Hello there my good friends and welcome to Quillstreak’s GOTY Christmas countdown. We asked our Twitter followers and our staff to list their top games of 2017. Each day we’ve dropped one of the final five with the GOTY being revealed today on Christmas Day. Each one could have been Game of the Year in its own right if the competition didn’t exist. Basically, 2017 has been great for games. Here goes.
Super Mario Odyssey fast became one of the most popular Super Mario titles of recent years upon its release in late October, being compared to the likes of Super Mario Galaxy (2007) – which also dominated the charts and kids’ Christmas lists that year – and, of course, everyone’s beloved Super Mario Sunshine (2002), which took a similar path in terms of world exploration and freedom of choice of playstyle.
Despite its similarities and nods to previous instalments in its basic plot (Peach needs rescuing, again, from Bowser, again…), Super Mario Odyssey is a thrilling, innovative new Mario experience, and one which thoroughly deserves its spot at the end of our Quillstreak countdown as our overall Game of the Year.
The basic premise of the game is this: you, Mario, after facing off against Bowser on an airship that is destined to take the lovely Princess Peach as far away from you as possible (so that Bowser may marry her and finally achieve his dream of becoming her prince), are knocked clear of the ship by Bowser’s skilful hat toss, and land yourself in the Hat Kingdom, where you meet Cappy, a brave young Bonneter with a mission to save his sister Tiara from Bowser’s evil clutches and resultant enslavement as Peach’s wedding attire.
You team up as a dynamic duo of world-saving power and damsel-in-distress-freeing skill, travelling throughout various kingdoms and worlds in pursuit of Bowser and Peach, and utilise not only Mario’s unique sets of skills but Cappy’s, as well – including his ability to transfer Mario’s consciousness to any living thing around him, putting him in control and giving him the ability to do things that he never thought possible before.
Ever wanted to stomp around Mario’s world as a giant Tyrannosaurus and crush everything in your path, including those pesky Chain Chomps? Done. Ever fancied seeing Mario interact with more human characters than just Peach, given that humans seem pretty scarce in his universe? Take a trip downtown to New Donk City in the Metro Kingdom. Ever wished that that Pokémon-esque creature collecting mission would feature in another Nintendo game? Well, make sure to Cappy-ture every creature insight – you’ve got a collection to complete!
And – best of all – everyone’s been waiting for an achievement system on a Nintendo console for years, am I right? Super Mario Odyssey notices every effort you make to be the best and your dedication to 100% completion, so don’t be afraid to invest those hours and truly dig into everything that the game has to offer. You’ll be delighted by what you discover!
Super Mario Odyssey is, quite simply put, a delight to play for all audiences. Children can explore worlds and fight to defeat evil Bowser at a pace which suits them, adults can do the same and with a deeper understanding of the trickier mechanics and the sheer quantity of goals and Power Moons to collect, and everyone can appreciate the exquisite soundtrack, the glorious graphics, and the traditional, wonderful Mario-esque feel of the game which draws you right in and makes you feel at home.
Even when you think you’ve run out of things to do, there are always things that you’ve missed, and there are even a few hidden gems of wisdom and enlightenment dotted around if only you care to look for them. Heck, even the two-player mode is a joy, whereby one person controls Mario and the other controls Cappy. Working together, you can reach even more places, solve even more puzzles, and ultimately enjoy a rare-to-see co-op experience which provides an equally rewarding experience for both players (and tests your teamwork!).
It never feels like the person who is controlling Mario is more important, or has any more power than the other player, or anything like that – the game balances responsibility well and makes it feel like a real team effort, and gives each person their own role and part to play. So grab a friend, significant other or family member, because Princess Peach desperately needs your help!
Perhaps one of my favourite aspects of Super Mario Odyssey, though, is its combination of traditional 2D Mario elements and its new, innovative 3D style. If you’ve been playing Mario titles for years, you’ll already have tricks up your sleeve to master the puzzles put before you (and more often than not, you’ll get something amazing out of it) – and even if you’re a newbie to the franchise, there are enough clues there that there is more than meets the eye. I found it a wonderful experience to keep going between the classic platformer style and the new, open-world feel that Nintendo has breathed into the series, and it was made even more magical by the sheer variety of locations, challenges and gameplay styles which were laid out before me. It’s impossible to get bored when the gameplay is so varied, and so inviting and eager to reward you – it really is.
If you’ve finished The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and don’t know what game to let take over your life next, or if you’re just looking for a top-notch time-sink to dive into and a vast world to explore, look no further than Super Mario Odyssey. It is an absolute blast, and definitively a worthy winner of our Game of the Year – and it has a kick-ass theme tune, too.