Super Mario Odyssey - Release date, E3 trailer, hands-on gameplay report, and everything we know

Fast Facts:  

Super Mario Odyssey release date: October 27, 2017
Format: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Nintendo
Price: $59.99 / £49.99

Super Mario Odyssey looks like the biggest, freshest step up the plumber has taken in years. This time, Mario is going on a grand adventure through huge, intricately crafted worlds, and nothing is as simple as it seems, least of all Mario's abilities. In fact, this might be the most ground-breaking, experimental Mario game since he first learned to ride a dinosaur and remodel levels with magic switches. Check out the brand new E3 2017 gameplay trailer, and read all of the Super Mario Odyssey gameplay hands-on details below. 

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Super Mario Odyssey's release date is October 27, 2017

You knew Super Mario Odyssey was going to be Nintendo's big holiday event, but at least we don't have to wait too late into the season to start playing. Nintendo has confirmed that Super Mario Odyssey's release date is October 27, 2017.

Super Mario Odyssey’s setting is part real-world, part Mushroom  Kingdom, all weird 

New Donk City. That’s the name of the distinctly naturalistic cityscape currently featuring prominently in Super Mario Odyssey. In terms of visual design, it's a radical departure for the series. The fact that it exists alongside separate, cartoonier environments (apparently reached in Mario’s top hat-shaped airship) only makes its more realistic vibe even more intriguing. 

So what’s the deal with this not-New York? Why is it Donkey Kong themed?  Could it be the metropolis that rose from those building sites in the original game? And regardless, why do all the people here look like normally proportioned people, as opposed to mirroring Mario’s squat, cartoonish stature? Have all of those years of rapid, vertical deceleration squashed him? Or is Mario the normal one? Is particularly low gravity in New Donk resulting in an overly tall population? Frankly, we do not know. At the moment we do not know at all. But we do know that the city is really fun to explore. Read on and we'll tell you why. 

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Super Mario Odyssey trailer reveals that Mario can now do - and be - pretty much anything 

Super Mario Odyssey’s full trailer, released at E3 2017, is a jazzy explosion of only the utmost joy. Delivering many of the wonders we expected – but a whole lot more that no-one ever saw coming – the initial gameplay reel, along with its irresistibly infectious swing theme tune, makes Super Mario Odyssey look like the freshest, most exciting, most ‘Good Lord, where did this come from?’ shake-ups the series has ever had. 

It turns out, you see, that Cappy, Mario’s sentient hat, is no mere throwing weapon or portable platform. He’s also the key to Mario’s unprecedented interactions with the world around him. A staggering number of things, from enemies to elements, can be tagged with a quick hat-lob, whereupon Mario will ‘capture’ them – ‘capture’ being Nintendo’s’ chosen, family-friendly term for the eldritch art of total bodily possession – jumping into them, Quantum Leap-style, in order to take on their abilities.

Mario can take control of everything from electricity, to fish, to a T-Rex, to explore, navigate, and at totally subvert the rules of the world around him. If that sounds like a Nintendo remix of Dishonored, then that’s because it is. A bit. We know this because we’ve played it, and boy, do we have a lot more to tell you.

But before we get onto that, there are other things to analyse too, from the earlier announcement trailer. Like the fact that the levels we've seem so far seem to have weather, and a day/night cycle. We can clearly see the city at night and in the rain at times, and there’s also a late shot of Mario shivering in a frosty, night-time version of that Mexican desert town. But how’s all this stuff going to play in? Is Super Mario Odyssey taking a more systemic, Breath of the Wild-stype approach? We don’t know yet, but it’s entirely possible. At the very least I’d expect different challenges to become available in its levels under different conditions. 

And there are a few other bits to note too. The Super Mario Land lion boss is now a rideable ally in the desert. There’s an ‘Under construction” sign in the city that, probably hints at an expanding environment. And there are a couple of instances of a ‘Crazy Cap’ shop. We know that buying different outfits is going to be key to accessing certain areas and challenges - your coins now acting as real currency - so expect shopping to be a major part of the game. As for everything else? Read on

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Super Mario Odyssey gameplay blends purity of control with total, mind-bending freedom 

Super Mario Odyssey blows the doors off the Mario formula – such as there is such a thing, given the ever-evolving nature of the series – with unprecedented freedom. While Mario’s core, 3D move-set remains intact, and is as versatile and chainable in its traversal powers as ever, that’s now just the start of the options. Cappy immediately makes a big difference, easily chuckable to slap enemies and collect coins with swift and tactile finesse – motion-controlled after-touch can change his direction mid-flight, and feels just fantastic – extending the plumber’s reach into the world in a slick and very gratifying way.

But that also is just the beginning. That electricity pylon ahead of you, connected by an overhead cable to a sister tower in the city streets below? If you sling Cappy at it, you’ll warp straight into it and hurtle a few hundred metres along the wire in around a second. Exploring those streets, you’ll rapidly discover that almost everything is interactive in some way. The cars work like springboards, as do the shop awnings. The lamp-posts can be climbed, their bending necks letting Mario launch himself off, gymnastic-style, in any direction he likes. There are coin blocks hidden in road signs. There are the aforementioned closed-off areas, ‘Under construction’, begging to be unlocked later on - maybe a construction hat will do the job? But everywhere, there are things to capture and use.

Not only that, but the freedom of the game structure wrapped around the possibilities adds a whole extra layer to the experimentation. While Odyssey maintains the set-up that has been traditional since Super Mario 64 – each world contains multiple key collectibles, in this case moons, which must be attained by completing various traversal and puzzling tasks – no longer will you be locked down to one at a time. Get tired of going after the current moon, or spot another exciting-looking one over on the horizon? You’re free to peel off and come back whenever you like, just like you would when managing side-quests in an RPG. Best of all? Completing these tasks – some of which you’re instructed to do, some of which you’ll discover for yourself, just by exploring - doesn’t always seem tied to a specific method.

Say you spot a moon at the top of a skyscraper. You could try to find a way to climb it from the outside, turning the affair into a satisfying, precision-platforming challenge, problem-solving your route as you go. Or you could find a way up from the inside, enjoying a more curated, vertical platforming run. Or you could just seek out that power cable at the back and be up there in a blink. Things only get more free-form in the desert world we get to play. Big, even for a 3D Mario level, its size is matched only by the sheer variety options. Favourite thing so far? Turning into a Bullet Bill to avoid the platforming altogether.

You know what? Forget this. Click on to our full hands-on report from E3, and we’ll tell you everything.

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Super Mario Odyssey has two-player co-op

If you're having a tough time getting through Super Mario Odyssey on your own, you can enlist a friend for help. Sorry Luigi, that isn't your cue. Player 2 actually assumes control of Mario's magic hat, Cappy. Once another player joins the game, Cappy will start floating over Mario's head instead of just sitting there like, you know, a hat. The other player can then independently control Cappy, bashing into enemies or collecting coins to clear the way for Mario, a little like the way in which Super Mario Galaxy lets a second player point a cursor around with the Wii Remote to stun enemies and grab star bits. 

In Super Mario Odyssey, Bowser is apparently marrying Peach

There are posters all around New Donk City announcing ‘A Royal Wedding’ between Bowser and Peach. It seems that after taking the Jerry Springer approach to family bonding, and falsely claiming Peach to be the mother of his child in Sunshine, Bowser is trying a more 'traditional' tack this time. 

You’ll no doubt be absolutely shocked to hear that the pictured Peach - in full bridal gown already - might not be into this. She gives multiple subtle hints to that end, mainly by exhibiting a tangible vibe of 'Literally, someone actually rescue me from this goddamn kidnap-wedding'. 

Presumably Mario must stop the event, The Graduate-style. Licensing of 'Mrs. Robinson' and wry, existential downer ending currently unconfirmed. 

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Super Mario Odyssey bosses include rabbits and robots

One fleeting shot in the reveal trailer shows a bunch of rabbits in their own airship, just like the Koopa Kids used to have. They’re a funny-looking bunch, and one of them is seen attacking Mario in a boss arena, literally spewing purple goo in a circle. There’s also a rather terrifying-looking robotic caterpillar/tarantula hybrid, which scuttles nimbly around a skyscraper during a moonlit storm. So New Donk City appears to be under threat too. Mario’s got his work cut out this time, and no mistake.

Super Mario Odyssey collectibles have multiple purposes

Alongside familiar Mario level furniture like pipes and gold coins, there are new items to interact with. In the desert world, Mario can collect triangular purple coins, placed in a pattern like standard collectibles. We now know that these coins are world-specific. You can spend the round, gold ones anywhere, but the specially shaped ones have to be used in the world you find them in. But hidden in the reveal trailer we can also see rotating, purple bolts at the top of a waterfall. What could they do? Maybe you’ll be able to upgrade your airship in order to reach new levels. 

We’ll be updating this very page with new information every time we learn something new about Nintendo’s big Christmas game of 2017, so bookmark it and check back as often as the demands of your day-to-day life allow. 

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