Mario is off to strange new worlds in over an hour of new Super Mario Odyssey footage.
After a string of 2.5D titles and the hybrid linear-3D platformer Super Mario 3D World, Mario is returning to the exploration-driven days of old with Super Mario Odyssey. Mario’s flagship Nintendo Switch title was first teased during the console’s own Nintendo Direct presentation earlier this year, showing off massive new worlds to explore, and a plethora of new hat-oriented mechanics.
Nintendo tackled E3 2017 across three outlets- the pre-recorded 30 min. Nintendo Spotlight, live Nintendo Treehouse broadcasts direct from E3, and the traditional showing on the expo floor. Those currently attending E3 2017 have the option of playing a Super Mario Odyssey demo, but for those who can only view the event from home, Nintendo has provided Mario fans with roughly two hours of brand new gameplay footage.
The new trailer shown during the Nintendo Spotlight reveals the true nature of Mario’s sentient hat: The plumber’s iconic red hat is now under the possession of “Cappy”, a ghastly white top-hat in his original form; not only can Mario’s hat now operate as a projectile attack and deployable jump-pad, but Cappy also imbues Mario with the ability to possess- or “capture” various enemies and other “Capture Targets” of the various Kingdoms. The “Odyssey” of Super Mario Odyssey serves as both a story-telling motif and literal gameplay device, as Mario’s latest title will see him leaving the familiar Mushroom Kingdom in its entirety on an airship- “The Odyssey”.
The Nintendo Treehouse crew showcased three of Super Mario Odyssey‘s Kingdoms this week, taking extra care to not highlight plot elements other than Bowser’s obvious plans to wed Princess Peach. Each Kingdom features its own series of sub-level challenges, collectibles and unique currency for use at the Kingdom’s “Crazy Cap” shop. Aside from the standard Gold Coins, each Kingdom includes 100 additional “Coins” specifically for that world; this mechanic was added to give players an extra sense of visiting and adapting to a completely foreign region. The Kingdom-specific Coins unlock souvenirs for the interior of The Odyssey and additional outfits; outfits may grant access to secret events and hidden areas of each Kingdom, shown below in both the Wooded and Sand Kingdoms.
The scene-stealer of March’s announcement trailer, New Donk City appears in the first Nintendo Treehouse presentation, and returns later again partnered with the Sand Kingdom. Many fans were quick to notice references to the original Donkey Kong– the most noticeable example being the titular world’s name. The first segment of gameplay confirms more references through New Donk City’s use of red girders in the level architecture, and Mario’s original love interest Pauline in the political role of “Mayor Pauline”; more obscure Easter Eggs can be found in street signs, advertisements and billboards; the stage music and vocalized E3 2017 trailer version even include a variation of Donkey Kong’s level music (1:56 in the E3 trailer). The first instance of Mario’s Capture ability is demonstrated when the plumber launches Cappy at a power line, transforming himself into a ball of electricity to quickly zip-line between two points; Mario also captures an orange caution-pillar to flick himself across a gap between rooftops.
The Sand Kingdom includes several throwback moments in which Mario warps into murals reminiscent of the 1986 Super Mario Bros. game; once inside the painting, gameplay mechanics, character models and music will switch to match the classic NES-era style of the original game. The demo closes with a boss fight against Harriet, a member of the “Broodals”; the Broodals are a new quartet of reoccurring antagonists, likened to a group of “evil wedding planners”.
The second Treehouse demo brings Mario into the Wooded Kingdom, home to the “Steam Gardeners”, robotic watering-cans living in peril after Bowser stole their flowers. The Kingdom resides within a massive greenhouse, indicated by the strange patterns and false mountains on the horizon; the environment is divided between a lush forest, the dark and menacing “Deep Woods”, and an overgrown industrial area inhabited by acid-spitting Piranha Plants. The Wooded Kingdom segment introduces viewers to the new “Uproot” Capture Target enemy; when captured, the Mario-Uproot can extend its legs to reach incredibly high areas.
The third gameplay segment finds Mario returning to the Sand Kingdom and New Donk City, but with the added bonus of seeing night-focused gameplay for both Kingdoms. What passes as a relatively peaceful world may become a much more sinister arena after dusk; enemies will randomly sprout from the sands, and New Donk City becomes a safe-haven for various flying and electrical enemies- even a robotic boss version of the classic “Wiggler” caterpillar enemy. The Sand Kingdom is also where gamers are introduced to two of Super Mario Odyssey‘s core forms of Fast Travel; once the player touches a Checkpoint Flag, he or she can warp to any other Checkpoint on the map; each Kingdom will also have its own “vehicle”, being the lion “Jaxi” and a scooter in the presentation below.
Super Mario Odyssey is primarily a single-player experience, but players can bring a friend along for the journey courtesy of a simplified Co-Op option. Odyssey supports a multitude of controller options, but if two Joy-Con controllers are present, two players can independently control Mario and Cappy; Mario functions in classic form, while the second player can fly, attack enemies and pick-up non-progression items as Cappy. Shown at the end of this final gameplay segment, Super Mario Odyssey will have Amiibo support for a handful of current figures, and three brand new wedding-themed Amiibos coming later this year.
Super Mario Odyssey will release for the Nintendo Switch on 10/27.
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