E3 2017: 6 things we want to see in Super Mario Odyssey

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Super Mario Odyssey is set for release in October 2017. Here is everything we’re hoping (and praying?) will be included in the latest Mario game.

It’s back to our favourite time of year again, and it’s looking to herald further success for Nintendo, following last year’s successful reveal of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild at E3 2016.

Whilst I loved Breath of the Wild, I have been fanatical about Mario’s next instalment since rumours of a ‘Nintendo NX’ console sprung up more than a year ago, and it all stems from childhood memories. Considering my first step into the Mushroom Kingdom foray (and all gaming for that matter) was with the cult classic Super Mario 64, which also set the standard for 3D games, I have always been praying to the Mushroom gods (cough cough Shigeru Miyamoto) for a true successor to the game.

Super Mario Galaxy
Super Mario Galaxy took us to new worlds and blew our minds. Source: IGN

I particularly loved the 3D entries in the Mario franchise, but most of all, Super Mario Galaxy. Super Mario Galaxy was able to take on the mind blowing capabilities that Super Mario 64 had at the time, and take it to another level entirely.

Not only did the game bring us back to the 3D foray with all of Mario’s signature moves for the first time, it also brought with it gravity defying stunts and planet-hopping antics, more than 40 new worlds, and over 120 stars to collect. It’s sequel also delivered continuing success and ground-breaking improvements, in what can be defined as a complete re-imagination of the Mario universe and platform gaming altogether.

Super Mario Odyssey has received only one trailer so far, and has given a promising glimpse as to what can be expected in this new adventure for the goomba-stomping aficionado.

Super Mario Odyssey
Odyssey: a yummy addition to the Mario series. Source: IGN

Already we can see a plethora of environments for Mario to explore, ranging from the concrete jungle of New Donk City, to lush forests, expansive deserts, and a land made entirely of food. We can definitely see that the environments of Super Mario Odyssey have definitely drawn inspiration off of the designs used in Super Mario Galaxy in some ways (remember Sweet Sweet Galaxy?), and boy am I excited to see this. The colours, layouts and animations all take inspiration from previous Mario games in the franchise, and have combined all of the best things that have made Mario games great over the years.

But what else can we expect to see in Mario’s travels across this new world? As an avid fan of our mushroom-munching hero, there are a few things I would love Nintendo to bring back to our living room screens again.

1 – Return to Super Mario 64 level designs (but bigger)

Super Mario 64 brought with it some fantastic level design that challenged developers at the time to utilise the hardware available as much as possible. It truly set the bar for 3D gaming and for 3D platformers, with a fully functioning 3D camera and 3D animation that truly brought the Mushroom Kingdom to life, with a variety of goombas, chain chomps, koopa troopas, bomb-ombs and more.

Super Mario Sunshine built on this formula six years later, expanding the environment and its realism, but since then we haven’t quite seen the same 3D sandbox formula that made us fall in love with the Nintendo 64 and Gamecube titles.

While the Super Mario Galaxy games had some awesome level design to be sure, it wasn’t a complete return to the open world sandbox.

Super Mario Odyssey has the task set out in front of itself, to blow our minds again and bring us back to the sandbox-style gameplay. Already it has shown off large expanses, and the developers have acknowledged that it will take on the criticisms of Sunshine and build the game for core gamers.

2 – Power-ups

Mario games have been grounded by power-ups since its inception in different forms. From mushroom power-ups, to the iconic fireflower and tanooki outfits, to the caps of Super Mario 64 and FLUDD upgrades of Sunshine, they have always given the games different varying play-styles, and allowed the player to reach hidden areas and collectables.

Super Mario Odyssey has already hinted at crazy caps in all of the environments revealed so far, and it reminds us of the mushroom houses that were sprawled across the world in the 2D games since New Super Mario Bros.

The caps seem to feature as major story and gameplay points of the game, as hinted by the game’s title image and the way Mario and Bowser’s hats are used in the trailer. Already we know that Mario’s cap will be used to jump higher and thrown to jump further, to get to normally unreachable areas and add an extra element to the exploration of these new worlds. GameXplain’ has an interesting theory, which suggests that the eyes of the cap share a resemblance with the rabbits also featured in the trailer.

3 – Rideable Yoshi

Yoshi has been Mario’s loveable dinosaur companion since 1992 with the release of Super Mario World for the Super Nintendo. Yoshi added further elements to the gameplay as a ride that could eat enemies, would run away when hit by an enemy, and was Mario’s answer to Link’s Epona.

Yoshi has since been thrown into the 3D foray twice with the releases of Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy 2, which allowed players to control the cute little dino to squirt juice around the tropics of Isle Delfino, and use his tongue with the Wii remote whilst travelling the cosmos to pull objects, eat enemies and swing from flower grapples.

Whilst Nintendo have used Yoshi sparingly in 3D Mario games, his added gameplay dynamics and cute demeanour have added fruity flavours and personality to the Mario series.

Already we’ve seen Mario riding a lion statue through the dark expanses of an undisclosed desert level. Does this hint at several different mounts that Mario will discover in his travels? We shall see.

4 – Nostalgia

Mario games get the jump on other games with their references to past titles, and reimagining successful gameplay that spruce up Mario’s adventures in the Mushroom Kingdom. Examples of this range from Professor E. Gadd’s appearance in several Mario titles, to the reimagining of Super Mario 64 running and jumping in the Galaxy games, to the reuse of famous Mario tunes throughout the entire series.

Already Super Mario Odyssey has shown off several references to past titles, such as the P switch, vegetable throwing from Super Mario Bros 2, and bunny chasing which began in Super Mario 64. Already we can see we’re getting the best references to both 2D and 3D titles, we might even be able to reference Donkey Kong and his band of misfits.

5 – Super Mario 64 controls

It’s been 21 years since Mario was able to dive, backflip, long jump and ground pound across arenas of Bowser’s goons, and something that has been a limitation for games since then. Sunshine didn’t allow backflips and long jumps, Galaxy didn’t include diving, and well 3D World just doesn’t come close in this space.

Already the reveal trailer has included all of the above moves, and has gone a hat above this with Mario’s moves he pulls off with his mysteriously magical hat.

Using these moves Mario is reaching new heights of verticality, including the skyscrapers of New Donk City and the towering trees of the forest world we’ve seen in the trailer. Will Mario learn more and more moves as his adventure continues? Will he out jump his 64 equivalent?

6 – Climatic Boss Battles

The Mario franchise has kept leaps and bounds ahead of other games in its class, and one of these reasons for this is the boss battles.

Ever since Mario’s first bout with Bowser in Super Mario Bros, Nintendo have been able to bring in a whole suite of new baddies, focused on crushing our moustachioed plumber into the ground.

With the Koopalings starting their long running tradition of lining castles across the Mushroom Kingdom’s horizon in Super Mario Bros 3, Mario’s other baddies have become more complex and memorable in their own right.

Wiggler. King Bomb-omb. Petey Piranha. King Boo. Mecha Bowser. Bowser Jr. Bowser…. In a floating goo bath!

Super Mario Odyssey has already intrigued our super senses with their display of an evil bunny posse and a robotic wiggler lookalike. There is plenty of reason to suggest that this game will not fall away from this formula that has worked time and time again.

Super Mario Odyssey is primed for release on the 27th of October this year.

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