LOS ANGELES — Everyone who has played a Mario game for any Nintendo device is familiar with the drill: you see an enemy, you jump on its head (or maybe toss a fireball).
But what if you could take control of them instead?
Super Mario Odyssey, launching for the Nintendo Switch on October 27, hearkens back to older Mario experiences such as Super Mario 64 or Super Mario Sunshine, where the Nintendo icon freely explores the world as opposed to progressing through a series of stages.
Yoshiaki Koizumi, the game's producer, compares Odyssey to the first time someone visits a foreign country or a new city. "You can experience that kind of excitement of the journey when playing."
I was able to explore two sections of Super Mario Odyssey, one based in a desert landscape and a second in a city. Here's what I learned:
Your Hat Is Named Cappy. And He's Very Useful.
There are two ways to use your newly-powered cap: the first is to control enemies like goombas or bullet bills. When you bump into an object or take out an enemy, Mario hops out. This mechanic is also helpful when navigating through areas of the game. For example, you might need to control a Bullet Bill to fly across to an unreachable platform.
You Can Throw Cappy Using Motion Controls
The recommended way to play Odyssey is with a Joy-Con controller in each hand, independent of the Switch itself. You can also play with the Pro controller, which suggests you could play with the Joy Cons attached if you really wanted.
A scene from 'Super Mario Odyssey.'Nintendo
The reason for the recommended control style is you can throw Cappy at enemies with motion controls. Flick the Joy Con in your right hand forward for a standard throw, or flick forward, then toward the left or right for a curved toss. You can also flick both controllers up or down to throw in either direction. If you quickly flick both controllers to one side, Mario performs a spinning cap attack, perfect for taking out several enemies at once.
Odyssey Feels Really Huge
When first descending on both landscapes, it's clear Odyssey looks massive. As you play, you gather power moons scattered across regions, which help fuel Mario's ship, called the Odyssey, of course. In the demo inside the city, Mario must help the mayor form a band so he travels around town to discover four bandmates.
The Game Is All About Surprise
Mario takes control of a tyrannosaurus rex in Super Mario Odyssey.Nintendo
It starts with the cameo of Mario seemingly controlling a tyrannosaurus rex, complete with comical Mario hat and mustache. Developers stressed the importance of injecting surprise into the experience, through the combination of power moons, Cappy, and other additions.
Because the environments are so big, developers can fit lots of different items and other hidden treasures throughout, which means spending lots of time exploring.