Science & Technology

‘Super Mario Odyssey’ receives praise, displays refined gameplay and visuals

“Super Mario Odyssey” was released on Oct. 27. The Nintendo Company’s latest entry in the Super Mario series has received nearly universal acclaim.

Critics and laypeople alike have hailed it as a masterpiece – in publications, on Twitter and in the comments of YouTube videos. The game is addicting because of several features.

The visuals of “Super Mario Odyssey”  are so exquisite that players can see minute scratches and the reflections of other objects in Bowser’s metal accessories. Mario is more expressive and relatable than he has ever been.

However, the game is too colorful sometimes; the sand in the Sand Kingdom is a shade of vivid orange-red one can fairly call “blood orange,” whereas the Luncheon Kingdom is composed of delicious but violently bright pastels that can genuinely hurt players’ eyes.

The real draw of “Super Mario Odyssey” is its gameplay.

The game is simply fun to play. It rewards the player at every turn, encouraging the player to explore, try new things, experiment and conquer. When one plays this game, they can be struck by the kindness of its developers.

Sometimes one can feel like a child, but not in a stifled way. Players can imagine themselves younger, stripped of the punishing weight of reality. They are pushed forward and not boxed into the limitations of some other game.

The designers of “Super Mario Odyssey” simply do not believe in punishing players. There are no game overs. In the game’s optional “Assist Mode,” Mario’s health recovers automatically, and so quickly that one would be hard-pressed to die unless they were throwing their character into lava on purpose.

Even in “Normal Mode,” players only lose 10 coins if they run out of health, but if they run out of coins, then they are still allowed to continue.

This forgiveness is, of course, by design: “We also wanted people to be able to, you know, get into a kingdom and […] continually keep going through that kingdom without being pulled out,” Yoshiaki Koizumi, the game’s producer, told Polygon at the Electronic Entertainment Expo.

Playing with detached Joy-Cons allows players access to more of Mario’s actions, and provides a more immersive gaming experience overall.

But players are not missing out on anything if they choose to leave the controllers attached to their Switch.

Everything in the game is accessible with Mario’s basic jumps. Again, it is about encouraging players – not condemning them.

The true appeal of the game is not in its story. The plot never evolves beyond the established clichés of the series: Bowser, the ostensibly chelonian overlord, has kidnapped the fair Princess Peach yet again, and no one but the mustachioed Mario can save her.

The surface-level allure of “Super Mario Odyssey” is that Mario has a new friend named Cappy, with whom he explores fantastic kingdoms loosely based upon real-world locations and cultures – but all in all, the plot is nothing new.

Repeatedly, Nintendo has proven that the core tenet of gaming is about having fun – and they have done it again with “Super Mario Odyssey.” It is a game that celebrates the Super Mario series’ past accomplishments with a sense of childish wonderment. It is a  game that is worth playing.

November 20, 2017

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Shelly Ho

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