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A game like Super Mario Odyssey only comes out once in a blue moon. Not just because the game finally returns to its 3D sandbox roots, but because of just how fantastic it truly is.  It’s been 15 years since the last 3D sandbox Mario, and the long wait didn’t disappoint.

Now Odyssey doesn’t change up the traditional Mario story. Bowser has captured peach yet again, so how can a formula so overused still be fresh? Well Odyssey does the smart thing and starts you right into the thick of things. Wasting no time it introduces you to the story, and games main mechanic, the capture ability.  We know how the story plays out, even with the new wedding angle the game offers, so the decision to go straight into your globetrotting journey is refreshing.

The various Kingdom, or levels, the game has to offer range from fantastic to good. I won’t be mentioning just how many, as discovering them for yourself is part of the fun, but there is definitely as many as you’d expect in a Mario title like this. When the Kingdoms are at their best, they present some of my favorite moments in my years of gaming. Even when a Kingdom isn’t exactly up to par, there’s still something to enjoy from it.

As mentioned before, the main mechanic Odyssey has to offer is the “capture” ability. The ability comes from the new character Cappy, a hat capable of turning Mario into whatever thing he was thrown on. This creative idea made for some truly memorable moments unlike any other in my time as a Mario fan. Each capture really changed the way I thought of how to approach the world around me. The Kingdoms and the things that can be captured work amazingly well together and isn’t a shoehorned feature that sticks out as gimmicky. Not only is Cappy used to capture, but also he also adds a new layer to mobility in the game. You can throw Cappy and jump on him to gain extra height, which allows for crazy chains to reach places in unconventional ways. The addition of Cappy adds so much to the game, and is implemented extremely well, on top of the already nearly perfected controls of a 3D Mario game, held down only by the camera, a long time issue of 3D platformers.

In Odyssey the collectables scattered across the many Kingdoms are Moons. In Mario 64 they were stars, and in Mario Sunshine they were shines, so it makes sense to finally show the moon some love. However, unlike those games were there were only a few per level; Odyssey litters Kingdoms with dozens of them. Rather then having longer objectives, we now have a few larger tasks and bosses along with an abundant amount of smaller objectives around the kingdom. This really makes the Kingdoms feels packed to the brim with things to do, often times distracting you from what you originally intended to do to get another Moon. Moons aren’t the only collectables either, as each Kingdom contains a currency used to by costumes and memorabilia for your ship.  While the memorabilia is only a visual bonus for your ship, the costumes are fun and even play a part in getting some Moons.

There’s so much to Odyssey that I’ve barely scratched the surface on, but one of the things that makes the game as special as it is, is that sense of discovery. What you need to know is it truly is a fantastic game, and that it delivers on such a high level. The fact that there’s plenty to do after the main story is finished, and you want to jump right back into it, is a testament to just how truly great the game is.

Final Word