This is the weirdest Mario game yet and I couldn't be happier.
Super Mario Odyssey is easily one of the best Mario games ever made and its mere existence is a rarely seen acknowledgement by Nintendo of the evolving video game landscape. The Nintendo Switch ($299 at Amazon.com) tandem of and now Odyssey display a precise threading of the needle, expertly balancing the delicate nuances of Nintendo's legacy and modern gameplay archetypes.
Simultaneously, Nintendo has evolved Mario into an open-world experience that extends far beyond platforming or action-adventure -- all while honoring the character's 30-plus year journey by nodding at so many cornerstones along the way.
Super Mario Odyssey works so well because it takes chances and rarely plays it safe. It's the progression of Mario you've always wanted but could never put into words. The openness of Mario 64 matched with the creativity and surprise of Super Mario Galaxy are on display here, which result in something that genuinely feels fresh.
Nearly everything about Odyssey, from the tiny expressions on Mario's face to the infectious music throughout the entire game, all feels like a meticulously handcrafted work of art. Its painstaking attention to detail can be found right in front of you or hidden away for only a select few to ever find.
Check out GameSpot's Super Mario Odyssey review and additional coverage
In the game players will take control of Mario as he chases Bowser from kingdom to kingdom in a search for Power Moons, the fuel that propels his ship, the Odyssey. After an initial encounter, Mario's hat is destroyed and resurrected by Cappy, a hat-like-creature-thing that is able to morph into various hats Mario can wear.
Cappy lets Mario toss his hat at enemies and items, and more interestingly, "capture" stuff as well. There are so many things I did in Odyssey that I never thought I'd ever see Mario do. I became a T. rex, a zipper, a tank -- it just goes on and on.
As a mechanic, capturing is a great jump off to various different play styles that keep the game surprising and inventive. Each kingdom has a unique theme and encapsulated storyline, along with items that can be purchased for regular gold coins or an exclusive currency to that world. In addition to the many hats and costumes available, there are also trophies and souvenirs for completionists to gawk over. I didn't think I'd be so obsessed with changing Mario's appearance as much as I was, but there are incentives for trying on different clothing.