A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Helping others, saving worlds from evil creatures, persevering in face of overwhelming odds tempered by constant (yet cartoonish) combat.
Positive Role Models
Mario frequently leaps into battle selflessly to save others, without fear of danger to himself. He inspires by action, not words, but solves issues with battle only.
Ease of Play
Simple controls, easy to learn, but camera angles in certain locations can interfere with clearing obstacles. Some game sections require very accurate timing to succeed.
Violence & Scariness
Cartoonish violence throughout; no blood or gore shown. Players frequently leap on heads of opponents but can throw fireballs and pans, shoot tank shells, and use a cap or fists to defeat enemies, which disappear in a puff of smoke.
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Products & Purchases
Latest installment in Mario franchise dating back more than 30 years; franchise covers games, toys, TV shows, movies, more. Uses amiibo, sold separately, to find hidden moons; special Odyssey amiibo gives bonus items in-game.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Super Mario Odyssey is the latest platformer/open-world adventure in the long-running game franchise that's more than 30 years old. The game has simple controls, but some awkward camera angles and split-second timing may frustrate some players. While there's violence throughout the game, it's cartoonishly shown without blood or gore, and enemies disappear in a puff of smoke. Players will use fireballs, pans, fists, and even a cap to defeat their foes. The game supports amiibo, which are sold separately; players use them to search for moons and can use Super Mario Odyssey-themed amiibo to unlock specific game items, like invincibility, extra health, or coins. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content.
Is It Any Good?
Mario's latest adventure is a fun-filled journey from beginning to end, and its gameplay has more than enough action to intrigue old and new fans alike for hours. Sure, it may feel familiar, especially if you've played Super Mario Galaxy or Super Mario Sunshine, but it's the way that Odyssey elevates the play with the Switch's responsive motion controls that stands out. In fact, much of this is tied to the addition of Cappy as your new companion, because he's unbelievably versatile. He can collect coins and trigger environmental switches. He can slingshot Mario across the map and break open objects. But Cappy can also be used to deflect projectiles and knock out enemies. Even better, Cappy can "capture" some foes, using their abilities to your advantage. That means you can swim and explore in the body of a Cheep Cheep fish, or toss fireballs and frying pans as a Hammer Bro. You'll probably spend a large amount of time tossing Cappy around each world just to see what he can do and how it changes your gameplay. Arguably, he's one of the better companions Mario's had in quite some time.
But it's not just the addition of Cappy. Odyssey has so many great touches that gaming fans will enjoy. For example, there's seamless movement from the 3D open-world adventure to the classic 2D Super Mario Bros.-style gameplay when you go down a pipe. There are huge homages to Donkey Kong, from the inclusion of New Donk City (and Mayor Pauline, aka Mario's first love interest) to its girder-inspired stages. There are even extra collectible Power Moons and Multi-Moons (like the Stars in Galaxy and the Shines in Sunshine) in each stage that encourage exploration (and can unlock extra content). It's almost perfect. The only knock here is that the camera angle can sometimes be poor, even when you try to move it around. This can get complicated when you need to make precise jumps, especially toward the end of the game. The other issue is that clothing and outfits are virtually meaningless. With Cappy effectively taking the place of suits or power-ups, outfits are simply a new visual look for Mario based on a world's theme. His clothing choices can open up a level in each kingdom, but that's about it; it would've been more impressive if Mario's fashion choices had a bigger impact on the characters or the overall gameplay from level to level. But these minor issues aside, Super Mario Odyssey is an instant classic. It's one of those games that could easily sell tons of Switches by itself, and proves that the magic is back with Nintendo's main hero once again.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.