ByMichael Mitchell, writer at
Former Staff Writer for Now Loading. Currently tweeting things here:
Michael Mitchell

Last night, we saw Nintendo pull back the curtain on its upcoming console. We learned what the launch price would be, when the system would be launching, and even got to see a smattering of upcoming titles. One of those titles was Super Mario Odyssey, the briefly glimpsed 3D Mario adventure every has been wondering about since fall.

This morning, we learned a little bit more about the title during Nintendo's Tree House Live event. Namely, Miyamoto took a second to talk about the game's design and difficulty and mentioned it would be more on the "core side" of Mario games. That is, we've gotten enough of the easy stuff like Mario 3D World and , it's time for something more difficult.

Making 'Super Mario Odyssey' More Like 'Sunshine' And '64' Is Great For Fans Old And New

Look, I'm completely nostalgia prone. It's something I fully admit — nay, embrace! Which is exactly why Miyamoto's words have me so excited for Mario Odyssey. Mario 64 is one of my all-time favorite games, and Mario Sunshine — while not stored in the annals of my memory quite as much as 64 — is a surprisingly solid title that expands on the design of Mario 64.

Hearing that Mario Odyssey would go back to the open-world style was music to my ears. It's something I've been wanting for ages now. But I was admittedly worried. Mario Galaxy strayed a bit from that design, and Mario Galaxy 2 strayed even further, utilizing a level-select system much more akin to the Mario Bros. games.

Granted, both those games had very impressive level designs and were incredibly fun to play — they just didn't feel like the Mario I'd grown up with. Again, fully admitting a bit of a rose-tinged view here, but I remember Mario 64 as having a couple easy stars, a couple hard stars, and some on the level of trying to win a race against a fat penguin who was impossibly fast.

I want that back. That sense of increasing challenge and open-world connectedness is what made 64 and Sunshine so enthralling. It's been too long since I've felt that way about a Mario title, and I can't wait to have that feeling back. Plus, it's about time a newer generation of gamers knew just what kind of adventure Mario can get himself into, don't you think?

Then Again, There's One Aspect That Won't Feel Familiar To Any Mario Fans — But Don't Panic!

When Mario first jumped out of that sewer during the presentation, a lot of people panicked. Mario had just found his way into the uncanny valley of real-life-meets-cartoony-video-game-character, and — despite being over a decade late — 2006's Sonic the Hedgehog game jumped to fans' minds with a mix of trauma and apprehension.

See, that came was bad. Like, really bad. And Super Mario Odyssey seemed to, at first glance, be heading in the same direction. Thankfully, as the trailer went on, we saw a lot more of what definitely felt more like classic Mario titles. However, even the real-world levels seemed promising.

Yeah, the humans themselves may look a bit awkward at first, but Nintendo seems to have already found a way to turn real life into the kind of jumping, platforming expanse Mario games are known for.

Need a bit of height? Bounce from street to unusually bouncy taxi roof to a street light that you can swing off of. Gotta get from one building top to another? Throw your hat, then bounce and air-jump to the next ledge. Or maybe you want to take a different route, so you wall-jump between two closely packed buildings.

What I'm trying to say here is, it's a Mario game through and through. Nintendo is pretty meticulous when it comes to designing Mario levels (just try some of the black-coin challenges in Mario Run if you don't believe me). The trailer has me confident that Nintendo has made our world more like Mario's rather than Mario's more like ours.

What do you think of Nintendo's design approach to Mario Odyssey?


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