Be warned: #1 and #2 (last two entries) on this list contain spoilers for the end game so be careful.
Is the Moe-Eye a terribly useful capture? No. Is he absolutely needed or integral for anything outside of a handful of incredibly specific Power Moons? No, he is not. What he is though, is one of the most random and hilarious captures in all of Super Mario Odyssey. The Moe-Eye first appears in the Sand Kingdom but will pop up from time to time in other worlds. His ability? Putting on sunglasses. Doing so will allow Mario to see hidden paths at the expense of movement speed.
The Moe-Eye is not an incredibly convenient power, but just look at him. It’s a Moai Statue with a Mario mustache that hobbles around on tiny blocky feet with a pair of shades. While his lack of inherent usefulness keeps him from being anywhere high on the list, the quirkiness of its design serves as enough for it to make it onto the list.
If you had told anyone years ago that the next Mario game would allow Mario to become a photo-realistic Tyrannosaurus Rex, nobody would have believed you. Yet, here we are. As early as the Cascade Kingdom, Mario encounters a T-Rex and, as you do in Mario Odyssey, you throw your hat at it and take it for a ride.
What makes the T-Rex such a delight is how empowering it is. When you’re controlling this beast there is nothing that can stand before you. The biggest boulders crumble like pebbles and even the biggest, baddest Chain-Chomps are no match for you. It’s close to, if not the strongest capture in the entire game. So why is it only at ninth place?
Well, for one thing the T-Rex is actually a bit of a pain to control. His movements have a slow, cumbersome windup and turning him can be a chore. Not to mention in all of the game you encounter it only a few times and there’s not a lot you can do aside from “Roar, Smash Smash.” There’s a lot of initial fun to the T-Rex, but not a lot of depth. Factor this in with its limited use and short timer and it makes the list. Just not very high on it.
8: Shiverian Racer
Super Mario Odyssey does love its gimmicky captures, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Case and point: the Shiverian Racer.
Once you venture to the Snow Kingdom you can meet these lovely people called the Shiverians. They’re big, jolly, and basically the most friendly guys around. Save for one poor fellow who’s scared about an upcoming race. Nothing a quick hat toss and Mario taking the wheel can’t fix however.
Longtime Nintendo fans might recognize the Shiverian Racer’s play style since it’s basically a more developed version of Goron Link from Majora’s Mask. You roll around and bounce, using the momentum to make yourself go even faster in order to win a race. It’s a capture that gets used all of twice in the whole game, so it’s not like you’re going to be using it much. For what it’s worth though, the little amount of time you do spend controlling this guy is visceral and satisfying. His only real shortcoming is how seldom it appears.
Probably one of the most pleasant surprises in the game, capturing a Pokio really turned Bowser’s Kingdom into one of the most unique levels in all of Super Mario Odyssey. While they don’t look like much, they’re actually extremely useful. A Pokio is basically a little woodpecker that, when captured, allows Mario to peck his beak into walls and fling himself across without the need for silly things like platforms.
Pokio’s really encourage lateral thinking whenever you can use them, offering up whole new dimensions to levels and areas that you need to consider when going for Power Moons or Regional Coins. They are a bit finicky admittedly, but they provide a lot of fun and unique approaches whenever you can use them. Not to mention its beak is by far one of the most effective attacks in the game. In fact, this little guy gets a satisfying boss fight all to himself in Bowser’s Kingdom.
Getting to play as a Goomba has been one of those things Mario fans have wanted…basically as long as there have been Mario games; and Mario Odyssey certainly delivered on the dream. Possessing a Goomba gives you full access to the mighty abilities of jumping slightly shorter and looking adorably menacing as you go from place to place.
However, unique to Goombas is the stacking mechanic. Wherein if you control a Goomba and jump on another Goomba, you don’t crush them. You stack on top of them; and this is as silly and fun as it sounds. There’s something really satisfying in getting a massive stack of Goombas together, watching as they can barely stay afloat, and just wandering around as a giant tower. Not to mention this is required for a number of Goombettes you need to charm by reaching up to them. Which is also adorable.
Possessing a Goomba has been a long time coming, and it’s as derpy and fun as it needed to be.
Right up there with the Pokio in the list of great captures I never knew I wanted we have Uproot, the delightful little creature from the Wooded Kingdom. In terms of abilities, Uproot is as simple as it gets. He can stretch his legs out to get really, really tall. Taller if you waggle your Joy-Cons a little.
While incredibly simple, playing as Uproot is oddly satisfying as you completely ignore platforming challenges and hazards by simply stretching over them. The stretch even doubles as an attack, allowing you to take out aerial enemies and objects by basically growing right through them. Most of the Wooded Kingdom’s Power Moons can be attained with this little guy, and just watching him hobble around is joyful.
Remember F.L.U.D.D from Super Mario Sunshine? Remember how fun it was to use water to jet across ledges, speed over fields, and just blast your enemies in the face? Gushen is the return of all of that and more.
They can be found in the Seaside Kingdom and, once captured, allow Mario to speed across the open seas like it was Super Mario Sunshine again. Gushen is by far the best way to travel across water in the game, even allowing players to fly up and over the water to reach difficult ledges. There’s a lot of shenanigans you can get up to with Gushen if you’ve got the creativity and skill. His water supply is fairly generous and being able to take to the skies is something even F.L.U.D.D. wasn’t able to do very well.
The only downside is Gushen was limited to one world, never seen outside of it. But for what it’s worth, he made the Seaside Kingdom a blast.
Lo and behold, the best creature introduced in Super Mario Odyssey is here. Glydon is a lovely little dinosaur thing you can find in high places in a number of Odyssey’s worlds. Capturing him will allow you to take to the skies and glide around across the world as you see fit.
What makes Glydon great though, and why he’s so high on this list, is how he utterly breaks some levels and challenges. Places like the Wooded Kingdom or the Lost Kingdom become complete jokes thanks to him, allowing players to circumvent entire platforming challenges to get Power Moons with almost no effort. He’s always got at least a couple Power Moons he’s required for, but his real strength is how applicable he is to Power Moons that don’t need him.
Plus, just look at him. That happy little dance it looks like he’s doing. The big open mouth smile. The tiny glasses overlooking the mustache. He’s the best. Just, you know, not the best on this list.
Now, a reminder. #1 and #2 are both spoilers for the end of Super Mario Odyssey. So consider this your last warning!
Upon beating Super Mario Odyssey you are taken to to the beloved Mushroom Kingdom, and sitting here, just waiting to be captured, is Yoshi!
What more needs to be said there? It’s Yoshi. Playing as the little dinosaur is basically like playing as a whole new main character. He can run and jump freely. He can eat enemies and fruit with his tongue. He can even flutter jump and climb walls by using his tongue like a grapple hook. His inclusion was a pleasant surprise that added a nice bit of fun to the end game.
However, as fun as Yoshi is and is nice as it is to see him, he does suffer from only a few actual challenges that require him. While that’s not enough to downplay how great he is in the game, it stops him from holding a candle to the Number 1 slot.
When making this list and deciding on the rankings, there was never even a contest as to what the best capture was. Bowser, Mr. King Koopa himself. In the final stretches of the game the place is falling apart. Mario and Peach are trapped with an unconscious Bowser with no way out. Then you throw your hat onto Bowser and the magic begins.
What follows is the power fantasy of the T-Rex with infinitely better controls and fan service. Bowser plows through rocks like a monster on a warpath. He breathes fire and melts through obstacles all the while making a feverish dash for the exit. All in a breathtaking sequence that ramps up the tension and hype to near unbearable levels. It may only be available once, but in terms of satisfaction absolutely nothing came even close to finally getting to play as Bowser.