When Nintendo has a huge release title playable at E3, you can expect the lines to be long. Last year at E3 attendees waited hours to play The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild and this year the big draw was Super Mario Odyssey.

As far as how Super Mario Odyssey plays, it is the strangest thing, but the game really does feel like Super Mario 64 (from the N64).  It is the oddest sensation.  You can tell that Odyssey is completely different than that of Super Mario 64.  There are plenty of new mechanics that have evolved from the console release of 20 years ago, but that does not take away from the intrinsic feelings you have while playing this game.  The Nintendo Wii’s Super Mario Galaxy games didn’t feel this way.  I realize I’m belaboring this point, but only because I’m not sure I have the words to encapsulate the feelings I had in my short time with the game in Nintendo’s E3 booth made to look like New Donk City.

If you don’t feel like I’m adequately explaining myself, don’t worry, this is easy enough: If you own a Nintendo Switch, you will want to buy this game.  It is a quintessential 3D Mario game.  You explore open environments (worlds) and collect moons (like stars, but you know, moons).  Sometimes, it’s from beating a mini-boss, and sometimes, you possess a human in order to drive a remote control car to collect a moon.  Yes, it can occasionally be that simple.  During the demo, I had the choice of the desert land or New Donk City.  I chose the desert land as the creepy humans in New Donk City turned me off a bit.  Now, the main moon is obtained by defeating the boss on top of the tower.  I watched other people go up the tower and transfer between 3D Mario and 2D Mario in order to assail the summit.  I never made it there.  I was exploring the town, talking to the residents, picking up coins, bouncing off trees, buying and wearing a sombrero, and exploring the uses of Cappy.

Cappy is the main new feature in Super Mario Odyssey.  You can use Cappy to take down enemies or take over enemies.  Goombas in your way? Throw Cappy.  Need to take down a large wall in your way?  Use Cappy to capture a giant Bullet Bill.  POW!  And while I know not everyone will dig the motion controls of the joy-cons, I was interested in their use with your new friend Cappy as you can use the joy-con to flick the hat away from you, and then flick again to change the trajectory of the hat.  I threw the hat, hit a goomba, then flicked again to have the hat curve to the right and knock out 2 more goombas.  It was kind of handy.  I was also able to use the vibrations in the joy-cons to locate a moon hidden under the floor in a room under a pipe.  I’m not sure that using the motion controls will be mandatory to play Super Mario Odyssey, and to be honest, I’m not thrilled at the idea if that’s true, but I did not feel it was as bad as some other people have made it out to be.

Super Mario Odyssey Preview Final Thoughts:

Overall, I really enjoyed my time with Super Mario Odyssey.  This will be a pre-order for me, if for no other reason that I want that joy again from a Mario 64-like game.  I think this iteration of Mario on the Nintendo Switch will be just that.