Super Mario Odyssey is, in a word, amazing. As a longtime fan of the Mario platformer, I was shocked at how Nintendo yet again took the same concept for a Mario game and transformed it into something that feels entirely new and unique. There were two demos for us to choose from at E3, and having just watched the guy in front of me play New Donk(ey Kong) City, I opted for the Mariachi Desert. Here's what I learned and why I'm believe this game will be the greatest entry in the Mario series yet.
Let's first talk about the major thing that turned heads in the latest trailer for the game, transformations. With a literal flick of the wrist (if you're using joy-con controls) Mario launches his possessed hat at enemies and objects alike and can become them for special abilities beyond his jumping powers. There isn't a thing that I became in this demo that wasn't an absolute blast. Becoming a Bullet Bill allowed you to fly in a straight line and accelerate into enemies or walls to unlock new areas, and each enemy you possessed had some special ability that aided your quest or mission in some way. The hat can also be used as an awesome spin attack which fends off swarming enemies should you ever find yourself in some trouble.
Beyond the hat, Mario's new moves are super fluid, and almots a litte hard to get used to at first. Many of the classic moves we remember from the game's make their return, but something new I noticed was the roll mechanic. Players can make Mario roll into a ball and then shake the Joy-Con to make Mario roll super fast in a specific direction. It's hard to control but a pro tip for traversing these absolutely massive worlds!
As for the world itself, players drop into maps with a goal in mind ahead of time. Once a player completes their objective and obtains a "Moon Piece," they are instantly transported into the next major mission for that area. Many were talking about how this create a linear feel to the experience, but I appreciated how the game just flowed me right into the next thing, personally. There were also numerous side missions you can tackle in the area which led me to believe that even if you complete your main objective in a certain zone there's still plenty of reason for you to return with power ups or other things at a later time.
Another eye-opening part of the demo I liked was the ability to become 2D and traverse within a wall in order to pop back out in 3D form on top. Going from 3D to the classic 2D mario was a joy, and just added to the aesthetic of what is already a beautiful game.
Minor other things I noticed (but didn't personally experience) was cool little Easter Eggs like the mayor of New Donk City is Pauline who is the princess from the original Donkey Kong game. New Donk City's official name in the demo we played is referred to as the "Metro Kingdom" so I'm left to wonder what other kingdoms we could be visiting in the future. Overall, the game felt big. Each area has a ton of characters to interact with, there's a lot of customization options for Mario's outfits that grant him unique abilities, and 15 minutes flew by like it was nothing as I wrapped up my demo.
This game will definitely be worth the price of purchase for a Nintendo Switch, and looks like it will also keep you entertained for a long time. I can't wait to play it this October!