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Hats off to Super Mario Odyssey

2018-03-18 00:00
Super Mario Odyssey

Game review: Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo Switch)
Price: R699
Rating: Four stars

Believe the hype! With the franchise having sold over 500 million units worldwide and the game regarded as one of the best ever created, you would have been mistaken if you had thought it could not get better.

After 32 years in and out of the pipeline, the plumber emerges into the 3D world with a new buddy ... meet Cappy. He can be worn, thrown and climbed upon all in an attempt to save his sister, Tiara, and Princess Peach from Bowser’s sinister wedding plans. Cappy also lets Mario capture and control objects, animals and enemies in an attempt to collect Power Moons to fuel up the Odyssey airship so that the duo can chase Bowser and his minions through the various wonderfully imaginative, beautiful kingdoms.

I spent at least 30 minutes in each new kingdom, scoping out the environment and seeing what could be captured and controlled with Cappy and, with more than 50 controllable characters, I wasn’t disappointed. At one point I forgot I was meant to be collecting moons and just strolled around firing Cappy at everything to see if I could possess it. From taking a T-Rex for a joyride to swimming with a big blue monster-like whale, it was idyllic.

And that’s what I really love about this game: The controls are easy to use and the transitions are seamless and non-jarring. Heading down the green pipes transports you into a 64-bit extravaganza where you can relive some of Mario’s glory days and, without missing a beat, see Mario and Bullet Bill transform seamlessly from 2D to 3D.

I was also obsessed with the ability to take selfies of Mario and Cappy in funky collectible outfits, with backgrounds that left me gasping and giggling like a kid on Eid. With each new kingdom, I fell more in love with the visuals. No more weird blurry, pixellated backdrops, rather rich, intricate designs brought the surroundings to life.

Super Mario Odyssey is only available on the Nintendo Switch platform, which I was initially sceptical about, as I hated the detached controllers of the Wii game series. So I started playing it as a handheld device, which was akin to slipping on a glove, but after a few days I plucked up the courage to go wireless and ... I had been wrong; it was great. There was no lag, I could extend my tired arms when needed and the bonus of new moves by shaking the detached controllers added another element to the gameplay. Although, I did have an issue with getting Cappy to move in the desired direction at times.

Even after completing the campaign mode, I can’t put it down, partially because I’m still taking selfies, but also because there is just so much to explore.

(Photos: Supplied/City Press)

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