Gamachronicles: Super Mario (part 8)

Today we are going to focus on the main Super Mario Bros games for the Switch: Super Mario Odyssey, Super Mario Maker 2, and Super Mario Bros U Deluxe.

Gamachronicles are multi-part features on a famous or noteworthy game series, diving into some of its most memorable moments and providing additional perspective on its history.

Super Mario Odyssey

Super Mario Odyssey began development soon after the release of Super Mario 3D World in 2013. The team decided to employ a sandbox-style of gameplay to appeal to the series’ core fans.

The primary innovation of Odyssey’s gameplay was the ability for Mario to throw his cap, the physical form of a hat spirit named Cappy, in multiple directions to attack enemies and use as a temporary platform.

Possessing a Goomba

When Cappy is thrown at certain objects, enemies, or non-playable characters, Mario is able to take possession of them, referred to as “capturing”, allowing him to use unique abilities.

For example, Mario can possess a Bullet Bill to fly across large gaps, a bolt of electricity called a Spark Pylon to climb up electric wires, and a tank called a Sherm to fire at enemies and break blocks for passage.

Cappy can also possess a giant T-Rex and wreck havoc on the enemies. It is seriously cool.

Don’t wake daddy
Gotta love the mustache
Even giant chain chomps are no match for an even gianter T-friggin Rex

Another first for the Mario series, was a large assortment of outfits and costumes for Mario to wear. Unlike in previous games, Mario doesn’t transform using a “power-up” to wear the different costumes, rather he has a wardrobe accessible to him on his ship, The Odyssey, or a separate costume shop in each world. Most of the costumes are purely cosmetic and don’t impact gameplay, however there are some sections that require Mario to wear a specific costume to gain entry.

The many costumes for Mario
Tada! Mario celebrates the change into each costume

Another very cool gameplay feature built into Odyssey’s open world is the ability for Mario to enter a pipe and traverse a 2D level built into a wall of the world. It’s easier to show than explain, see below:

Mario enters a pipe going into a wall, then enters a 2D world, similar to the first Super Mario Bros. One really cool thing is that Mario keeps whatever costume he is wearing in the 2D world. Check out the 2D version of some of his many costumes below:

For Odyssey, unlike many prior Mario games before it, Shigeru Miyamoto was not involved in the game’s daily decision-making, but rather served as an executive producer. The game’s development team, led by Yoshiaki Koizumi, consulted Miyamoto on the best ways to express game concepts, with Miyamoto offering suggestions rather than ultimatums, being highly supportive overall.

Super Mario Odyssey received universal acclaim from critics who called it one of the best games in the series, with particular praise towards its inventiveness and originality. It also won numerous awards, including game of the year.

Yep that’s Mario walking around New York City (excuse me…New Donk City)

The game was also a commercial success, selling over 16.59 million copies by December 2019, which makes it one of the best-selling Switch games to date.

Super Mario Maker 2

Super Mario Maker 2 is a side-scrolling game and game creation system for the Nintendo Switch. It is the sequel to Super Mario Maker, and it was released worldwide on June 28, 2019.

The gameplay is largely the same as that of its predecessor, in which players create their own custom courses using assets from various games across the Super Mario franchise and share them online. Super Mario Maker 2 introduces new features and course assets, including a new course style and assets based on Super Mario 3D World.

Super Mario Maker 2 also introduced local and online multiplayer modes, including co-op course creation, where up to 2 players can locally create stages together at the same time; as well as allowing up to 4 online players to play user-made courses, cooperatively or competitively.

Additionally, a free update on December 5, 2019, added the Master Sword, a power up new to Super Mario Maker 2 that transforms Mario into Link from the Legend of Zelda. When playing as Link, the player gets access to a whole new move set, including the ability to use bombs and arrows.

New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe

In the Nintendo Direct from September 14, 2018, Nintendo unveiled an enhanced port from New Super Mario Bros U and New Super Luigi U exclusively for the Nintendo Switch titled New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe.

The game was released on January 11, 2019 and includes both New Super Mario Bros U and New Super Luigi U, running in 1080p compared to the original Wii U versions which ran in 720p. The game featured a new playable character: Toadette. Nabbit also returned, after being exclusive in New Super Luigi U.

A new power-up was created for it, called the “Super Crown,” which is a power up exclusive for Toadette that transforms her into Peachette, a character that resembles Princess Peach. As Peachette, she can float like Princess Peach in New Super Mario Bros U, and recover if she falls into pits or lava.

As of December 2019, Deluxe had sold 5.85 million copies worldwide.

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