Everyone’s favorite mustachioed plumber is ditching his green pipes for clearer skies.
Super Mario Odyssey, Nintendo’s first Super Mario game designed for the Nintendo Switch, takes players on a journey outside of Mushroom Kingdom to once again save Princess Peach from the evil grip of the colossal Bowser.
While that concept sounds familiar, Odyssey introduces a complete unique gameplay, graphics style, and characters you’ve never seen before.
This sandbox-style platformer is as brilliantly adorable as Mario games past, but with HD graphics and attention to detail that is unrivaled. And much like Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild—which launched earlier this year—just when you think you’ve explored every last crevice, there’s something new waiting to delight you.
Odyssey kicks off aboard Bowser’s airship, as he and Mario duke it out in an effort to rescue Peach from having to marry the gargantuan Koopa. But Mario is tossed off the ship and lands unconscious on a strange world full of talking hats—and those hats do much more than just talk. On his journey to marry the pink-dressed princess, Bowser left a wake of destruction in his path and also kidnapped a young damsel of Cap Kingdom. The ever-helpful Cappy is at the ready to greet our heroic plumber as he explores this unfamiliar territory, and the two quickly team up aboard the Odyssey airship and set off on an adventure across the kingdoms to rescue their respective ladies.
Throughout the game, players will work to collect the iconic gold coins. Plus, each level features 50 purple coins that are specific to each kingdom. But most important of all, Cappy and Mario can’t go on to the next kingdom until they collect enough moons to sail away. That’s right: Say goodbye to stars and stickers, this game is all about shiny, colorful crescent moons.
Players can find moons by completing challenges, solving puzzles, beating bosses, and discovering clever hiding spots. Each world features more hidden moons than you need to move on, but players can collect extra and spend them on custom outfits, hats, and more. For non-completionists who don’t care about discovering every last hidden moon in each level, you can even trade in coins to buy moons and advance in a flash.
While the game is full of classic Mario fanfare, Odyssey lets players take a deep dive into the worlds we’ve come to love for nearly three decades, while simultaneously presenting us with new kingdoms of which we have merely dreamed. Players will first be able to rustle through the brambles of the fossil-filled Cascade Falls, which looks wholly inspired by Isla Sorna. After conquering the Sand Kingdom full of pint-sized skeletons in campy sombreros and ponchos, players will swim through the depths of the Lake Kingdom, complete with mermaids, scuttling crabs, and menacing seaweed.
And 2016’s launch of the NES Classic proved Nintendo understands how important nostalgia is to its fans, and they’ve incorporated some old school fun into this newage game. In each level, players will stumble upon a pixelated tunnel, and when they crawl inside, they’ll be in a 2-D mini game designed just like the original Super Mario Bros. It’s a beautiful, creative touch that truly pays homage to how far the franchise has come, but how important its roots still are.
In addition to the absence of stars, Super Mario Odyssey is also missing a few mushrooms, fire flowers, and Tanooki suits. All of Mario’s traditional power-ups are replaced by Cappy, whom Mario can throw to defeat smaller enemies, collect far-off coins, and more (the more here is really important). If players give Cappy a toss toward larger foes, such as Chain Chomps, Mario can take control and use their abilities to his advantage. It’s a unique new spin on Super Mario gameplay that players will fall in love with.
The one area in which Odyssey doesn’t shine is the multi-player mode. Players can split a pair of Joy-Cons while controls Mario and the other channels Cappy. The gameplay is not totally seamless if players are not 100-percent in sync, and it feels a bit lack luster in comparison to the multi-player co-op feature in New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Super Mario 3D World.
Super Mario Odyssey is a whimsical adventure into beautiful environments full of spectacle and imagination. While familiar faces such as Yoshi and Luigi are missed, a fresh breath of friends, foes, and inventive power ups fill in the empty spaces. Fly away into kingdoms of lighthearted silliness and brilliant amusement.
This review was originally published on thetoyinsider.com.