Super Mario Odyssey Preview: Getting Your Sea Legs

Mario has kicked off his cross-country tour, with Nintendo's favorite hero kicking things off at Universal CityWalk in Los Angeles, CA. The stage by the 5 Towers was the site for playable Super Mario Odyssey demos, but prior to the area opening up to the public, Shacknews had the opportunity to go hands-on with Mario's next adventure. And for this demo, it was time to go swimming.

The demo took place along the Seaside Kingdom, a beach inhabited by friendly snail people and some familiar Mario foes. As is the case with the rest of the game, the idea is to collect Power Moons to move forward, with the Moons in this particular demo hidden along some elevated areas.

Reaching the first one involved running up a hill, as spiky crabs rolled down and created some hazards. To proceed, it was time to master the art of the Goomba stack. To complete the process of the Goomba stack, Mario must simply use Cappy to control any nearby Goomba. Once he starts controlling a Goomba, it's just an easy matter of stepping on another Goomba and so on. It's funny to note that it apparently doesn't take long in this game for Mario's foes to get wise to his strategy. The Goombas here were all donning pirate hats, requiring an extra hit before Cappy could possess them.

After creating the Goomba stack, the task turned to getting up the hill while avoiding the crabs. Halfway up the hill, there was a female Goomba waiting atop an elevated platform. The Goomba stack allowed Mario to reach that area, with his disguise causing the female Goomba to fall in love and surrender a Power Moon. Removing the disguise allowed Mario to collect it, as the sight of the portly plumber sent the Goomba gal dashing off in a panic.

The other memorable element of the demo involved playing around with the Crazy Cap shop. This is where Mario can purchase costumes and items using standard gold coins and special coins that are only collectible in the shop's specific level. Each Crazy Cap shop even has one Power Moon for purchase, offering incentive to find as many coins as possible. For the purposes of this demo, I picked up Mario's "Boxer Shorts." This would imply more than Mario's running around in his underwear, rather than swim trunks, but they were still the best swimming attire available.

After donning the boxers, I hit the water and started swimming along the sea. Like many 3D Mario games, Mario only gets so much oxygen. However, there's a quick fix for that and it involves simply controlling a Cheep-Cheep. Cheep-Cheeps not only offer unlimited swimming time, but allow Mario to surface and jump out of the water, catching some air along the way. Unfortunately, the fish's jump didn't let me go as high as I needed to, so I needed to pick up something else before grabbing the demo's last Power Moon.

New squid enemies were also swimming around, mostly making nuisances out of themselves by spraying jets of water at Mario and causing damage doing so. Using Cappy to control these squids did offer up a new ability, allowing Mario to use the squid's jets to hover like a pseudo-jetpack. Upon reaching the higher plane, the Power Moon is there for the taking.

A big chunk of the joy in Super Mario Odyssey is going to be exploring these new worlds, as well as seeing what the Crazy Cap shop will have to offer. Coins have never felt more useful in a Mario game, especially since Odyssey appears to have done away with the archaic lives system and replaced it with Mario losing a percentage of coins for every death. I look forward to exploring the rest of Mario's new journey when Super Mario Odyssey arrives on October 27.

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