When you think Nintendo, it’s natural for your mind to immediately leap to Mario’s little, moustachioed face. And for a lot of Nintendo Switch owners, the new console is all about being able to play Super Mario Odyssey.
It’s the game that, aside from Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, will make many a Nintendo fan buy the Switch, especially because it’s a brand new 3D Super Mario game in the vein of Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and the pair of Super Mario Galaxy titles.
But until it comes out in October, we’ll be here to round up all the Super Mario Odyssey release date news, gameplay tidbits from preview sessions and more for your reading pleasure.
When is it coming out?
Originally pencilled in for a ‘Holiday 2017’ launch, Nintendo confirmed at E3 2017 that the Super Mario Odyssey release date is set for October 27, 2017. That’s tantalisingly just over four months away.
Is Super Mario Odyssey a Switch exclusive?
For those of you hoping for a Super Mario Odyssey Wii U release, you’re going to be disappointed. This game is a Nintendo Switch exclusive, so unlike Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, there won’t be a Wii U version too.
If you want to play Super Mario Odyssey you’re going to have to get yourself a Switch sometime between now and October.
What's the story in Odyssey?
For the first time in like forever, Mario is being forced to leave the safety (or not so safe, as previous Super Mario games have proved) of the Mushroom Kingdom for the very first time. This 3D adventure will see our little plumber pal undertaking his biggest adventure yet.
Of course, he's on this adventure to save Princess Peach (again), who's been kidnapped by Bowser, who plans to marry her in some kind of creepy, twisted wedding ceremony. To get her back though, Mario's going to have to travel through various worlds known as Kingdoms, which are all connected open world segments including New Donk City and the Day of the Dead-themed Desert City seen in the first Super Mario Odyssey trailer.
You'll travel between them using Mario's brand new hat-shaped airship, known as the Odyssey. In order to power your airship it seems you'll need to collect Moons that are hidden around each of the Kingdoms, which are all packed with secrets and surprises to discover.
Despite these new Kingdoms, the worlds you travel to will still be filled with familiar friends and foes, including Goombas, Bullet Bills and of course, Bowser himself.
This is going to be Mario's biggest and most varied adventure yet and we for one can't wait.
Is Luigi involved?
Despite some badly photoshopped images popping up online, there's been no confirmation that Luigi is going to be a part of Super Mario Odyssey. In our Super Mario Odyssey preview session, we did spot a few cameos, including Captain Toad and a normal Toad, so it's possible that Luigi is lurking in the Kingdoms somewhere, you've just got to discover him.
Nintendo has yet to reveal whether there will be any Super Mario Odyssey multiplayer content, so it's possible the full line-up of Super Mario crewmembers will make an appearance there. Both Princess Peach and Luigi were playable in Super Mario 3D World, so we've not lost all hope yet.
You can play the entire game in co-op of course, but rather than controlling Mario's taller, greener brother, second players will actually become Mario's hat, Cappy. In this co-op mode Cappy will float over Mario's head and be able to fly around freely, instead of simply being thrown by Mario. Cappy can also collect items in this mode, which should make nabbing coins and collectables quick and easy.
Take a look at the Super Mario Odyssey co-op in action below:
Of course, you will be able to see Luigi in the other Super Mario game out this year. No, we're not talking about Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, we're talking about the Ubisoft title Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, which even features a Rabbid Luigi, complete with trademark green 'L' baker's cap.
But that's enough about Rabbids, you're here for Odyssey.
What's the gameplay like?
Not only is Super Mario Odyssey promising to be Mario's biggest adventure yet, it's also introducing a ton of new gameplay features that extends Mario's combat beyond the classic movements – aka jumping or fireballs.
Mario's hat is coming to life for Odyssey in the form of a new friend called Cappy. He may look like Mario's normal hat with a big set of eyes on top, but he's actually in disguise. Cappy is really a big, white top hat who's choosing to sit atop Mario's little head to give him some special powers.
The three major powers that Cappy gives Mario are cap throw, cap jump and capture.
Cap throw, as you might expect gives Mario some more combat power. He can either swing Cappy around his body for a circular attack, or fling him forward as a kind of millinery missile. You can even do these moves by using the motion controls inside the Joy-Cons, flicking them both to the side for the round robin and a single Joy-Con forward for the projectile.
If you flick both of the Joy-Cons forward you'll put Cappy in capture mode. As you might have seen in the latest Super Mario Odyssey trailer from E3 2017, one of the major new features of the game is Mario's ability to become other characters, creatures or even inanimate objects or elements like electricity.
These are just a few of the things Mario captures in the latest Super Mario Odyssey trailer and we didn't even include the T-Rex, taxi, tank or Chain Chomp:
It's a little frustrating in practice because you can't just capture everything you fling your hat at. Instead, the ability seems tied to puzzles you'll need to solve by capturing a specific foe, item or other things.
Nintendo has been very quick to state that it is capturing rather than possessing, despite the way the critters behave when you leave their bodies...
The confirmation came in response to this brilliant tweet by Sam Logan:
Nintendo of America then replied to that tweet, just to make sure that everyone knows Mario ain't possessing no-one.
Um, actually he's been "Captured" by Mario. https://t.co/RNqL1SqAGl
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) June 21, 2017
So remember guys, it's all about CAP-turing... get it... because it's Mario's cap... never mind.
Aside from these new gameplay features, you'll also have sections where you'll be able to go into Pixel Mario mode. You'll return to a 2D version of Mario a la the 1980s, shimmying up the side of buildings. Just look at him go:
The other big new thing for Super Mario Odyssey is costumes. No longer are you forced to stick with Mario's worn out old dungarees that he's been wearing for over 20 years, instead you can use the various types of currency you'll collect in Odyssey to buy him some new clothes.
Each Kingdom has its own type of currency on top of the classic Super Mario gold coins, which you can use to buy items with from that particular region. It's not clear as yet what else you'll be able to do with this dosh, but no doubt Nintendo will explain a little more before the Super Mario Odyssey release date in October.