Super Mario… Meh

Caution ⚡ This post contains spoilers for the beginnings of Super Mario Odyssey. Some people like going into games knowing as little as possible (like me) so just thought I’d give you fair warning!

This first impressions article was originally posted on my old website on October 31, 2017, shortly after the game’s launch. Enjoy my cranky-ass past self’s unedited ramblings!

Super Mario Odyssey Boxart

All aboard the freaking hype train, I mean… Bowser Controlled Airship Thingy! Like almost everyone else lucky enough to own a Switch, I picked up a shiny new copy of Super Mario Odyssey on Friday. Unlike everyone else, I played it for about an hour and had to stop because I was… I was… well, I was bored out of my damn mind. There, I said it!  What the hell is wrong with me? I have no idea… but I’ve been in a persistent bad mood lately, and Mario failed to pull me into his latest Bowser-bashing adventure. Do I hate it? No, not at all. It just didn’t click with me right away, and it sucks being the outcast, let me tell you. Anyway, I like it. I guess I just don’t like-like it. Maybe this first impression post will help me figure out why!

Is it the story?

Super Mario Odyssey Impressions 1
This has happened so many times Peach just seems bored now.

This year I’ve had the pleasure of playing some awesome story-rich games like: Horizon Zero Dawn, Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice, and my latest obsession – Dragon Age Origins. What do these games have in common besides a deep plot? Let’s see. Protagonist wise, Aloy is a bow-wielding badass who’s fighting to determine the fate of life itself. Senua is a Celtic warrior pushing herself through an unimaginable hell on a quest to save the soul of the one she loves. Grey Warden Ellen is the Alistair-loving Archdemon-downing warrior goddess I always wanted to be. In Super Mario Odyssey, I’m the brave manly plumber man on a zany quest to save the pretty princess, again. Bowser cleans himself up good though – that suit is snazzy! Have I been spoiled by all the strong sheroes I’ve met recently?

Super Mario Odyssey Impressions 2
It’s off to save the helpless princess and her hapless tiara.

Nah. This is a Mario game! I was fully expecting Peachy to get grabbed by the determined Koopa King, as always. I rolled my eyes a tad at the whole forced marriage thing, but NO ONE plays Mario for the story. The googly-eyed hat people are cute and all (almost Banjo-Kazooie-ish), but the plot just boils down to silly humor that I wasn’t in the mood for on Friday. I’ve spent more time playing since then and I can now say my cold heart is warming up to the quirky characters and silly story elements. Hey! I’m trying really hard not to be a boring, depressed adult over here… give me some credit, maybe?

Is it the gameplay, then?

Super Mario Odyssey Impressions 3
I should’ve been all “ZOMG!! It’s a dinosaur!”, but I wasn’t excited at all at the time.

The worlds are stunning, there’s so much to collect, you can take control of crazy characters using Mario’s Cappy buddy, amusing things happen a lot, the 2D platforming sections are neat… I was both overwhelmed and underwhelmed at the same time. Using the T-Rex in the above screenshot as an example, I knew that was going to happen. I tried really, really hard to know as little about this game as possible, but Nintendo let the big dino out of the bag early in a preview. When I came across him in the first world proper, it was very meh moment for me. I know… I don’t understand me either.

So to sum up my gameplay experiences thus far:

Super Mario Odyssey Impressions 4
You get to search breathtaking worlds for cleverly hidden collectibles.
Super Mario Odyssey Impressions 5
Cappy can take control of pretty much anything you find. As a T-Rex (my favourite dinosaur) I got to stomp around the level breaking things.
Super Mario Odyssey Impressions 6
Boss fights are so quirky! For example, I got to smash a giant Rabbid-ish looking lady in the face with her own pet Golden Chain Chomp that I took control of. Super fun!
Super Mario Odyssey Impressions 7
There are these neat 2D platforming sections you can find. The music even goes all retro Mario! My Mario is gold from scanning in my Gold Mario Amiibo, by the way.
Super Mario Odyssey Impressions 8
I can only imagine what other crazy lands are out there… I bet there’s a level on that moon too!!
Super Mario Odyssey Impressions 9
There are a plethora of outfits for Mr. Mario. I have oh so many Amiibo I can scan in for these too! And look how silly and cute the NPCs are.

All of that seems like it should be really fun. Right? Clearly, there is nothing wrong with the gameplay so why am I finding it all meh? Hm… well, I guess I felt rushed to get through everything and didn’t enjoy living in the experience at the time. Wait a minute!! Why did I feel rushed??

Aha! Social Media is my problem, maybe?

I felt rushed, because as an avid Twitter addict, there were a total of one bajillion and one screenshots of #SuperMarioOdyssey being posted, per minute, on launch day (I may have made that statistic up). These screenshots were of all the cool things people discovered, and the race to get to the fabled New Donk City, ASAP. I get it. I like posting screenshots of cool things too (hell, I’m doing it now in this post), and it makes me all warm and fuzzy whenever people “like” my Tweets. BUT, those screenshots from other excited gamers were ruining the entire game for ME. I don’t want to see what’s ahead because frankly, half the fun is in the exploring it for yourself thing. I didn’t want to shun Twitter completely so I discovered this nifty setting:

Super Mario Odyssey Impressions 10
I feel so anti-social media… sorry people.

With all the Super Mario Odyssey related tweets banished from my feed, I relaxed knowing I wouldn’t be blindsided by pesky spoilers of the cool things I want to discover on my own. The crowd seems to be all “NOW!!” but I want to take my time with the game. After silencing the excited masses, my own enjoyment increased, but it was still not at the hype level is should be…

You know what? It’s-a not Mario, or anyone else. It’s-a me.

Ultimately, I was in a bad mood on Friday, and a cheerful game was having the opposite effect – making me feel more miserable than I already was. Also, seeing how happily everyone else was rushing through Mario just made me realize how much of a sad lonely failure I was/am. And for crying out loud – Wolfenstien II and Assassin’s Creed Origins were released on the same damn day! Yes, I want to freaking play those too, but I don’t have time.

Super Mario Odyssey Impressions 11
The answer to my question – this game was just too fucking whimsical for my cranky ass to deal with on Friday.

Today’s video game industry is moving too fast for me. I’ve accepted I won’t be able to play everything I want, and I’m focusing on the few games I have time to play. That’s why I’m having a blast slowly inching my way through the Dragon Age series, while writing posts about each step of my adventure. That’s also why I’m going to take my sweet time with Super Mario Odyssey, exploring every nook and cranny along the way. I’m feeling like much less of a bitter bitch now, so I’m starting to appreciate the game more and more. It won’t be long before I love it for being the masterpiece that it is.

Overall Goals

I want to collect EVERYTHING, at my own slow pace, and I don’t care how long it takes, or how many other great games I NEED play right now. There’s a list tracking system… my weakness. I’m only in the chilly Sand Kingdom now, so it’s gonna be a long and glorious adventure!

Super Mario Odyssey Impressions 12
Must… complete… collectible… lists… 😍

Thanks for reading!

If for some odd reason you want to read more of my posts, you can find a somewhat organized (and usually up to date) archive of my ramblings… I mean, articles here!

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"Lightning" Ellen

My name is Ellen, and I've been babbling on the interwebz about video games for over 15 years. Video games themselves have been a large part of my life since 5-year-old me first encountered a SNES in a children's hospital. Fun times... Video game escapism is still the #1 coping mechanism for adult me these days.

22 thoughts on “Super Mario… Meh”

  1. I tried playing through it again recently, and I love my Mario (I’m on Super Mario Bros 3. for the 1,000th time now with the Switch release)… and Odyssey just doesn’t do it for me. I was surprised by the 10/10 reviews. I found it distinctly average, although there are some inspired moments.

    Meanwhile, I’m back on Breath of the Wild and fell in love with it again. Huzzah!

    Liked by 2 people

        1. OMG!! A flame war in my comments section means I’ve hit the blogging big leagues 🙂

          I will give BoTW another shot very soon, but yeah… I’m a noob and didn’t enjoy it a whole lot….

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I ams til lyet to play this. Part of that is due to my lack of access to a Switch. Honestly though, I don’t think I would grab it if I ahd one. It looked too much like mario 64 in terms of the core gameplay, and I really didn’t like that entry in the franchise.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I managed to beat it early this year! I’m re-posting my review on Thursday, but my TL;DR opinion is I really enjoyed some of the magical moments (the Metro Kingdom and the ending were awesome to me, haha) but overall it didn’t live up to my hype.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice post! I enjoyed Odyssey for the most part, but it lacks replay value for me. Collecting moons is not fun and while the worlds are beautiful they’re lifeless to me. I’m a HUGE Mario fan and the fact that I haven’t played this game again since I completed it the first time tells me all I need to know about this game. I feel the same way about BOTW. To me the best games worth owning on the Switch aren’t even made by Nintendo.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Totally agreed on the Power Moons! There’s way too many of them and it didn’t feel special whenever I got one, just a tedious collect-em-all thing. I had no desire to backtrack through everything at the end of the game. Breath of the Wild also fell flat with me, but I plan to give it another try soon. At least the Switch is rocking the 3rd party games!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep! I’ve found some really neat JRPGs on the Switch that I wouldn’t have played anywhere else :). Speaking of JRPGs… I should finish Octopath Traveler :).

        As far as Mario goes… I’ll just wait for Super Mario U Deluxe to drop and play that. I was hoping for a 3D World remaster though…

        I’m… falling out of love with Zelda. I’ve played two bad Zelda games in a row and I’m losing faith in Nintendo to give us a good one outside the 3DS…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ooo! I really need to play Octopath Traveler some year. Looks really cool!

          Yeah. I think I’ve also lost my interest in new Zelda and Mario games. I still have high hope for Metroid Prime 4! I really hope they don’t mess that game up, haha.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. A different dev is working on Metroid Prime 4 so I think that game is safe :). As long as people blindly praise Nintendo games for their innovation and pretend like it’s never been done before we’ll continue to get more open world games from them with nothing to do, but collect stuff. Nintendo has already said open world is the future of Zelda games and I’m honestly worried about that.

            Octopath Traveler is great! I still haven’t finished it, but I love it.

            Liked by 1 person

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