I am the enemy, I will succeed
Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo Switch)
Total Power Moons Collected: 788
I know this is a Mario Game, but I feel Super Mario Odyssey is a game best experienced when going in blind. If you plan on playing this game then I recommend saving this post until after you've finished the game. If you don't care about spoiler too much, then I've put a spoiler on the end-game section of the review, and part of the post-game. I'm not normally one to care about spoilers, so having a spoiler warning on a Mario game of all things should show how important I think it is to go into this game blind.
With that out of the way, let's talk about Super Mario Odyssey.
This is my third playthrough of the game since it came, and my second full playthrough, the first being the one I did when the game first came out. The second playthrough I did was pretty close to when I had "finished" the first one, and it was a minimal moons playthrough, I only collected the bare minimum to complete the game. I put "finished" in quotes as I'm actually missing two moons on the my original save file, the infamous Jump Rope and Beach Volleyball moons. For this playthrough, I decided to get as many Moons as possible, without pushing myself to scour the world for every last moon (see: Moons that require the use of Hint Art).
The game starts of with a cutscene of Mario and Bowser fighting, as expected for a cutscene at the beginning of the game, Mario loses and falls of Bowser's Airship. However, towards the end of this cutscene, the game shows Mario's cap hitting a propeller at the back of the Airship, and being torn to pieces. This sends a message to player, the developers intentions. This isn't a standard Mario game, the developers are willing to take risks if it benefits the game, even if it means changing something as iconic as the red cap that's been there there since the beginning. This attitude extends even to the credits, where the developers are listed in alphabetical order, not by role like almost every other game.
Artwork from the original Donkey Kong arcade game. This was Mario's first appearance, all the way back in the 1981. On the right Mario is visible, with his iconic Overalls, Moustache, and important in this context, his Cap.
Mario then lands in an area that's almost entirely black and white, the ground is black, there's fog everywhere, and in the background there's some strange distorted buildings. A unique location by Mario standards. Mario then has to chase a ghost over a few hills, and onto a bridge. This ghost is Cappy, and he's going to accompany you for the entire game from this point forward, he's also the main gimmick of the game as well which I'll get onto in a second. Cappy explains to Mario that Bowser kidnapped his sister, Tiara, to be used as headdress for Peach during Bowser's wedding. Mario and Cappy then team up, ready to save both of the damsels in distress. Cappy takes the piece of Mario's Cap he found, and transforms into Mario's Cap, meaning Mario now has his hat back, and he's able to use Cappy's abilities.
Mario's moveset is almost everything he's had in previous 3D games. Mario can Jump, Crouch, Ground Pound, Somersault, Backflip, Long Jump, Triple Jump and Wall Jump. You should already know each of these moves and how they work. This time, Mario has a few extra tricks that he can perform:
-Returning from Sunshine and 3D World, is the Spin Jump. It's based of it's appearance in the latter of the two games, meaning the player must spin the joystick around, putting Mario in a spinning state, and from there Mario can jump to perform a spin jump. It doesn't gain that much height compared to his other jumps, and the spinning state takes a while to start, so I never found a practical use for it.
-Returning from 3D World is the Ground Pound Jump, this move is one of my favourites, it allows Mario to perform a higher jump no matter his speed and how much room is around him, as the Ground Pound completely cancels all momentum you currently have. It's a versatile way to perform higher jumps, and I found myself using almost every time I needed to get a little higher then a normal jump.
-Returning from 64 and Sunshine is the Dive, this move has been completely changed since it's previous appearances. It's now performed by performing a Ground Pound, and then pressing Y/X during the wind-up animation. The Dive was previously a momentum based move, meaning Mario could go further if he was going faster, as the Ground Pound cancels all momentum you currently have, the Dive is no longer based on Mario's momentum, instead it gives a consistent distance each and every time it is used. As this is performed out of a Ground Pound, it can also work as pseudo Ground Pound cancel, though it is a rather situational one. I found myself using this move a lot as well, especially when combined with Cappy.
-A new addition to Mario's moveset is the Roll. When performed, Mario gains momentum when going downhill, allowing him to go faster then his normal running speed. By taping Y/X, Mario gains a boost of speed during this Roll, allowing to him to retain his momentum on flat surfaces, and when going uphill. This move is one of the few ways Mario can reach his top speed, as his speed is capped below this when running normally. When running at full speed, Mario actually stretches his arms out either side of him. The roll move is a useful move, and I often used to get from Point A to Point B quickly.
Finally there's Cappy. Cappy acts almost like a boomerang, where Mario can throw him forward, and then he'll return to Mario. There other ways to throw Cappy as well, performing Ground Pound before a throw allows Cappy to go downwards of ledges, and by Spinning before throwing Cappy will spin around Mario in a spiral pattern. I never used the former, and used the latter only a few times, but it's nice to have a few extra ways to throw Cappy, even if they're extremely situational. If you hold the throw button down, Cappy will continue will stay in place, you can use this to touch him when grounded. When Mario touches Cappy, he bounces off him, while it's not much on the ground, it becomes a powerful tool when used in mid-air. If you throw him in mid-air, you can perform a Dive to bounce off him, allowing you to extend how far you reach in mid-air, this can only be done once, as Mario will pass through Cappy on a second Dive, but it's powerful tool nonetheless. If you combine this with a Wall Jump, and a Ground Pound Jump, then you'll be able the get some serious height, meanwhile performing a Long Jump before hand allows you to cross large gaps. Another feature Cappy has in mid-air, is reducing the momentum you have, allowing him to work as pseudo-Double Jump. It's far more unique then a Double Jump, and opens up far more opportunities the a Double Jump ever could. When used correctly, Cappy really changes how you play the game, allowing you to do far more with Mario then you could before.
Cappy's name doesn't just refer to his cap-like appearance however, as it also refer to main gimmick of the game, capturing enemies and objects. No longer are you confined to the abilities of Mario, or some Flash Liquidising Ultra Dousing Device you found on the street, now your limited to which enemies the developers put in which level, and where they put them in that level. Some act as a method for solving puzzles, others work as a means of transportation. For example, you may need to use a Fire Bro. to light a pair of lanterns, or you could use a Para-Goomba to fly over a bottomless pit. The developers didn't limit themselves to pre-existing Mario enemies either, new enemies such as the tank Sherm, the bird Pokio, or the plant Uproot allow the player to use abilities that the currently existing Mario enemies couldn't provide. You know they did a good job with coming up with new enemies to be used a capture targets when the Goomba feels liked the most forced capture target, and even then they did a great job coming up with abilities for it. Some of the captures are one offs that are used to solve a single puzzle before being dropped completely, but the rest are either recurring captures that appear in multiple kingdoms, or the main capture of a given kingdom, some may even have multiple major captures. I'll talk about each capture a bit later.
Artwork of Mario, Cappy, and a few of the captures. At the top is the T-Rex capture, in the bottom left is the Sherm capture, in the bottom right is the Moe-Eye capture, and above the Moe-Eye is the Uproot capture.
Mario is so much fun to control in this game, he doesn't feel too floaty, yet he doesn't drop like a rock. It's easy to make precise adjustments with him, yet he can go fast when need be. He does exactly what I want him too, when I want him too, and whenever I make a mistake I feel like it's my fault, not the games. There are only two exceptions to this, but I'll discuss this when I get onto the Kingdoms they appear in.
Cap Kingdom (Bonneton)
Back to the game, the player is then presented with a rather small, open area. This place has poles, hills, slopes, platforms and boxes. Here the player is given free reign of Mario's abilities, allowing them experiment with what he and Cappy can do. In this area we see the broken remains of some hat shaped vehicles, smoke flowing out of them, alongside the residents of this Kingdom, Bonnetons, in distress. This will be the other major motivation for the player, not only do they need to save Peach and Tiara from Bowser, but they also need to fix the damage that he and his minions have caused to Kingdoms they've visited.
Once they've got a grip on the controls, the player can head up to a set of stairs to a lever, introducing another aspect of Cappy, how he can interact with the world around. In the section before he could be used break boxes, pull up poles and collect coins. Here, Cappy can be thrown at a lever to pull a bridge out of the fog. Run (or Roll) down the bridge, and you'll enter the first platforming section. Here you'll meet the first capture of the game: the Frog. The Frog is, well, a frog, it moves slower then Mario, floats on top of water, and can Jump really high. It's a fairly simple capture, but it gets the point across well, captures can be used to do things Mario can't. In this case, the Frog can be use the jump to higher, allowing the player to get to places Mario can't otherwise. It's an alright capture, and good choice for a first Capture. Definitely not my favourite Capture, but a harmless addition nonetheless.
After scaling the inside of the tower, the player reaches another door with a hat symbol on it. Outside is the top of the tower, walk past a few more broken down vehicles and Bonnetons, and climb to the top of the tower for the first boss fight of the game, with one of the Broodals. The Broodals are wedding planners, and are the ones setting up Bowser's wedding. They'll be travelling to every kingdom, stealing key items to be used at the Wedding, and making sure Mario gets beaten up along the way. Simply put, they carry out Bowser's plans, making him truly feel like a threat. They also help to give the sense that you're chasing Bowser across the world, as you'll have to fight them after the key item in that Kingdom goes missing.
Artwork of the Broodals. From left to right: Spewart, Topper, Rango and Harriet.
Upon the defeat of Topper, the Broodals leave the Kingdom, and an Electric Pole appears. Mario can capture this pole, and travel off into the distance, to the next Kingdom. The logo of the game appears, you're adventure is just getting started.
Cascade Kingdom (Fossil Falls)
The Electric Pole comes to an end, and Mario gets ejected from it, destroying it. After a brief cutscene to show the location of the first Power Moon, you gain control of Mario, and the music kicks.
This was the point where I felt that Odyssey had started, the logo of the game appearing during while Mario rode off into the distance at the end of Cap Kingdom helped with that feeling, but I feel the music is integral to it. The music for this stage is an energetic piece, played by an orchestra, it really sets the tone for a first level. Compare this to music for the previous Kingdom, it's mysterious, and a bit quirky, not the tone you'd expect from a first level. Another thing that helps with this feeling is the Reveal Trailer for the game. Remember when this was the main theme for the game? To me, it still kind of is, even if 'Jump Up, Superstar!' took it's place. Nothing against 'Jump Up, Superstar!', it's a fantastic song and rightfully deserves it's place as the true Main Theme for the game, it's just that I hear Fossil Falls as the Main Theme of Super Mario Odyssey, it playing during the credits definitely helps.
From here I'll be looking at the highlights of the game, rather then whole thing. I've got to give people some room to actually play the game rather then me explaining the entire thing to them.
The boss of Cascade Kingdom is Madame Broode, you need to hit her Chain Chomp to knock the hat of it, then capture it. She'll chase you for a bit, then once she's tired from chasing, you can charge up and hit her. It's simple, but makes good use of both the Chain Chomp capture, and the capturing technique itself. This will become a standard for the boss of each Kingdom, for example in the Metro Kingdom you must fight the Mecha-Wiggler, which can only be hit using the shots of the Sherm capture. I like this boss, it's a nice break from the standard gameplay of Odyssey. The fight switches an on-rails shooter, to a standard boss fight where you need to move out of the way of the boss's attacks without a change in gameplay, only how you think about the boss and it's attacks. Not every Boss is a hit however, Mollosque-Lanceur stands out in particular as a bad fight, you need to chase using the him around the map using the Gushen capture, while avoiding the projectiles he fires off at you. It just feel like a waiting game chasing him around the stage, the projectiles he fires at you are rather easy to avoid, unlike the other bosses which are fun and challenging, Mollosque-Lanceur feels boring, easy and somehow frustrating from all of the time spent waiting.
Not every boss is fought in the form of a capture however, Bowser and the Ruined Dragon are fought entirely as the red plumber himself. The former is fought twice, once mid-way through the game, and as the Final Boss. The fight is fun, he'll throw his hat and shadowy copies of his hat at you, and you'll need to hit the real hat and pick it up to hit. Bowser will then perform a variety of counter-attacks at you, such jumping to cause flaming shockwaves, or throwing boulders at you. I enjoyed it, hitting the correct hat, avoiding his attacks, and then punching him with his own hat was very satisfying. In the second fight Bowser will counterattack with his tail once you hit him, and you need to hit him again after that. Combine that with more shadowy hats that have homing properties, boulders that can't be destroyed and a new fire breath attack before he throws his hats and you have a fun yet more challenging fight, and the fight earlier in the game helped you prepare for this moment.
The Crazy Cap
When you arrive at the next Kingdom. You have a nice road leading you into a town, here you can see how the residents are affected by the situation. Somethings gone wrong in the heat of the desert, because there is no heat, only cold, ice scatters the terrain, somethings gone horribly wrong.
A building on the left has the words 'Crazy Cap' above it. Saving the world can wait, it's time to go shopping, and play dress-up.
Across the world you'll find Crazy Cap stores, starting life in New Donk City, this business has travelled across the Mario-Verse to sell you Power Moons, Hats, Outfits, and Souvenirs to put on the Odyssey. Scattered across each world are the purple Regional Coins, a secondary collectable. Think of them like the Notes in Banjo-Kazooie, there's only 50/100 to collect in each world, and unlike coins they don't respawn after being collected. They're reminiscent of the Blue Coins in Sunshine, where you can trade them in for rewards, but don't get to scared, they come in groups and they're far easier to find. I found myself being able to collect them all of them in a given Kingdom without the use of a guide. In the shops Regional Coins can only be used in the Kingdom it was found in, and each Kingdom sells different items for the Regional Coins. Each Kingdom has the same stock for standard Coins however, so it's not much of a hassle if you want to buy a certain thing, just head to your local store to buy it with coins, or collect the Regional Coins in a given Kingdom and buy it at the local store there.
In terms of the costumes you can buy for Mario, there's a lot, and almost every single one is a reference to something else (yes, even the Boxer Shorts). The reference range from easily understood ones, such as the Artist Outfit from Mario Paint, or the Chef Outfit from Yoshi's Cookie, to more obscure ones such as the Explorer Outfit from Mario's Picross, or the Scientist Oufit from a Japanese Super Game Boy commercial. Each one looks cool, and it's fun to mix a match different pieces to come up with a cool combination. For a while on my main save I combined the Aviator Cap with the Skeleton Suit to make Mario look like a Pilot who died in a Plane Crash, at least that's my headcanon. In an update a bunch of new costumes for Mario to wear, such as the Glasses and Shirt from Sunshine, or the Space Suit from the Satellaview. They're all really cool, and I'm surprised by how much fun I managed to have from a simple customisation mechanic.
A screenshot of Mario wearing the Boxer Shorts outfit option. I made Mario spend a majority of the game dressed like this.
The souvenirs are also cool as well, you can buy Stickers that go on the Odyssey, or items to go on the inside. I always prioritised buying these, at adds a feeling of advancement. I've always liked little touches like this, where as you get further through a game an area slowly evolves, and these souvenirs provide a way of gaining that experience. By the end of the game the Odyssey will be neatly cluttered with stickers on the outside, and items ranging from a set of Utensils to an Inflatable Dorrie on the inside. It's simple, but I love it nonetheless.
Have you ever realised that in Collectathons you're just collecting an arbitrary amount of useless junk that allows you to open doors to more useless junk? I personally don't mind, as I enjoy collecting all of that useless junk, it's the reward of seeing that number tick up that I enjoy, but the Crazy Cap store takes the useless junk, and makes it not so useless by giving it a cool reward. It's simple, and you can complete an entire playthrough without having to enter a single store, but the game is all the better for this neat addition.
The Music and Sounds
The next kingdom the player visits is on a split path, I don't have much to say about Lake Kingdom, so I'll talk about Wooded Kingdom instead. The Odyssey lands in a forest area, with lot's trees. The trees here provide some shade, making it fairly dark compared to the other Kingdoms Mario's visited, but not too dark. After being quizzed by the Sphynx, the entrance to the main section of the level opens up and you walk through. As you exit tunnel, the Kingdom opens up before you and you get your first look at the combination of nature and machine. This build-up isn't the only thing that makes the entering the Wooded Kingdom for the first time such a memorable moment, you've read the title of this section and you already know what's coming, there's the music.
The intro to the song is perfectly timed to when you enter the main section of the Kingdom, and the rest of the song as well is so good, the Guitar, the compression, it all works together to make one of my favourite songs in the entire Mario series. It isn't just this song, the entire soundtrack is good, and rivals games such as Hoops 3-on-3 and the M&S Rio 2016 in terms of my favourite soundtrack for a Mario game. This soundtrack works so well due to the sheer variety of the music, it really does make you feel like your travelling the world. It reminds me of my favourite soundtrack for a game, Sonic Unleashed, I love that soundtrack for the same reason I love this one. Just compare the music of the Snow Kingdom to that of the Seaside Kingdom, one is a jolly wintery tune, and the other is a calm, relaxing song, perfect for the Beach it can be heard in. The Big Band Jazz of 3D World, and Orchestra of Galaxy return as well, however they're used sparingly for effect, whether that be to make the Final Boss that bit more climatic, or to make you feel like you're visiting the Big City, it makes all the better. Beside the Wooded Kingdom music, one of my favourite pieces is the Luncheon Kingdom music. The bubbly feel helps to give the sense that your in the lava world, and the clanging of metal sounds like pots and pans are being used as instruments.
You can't talk about the music of the game without talking about 'Jump Up, Superstar!'. What is there to say that hasn't been said about this? There's nothing more to say beyond the fact that this is a fantastic song.
An underrated part of the music is the ambient tracks, I love the sound of water splashing up against the shore in 'Gloomy Bubblaine', and the calm and cool sounds in 'The Silver World of Shiveria' are oddly relaxing.
While I'm at it, I should probably bring up the sound design, of the game. It, just like everything else so far, is fantastic. The little tip-tap of Mario's feet on the floor, each ability has a unique sound to signify that you correctly performed it, it all adds up to enhance the experience.
Visually speaking, this game is gorgeous. And not just graphically, the lighting and textures are good, but these worlds, they look amazing. Take the Wooded Kingdom for example, it combines the forest, a common level trope in the Mario series, with machinery, an area that's almost never explored in the Mario series, and combines them into to amazing level. Another stand out stage is Luncheon Kingdom, it combines the Lava World trope, and Food World, and ties it all up with a low-poly look. There's not a single world in Mario Odyssey that doesn't do something unique with it, whether that be taking a pre-existing level trope in the Mario series and turning into to something new, or doing something completely unexpected.
On the unexpected side of things, I've already discussed the Cap Kingdom, but Bowser's Kingdom is a stand out example as well. It goes for a Oriental Japanese feel, with banners, and Kanji scattered across the level. The capture of this level is the Pokio, and they wear Samurai Helmets that need to be knocked off before you can capture them. Another example would of course, be the Metro Kingdom. A city level has almost never appeared in a Mario game before, yet it feels like it fits in really well with everything else in the series, and it's crammed with reference to the original Donkey Kong arcade game as well. I've people claim that the New Donkers don't fit in, but I've personally never felt that way, I think they look perfectly fine right next to Mario and all the other species in this game.
Super Mario Odyssey does a brilliant job at taking the player across the world to so many new places. It's another great part of this amazing game.
Another addition to Super Mario Odyssey is the ability to take photos using a special, with this you can a picture with the angle you want, and can even apply filters to make even closer to how you want it to look. It's a neat addition and I took many photos with it. In fact I took so many photos with it I'm going to post some of them here. That's right, this post is just an elaborate excuse to post the pictures I took in Super Mario Odyssey!
Let's talk about one of the weaker aspects of the game, not that it's bad, I just feel that it has some issues. I'd like to tone the praise for a little bit here, and in the next two sections, but after that I'll be right back talking about how much I love this game, because I truly do love it. I just want you to keep that in mind during these section, that while I may be criticising the game, I still love it just as much as the previous sections of this post implies.
I want to take a look at some of the captures a little more in depth now, taking a look at each one individually rather then broadly. I'll start of on a positive note, Pokio, my favourite capture in the game. Pokio as previously stated, Pokio is a bird found in Bowser's Kingdom, but where it really shines is it's abilities, and how the level is focused around them. Across the level you'll find these walls that are coloured white, Pokio can extend it's beak to cling onto them, and fling itself across the walls. It's beak can also kill enemies, and hit bombs away. There's a variety of things Pokio can do, and the Kingdom makes good use of it.
Another one of my favourite captures is Sherm, which suddenly turn the game into a shooter. It's a bit slow, the projectiles it fires move slowly as well, but I still managed to get a lot of enjoyment from using it. I do feel it's a bit underutilised, but when it was utilised it made for some the most fun moments I had using a capture in the game.
One of my least favourite captures has to be Gushen, it's a cool idea, being able to spray water to fly around the stage, and you need to find water to refill. It ends up becoming a capture that I didn't enjoy controlling, due to how it worked, and the fact that the water ended up feeling like a minor nuisance rather then something you had to think about. It's also incredibly under utilised, only being required for a few of the moons in the stage. It feel like the opposite of Pokio, rather then building an entire stage around it's abilities, they just went "there's water in this stage, let's make a capture that uses water, that will work". Unfortunately this capture didn't work for me.
In general I think the captures, while good, have some major issues that stop me from seeing them as a plus. It's pretty telling that Metro Kingdom, the Kingdom that lack a main capture and can be navigated without the use of one, is my favourite kingdom in the game. Yet at the same time I think captures are great and they add so much to the game, just look at Pokio, or the Lava Bubble, those are examples of how you do captures right, and the game is all the better for it. I'm completely torn on whether or not I like this addition, I think they're good, but they still have a lot of issues that need to be worked out. If they were to ever make a sequel to this game, then my idea would be to reduce the number of capture targets, refining the ones you do have to make them the best they can be.
Seaside Kingdom (Bubblaine) and Underwater Gameplay
I've complained about this kingdom twice already, once with the boss, and another time with the capture, so I might as well admit it, I think Seaside Kingdom is okay. It's not bad, but it just doesn't reach the heights that many of the other Kingdoms soar to in terms of quality. Why is that, well I think it's due to two reasons related to a certain liquid.
The first one is the general level design, it's a non-linear level, which is great! Some of my favourite level are like that, such as Metro Kingdom, Mushroom Kingdom or Lost Kingdom, but where this Kingdom falls flat is unlike the previous three, which focus on vertical level design or wide-open area to mess about with Mario's abilities in, Seaside Kingdom instead focuses on the Underwater gameplay, and I think it's worse off for it. The underwater sections of the level are bland looking, and rather forgettable, there's not much to do, yet so many Power Moons in the level are hidden down there. I'm not a fan of this section of this level.
The other issue with the level focusing on underwater gameplay is, the underwater gameplay. Remember when I said there were only two exceptions to Mario being fun to control? This is one of them. Underwater gameplay is based on 3D World and 3D Land rather then Sunshine and 64, meaning it's slow and plays like it does in the 2D Games. I can't enjoy this, it's just impossible, it goes against everything I enjoy about this game: Mario is fast and fluid, you have complete control over him. When I'm underwater moving slowly Mario doesn't feel fast, nor fluid, he isn't fun to control anymore. The game tries to remedy this using the Cheep Cheep capture, and while it can work, it's heavily limited in what it can do, and I'd rather just play as Mario most of the time.
Seaside Kingdom isn't bad, it's just that fails to meet the standards that almost every other Kingdom sets. There's also one major Kingdom that I do believe to be worse then it as well, a Kingdom that for the most part, I would consider bad.
Moon Kingdom (Luna Ridge) and Dark Side (Rabbit Ridge)
Moon Kingdom is the Kingdom I would consider to be bad, and is the second exception to Mario being fun to control. When in Space, Mario is affected by the lower amount of gravity, meaning he jumps higher, and falls slower. During the gameplay section I stated "[Mario] doesn't feel too floaty, yet he doesn't drop like a rock", and unfortunately that doesn't apply in this Kingdom. Mario is way too floaty here, and I just don't enjoy it. I swear he moves slower as well, the Frog capture returns in this Kingdom, and there's a Power Moon where you have to take it halfway across the Kingdom, and it take a painfully long time. I know I said the Frog was slower then Mario, but back in the Cap Kingdom it was barely noticeable, here, when combined with Moon physics it's just not fun to play.
This only applies to the above ground area, as this issue is more then made up for with the Final Boss, the section after that, and the Underground Moon Caverns. The Underground Moon Caverns is a platforming challenge before the Final Boss and it is a good one, it takes what you've learnt about the captures throughout the game, and puts it to the test in one long stage, which is all topped off with a rematch against Madame Broode. It's great, but isn't good enough to redeem the Moon Kingdom by itself, it will need the final sequence of the story to do that, which I'll talk about in the next section.
This also affects another area however, Dark Side. In Dark Side, you'll have to face off against the Broodals one last time, and I did not enjoy it. This area keeps the moon physics from Moon Kingdom, meaning the fights are far less fun and far more difficult then they were previously. I didn't complete this on this playthrough, as I was not having fun with it.
Wow, I didn't expect to still praise this game as much as I did when I was being negative, I guess that just goes to show how much I like this game. Anyway, from here on, this post will just be the endless praise that the rest of this post has been, so I hope you're prepared for that.
Mario finally arrives at the Wedding Hall, just in time to stop Bowser's Wedding. He storms through the door in his Wedding Suit (or Wedding Dress, Boxer Shorts, Clown Outfit, etc.) and confronts Bowser. The two then fight in the Final Boss Battle against Bowser, which I previously explained, but this isn't even the best part. Upon his defeat, Bowser crashes into the a stalactite and Moon Rocks starting falling into the arena. Before Mario can reach Peach, a Moon Rock falls in between the two, stopping Mario from saving. They then fall from the Arena.
When Mario wakes up, the ground is falling around him. The player regains control of Mario, then only path is to Peach, who is next to an unconscious Bowser. Throughout the game, whenever you escape from a captured target, the would get dizzy and stars would spin around above their head. If there was anything you could throw your hat at, a small white arrow would appear above it when Mario faced towards it. Now, both of these signs appear above Bowser. With nothing left to do, the player will throw Cappy at Bowser in attempt to capture him.
And it works.
Just like the first time Mario captured a Frog, he'll soar through the memories of Bowser, passing through the sounds and sights from each and every time they have fought. 30 years of the most iconic rivalry in Video Games has come to this.
Mario opens his eyes, he's become Bowser. In one final platforming sequence, the player plays as Bowser escaping from the Moon, with Peach on his back. The orchestra applies the pressure to the situation. Bowser controls similarly to Mario, just bigger and stronger, you can even perform a Triple Jump. As you run through this section, boulders drop from the ceiling, the ground falls around you. There's a 2D section during this as well. Once through the player will have to hit a wall multiple times, and then, this sequence hits it's peak.
A Pop Rock song starts to play, song by the same person who song 'Jump Up, Superstar!'. The player will then have to destroy four rock pillars with Bowser, freeing one last Moon Rock. Destroy it, and an electric pole will reveal itself, Mario can then use to take himself, Bowser, and Peach back to the surface. Once the player has done this, the final cutscene will start to play.
The Bowser escape sequence is one of my favourite moments in the whole game, it's brief, but it's amazing. It really feels like the whole game was building to this, and maybe even the entire series. I loved every second of it.
The final cutsene rolls, Bowser crashes onto the ground, Mario uses his head to land safely, and Peach floats down to safety. Cappy and Tiara reunite at last. Mario walks over to Peach, but before either can do anything, Bowser knocks Mario out of the way proposes to Peach one last time, Mario returns and does the same. The camerawork during this section is good, it really puts you in the shoes of Peach, making you feel uncomfortable. Peach rejects both of them, and Bowser and Mario step back Bowser. Bowser sits down and Mario puts his hand Bowser's shell comforting him. This entire quest, it wasn't just to save Peach, or the world, it was also an attempt to marry her. Peach then leaves the two, Mario quickly chasing after the Odyssey.
I've heard some people don't like this ending, but I don't have an issue with it. It's a satisfying conclusion to a great game.
After this is all over Mario arrives in the Mushroom Kingdom. You can run around the surrounding area, or enter Peach's Catle. This place is full of Super Mario 64 references, there's paintings to enter, Peach's Castle plays a remix of the song from Super Mario 64, if you look up at the roof to enter the Wing Cap level you get a Power Moon, all of the Power Moons are stars and play the star jingle from Super Mario 64, Yoshi is on the roof of Peach's Caslte, you can even get a costume that turns you into Mario from Super Mario 64, and using that you can enter the courtyard from 64. It's a cool reward, even ignoring all the references to 64.
You can travel back to previous Kingdoms to collect new Power Moons. One of these new Power Moons in every Kingdom requires you to participate in Koopa Freerunning, where you need to race a group of Koopas to the goal to get a Power Moon, testing you knowledge of the Kingdom, and Mario's abilities. Another Moon in every Kingdom is Peach and Tiara, who are revisiting the Kingdoms on their own terms. In each Kingdom there was previously rock that you couldn't do anything with, now if you hit it will bring a ton of new moons to Kingdom it's in. You'll be able to tell if you've hit or not as Cappy will tell you that it's there when you enter a Kingdom where it hasn't been destroyed. These Moon Rocks are a good excuse to go back and revisit each Kingdom. It breaths new life into them, encouraging you to explore areas that you've already explored for new Power Moons that have appeared. This also adds new, harder, Power Moons to previously completed challenges, such as Koopa Freerunning, which now has a Golden Koopa who goes faster then the others.
Then there's the final challenge of the game, Darker Side. Every Mario game since Galaxy 2 has had a final level that's far harder then anything else in the game, and this game is no different. Just like the Underground Moon Caverns, it puts your knowledge of the captures to the test, but now with even harder challenges, different captures, and some sections that test your skill as Mario without captures, and even a segment without Cappy. It's tough, but it's worth it. It all ends with a Thank You from the developers, and Cappy reminiscing on your adventure together, as you climb up a recreation of the New Donk City Hall.
With over 880 Power Moons not every single one is going to be a hit, take the Deep Woods of Wooded Kingdom for example, where you need to capture a Coin Coffer and stand around firing coins at a plant for a few minutes until a Power Moon appears, or the Jump-Rope and Volleyball challenge, which, as mentioned at the beginning of this post, I have yet to complete. Some of these are far easier then others as well, there's on in Cascade Kingdom where the Moon is just lying on top of a rock waiting to be collected. Others are rather obtuse, such as the Hint Art, or the Power Moons where you need to look at a flying object in sky. However, these misses feel like a minority, not a majority, and most Moons I enjoyed collecting.
That was one long post. I don't think I'll ever be able to post ever again, in any thread, as I probably won't ever be able to top this in terms of length. For context this file was 12KB (the size of my previous review) when I had reached the section about the Cap Kingdom, and is currently 40KB, more then three times the size of my previous longest post, my Awards presentation last year (14KB). I'm proud of this, and I don't think I would've been happy if I took the easy option out. I had a lot to say about this game, and I'm glad I managed to get it all out in go. So, like Mario would thank one for playing his game, I'd like thank you for reading this post. It took me more then two days to write, and I'm glad that you were willing to put up with such a long post just to find out what I thought about Mario game.