Game of the Year Number 8. Mario Odyssey

Mario Odyssey is the biggest kiddie pool ever.  You sit in it look around and all you can see is endless water. Everywhere you go the water doesn’t get deeper than 4 feet.  You keep on growing up and soon the pool is too small for you.  You’re ready to do crazy somersaults but the pool doesn’t give you the ability to do this.  So you become content to doggy paddle though the pool for the rest of your days.

What I’m trying to say Mario Odyssey skill ceiling is low. The game gets to a certain difficulty level early on and stays there. Which is not an awful thing. I’m happy Mario Odyssey is a game that people can beat even if they don’t master the controllers. My problem is the game doesn’t have enough for people who want to go beyond that.

Mario Odyssey structure is perfect for having a rich end game. The time from start to end of the game is shorter than most Mario Games.  After that the game opens up and says hey go explore. It adds some new moons to each level but most are not that hard. Most are repeats of ones spread throughout the world. Ground Pound here, fish here, wear this costume here. There’s a couple of fun challenges but not nearly enough that tests your ability to platform.

Instead of a satisfying platformer we get an enjoyable vacation. Walking around the various worlds is still fun.  There’s always something that draws you attention. It’s one of my favorite things about Breath of the Wild. Except in Odyssey that’s the main purpose of the game. Imagine Breath of the Wild with only the Seeds. It’s still fun but not the amazing game it was.

I feel like I’m being too hard on Mario. I still had fun. New Donk City was one of my favorite things this year. After the city lights up and you travel down the wire the music hits. You look around and the city is bursting with activity. You see tall buildings just asking to be scaled.  Doors open up that you can go into that have secrets waiting to be found. Also new Donk city has some of the most fun platforming in the game. The Koopa race in that level is great.  If every world was as good as New Donk city this would be a top 3 game this year.

Mario Odyssey is good. Its a game that carters to explorers. The game constantly rewards you for playing around. It’s a game that’s filled with joy. After a while though you find out that’s all the game has. Sometimes though a little slice of carefree fun is what I want. I’m happy Mario was here for that.

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