The Nintendo 64 was home to many great games during its run in the ’90s, and the jump to 3D meant big changes for every genre. With the release of Super Mario Odyssey, Nintendo has a big anchor for the holiday season, now arguably the most important game on the platform since their launch of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
With two nearly perfect reviews from prestigious magazines weeks before the release of the game, Super Mario Odyssey appears to be making some important changes to a venerable franchise. The game features an adventure in which Mario leaves the Mushroom Kingdom to mind-control enemies and bystanders using his hat, allowing for the same sort of player-driven sandbox mechanics that made Breath of the Wild so successful. The game contains classic 2D platforming sections with appearances from legendary characters, such as Pauline, while the boxed game version also provides lyrics to the game’s “Jump Up, Super Star” theme song.
Given the success achieved before launch, it seems safe to say that astronomical reviews will continue, possibly making for an epic Game of the Year contest between Mario and Zelda, capping off an impressive year for Nintendo.
Nintendo’s first-party titles have remained excellent for years, but recently they’ve developed a better reputation for execution than innovation. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, after all, is a perfect, beautiful game, but it’s also the Mario Kart everyone knows and loves. Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey are pushing back with some of the biggest departures for the beloved series that we’ve seen since the days of the N64. Clearly, the move is paying off.