Super Mario Odyssey might be the best video game of all time

Todd Hailstone

Five stars

Super Mario Odyssey Nintendo Switch, $60.

Super Mario Odyssey is the best Mario game ever, and it might be the best video game of all time. If that seems like a bold statement it is, but Nintendo’s new entry deserves the praise. It’s an absolute delight to play.

Odyssey is a meticulously crafted open-world 3D platformer. Every level bursts with secrets and collectibles, along with creative, challenging ways to achieve them. The plot is familiar: Bowser has kidnapped Princess Peach, and our man Mario must undertake a desperate journey to rescue her. The twist? Bowser plans to marry her and has stolen various wedding components—like a magical bouquet and a wedding gown—from kingdoms across the land.

The sub-bosses on each level are “the Broodals,” an evil rabbit family of wedding planners (yes, really), and they’re fairly easy to defeat. But the main bosses on each level really shine. From a cantankerous purple octopus to a stew-obsessed giant cockatiel, the kingdom bosses are tough to beat and make for the most innovative fighting sequences in the franchise’s history.

The new core mechanic lies within Cappy, an anthropomorphic hat Mario can use to attack, jump off and possess enemies—the last such an innovative and enjoyable experience, it alone could have carried the game. Charging through the levels as a giant T. Rex, blasting across the sky as a Bullet Bill or whisking through the water as a Cheep Cheep is a fantastic change of pace that keeps any part of the game from becoming repetitive. And instead of stopping there, Nintendo added some throwback 2D sections, charming (and sometimes hilarious) costume collectibles and a Donkey Kong tribute featuring the catchiest song in franchise history.

Super Mario Odyssey is a beautiful game, bright and colorful and exploding with style. Mario is expressive and acrobatic, and his relentlessly jolly cheers and whoops are infectious. The game marks a triumphant return from everyone’s favorite plumber and another outstanding game from Nintendo in what looks to be a great first year on the Switch.

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