Fans of open-world Super Mario games have been waiting for the plumber’s next foray into a sandbox-style world since 2002’s Super Mario Sunshine for the Gamecube. After years filled with traditional Mario side-scrollers, we won’t have to wait much longer for the spiritual successor to 3D Mario games like Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario 64. Nintendo announced at the Switch event in Tokyo that Mario’s playground is finally going to be without fences again in Super Mario Odyssey, releasing this holiday for Nintendo Switch.
If you’re as excited about Mario’s latest adventure as we are, we will be updating news, rumors, and everything we know about Super Mario Odyssey right here.
Mario’s headed to the Big Apple… Kind of?
From the official trailer above, we know right off the bat that Odyssey will take Mario to real-life places. Mario pops out from under a manhole and jumps across fictional version of New York City called “New Donk City.” The fictional city is filled with many recognizable city staples. There’s people in work attire walking along sidewalks and across intersection crossings, taxicabs in every direction, and tall buildings guarding the commercialized area. A plethora of signs and lamp posts surround the busy streets, some of which model their real-life counterparts, while others look like nouveau question (“?”) blocks transplanted from the Mushroom Kingdom. If the perplexed stare from the suited man in the trailer is any indication, Mario’s interactions with regular-looking humans may be minimal, but he does talk to some people — in the trailer, he and a pair of women skip some rope.
You won’t spend all of your time exploring New Donk City, though. In the trailer Mario hops aboard an airship, suggesting players will be traveling great distances to reach the game’s other locales. Airships have been part of the franchise since Super Mario Bros. 3, but they have almost always been used by Bowser and his minions. This time, Mario has his own airship. The appropriately painted red and white ship is equipped with three propellers on bottom and a large sail above its dock. On the ship floor, there’s “M flag” — popularized in recent Mario titles as the symbol for a level checkpoint — and a globe. The globe is presumably how players select there next destination, but it’s unclear if players will be able to control the ship, or merely press a button to jet off to a new area.
So far, Nintendo has shown a number of diverse environments for players to visit. The first, a desert town with “Day of the Dead” vibes looks like something out of Sunshine. Elastic bands run between and above houses, and even the creatures inhabiting the town hark back to the Gamecube classic.
Next, there’s a dark woodland environment, which seems to be occupied by a bunch of robots. The robots appear to constantly spin in place with one hand in the air. These appear to be friends, not enemies, as later on, Mario is seen dancing with one of them next to a boom box. The wooded contains enormous trees, and what appears to be an invisible, flower-covered path that stretches as Mario runs across it. The area has a few small reservoirs, and in one of them, we see the classic green pipe jutting out from its deepest depth.
There’s a spooky looking area with decaying green platforms covered partially in red. This could be a later section in the game, and given its appearance, perhaps even the entryway to Bowser’s lair. The “POW” buttons, which have been circular in recent Mario titles, are shown once again as squares in this section of the game. There’s also a curious beam of multi-colored light in the distance.
Lastly, there’s a colorful area, that appears to be located on beach. The beach is covered by large fluorescent rocks and creatures with fork legs and chef hats that can be best described as vegetable-esque. In this sequence, Mario is seen carrying a turnip while chasing a rabbit, which resembles the rabbit search in the basement of Super Mario 64. The cooking-themed area also has large bowls for Mario to jump in and over.
The end of the trailer featured a teaser reel of additional environments. The concrete fortress shown in the initial Nintendo Switch reveal trailer makes an appearance. Bullet Bills zoom along the the Super Mario 64-esque structure. Mario can also at least ride one creature, as he hops on the back of lion and gallops across a dark desert, appearing to be modeled after Ancient Egypt. In the Ancient Egypt section, there’s also a treasure chest, possibly containing upgrades or special abilities. We also get a look at what could be the inside of Bowser’s castle. It’s possible, but not clear, that Bowser’s fortress is located in New Donk City. Mario has to rescue Peach again, and what’s the deal with his hat(s)?
Most Super Mario games task Mario with rescuing Princess Peach from Bowser. The trailer suggests Odyssey will follow the pattern: Bowser is in a tuxedo, and billboards for a “royal wedding” for King Koopa and Princess Peach are plastered throughout the city.
It hasn’t been revealed how Mario finds his way to New Donk City, but it may have something to do with those eyes on his cap. Mario’s red hat has been synonymous with the character for over 30 years, so the pair of flickering eyes plastered on it will almost certainly play a significant role in the plot. We may have a clue, though. A billboard advertising “Crazy Caps,” shows a picture of a hat with a pair of C’s facing outward. The hat pictured is a baseball cap, so it’s not quite the same as Mario’s, but the C’s curl over to look like eyes. Near the end of the trailer, Mario enters a “Crazy Caps” store, so it’s possible that Odyssey will feature numerous hats for Mario to don.
Mario’s got a few new tricks
The same platforming goodness that the franchise has been known for will be at your fingertips. Along with the running, double and triple-jumping, and sliding, Mario has at least one new trick in his arsenal. His hat can be thrown and used as a trampoline of sorts to vault across hard-to-clear gaps. The hat looks like it can also be used as a boomerang to act as a weapon. Again, this new move probably has something to do with the eyes.
Additionally, old tricks have a new flavor in New Donk City. The hoods of cars act as springboards for Mario to jump on. Mario can swing and jump from light poles and signposts, too. Wall-jumping up buildings will likely take Mario to new heights atop skyscrapers. Mario can perform his long jump from the top of buildings. Mario can also hang from building ledges by his hands, and shimmy across when there isn’t enough room to stand.
What happened to the coins?
Mario has been collecting yellow coins for over 30 years. The trailer’s many environments are suspiciously devoid of the usually bountiful coin variety. In the desert town, Mario collects six pink, upside triangle coins, but even those coins don’t look to be in surplus. There is a trio of circular purple coins at the crest of the small waterfall in the woodlands area, and a glimmer of yellow above them, but they appear to be larger than the traditional coin.
Is that a bowl of soup on your head?
While much of the trailer is dedicated to the platforming portion of the game, we did see a slew of enemies, both old and new. The spiked tortoises called Spiny accompany axe-wielding Koopas wearing chef hats in the beach area.The aforementioned Bullet Bills are at least in the fortress-style setting, and Piranha Plants are seen to spew a blue substance. A large, slim enemy emerges from the sand with what appears to be a large bowl of, say, soup on its head. This is perhaps the boss of that particular level.
New characters include block creatures with massive extendable legs, rolling tanks that shoot large ammunition, and small ghoulish creatures in the Egyptian desert area.
An enemy airship carrying a quartet of evil-looking bunnies is a first for the franchise, and there’s an unidentifiable boss — that may or may not have a white beard — attacking Mario in a similar fashion as Gooper Blooper in Sunshine. The last enemy we see is climbing atop a skyscraper in New Donk City King Kong-style. The menacing, mechanical insect throws Mario off the skyscraper, leaving him to plummet towards the street.
Core gamers, rejoice
Recent entries in the Super Mario franchise have been made to appeal to casual and family-friendly gamers. Although we don’t expect the game to be too terribly difficult, Odyssey will offer a higher degree of difficulty than Super Mario titles released since Sunshine, according to an interview with Shigeru Myamoto. You can watch the whole interview below. Miyamoto discusses how the history of 3D Mario games, specifically Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine, influenced the design of Super Mario Odyssey.
When can you play it?
Super Mario Odyssey is coming to Nintendo Switch this holiday season. Although it has not yet been confirmed, we expect the game to be available in both physical and digital formats.