At the time of writing, Super Mario Odyssey – the latest blockbuster title to emerge for the Nintendo Switch – sits pretty with a Metacritic score of 97 out of 100, with the grading ‘Universal Acclaim’. With two million copies sold in just three days ▶, it is now the joint-highest rated Switch game of the year, level with Zelda: Breath of the Wild and just inching ahead on user review scores. For reference, it is also the highest-rated videogame for any console this year so far – a list with which Nintendo takes the top three spaces in what has been an incredible year for the console giant, one which many believe is the return to form no one could have predicted, but many were hoping for. So – is it really worth playing? Is the hype really worth the money? Is it well and truly the 8th greatest videogame of all time? Certainly yes for two of those – and we’ll get back to you on that last one.
Super Mario Odyssey is inarguably the pinnacle of 3D Mario gaming. Taking cues from much-loved titles such as Super Mario 64, the Super Mario Galaxy games and even the black sheep of the franchise, Super Mario Sunshine, Odyssey is an incredible return to form that brings the franchise – and Nintendo in general – back to where it should be. Years of riding on nostalgia coat-tails with affable though samey Mario titles such as New Super Mario Bros and Super Mario 3D World seem to finally be behind us – as everyone’s favorite plumber is finally back in an expansive, completely new adventure that is well and truly colossal.
Super Mario Odyssey Trailer - Nintendo Switch (Nintendo via YouTube)
Mario’s never looked better – the graphics are absolutely wonderful – and while some will see the cap-throwing gimmick to be, well, a gimmick – it’s the bread and butter of this game. It’s what sets Odyssey apart from its predecessors, while learning from their aesthetics and technical touches as opposed to outright paying homage. There’s new characters, new villains, new adventures – and while, yes, you’re out to save Princess Peach (or Toadstool, as gamers of a certain age will remember) from the clutches of Bowser yet again, Mario’s never been in a bigger adventure.
Super Mario Odyssey is an absolute joy to play. Always surprising, never offering moments where you’re stuck and can’t move on – and effortlessly joyous even during boss battles, this could well be a contender for the finest Mario game ever produced – and that, dear readers, is an accolade that we all thought would be firmly rooted in the past. An absolute must for Switch owners – this, along with Zelda, is your A-star title.