‘Super Mario Odyssey’: Everything we know about Mario’s Switch debut

Steven Petite
Digital Trends

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Fans of open-world Super Mario games have been waiting for the plumber’s next foray into a sandbox-style world since 2002’s Super Mario Sunshine for the GameCube. After years filled with traditional Mario side-scrollers, we won’t have to wait much longer for the spiritual successor to 3D Mario games like Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario 64. At E3 2017, Nintendo announced that Super Mario Odyssey launches on October 27 for the Nintendo Switch.

If you’re as excited about Mario’s latest adventure as we are, we will be updating news, rumors, and everything we know about Super Mario Odyssey right here.

A bigger, more eclectic Mario adventure

Super Mario Odyssey is shaping up to be the largest and most surprise-filled Mario adventure yet. Yes, Bowser still has his sights set on Princess Peach — this time he kidnaps her and plans a royal wedding — but the world itself, and how Mario interacts with that world, appears to be much more free and experimental.

From the initial reveal trailer in early 2017, we learned that Mario was heading to New Donk City, a fictional interpretation of New York City filled with normal size human folks. From there, we saw Mario traversing across the city landscape, jumping off taxi cab hoods and swinging from light poles. Old tricks like double and triple-jumping return, but Mario can also move about the world with a cannonball-resembling roll, and can hang on and shimmy across ledges.

super mario odyssey switch press 3pd
super mario odyssey switch press 3pd

Most notably, and at the heart of Super Mario Odyssey, is the plumber’s (ahem, former plumber’s) iconic red cap that now features a pair of sentient eyes. Cappy, originally appearing as a small ghost, has somehow found its way into Mario’s hat. Mario’s new ally gives Odyssey its most unique gameplay quirk — the ability to temporarily control both living and non-living objects, from Goombas to power lines to dinosaurs, by “capturing” them, throwing his cap onto their heads (or the closest possible thing).

At E3, we received a better look at the worlds that Mario will explore. New Donk City may very well be the starting world for Super Mario Odyssey, but players will explore a variety of different kingdoms throughout the open world adventure. Most recently, Nintendo showed Shiveria, a snowy world, and Bubblaine, a beachy zone during the September, 2017 Nintendo Direct livestream. In total, seven kingdoms have been shown so far, and Nintendo has said there will be more in the final game:

  • Bonneton – Cap Kingdom

  • Fossil Falls – Cascade Kingdom

  • Tostarena – Sand Kingdom

  • Bubblaine – Seaside Kingdom

  • Steam Gardens – Wooded Kingdom

  • Shiveria – Snow Kingdom

  • Mount Volbono – Luncheon Kingdom

Each one is vastly different in appearance and style. Cascade Kingdom feels like Nintendo’s version of Jurassic Park, with prehistoric dinosaurs roaming the lands. Partially modeled off of Ancient Egypt, the Sand Kingdom has pyramids, sparse deserts, and ancient ruins. Dancing robots occupy the dense tree-laden Wooded Kingdom sprinkled with scenic reservoirs. Deep blue waters surround the beach at the Seaside Kingdom. Snow, slippery ice, and frigid temperatures await Mario in the Snow Kingdom. Luncheon Kingdom, meanwhile, has large fluorescent rocks, and vegetable-like creatures with fork legs and chef hats. Cappy’s homeland, Cap Kingdom, is a mysterious moonlit world predominantly depicted in a dreary mix of gray, white, and black.

Musical trailer

A few weeks before the release of Super Mario Odyssey, Nintendo published a live-action trailer featuring the game’s signature jazzy theme song (Check it out at the top of this post). The trailer throws Mario into a dancing crowd on the streets of New Donk City (he isn’t a human being, fortunately) before he throws Cappy onto a nearby Switch player’s head.

Cappy’s antics don’t stop there, as Mario chucks the hat onto a bulldog, who doesn’t seem particularly bothered by his newfound mustache. The trailer also shows off some of the outfits Mario can where, including his shirtless swim trunks look, as well as the dinosaurs, koopas, and fish he can control in the game.

Mario has plenty of new looks

As shown in the E3 2017 trailer, Mario can switch out of his traditional garb in the Crazy Cap shop. We see Mario wearing a sombrero, a football uniform, a chef’s apron and hat, in swimwear, a safari outfit, and more. Costumes can fit in with specific sections of the game, but players don’t necessarily have to adhere to that. Players will be able to purchase new outfits with coins. As detailed by VentureBeat, certain outfits are required to enter some areas.

In addition to new outfits, you can buy stickers and souvenirs from Crazy Cap. During the September Nintendo Direct, stickers from the Crazy Cap shop were shown to be on Mario’s airship.

This time around, Mario collects moons

In Super Mario 64, it was stars. In Super Mario Sunshine, suns. And in Super Mario Odyssey, Mario will collect moons. In the E3 2017 trailer, we learned that moons power Mario’s airship (they are appropriately called Power Moons). Keeping with the tradition of 3D Mario titles, the more moons you collect, the more worlds you unlock.

Unlike other 3D Mario games, moons can be collected all over, rather than just at the completion of a “level.” They are hidden around the world in a way that somewhat reminds us of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild‘s Korok seeds. During the September, 2017 Nintendo Direct, Odyssey producer Yoshiaki Koizumi said each world has dozens of moons, so players will be scouring each world high and low to find them. Koizumi added that there is a reward for dedicated players who collect every moon.

Throwback vibes

While Super Mario Odyssey is a return to the open world, Nintendo made sure to include at least a few sections that hark back to classic Mario. During the E3 2017 trailer, Mario turns into a flattened plumber to run across a tower ledge. The style is not all that different from what Nintendo did with Link in sections of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, and Mario’s character model looks ripped straight out of his early adventures.

Beyond the nostalgia grabs, Odyssey will also feature elements from Mario’s past 3D adventures. Mario jumped into a rippling portrait during the September Nintendo Direct, harking back to Super Mario 64.

Cappy brings co-op

Apparently, Nintendo deemed Cappy important enough to offer players the opportunity to control him as a singular entity in Super Mario Odyssey‘s two player co-op mode. When co-op mode is activated, as shown in the gameplay session above, one player controls Mario while the other gains total control over Cappy. Mario retains all of his original moves sans Cappy, while the sentient hat can glide around the map, collect coins, and attack enemies. Cappy can’t secure Power Moons, but still has full range of motion, and can assist Mario in solving puzzles. Given the Switch’s unique hardware, you won’t need additional controllers to play co-op, as each player can use single Joy-Con controls. Co-op in Odyssey seems to be tailored toward younger gamers since Cappy is invincible.

Snapshot Mode

super mario odyssey switch press 6pd
super mario odyssey switch press 6pd

Nintendo showed off a new screenshot capturing feature during the September Nintendo Direct called snapshot mode. At any point in the game, players can pause the action, snap a picture, and share it to social media for friends to see. Snapshot mode also lets users rotate landscape images into portrait, modify colors, and distort the image. This development will inevitably lead to a bevy of new Mario memes.

Thanks to a recent Switch firmware update, Odyssey will also be among the first Switch games to get system-level video capture. Players will also be able to capture and share 30 second clips to social media. Each gameplay clip can be uploaded to Twitter or Facebook directly from the Switch.

Higher degree of difficulty

Recent entries in the Super Mario franchise have been made to appeal to casual and family-friendly gamers. Although we don’t expect the game to be too terribly difficult, Odyssey will offer a higher degree of difficulty than Super Mario titles released since Super Mario Sunshine, according to an interview with Shigeru Myamoto, co-Representative Director of Nintendo. You can watch the whole interview here. Miyamoto discusses how the history of 3D Mario games, specifically Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine, influenced the design of Super Mario Odyssey.

Game over begone

While Odyssey might not have the kind of gameplay Mario fans have become accustomed to, those who struggle won’t see the traditional “game over” screen when they die. A gif posted to the Japanese Super Mario Odyssey Twitter account demonstrates that when Mario’s health is fully depleted you lose 10 coins, but the words “game over” never appear on the black screen. According to IGN, the classic phrase was removed to encourage players to explore Odyssey‘s open world.

Super Mario Odyssey Amiibos

A trio of Super Mario Odyssey Amiibo will be released alongside the game — Mario, Princess Peach, and Bowser — all donning wedding attire, as shown in trailers for the game. All three will be available individually or as a set.

Each Amiibo unlocks their respective wedding outfits when used with the game, as well as grant temporary bonuses. The Mario Amiibo makes the former plumber temporarily invincible, Peach gives you an additional life, and Bowser will show you where to find coins in your region.

Beyond the Odyssey-specific Amiibo, each existing Amiibo will be compatible with Super Mario Odyssey. Nintendo claimed that Amiibo will either gift Mario new outfits or offer tips for your adventure.

Rest assured, though, if you neither want nor can get your hands on the Amiibo, all outfits will be available to players regardless of whether you have the Amiibo or not. So if you want dapper white suit Mario, you can still unlock it, sans Amiibo. The in-game perks like temporarily invulnerability and tips offered by existing Amiibo are the only aspects you will miss out on by not having Amiibo.

Extended gameplay looks

If you want to see all of Mario’s new tricks and get a better look at New Donk City, check out the E3 2017 show floor demonstration below, which primarily focuses on how Cappy serves as a central mechanic in the adventure.

Nintendo also showed a lengthy look at the Wooded Kingdom during the back half of its Treehouse live event.

When can you play it?

Super Mario Odyssey launches October 27 on Nintendo Switch. If our hands-on impressions of Super Mario Odyssey are any indication, Mario’s latest adventure will be more than worth the wait.

A special Super Mario Odyssey-themed Switch bundle will also be available October 27. Retailing for $380, the bundle comes with a download code for the game, Mario red Joy-Cons, and an Odyssey-themed Switch carrying case.

If you want to try out Super Mario Odyssey prior to launch, Nintendo has set up a month-long cross-country demo tour, with stops in Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York City. Each stop will have a different theme based on the area Mario is visiting.

The first 200 people at each stop will be able to play the game at the final New York stop, and they will be the first people allowed to play the game at midnight on October 27. The event will also have “additional surprises and guests,” and photo opportunities with Mario himself.

Update: Added information on capturing gameplay clips.

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