As you sink hour after hour into Super Mario Odyssey, you might notice that the game has a few Easter eggs to discover. Whether it's an entire city dedicated to Donkey Kong, sneaking birds, or a four-legged friend, there are plenty to discover in Mario's latest adventure.
Here are all the Super Mario Odyssey Easter eggs and secrets we've found so far:
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- Hidden mechanics that Super Mario Odyssey never tells you about
The whole of Metro Kingdom is an homage to Donkey Kong
It won’t come as much of a surprise, but Super Mario Odyssey’s Metro Kingdom is basically one big homage to Donkey Kong - aka Mario’s own roots. And the clue is in the name, the location within Metro Kingdom that Mario visits in Odyssey is called New Donk City - Donk as in Donkey Kong - and obviously a pun on New York City with the resident called New Donkers rather than New Yorkers.
But the references don’t simply stop with the name, in fact the entire city is riddled with references - and I’m not just talking about the massive recreation of Donkey Kong in the final story scenes of your time in Metro Kingdom:
Oh, and again if you manage to reach the second secret kingdom and it’s latter challenge sections:
No, in fact the city itself is packed full of references to the Donkey Kong series as a whole, not to mention Nintendo’s 1981 classic. There are road signs for nearly all the Donkey Kong characters:
And there are Donkey Kong specific locations too, from Expresso Espresso, Diddy’s Mart, Dixie Theatre, Candy’s Cafe, Tiny’s Prioshkis, Squawks Park, Banana Bagels and Mayor Pauline’s Commemorative Park:
Of course, there’s also Pauline herself. Way before Peach started getting herself kidnapped by Bowser, it was Pauline who was the damsel in distress. She first appeared in the original Donkey Kong in 1981, but didn’t appear again until the 1994 Game Boy version of Donkey Kong thanks to Peach taking over. She made another appearance in Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis where she opened the Super Mini-Mario World theme park.
In Super Mario Odyssey, she’s the mayor of New Donk City and even references the time she was kidnapped by a big ape if you complete her quiz:
If you take a look at some taxi butts, you’ll notice the number plate is yet another nod to Ninty’s 1981 classic:
And last but not least, if you take a look at the neon signs pulsating around the Main Street area of New Donk City, there are old ads for Donkey Kong just rotating on repeat:
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Super Mario 64 on the Switch
After Mario’s rescued Peach from Bowser’s wedding plans, he makes a trip back home to Mushroom Kingdom. And if you start hunting for Power Moons here - and there are many, many to be discovered - you’ll realise that they’re not quite moons anymore, despite the name. They’re actually the Power Stars from Super Mario 64. But the references to the original 3D Super Mario don’t stop there.
If you collect enough purple coins, you’ll be able to splash out on the unique Mushroom Kingdom costume, which just happens to be the Mario 64 suit. Not only does it sound great, but when Mario dons it, he turns into his old-school blocky self from Mario 64.
And again, there’s more. When wearing the Mario 64 suit, head over to the Toad standing in front of a locked door near Goomba Woods. Inside the Mario 64-esque level, you’ll have to open a set of chests in a certain order to win a Power Moon (or is that Star), which just happens to pop out near an exact replica of the famous statue from Super Mario 64 - the Eternal Star statue. That same statue in the original game was the source of the conspiracy theory that Luigi was in the game, as people thought the engraving read “L is Real 2401”. If you go back later you’ll also find a moon hidden inside the statue itself. So Classic!
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The Hint Toad’s map
Continuing on our Super Mario 64 theme, if you look closely at the map the Hint Toad is holding (and the one in your Odyssey, although it’s harder to see), it’s yet another nod to Mario of old. It’s none other than Bob-Omb Battlefield from Super Mario 64.
The nostalgia of Mario’s hand
Every time Mario earns himself a Power Moon in Super Mario Odyssey, you should keep an eye on his hands. No, Mario isn’t quite a quick-fingered thief, he’s instead doing a little bit of self reflexion. In previous 3D Super Mario games, Mario has celebrated success with a very specific hand gesture, all of which actually appear in Super Mario Odyssey.
There’s the peace sign from Super Mario 64:
And the open palm from Super Mario Sunshine:
As well as the air punch from Super Mario Galaxy:
It’s a lovely subtle way for Nintendo to honour Mario’s history without ramming it down your neck.
Costumes that hark back to Mario’s past
It might be clear what the references are for some of Mario’s costumes in Super Mario Odyssey, but the little nods to Mario’s history are cast further and wider than you’d expect.
Mario’s doctor getup is a clear reference to the Dr. Mario game that came out on the NES and the Game Boy back in 1990.
His classic cap and suit are a nod to Mario’s more orange hues from the Donkey Kong days.
Mario’s golf outfit, in all its stars and stripes glory, is actually a nod to the cover art for the game NES Open Tournament Golf.
The space helmet and suit are nods to my personal favourite Mario game, Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, which released on the Game Boy back in 1992.
His chef outfit, on the other hand, is a reference to Yoshi’s Cookie, a puzzle game that wasn’t that popular but still tugs on the nostalgia strings.
A slightly more modern reference, the builder outfit is very much a nod to Super Mario Maker, which came to Wii U in 2015 and 3DS in 2016.
Then there’s the aviator outfit, which harks back to Super Mario Land on the Game Boy from 1989.
His explorer outfit might be great for the desert climes, but it was also used for hunting down hidden images in Mario’s Picross on the Game Boy back in 1995.
Both the cowboy outfit and the pirate outfit are the same as those featured in Mario Party 2 on the N64 in the year 2000.
A little more niche reference is the sombrero outfit, which is a sly nod to the 1990 Game Boy puzzle game Qix.
But some of them are Japan specific too, including the Mechanic outfit from Famicom Grand Prix II: 3D Hot Rally in 1988 and the artists guise from the Japanese exclusive N64 game series, Mario Artist.
A subtle reference to Game and Watch
On your travels you might partake in a mini-game or two and whether that’s Koopa Races, jump rope or a bit of volleyball, stop for a minute to appreciate their little icons. Each one features a lovely little nod to Nintendo games of old - Game and Watch. For every mini-game there’s a slightly different logo, each one depicting the silhouetted man from the old handheld games doing the sport for said mini-game. It’s adorable.
As you move from Kingdom to Kingdom in Super Mario Odyssey, you might recognise that there’s always at least one familiar face - who also just happens to come with a waggy tail… and wait, is that a fedora? Yes, it’s a little Nintendog version of a Shiba-Inu who will appear in every Kingdom just waiting to play. Not only will he find Power Moons for you by digging in the dirt, but he’s also always up for a game of fetch. Just throw Cappy to him and he’ll grab it before running back to you with it.
And, if you leave Mario idling on the beach next to him in Seaside Kingdom, your little four-legged friend will curl up next to you.
Adorable environmental effects
There are plenty of ways to change Mario’s appearance by interacting with the world. Whether it’s getting him grubby by running through the smoke in the Cap Kingdom or giving him prickles in the nose by bumping into cacti in the Sand Kingdom, there are a few to discover.
If you leave Mario alone to idle regardless of the Kingdom you’re in, he’ll eventually fall asleep. But it get better than just watching Mario slumbering, probably dreaming of mushrooms and Moons. If you leave him long enough, a little bird will come and perch on his rather pronounced nose - just what you want when you’re having a nap.
But also, the theme of your feathery friend changes depending on the Kingdom you’re in. It doesn’t happen in every Kingdom, but here are all the types of birds you can expect in one scrollable gallery:
You might get distracted by the fact you can capture a T-Rex in the Cascade Kingdom, but before you start smashing through the rocks with your big dino legs, take a closer look at them - the rocks, not the legs. Rather than being adorned with strange pattern or generic rock textures, Cascade Kingdom’s rocks have fossils in them. And not just any fossils either; little 8-bit versions of Mario’s classic enemies, from Bullet Bills to Aztec-style Goombas.