E3 2017: Super Mario Odyssey and The New Worlds

In the best video in YouTube history, Mark Brown studies the design of four levels of Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros. U in search of lighting before creating himself a Screen in Super Mario Maker. Like a good level of a platform game, it’s just the video that had to be: that there may be better or worse, it does not matter, because this is just as it had to be. It’s a kind of harmony that looks good in Super Mario 2D games, and Mark Brown returns in the second best video in YouTube history to explain how Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze bears Mario’s type of design Especially of the most recent: each level explores an idea that is developed and discarded, temporarily or definitively, as soon as Mario touches the flag) a step further, not offering mechanics or individual ideas and betting to mix two, three or even six Basic pieces to create more interesting challenges at longer and dense levels.

This harmony looks worse on 3D platforms. Super Mario 64 is an extraordinary game but it is difficult, because it is the levels open spaces in which each star is accommodated on the map by modifying the design to add enemies, structures or challenges that alter a previous challenge (the first star of the First level is achieved by climbing to the top of a mountain and beating a final boss, the fourth, reaching the top of the mountain before a Koopa). The same goes for Super Mario Sunshine, at least in part: the abstract areas anticipate those of Super Mario Galaxy and are somewhat clearer, and surely the most readable of all is Super Mario 3D. In Super Mario Odyssey you become a type that controls a remote control car and in a rocket that takes you a skyscraper beyond the clouds and in a Bill Bala that allows you to jump a section of platforms and in a sprite of moving Mario By the wall to the Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and in a moai with sunglasses that can raise them and to lower them to hesitate.

It is a game in which Mario lives through the others.

Mario games are jumping games. Jump over platforms to get taller, jump over enemies to get rid of them and jump over switches to make platforms or enemies appear on which Mario jumps, presto, because that’s what he does. Super Mario Sunshine is a game so rare and so remembered, for better or worse, because the jump, even present, shares prominence with the F.L.U.D.D., that incomprehensible device that fires jets of water. In Super Mario Odyssey, Mario’s jump seems to share prominence with almost anything: a Goomba, a dinosaur, a tree. At times it seems Everything, by David O’Reilly: you become a spark or a sewer cap or a traffic pole.

Odyssey retrieves the structure of wide worlds sectioned through stars (in this case, moons) adding some interesting variations. When getting a moon, at least in the demo, Mario is not returned to a central world (the castle, Ciudad Delfino) but the game continues after the turn fanfare. Each moon is associated with a different type of challenge: in the demo I could see some exploration (in the back of a building, hidden in a narrow passage, or inside boxes), others associated with skill challenges Mobile puzzle to collect five small moons, collect all the coins within a limited time, moving between the wall in 2D and the 3D environment), as well as other more or less main and open new areas of the map, activating mobile platforms or opening doors. None of these ideas is new: the doors that open are in Super Mario 64, in the plataformeo it is easy to see sections with influence of 3D Land and 3D World and the challenges of collecting coins are older than the character Super Mario himself.

The funny thing is the way these ideas are presented: spread over a large map, hidden, combined and remixed at a much more agile pace than I personally expected. I’m not entirely in agreement with those who put Odyssey next to Breath of the Wild, but the truth is that the rate at which new mechanics appear and you get the various objects (the normal coins, the purple coins, that only serve to buy Objects on the level in which they are achieved, and moons) reminds the last Zelda: they are of many types and they step on each other, and it is not uncommon that on the way to look for one of those main moons, the That the game takes you directly, cross the road two more, or maybe three if you look good.

It is difficult to know how well the game will work based on the two demos that could be played in E3. Sand Kingdom is a desert map in which the extensive dunes are used to introduce something unexpected like Jaxi, a lion statue that serves to travel large spaces in less time, and also several drops of uncertainty: despite being a desert , Large blocks of ice cross the sand and Mario shudders in the cold when you sit still; You can also see a taxi stuck in the ground and a dwarf of New Donk City, confused, by his side. That guy in gray suit comes from the city that seems so out of place in a Super Mario game. The main challenge of this level has to do with the exploration: at the request of the mayoress Pauline (the lore gets intense), you have to find the four musicians who form their band to give a concert. To get these four moons (one per musician) you have to climb buildings and look from the heights to find the band; By the way you cross other moons, some totally focused on the plataformeo and other more peculiar, such as the one that is achieved jumping to the rope in a park.

For the moment, the promise of a game that explores that path of throwing ideas one after another, in which new mechanics are found without rest, seems hopeful; Historically, Mario games have always been able to expand and expand what was seen in their demos in a satisfactory way. I am glad that it is difficult to predict how this growth will occur; In only two levels it seems that Odyssey is going to be a much more unpredictable game than Sunshine or Mario 64, with the mechanics and ideas disappearing and appearing and becoming others even out of their habitat, when you least expect it. In the demo works well: in the sixty monitors that were in the booth of Nintendo in the E3, this almost rhizomatic model made never or almost never the same on two screens. It is a sign of the more disordered structure that is sought, perhaps closer to Breath of the Wild, as they say, than to Mario 64, with their worlds divided into very specific levels, to one per star.

The strange part comes from Cappy, the cap of Mario, that here serves to attack the enemies or to make of improvised platform but also to own to different personages and to handle them. The Goomba or Bill Bala are the most reasonable: if you have to own someone, who owns those two individuals, we at least know them. The most experimental part is in those things that make Mario Odyssey a tremendously rare and disconcerting game: in humans, in dinosaurs, in the seeds that grow and around which spin some Wooded Kingdom puzzles, the third world That was seen in E3, although it could not be played in it. It is the part of which we have less information, although we have seen Mario possess a good lot of different things; Precisely because his nature is in bewilderment (a tyrannosaur with a cowboy hat sleeping nap in the depths of a forest, have I already told you that there is a Moai in pink sunglasses?), I suppose the grace is that Both its forms and possibilities are a surprise. I have already written seventy pages of the article in which I will thoroughly study the moment of possessing Bowser to marry in secret with Peach.

In any case, Super Mario Odyssey was one of the most creative and explosive games I could see in E3. Even within the Nintendo press area within the fair, it was worth noting that Odyssey was definitely something else when you saw it next to FIFA, Fire Emblem Warriors or Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions. It seems a bold and extremely creative game; Is a fun-filled game (for color, for detail, for sheer ridicule), and perhaps that’s why it’s allowed to put one foot or the two out of the kind of fun that is usually expected of Mario to do new things. It only makes sense to have you drive a remote control car if you are actually driving a countryman in an old suit that has the remote control in your hands; It only makes sense to do such nonsense if there is such nonsense, funny and unexpected and joke, throughout the game, or long enough to be received as a conscious decision and not as many piss out of the pot. I really want to see how that balance is balanced, maybe because so many years of more traditional platforms I find it shocking to see a Mario in which Mario is often something else, that moves in another way and does things that are not jumping, that Is what Mario does. It gives the feeling, and there I remember Breath of the Wild, that Super Mario Odyssey is much more than what you see in those two demos; Pep told me that the total number of moons in the game must have been astronomical, a thousand, maybe, and the truth is that the more I think about it the more I think there will be a thousand things: moons or whatever.

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