|Release: October 27, 2017|
|Players: 1 Player|
|Screen Resolution: 720p-1080p||Cartoon Violence, Comic Mischief|
So the central point of Super Mario Odyssey is constant movement and searching for collectibles. But these collectibles are deliberately placed and in small enough numbers that you’re constantly finding little clusters as you make your way around. Coins are also lost when Mario fails, and the player no longer has to worry about lives at all. These decisions to change the familiar formula, while not world-changing, are all meant to facilitate the flow of constant movement, of not keeping the player standing still for long, ever. Also, you can stop whenever you want.
Despite the grand size of each level, there’s no pressure one way or another to play Super Mario Odyssey in short bursts or sit for hours. Open-world bloat is not an issue here; despite the maps looking like something out of Assassin’s Creed, the only waypoints are the few helpful NPCs, whichever plot point is next, and the fast travel flags. You can stop whenever you want, save whenever you want, and never feel lost or forget what you’re doing. You just pick it up and play some dang Super Mario Odyssey until you’re sick of it, be that minutes or hours later.
Super Mario Odyssey feels like a new glove that fits like an old glove, the new high point of a decades-long evolutionary process that is so smooth, so finely-tuned, that playing it nearly feels like an extension of yourself. It creeps up on you, the scale and design of it all, in a way that often doesn’t dawn on you just how purely grand it is until you stop playing and reflect on your experience. In a year full to bursting of huge, great games, Super Mario Odyssey stands out by acknowledging what’s cool and works about games today. It trims all the fat and doubles-down on not a gameplay loop, but a gameplay flow that feels effortless the whole way through. Even when you lose, when a challenging bit sends you sailing into the Nintendo-y abyss, you just keep going. Super Mario Odyssey is here to remind us how uniquely compelling jumping and flipping around a colorful video game space is and lets us indulge as long as we can stand it.