Who else got this? Have you beaten it? What did you like and not like?
Here is my entry of 3,000 words on Mario in 2017:
From the start of the game I felt the base movement of Mario was unsatisfactory. The analog stick character movement alignment is a little slack, which is less preferable to the sturdy alignment of Super Mario 64 or tight alignment of Super Mario Sunshine. Gone is the locked aerial control scheme of being able to shift Mario sideways after a jump; you can now revolve the direction Mario is facing. I wasn't jumping for joy when pulling off long jumps since (1): the long jump has poorer momentum, if any from 64's, and (2): the camera is innately pulled back that the force of it is diminished. All of that meant this would be another unengaging Mario title that couldn't match what came before Super Mario Galaxy movement-wise.
Thankfully, the hat (Cappy) throwing I took a liking to for its ability to repeatedly spin against coin boxes to batter bing out coins and its use as a spring. The first capture of the frog was amusing and the level area was tightened for fairly enjoyable platforming with it. At this time my experience became positive and very interested on what lay ahead once I popped out of that pipe. Unfortunately, what lay ahead after what I would call a nice preview of the game was the regret of being right on being wary on buying the game.
You see the first world traveled to immediately shows off capture in the bad way: the non-platforming way. The first mission is to get a moon that's located by this massive chain-chomp. So you get to the chain-chomp and instead of fearing for your life running from it to avoid getting bowled over like in 64, you simply throw your cap to capture it. In Mario Kart: Double Dash if you got a chain-chomp item summoning (using) it would speedily drag your car forward in an uncontrollable manner while sending any kart in its path flying. In Odyssey getting a chain-chomp means solving a lock & key element of breaking a barrier containing a moon by pulling back on the control stick and releasing. That's it. Nothing to do with platforming.
Then the game does it again by letting you capture a T-Rex. The T-Rex is essentially a mega mushroom Mario. While being able to smash everything out of your path, having blocks explode from the pure physicality of your being, looks cool, it immediately registered ('real-time') in thought as completely antithetical to the purpose of playing Mario. When I left that world I would be searching for this purpose.
The next kingdom was where the real test began. A test on why I didn't rent this game. ("Because renting a Mario game is absurd" - my thoughts at the register.) In the very beginning of the game I mentioned my displeasure of controlling Mario. I didn't mention what impact this has on level design. Super Mario Odyssey has slow movement speed and almost non-existent momentum that like the Galaxy games is designed for short-style level design that engages the player with lots of jumping. Odyssey is not a fun game to move horizontally fast through due to the death of momentum and physical unpleasantness of mashing a button to roll, for which the latter is visually and mechanically inferior to repeated dive flipping. There is no running up inclined terrain like in Sunshine, nor watersliding -- both of which were mechanically pleasantly done by holding one input (analog stick) in a direction. Spacious flat levels create a mismatch. So the major revelation here is that Mario's mechanics in Odyssey are not designed for the 64/Sunshine world design.
Upon stepping foot into the really small town of this desert kingdom, a shop beckons. Buy something with all them coins, Mario. Buy a moon. Uh, okay. Buy a costume. Uh...sure. Buying that sombrero was something I did just because it's there to do. But when I saw how it looked, how it humanized Mario, I took it off. This is something very important to add in the "graphics do matter" argument. I needed to see the red cap. Otherwise Mario downgrades into looking like a regular dude, albeit one who is really short. The game is constantly making a point to tease or show his brown hair, and I don't agree with playing up this humanizing design, but I digress, buying non-stars in Mario games is purely about some sort-of weird pride in ownership that does not belong in Mario games or at least for this game it serves no mechanical purpose other than acting as a key.
Outside the shop are desert level citizens who have plain unartistic looking (i.e. unMario-looking) text boxes floating over their heads when you get close to them yet haven't engaged them by directly talking to them. The actual text displayed when talking to them is just as generic, and when compared to Super Mario Sunshine, hideous. This is a very irritating part of the game because it makes the dialogue less enjoyable to see displayed damaging the world design.
From what I can remember at this point after a lot of wandering through this desert world was how capturing a Goomba and accidentally stacking on top another when jumping on it was possibly the most Mario thing I had ever seen. A second highlight from this location? This paragraph is ending positively.
Mechanics - Cap throw makes you float for a brief second, which is a neat replacement to the air spin of Galaxy. You can bounce off the hat with a jump or dive. Oddly enough the game doesn't tell you about how to do the dive (now trigger button + face button) unless you check the action guide yourself. This ability changes the nature of 3D Mario because it allows for a second input to suspend Mario in the air. This is not a plus in my opinion because it turns the game into a double jumper, which downgrades the stellar weighted down lift-off foundation 64 set, making it now into a game containing more aerial bouncing less stage platform leaping.
Sunshine: jump + hover/rocket
Galaxy: jump + air spin
Odyssey: jump + float via hat throw + dive and bounce + float via hat throw + dive jump = a now combinatory mental calculus of a max distance possible that is less readily clear.
Baddies acting as vehicles. All the classic baddies in this game are fine (except the chain-chomp). The problem is that the new ones are generally visually and mechanically unappealing. Paragliding desert lizard - awkward looking creature that only glides. Running statue lion - awkward since it reminds how slow and lacking of momentum Mario is in this game. In Sand Land this new ability gets shown up to be good for quickly covering medium distances, but inadequate for long stretches of the non-downward sloped sand, not to mention making the mashing of the Y button to sustain the roll irritating. Rolling is real smooth beautifully connecting to the end of a long jump or dive. Glasses statue head - invisible paths have no place in Mario. Keep that time-consuming shit in MegaMan.
The next kingdom, the water kingdom, highlights how captures are not terribly exciting, but not exactly terrible either. Lots of water to swim through as a Cheep Cheep. [Note: Swimming in 3D Mario was properly deemphasized in Sunshine.] Swimming as Mario was slower and remarkably less acrobatic than above water play, yet the potential of death as you lost oxygen kept you from meandering underwater. (Maybe all the capture mechanics can be looked at just as underwater movements were in 64 as a lower engaging exploratory progression function.) Delirium of high-count moon acquisition sets in here by shortening sequences required as if every moon became that ice block star from 64.
Mario was the character to be. Never did I look at enemies and think about how fun it would be to possess them. These enemies offer less control inputs only having two moves to input. They exist as a pre-mature Mario. Transformations are geared towards amusement than impressive acrobatic movement.
With Sunshine the developers had trouble coming up with level design when they had to design the levels around the hover nozzle vs no nozzle /other nozzles. All Odyssey's transformations lend themselves to rather simplistic uses. Since they are so simple and quickly over with to discard, they feel inoffensive and uninspired, average. So -
*talk about one-speed movement. vehicles. double jumping /=mario. artificial suspension of juggling mario in air. changes the nature of falling; long jump + meager jumps afterwards. good, but suboptimal mario.
Mario's world design
- the game keeps you on the constant move to the next moon location rather than reloading an altered world. It feels more self-congratulatory with how easy moons come about than adventurous. Banjo Kazooie model of collecting by doing the most thoughtless banal tasks moving from area to area instead of well crafted episodes / action sequences. It's like having a beachcomber register something every 3 seconds. In Super Mario Sunshine, this feeling is somewhat present in the first section of the first level with the numerous sprayable windmills but only there. In Odyssey the entire outlook of the game is to molest and empty out every inch of ground.
Interlude Aesthetics - When flying to kingdoms Cappy talks to Mario about how to perform moves, which uglifies the charm of trips by textbookilizing the game.
Stars are now moons with the addition of having a mega three-moons-in-one version, the multi moon, which looks like a banana bunch. Aggravating the already curiously assigned types of sequences for stars in a platformer are moons that are locked behind what are essentially bonus rooms of Super Mario Bros 3. This is because there are no 1-ups for rewards. Item hierarchy is messed up. Because there are so many moons the in-game moons list mirrors a disenchating pdf document. The culmination of this hyperinflationary design is a kingdom where Mario receives double-digits of moons from Toadette in production line fashion hopping in the air for each one.
The End - Bowser Kingdom has a neat bird capture that lets the player do poke and flick jump there way up walls. While this is neat, it does feel out-of-place in a level that thematically should evoke danger. When the credits roll the game repeats Galaxy's format of having the good content available after the finale, so the ending isn't a big point to reach anymore.
The Aftermath - My game quality assessment gauge was right: Introducing with New Donk City in the trailer looked impressive and was impressive to play in, but later showing clips of vehicles (the running sand lion) was the real indicator that disaster was in store by having a spacious level require dull vehicles.
make sure to compare fludd's water utility to cappy more - wingcap & nozzles > captures
Ah. The first level as a linear tutorial walk-a-thon. heh.
Citizens don't get angry when I interact with them by bopping on their heads like in Sunshine. -_-. Game is pretty pleasing to look at in the athletic courses (void levels).
First day impressions: 2/5. Second day: 3/5
Setup scenario for one moon best design - Night time level was very impressive. I like New Donk City a lot more than the other worlds.
Game has a lot of items to collect, but the moons mostly feel rewarding slower, more inquisitive play than platforming prowess.
Capture mechanic dumbs down the defining element of 3D Mario: character control
A lot of the newer enemies are ugly
Music is mediocre for the most part
Mario is too jovial: he strikes tada! poses and has his mouth opened wide on the pause screen. Mario is way too ecstatic when collecting a multi-moon that it gets irritating. i don't need this twirling around shit in my mario game.
Lack of platforms in boss battles. Boss battles repeated twice.
new donk city is too good compared to everywhere else. nintendo might as well have nixed the exploration and gone with a linear action adventure.
playing fetch with dog using the cap throw is cool
purple coins are still ugly
world is beautiful or fake plastic garish
blue coins > every collectable in this game
Take the blue bird versus the generic black bird in Odyssey with the shiny aura. The blue bird was fun to hunt after and squirt to create a blue coin. The black bird is just too obvious. And throwing a cap at it is less impressive than applying a consistently hitting stream of water.
Blue coins have such a nice sound when you get one. The collectables in this game don't have that.
Odyssey isn't a game for the most part. It's basically a trick-or-treat simulator with moons being the candies you get for your "adventures" going door-to-door. The design is horizontal based compared to 64 and Sunshine's vertical basedness.
the game shits out moons to you every couple square feet for basically having the ability to move the control stick. what do you think moronic banana bunch multi moons are if not some dumb fun-sized candy.
game is worst of both worlds
purple coins change shape every world - doodadication of collectables.
forgotten kingdom and luncheon are ugly. latter moreso due to how flat it is.
none of the worlds have an iconic look.