The Nintendo Switch may not have the most games – but the ones it does have are spectacular.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and now Super Mario Odyssey – a stunning return for the world’s unluckiest plumber.
As expected, baddie Bowser has kidnapped Princess – and shredded Mario’s hat in the process.
Our hero then bumps into a charming, shape-shifting creature, called Cappy who – unsurprisingly, takes the form of a cap.
Together, they set off in Mario’s hat-shaped space ship on an unforgettable adventure – packed full of genius touches and inspired level design.
Here’s why it’s the greatest Mario game so far. Yes, it’s better than Mario 64.
To fuel your spaceship, you’ll need to collect moons. This is where the ingenious level design comes in.
Game areas are vast and open – much like Mario 64 – so there are plenty of hidden items to find.
Moons range from being painfully obvious to spot to being neatly tucked away, catering to the completionists among you.
Although you’re encouraged to find them all, the game never penalises you if you don’t – meaning you’re often not stuck on a world for too long.
Between voyages, Cappy will feed you intel and reveal new moves and abilities. Plus, you’re able to change Mario’s appearance on the fly, so to speak.
Game worlds each have a ‘Crazy Cap’ that, as long as you have enough coins, can be used to kit out the plumber in new gear.
It’s all world-dependent too – with snorkels offered in the lake world, and a wood-cutter’s outfit in the leafy, forest world, for example.
The Switch may not have the grunt of a PS4 but Odyssey really shows what Nintendo’s cute console is capable of.
Odyssey is absolutely stunning – and teeming with variety.
One second you’ll be exploring vast, sandy deserts and the bustling streets of New Donk City, the other, you’ll be swimming in deep lakes and dodging a T Rex in deep, dark forests.
The level of detail is astounding – making Zelda’s world, dare we say it, seem bland in comparison.
There are stunning views to be had almost everywhere you look – let down ever so slightly by New Donk City, which looks a bit hazy for our liking.
The biggest change to the game comes thanks to Cappy.
Mario can throw it at enemies – and later, use it as a platform to reach higher areas.
But the most fun ability is introduced early on – the ability to ‘posses’ other creatures.
With a trusty throw of a cap, Mario can take then form of nearly any creature he bumps into – be that fishes, lizards, taxis, Bullet Bills and even a T-Rex.
Cleverly, levels have been designed with this mechanic in mind. To find some moons, you’ll need to exploit this ability to find them.
For example, during one section of a lake-based level – you’ll need to transform into a fish as Mario can’t hold his breath for long enough.
Thankfully, for Mario purists shaking their heads at the idea of Mario throwing his cap, there’s something for you here, too.
In certain parts of each world, a green drainpipe will transport the plumber into a 2D world.
Here, the game’s engine shifts to retro (along with the music) – and you play out challenges and segments similar to the old games. Incredible.
Odyssey may have had a load of changes, but it still fundamentally feels like a Mario game – which is a huge credit to the team at Nintendo.
Mario is a joy to control (no Switch pun intended) and Cappy’s just as responsive as you’d like it to be.
A two-player mode, which sees one gamer control Mario and the other Cappy, works well too – managing to just about get around any camera issues.
It’s just a brilliant well-thought game and a wonderful palate cleanser in a week where the bloody (if brilliant) Wolfenstein and Assassin’s Creed Origins both battle for your hard earned cash.