Mario’s got a new eye for adventure — literally and figuratively — as Nintendo tries to reinvent the wheel once again for its flagship franchise.
Just like previous mainline Mario titles before it, Super Mario Odyssey aims to introduce new mechanics to the popular platforming series as it makes its star turn for Nintendo’s new Switch console. Several of those mechanics were described by Super Mario Odyssey director Kenta Motokura in a video released Tuesday by Nintendo’s Japanese YouTube channel as part of its information blitz for the E3 game show.
Motokura started off his talk by discussing the story behind Mario’s new Greek-inspired odyssey.
“As always, Bowser decides to kidnap Princess Peach once again,” a top hat-wearing Motokura said in Japanese. “This time, however, Bowser is also plotting to hold a wedding (with Peach).”
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OK, so that part doesn’t exactly sound like it’s breaking new ground. After all, if we know anything about Bowser, it’s that the King of the Koopas is a one-trick pony. Or turtle dragon, to be more accurate.
Needless to say, Mario sets off to foil Bowser’s plans once more. This time, Mario hops onboard a hat-shaped flying ship called the Odyssey, which he then uses to travel to various countries. These areas range the gamut from a modern metropolis and parched desert landscape to lush fields and even a moonlit scene that’s almost devoid of color.
Like Nintendo’s latest new IP, ARMS, Super Mario Odyssey also allows players to use four controller options. The game can be played either with two detached Joy-Cons or with the Joy-Cons attached to the Switch tablet or the Joycon grip. Super Mario Odyssey also can be played with the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller.
Motokura, however, recommends playing the game with the two detached Joy-Cons, which allows motion controls to be used with Super Mario Odyssey’s new special mechanic. See, in addition to running and jumping, Mario also can throw his hat this time around. By using the Joy-Cons’ gyroscope function, players can directly control the direction in which the hat is thrown, according to Motokura.
Nintendo demonstrated various uses for the hat, including throwing it on top of fire hydrants and lampposts, bowling through garbage bags and a garbage bin, and throwing it in a circular motion around Mario to hit targets. The hat also can double as an aerial platform that Mario can use to reach places he otherwise could not. Combined with Mario’s ability to swing from poles and do wall jumps, the hat adds another layer to the traditional Mario platforming mechanic. This also lends itself well to exploration, which is a huge area of emphasis for Super Mario Odyssey, according to Nintendo.
The hat, by the way, not only has eyes but is actually alive. Cappy comes from a place called “Boushi no Kuni,” which translates roughly to Hat Country, and joins forces with Mario in chasing after Bowser, Motokura said.
Thanks to Cappy, Mario can freely control his hat and also acquire new skills via “Capture” — pun so totally intended apparently. You can throw your hat at foes such as Bullet Bill, for example, allowing Mario to take control of said enemy and fly through the air. In addition to taking control of Goombas and other foes, you can also use the hat to possess and take control of objects such as cars, people and even a giant T-Rex.
The game also features collectibles called Power Moons that are scattered about the various areas. Collect enough and Mario can use them to power up the Odyssey so it can reach new countries for his trip. Because the Power Moons are necessary for reaching other areas, players are encouraged to explore every nook and cranny of the game world to find them, Motokura said.
Each country will also have its own unique coins for Mario to collect. Those coins can then be used to buy new items such as hats and outfits for Mario that match their country of origin.
Motokura capped his presentation by talking about amiibos, including new wedding-themed variants for Mario, Peach and Bowser that allow you to use those outfits in the game. The new amiibos will be available starting on Oct. 27, 2017, which also happens to be the release date for the game. Nintendo plans to release more details about the functionality for existing amiibos as well as more information about the game in the future, Motokura said.
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