Amidst the usual pantheon of heroes, monsters, and aliens that take over San Diego Comic-Con, one well-known plumber somersaulted his way into the fray! That’s right, Mario and Nintendo were present at this year’s SDCC, held from July 19 – 23. Dozens of Nintendo Switch consoles lined Nintendo’s booth demoing the latest installment in the Super Mario series, Super Mario Odyssey!
Aside from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey is the game I’ve been most excited about coming out for the Nintendo Switch. While I’ve always enjoyed the Mario games, Odyssey brings me back to that wondrous feeling when I first played the open world Super Mario 64 title as a kid. Like Super Mario 64, Odyssey introduced me to platforming and exploration in a Mario game on a whole other level. Pun not intended.
Guests trying out the game at Comic-Con were given the option to sample one of two previously revealed Kingdoms – the Metro Kingdom and the Sand Kingdom. I decided to go with the Metro Kingdom, also known as New Donk City, because I thought it would be surreal to jump around with Mario in a “real-world” setting. Much contrast!
The Metro Kingdom was bustling with people that Mario could interact with. While the ultimate goal was to acquire Power Moons, I didn’t really go out of my way to catch them. The demo time was limited, and I wanted to see as much of the world as I could.
At one point while I ran around the Metro Kingdom, I found two women playing with a jump rope, just as I had seen in the announcement trailer for the game. Without any load time, or directions, I instinctively ran up between the two and started skipping rope as many times as I could before eventually tripping on it. An NPC close by tried to provoke me to play the mini-game again by saying something along the lines of “Is that all you can do? You need to jump the rope at least 30 times to win!” The words popped up in a world bubble atop the NPC’s head. While individual audio did come out of that NPC, the sound of the speech consists of gibberish, similarly to the sound that adults and teachers make in the Peanuts cartoons.
Again, without any wait for a load time, I left the jump rope mini-game in search of a new activity. I came across another pedestrian NPC playing with an RC car. With the help of Mario’s new hat friend, Cappy, I possessed the NPC and took control of the toy’s remote. The camera then focused on the toy car, and I was basically playing as the car.
As the RC car, I had to get through an obstacle that looked simple enough, but the controls weren’t very intuitive. I think they purposely made the steering tough to make it a more challenging feat. Typically, that should be fine, but in several instances, I accidentally left the body of the pedestrian and re-entered Mario’s body while experimenting with the steering controls. This means that with just a touch of a button, you can leave a possessed body or object mid-mini-game! I hope that Nintendo tweaks that a bit before launch, as I don’t want to get frustrated warping in and out of Mario when I don’t want to!
The objects that Mario could possess via Cappy were pretty surprising. Not knowing what I could and couldn’t take over made me spend some time pressing buttons next to trash cans, traffic cones, and street lamps. That aspect of the game alone is a humorous part of the exploration, and I can’t wait to do that more when the game releases on October 27, 2017!
This is a Tokyo Otaku Mode original article written and filmed by Sean Cardeno