10 things we want Nintendo to bring to Super Mario Odyssey from previous Mario games
Super Mario Odyssey could learn a lot from classic Mario games.
Hands down, Super Mario Odyssey is one of the games we here at finder are most excited for at E3 this year. The game's trailer teases a bunch of new features never seen in a Mario game before such as real-world environments, mountable animals and a pimped-out Bowser. As much as we want Odyssey to tread new ground, there are plenty of aspects from older Mario games we want to see make a comeback. After all, Nintendo is billing Odyssey as a return to the more traditional Super Mario 64/Super Mario Sunshine style of 3D platformer. It only makes sense to bring back the best elements of those games for Mario's new adventure.
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While we wait for E3 to roll around, we've racked our brains and come up with the 10 things from older Mario games we most want Nintendo to include in Super Mario Odyssey:
The cat suit was unquestionably one of the highlights of Super Mario 3D World. From the ability to scramble your way up walls to Mario's adorable meow when you finished a level, transforming into a fluffy kitty cat never got old. We'd love to see Odyssey include some Mario-morphing suits of its own, granting Mario all sorts of wacky powers to use when taking on Bowser. Scaling the skyscrapers of New Donk City as an ape-suited Mario? Sign us up!
You can never have too much Yoshi. The plucky green dinosaur doesn't get enough face time in the Mario games, which is why his prominent role in Super Mario Galaxy 2 was so refreshing. From his handy flutter jump to his all-devouring tongue and its ability to turn enemies into living bullets, Yoshi is undoubtedly Mario's most invaluable sidekick (sorry, Luigi!). If he doesn't make a return in Odyssey, we're going to be seriously bummed out.
Super Mario Run might seem like an odd game for Odyssey to draw inspiration from, but as the first Mario platformer designed with social features in mind, it's a good template for how to bring Mario into the modern age. The ability to race against ghosts of your friends in the Toad Rally mode is something that could work especially well in Odyssey, ideally through a leaderboard tracking how quickly and thoroughly your fellow Switch owners beat different levels. A system like this would add a lot of replay value to Odyssey, which is especially important given the Switch's relatively thin games library.
We're glad Odyssey is bringing back the full 3D Mario experience, but that doesn't mean it can't pay homage to the moustachioed plumber's 2D roots. In Super Mario Galaxy, the occasional side-scrolling sections provided a nice change of pace from all the three-dimensional platforming, and the use of flipped gravity and perspective-shifting made them some of the most inventive parts of the game. A similar approach in Odyssey would be a great way to keep players on their toes.
One aspect of Super Mario 64 that doesn't get enough praise is the way it built an element of dynamism into levels like Wet-Dry World, Tick Tock Clock and Tiny-Huge Island. How and when you jumped into the paintings for these levels changed core elements of their construction, raising and lowering the water level in Wet-Dry World or affecting the speed of moving platforms in Tick Tock Clock. It would be exciting to see Odyssey take the idea even further with the greater power of the Switch hardware.
Cryptic Star names
Puzzling out the Star requirements in older 3D Mario games was as much fun as collecting the Stars themselves. Star names like "Shoot Into The Wild Blue" and "Snowman's Lost His Head" turned Super Mario 64 into a riddle-solving adventure game as much as a 3D platformer, and it was a little disappointing when the Galaxy games diluted some of that mystery by beginning each level with a fly-through of where you needed to go. The return of cryptic hints for how to find Stars (or whatever shiny collectible Mario is hunting down this time) would be a big point in Odyssey's favour.
Unlimited breath underwater
Water levels are notoriously bad, yet video games can never seem to get enough of them. If Odyssey has to have its own aquatic environments, the least it can do is take a page out of Super Mario 3D World's book and give Mario unlimited breath while he's swimming through the briny blue. Maybe if we don't have to worry about managing a breath meter while being hunted by Bloopers, Cheep Cheeps and electric eels, we'll finally be able to finish a water level without throwing a controller on the ground.
Standalone puzzle levels
As lush as Odyssey's large hub worlds look to be, we hope the smaller standalone puzzle levels from Super Mario Sunshine and the Galaxy games aren't completely forgotten. The likes of Mario Squared Galaxy from Super Mario Galaxy 2 and the Pachinko board stage from Super Mario Sunshine exhibited some of Nintendo's most creative level design, pushing your platforming skills to their absolute limits. Odyssey definitely needs its own quirky bonus stages like these to keep things fresh.
Creative boss battles
The boss battles in both of the Galaxy games are some of the best the Mario franchise has seen. From knocking out a giant piranha plant with its own tail to playing lethal tennis with a flame-spewing octopus, these climactic fights are endlessly creative and provide satisfying closure to the worlds in the Galaxy games. Our fingers are crossed that the same level of thoughtful design goes into Odyssey's boss battles.
Super Mario 64's Title Screen
Since June 1996, there's never been a title screen as good as Super Mario 64. How can you top the ability to stretch Mario's moustache like a rubber band, drag his nose out like Pinocchio, and pull his cap down so he looks like an original gangster? We don't know, but we'd love to see Odyssey try.
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