey Mysterio in a match against The Great Khali, with the Italian plumber using Cappy as a platform to reach new heights.

From a gameplay perspective, Cappy is just as revolutionary to the Mario formula as Sunshine’s F.L.U.D.D, opening the game up to a wide variety of platforming techniques and allowing the character who’s famous for jumping to be redefined in the modern era. The best part is, most of the techniques are so easy to perform too, making Super Mario Odyssey perfect for newcomers, but veteran players have found so much depth in combining those techniques, leading to Odyssey becoming one of the most popular speedrunning games of all time.

Not content with just being an incredible platforming tool, Cappy also comes equipped with the ability to allow Mario to brainwash/mind control/enslave certain enemies and other objects, giving him a whole new set of powers and abilities. There’s dozens of Cappy-able characters in Super Mario Odyssey, and most of them feel well-developed enough to be the gimmick of their own 3D platformer, but here there’s a treasure trove of mechanics that help create some inventive and enjoyable levels.

All of these aspects of Super Mario Odyssey come together to create an all-time great platformer, and one of the best games ever made. If you were to only play one Mario game before you died, Super Mario Odyssey is the best choice. Let’s just hope Nintendo don’t abandon some of the mechanics on offer here when the next Mario game rolls around.

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