New Nintendo, new Mario. That's a given. But there's a lot of different forms a Mario game can take. What does the Switch hold in store for Nintendo's flagship franchise?
From what we can saw in the trailer that was showcased at the #NintendoSwitch launch event, Super Mario Odyssey's gameplay promises 3D platforming in the style of Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy, in which Mario can explore large, open levels in a free-roaming fashion.
The vehicle for the titular odyssey seems to be some kind of world-hopping airship which Mario emerges from to explore each realm. The stages themselves look massive, but rather than a unified open world, players will probably use the airship to transition between distinct areas.
New Donk City Boy
An Italian plumber in New York? Now I've seen everything! Nintendo, you've surely gone too far. Seriously, that opener, when Mario jumps straight out of a sewer and right into the uncanny valley put the fear of God into me. Is this going to be Grand Theft Mushroom? Mario doesn't look too good close to reality.
Seeing the ostensibly human Mario in direct contrast to the realistically portrayed New Donkers is freaky as hell, revealing us as the tall, shambling monsters that we really are. At least Mario seems to treat our distorted forms with respect, perhaps even pity. People on Twitter are already picking up on some awkward moments:
Mario looks more at home jumping around New Donk City's impressive skyline, far from other 'people' where the skyscrapers make for a cool urban platforming environment (eat your heart out, traceurs). It's when he gets close to human life that things get weird. Do you think these cab drivers accept fares in the form of giant gold coins?
Mario seems to carry around a bubble of alternative reality, as even the dust he kicks up around his shoes differs from the more realistic dust clouds that follow in the wake of the New Donk taxis.
New Scenes, Old Enemies
In the more cartoonish levels though, Super Mario’s Odyssey's silly imagination runs wild in gorgeous environments, including lush forests, ancient ruins, a giant cooking table, and what looks to be some kind of cyberpunk style cityscape. I really love those water effects.
Although Super Mario Odyssey isn't afraid to throw in new elements, it's comforting to see that Mario's motivations remain unchanged. Princess Peach has fallen into Bowser's clutches yet again (seriously, we should just accept that they belong together), and this time they're engaged to be wed. Presumably it's up to Mario to nix these nefarious nuptials.
You might have noticed Bowser menacing Mario by casting his chapeau, Oddjob-style. Well, our plucky plumber won't be outdone by his reptilian rival, and has a few tricks (and a thankfully normal looking head) under his own hat. He can toss his cap and even use it as a temporary platform. In another strange twist right at the end, it seems like the hat itself is meant to be some kind of character, popping out a pair of eyes. What eldritch sorcery is this?
'That hat's got a lot of character' sounds like what you might say to a friend who's made an unfortunate choice of headgear for a party. But we've got a lot of time to see where Nintendo's going with this particular sartorial selection.
See the full launch trailer for Super Mario Odyssey right here:
What do you think of Super Mario Odyssey's new levels? Let us know in the comments!