Thanks to the impressive quantity of items to acquire in each kingdom (the dozens of moons and regional coins), Super Mario Odyssey often feels like a collectathon, but one that merges the exploration aspect that reigned over Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine with the linear goodness found in the most recent 3-D outings of the plumber. The meticulous design of its kingdoms, the cleverness of the capture mechanic and the doors of gameplay possibility that are blasted open due to it, and the fact secrets and new objectives are uncovered with every passing minute make Super Mario Odyssey an utter joy to play through, whether it is to those who will just clear its fifteen-hour adventure or to the daring gamers that will sink more than fifty hours into the experience to seek full completion. Super Mario Odyssey’s ridiculous abundance of ideas more than justify the spectacular size of the quest Nintendo has put together. Mario’s fifteen-year absence from open-ended platforming has clearly done wonders for Nintendo’s creative juices in that particular subgenre; Super Mario Odyssey feels like the simultaneous coming to life of all smart ideas that accumulated during that period.
Super Mario Odyssey greatly refreshes the property not by moving forward, but by looking fifteen years into the past, rescuing a gameplay style many thought to be dead, and making it bigger and better than ever
Fifteen years. To those who either have lived long lives or have the tendency to look at the world through large time scales, it may seem like a brief period. To the Mario franchise, though, fifteen years, as of 2017, amount to almost half of its lengthy and often glorious history – a journey that has frequently merged with and impacted the timeline of gaming itself. And yet, that was exactly how much time it took Nintendo to take the plumber back to the root of his tridimensional adventures: one that focuses on free-roaming exploration rather than on the clearing of obstacle courses in which advancing means following the only available and predetermined path…
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