The jewel of Nintendo’s E3 2017 offering, Super Mario Odyssey feels in some ways similar to last year’s star attraction, Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Odyssey is, like Zelda, a game about exploring – of wide, open landscapes seeded with subtle clues to secrets awaiting discovery. On foot, on horseback, on the back of a shield surfing down a ravine, Breath of the Wild’s learning curve was smooth and inviting, its play space and possibilities laid out before your eyes from that first vista: the shrine you awoke in behind you, your ultimate goal of Hyrule Castle clear in the distance. Mario’s journey feels a lot more experimental, and – on first impressions, at least – a tad trickier too.

Two of Odyssey’s Kingdom worlds are on offer here at E3 – New Donk City, a mix of real-world New York and that of the original Donkey Kong arcade game, along with a more traditional Mario desert world which riffs heavily on the Mexican Day of the Dead. Arriving in each via Mario’s new starship – shaped like a top hat – you’ll find a specific goal highlighted via a pillar of light in the distance which will further the game’s story. (A tuxedoed Bowser is organising a wedding for himself and Peach. The game’s mini-bosses are his wedding planning firm.) How you get to that goal point and what you decide to do on the way is left up to you. Instead of a single reward or six objectives per area, each Kingdom offers around 30 smaller collectibles – Power Moons – which are required to power your spaceship. Some are rewarded for completing little side-quests, whereas others can be found hidden in simple environmental puzzles, similar to Breath of the Wild’s Korok seeds.

Mario is joined on this adventure by Cappy, the seemingly self-aware hat with Rare-style googly eyes you’ll have seen in previous footage. Cappy unlocks a new set of moves for Mario – it can be used as a boomerang-style weapon to throw out at enemies, or thrown and made to hover in place to act as a mid-air platform, bridging gaps too large for a standard jump. Another move lets you spin Cappy around Mario, knocking out anything within an ever-widening diameter. Finally, Cappy can be thrown and then directed – up, down, left or right – to target foes or objects like switches out of Mario’s general reach. Pass a lamp post in New Donk City and want to ding its bulb to knock out a coin? You can send Cappy up there with a throw and a flick to collect the reward. Yes – a flick, of motion controls. And it’s that motion moveset which really takes some getting used to.


Check out new gameplay footage from the E3 2017 of Super Mario Odyssey for the Nintendo Switch!

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