Hands-On With Super Mario Odyssey


Not long after getting my socks blown off by the stellar Super Mario Odyssey trailer, I was lucky enough to head across town and play the game at one of the preview events in my area. Was it as awesome IRL as it appeared to be in the trailer?

The demo on display was fairly short. It only lasted about 10 minutes. In it, you get a choice of playing between a desert level and New Donk City. You only got to play one, so I chose the city. Having watched the former, it looked more like a traditional Mario level with enemies, versus the exploration-based New Donk City.

It’s worth noting here that the game features motion controls. You can flick the right Joy-Con to throw Mario’s hat. You can flick both Joy-Cons to throw his hat in a way that spins on a vertical axis. Swiping both Joy-Cons to the side will cause the hat to circle around you. Presumably, there’s a way to perform all of these actions without motions when in portable mode, but they were fine from the little I played.

In the New Donk City demo, Mario is tasked with finding musicians to play in a band. They’re jamming in different parts of the level, with some being harder to find than others. One interesting aspect of New Donk City that I noticed was that it didn’t have any enemies. Instead, it appears that the fundamental challenge is trying to figure out how to scale the buildings.

One of the musicians was atop a high building, which ended up taking most of my time. Aimlessly wandering around for a bit, I was eventually able to jump my way up to an adjacent building. However, it required a massive jump off of a launcher and I screwed it up both times. Though I didn’t make the leap, the people running the booth were impressed that I found a path they hadn’t seen before.

By the end of that demo, I really wanted to play more. Even without enemies, I was very intrigued by the world of New Donk City and I wanted to find all of the different ways to move around that level. Releasing in October, I’ll be anxiously counting down the days until I can finally scale that building.

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