Don't let the mustachioed mascot's seemingly sentient cap fool you: despite a few new power-ups, Super Mario Odyssey looks to mark a return to form for single-player 3D Mario games—a branch of the plumber's family tree that hasn't sprouted new twigs since 2010's Super Mario Galaxy 2. Nintendo announced Super Mario Odyssey back in January during its Switch reveal presentation. The company went silent after that, but coughed up some important details at this year's E3.
Post-E3 2017, here's a round-up of everything we know about Super Mario Odyssey so far.
While Super Mario Galaxy 2, Super Mario 3D Land, and Super Mario 3D World are all 3D platformers, Galaxy 2 is the odd game out. Set amid lots of pipes and pits, 3D Land and World concentrated on pure platforming—kind of like 2D Mario titles inflated into three dimensions. Additionally, Super Mario 3D World incorporated the New Super Mario Bros. series' brand of four-player gameplay that made partnering with friends as chaotic as it was fun.
Super Mario Odyssey shares more in common with Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and the Galaxy games on Wii. It's a single-player game set amid vast landscapes designed as much for exploration as for jumping over pits and stomping on Goombas. Those landscapes will be divided between the fantastical (such as an enchanted desert) and urban jungles such as New Donk City, reminiscent of a real-world metropolis. In media released so far, Mario hobnobs with humans, bounds atop taxi cabs, and swings over street lamps.
It will be interesting to see how those contemporary settings bleed over into, and influence Mario's more traditional and gamey environments, if at all. Nintendo has said that players will travel between Super Mario Odyssey's sandbox-style areas aboard an airship. The vehicle could be a hub world a la the Comet Observatory in the original Super Mario Galaxy, or simply a means of jetting between areas akin to Super Mario Galaxy 2's Starship Mario vessel.
Mario's an everyman hero, but he doesn't hesitate to dip into his bag of tricks when he needs to surpass a particularly tricky obstacle. Although old standbys like Super Mushrooms and Fire Flowers seem likely to return, screenshots and the game's only gameplay trailer (at present) indicate an emphasis on caps. In the trailer, Mario flings his trademark red cap across a pit, frisbee style. It hovers in midair for a moment before Mario bounces atop the cap to clear the expanse.
Also note that at the end of the trailer, a pair of eyes appear within the cap, leading to speculation that the cap could be sentient a la the eponymous Minish Cap in the 2002 Zelda title for Game Boy Advance. These eyes can also be seen in the game's logo. (Another tidbit worth mentioning is that Bowser, busy kidnapping Princess Peach as usual, wears hats as well. The king of all the koopas has made a habit of copying Mario's signature abilities in recent games, such as sprouting a cat tail for the final battle of Super Mario 3D World.)
The new trailer and gameplay demo for Super Mario Odyssey at E3 2017 confirmed that the iconic Mario hat will be sentient, and is the key component to one of the plumber's brand new abilities. By throwing and placing his hat, Mario can capture (possess) anything from an electrical fuse to a T-Rex. This skill will be vital to solving puzzles, traversing levels, and defeating enemies.
More than what moves and power-ups Mario has added to his repertoire, everyone wants to know when they'll be able to go on Mario's odyssey alongside him. Nintendo announced during their presentation at E3 that Super Mario Odyssey will hit Nintendo Switch consoles on October 27 this year!