Now that it's been out for a while, the Nintendo Switch has started to build up a really appealing and increasingly diverse library of games. But that doesn't make the release of Super Mario Odyssey any less exciting.
Arguably the biggest Switch release since The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Odyssey is an example of Nintendo utilizing the power of its new console to set one of its iconic IP's free in an open world and give them a new lease on life.
Super Mario Odyssey is a game that's all about discovery and exploration. Bearing that in mind, we don't want to give you a guide that's too filled with spoilers.
However, some tips and tricks to get started are never a bad thing, so click through for some advice and knowledge that we wish we'd had when we first started playing. They should hopefully make your first steps into this wide open 3D Mario world feel more heroic and less tragically Homeric.
Don't forget to keep coming back – as time goes on we'll add to this list with more fun secrets that we uncover. And make sure you check out our full review of the game!
Don't be afraid to die
In Super Mario Odyssey the traditional Game Over screen has been dropped, making you pretty much immortal. Mario can, in a sense, die in a number of ways, whether that’s falling down a chasm or drowning or being clobbered by an enemy one too many times. However, rather than ending the game you’ll simply be dropped beside your last checkpoint with 10 fewer gold coins than before.
Though we could lament the loss of the Game Over screen, we’d advise using its absence to bolster your bravery. Knowing you can’t be pulled from the game world or lose your progress is a great reason to take risks against enemies and explore every nook and cranny.
Use this freedom, embrace it, and you’ll find the world of Super Mario Odyssey is even more joyous to explore.
There might be something dark in the idea that a horde of gold coins having the power to keep death at bay but we won’t delve into that.
Speaking of coins...
Know your currencies
Coins work a little differently in Super Mario Odyssey than they have in other Mario games. This time around there are gold coins and world-specific coins.
World-specific coins are less abundant (there are around 50 to each world) but they can be used to purchase clothing and rare items from the shops that can be found in each world. Each world has its own coin and you’ll have absolutely no problem visually distinguishing them from the standard gold coins given that they're very purple.
Gold coins – which you’ll come across everywhere – can also be used in shops regardless of what world you’re in. However, they have an additional function as Mario’s overall life force once he’s run out of traditional lives. When you’re out of lives and you 'die', rather than the game ending you simply lose a handful of gold coins.
It’s worth saving these, then, and using world-specific coins for more frivolous purchases.
Explore for different routes
Super Mario Odyssey is an open world sandbox game and it really is worth exploring inch of it for a variety of reasons. One of these reasons is that you can uncover many different routes to your intended destination.
Sometimes when playing you'll come across obstacles which block your entrance to certain areas. These can range from outfit requirements you perhaps can't afford to meet or Sphinges whose riddles you''re unable to answer.
If you come up against a problem like this, don’t fret. Just take the time to explore a little and you’re guaranteed to find another way to where you need to be. More often than not these entrances are slightly off the beaten track and require you to climb to new heights.
Explore for mini games
Another reason to explore is the chance that you’ll come across a fun and diverting mini game. These are scattered across levels and range from volleyball, to jump rope, to driving a remote control car and many more besides.
We highly recommend not blasting through levels and taking some time to look for these because they’re also an alternative way to pick up some of those all important Power Moons.
Speaking of which…
Don't become fixated on one Power Moon
Power Moons are the new Power Stars in that they’re the collectible you need to focus on if you want to progress to other levels. In Super Mario Odyssey, Power Moons are used to power up your ship to move from one world to the next. Each level has its own color of Power Moon and will ask you to collect a certain number of them to move on.
It’s worth knowing, though, that there are always far more Power Moons in a level than you need to progress. There are usually around 30 to 50 Power Moons in each world and you’ll need (on average) between 10 and 15 to leave.
With that in mind, don’t worry if you spy a Power Moon and aren’t sure how to get it. There are plenty more in the world that you can get right now and you can always come back for that one later.
Throw Cappy everywhere
In the absence of Power Ups, your new companion Cappy is about to become your best friend and ultimate weapon. Not only can Mario’s sentient hat be used as a weapon, he can also be used to possess enemies and inanimate objects.
It’s not made immediately apparent what Cappy can interact with and what he can’t, so it’s well worth taking some chances because you’ll find he can interact with more things than you'd think.
To date we’ve thrown him onto a tower of Goombas to reach a particularly high up Power Moon, into a stack of boxes to collect coins and onto a dinosaur to wreak maximum destruction in minimum time. We’ve even discovered new areas by throwing Cappy into an electrical wire. Doing this transforms Mario into a ball of electricity capable of travelling along the wire.
Just a note: if something is already wearing a hat, you can't possess it. But you can always throw Cappy once to knock this hat off and then throw him again to possess.
Get physical with the Joy-Cons. Or Don't
Super Mario Odyssey integrates some interesting motion controls and we highly recommend experimenting with them.
They work with both the Joy-Cons and the Pro controller and although there’s a learning curve, it’s not a steep one. Pretty quickly it’ll feel natural to flick your controller up to send Mario forward rolling into a horde of enemies or sharply to the side to throw Cappy in a wide circular motion.
That said, if motion controls aren’t your thing we’re here to tell you that you definitely don’t need them to play the game. Avoiding them will certainly limit you, though.
Change your outfit
There are plenty of outfits to choose from in Super Mario Odyssey, many of them tied thematically to different worlds in the game. The chef outfit above, for example, fits neatly into the Luncheon Kingdom and you'll find those now infamous trunks in the Lake Kingdom.
It’s not a necessity to change outfits but it is fun since they’re not just an aesthetic indulgence; sometimes you’ll find unlocking certain outfits will unlock new moves and help you to solve puzzles.
Get a bird's eye view
Throughout each of the game worlds you’ll come across binocular-equipped robots. It’s easy to walk past these robots but we highly recommend pausing occasionally to throw Cappy at them.
Doing so will let you possess them, fly high into the sky and survey the level with a bird’s eye view. This is a great way to discover whether there are any interesting parts of a world you may have missed while stuck on the ground. For example, it’s how we discovered an exciting oasis in the Sand Kingdom.
Emma Boyle is TechRadar’s ex-Gaming Editor, and is now a content developer and freelance journalist. She has written for magazines and websites including T3, Stuff and The Independent. Emma currently works as a Content Developer in Edinburgh.