7 Games That Clearly Influenced Super Mario Odyssey
Yes, Super Mario 64 is on here.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Super Mario Odyssey feels like the culmination of every Mario game ever made. It not only improves upon the fundamentals that its predecessors established, but borrows from other Nintendo franchises to create something unique on its own. Though some may argue that the game is just a modern version of Super Mario 64, Odyssey is much more than just an update. It simultaneously breaks from tradition while remaining true to itself, utilizing the following list of games as stepping stones for doing so.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was everything the series had wanted to be up until today. Giving players freedom to roam the wide expanse of Hyrule, Breath of the Wild made sure that its open world feature was just as vital as the inclusion of any Link, Zelda, or Ganon. Adventurers were given the opportunity to uncover new artifacts, explore ancient ruins, and collect more of those seemingly infinite Korok seeds as they saw fit, bestowing upon them a genuine sense of intrepidity.
Breath of the Wild was a slick, modern entry for the Zelda series and Super Mario Odyssey works to largely the same effect. Just as how the newest Zelda entry emphasized exploration and implemented a lenient checkpoint system, Odyssey removes the concept of lives and makes losing them quite inconsequential (the player only loses 10 coins). Players are thereby encouraged to be unafraid of trying anything they can do to reach a platforming segment that’s just out of reach or another tantalizing Power Moon. Speaking of these Moons, the fact that there are 836 is very comparable to the 900 Korok seeds found in Breath of the Wild, meaning players will have to spend many hours to try and collect them all. Seeing as how some provide a steep challenge to get to, it most certainly isn’t easy.
Super Mario 64/Super Mario Sunshine
Super Mario 64 set a modern precedent for the industry when it launched in 1996. The title birthed entire genres aside from just the platformer, as it lay the groundwork from which highly popular shooters or MMOs build themselves from today. It also served as the foundation for other entries in the Mario series, as Super Mario Sunshine is widely considered to be a successor to 64 and in itself is attributed to improving upon that which has already been established, such as giving players freedom to move around large 3D spaces and crafting grand set pieces which equally served as obstacles for players to wrap their jumping prowess around.
Super Mario Odyssey’s mechanics feel very much akin to those of its predecessors, not only in the literal platforming sense but in the way that the franchise consistently builds upon its last iteration. Kingdoms feel more vibrant and full of life. Every hidden passageway or detour leads to some sort of reward. There are secrets and micro-challenges to be found behind every nook and cranny, some of which seem as though they directly harken back to Sunshine. Odyssey offers so much diversity in order to keep players from getting bored and constantly pays off curiosity, embodying the essence of what makes every 3D Mario games so great.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds/Super Mario Maker
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds defied its genre’s own conventions by giving fans both 3D and 2D fields to play on. The implementation of a 2D play style was not only integral in reaching new areas or bosses to defeat, but provided for a clever means of obstacle variation and a unique challenge that few other titles explored before. The same degree of challenge and novelty that A Link Between Worlds’ 2D levels introduced could only be matched by Super Mario Maker, as the title also made the concept of playing in one less dimension fun and rewarding again.
When it comes to enjoyment and breaking convention, Super Mario Odyssey provides in spades. Lifting a page directly from the aforementioned titles, Odyssey unexpectedly thrusts fans into a 2D segment within any platforming context. It’s not uncommon to be navigating from one floating platform to the next only to then enter a green pipe that leads to more jumping, albeit within a giant wall this time. As in A Link Between Worlds and Mario Maker, the mechanic constantly keeps players on their toes, providing no shortage of remarkably innovative challenges in between. Nintendo seems to rely on its past a lot, though it always makes a case for that being its strongest suit.
Super Mario Galaxy
Super Mario Galaxy was considered by many Nintendo fans to be the Wii’s most impressive title, arguably surpassed only by its successor Super Mario Galaxy 2. Harkening back to the aforementioned classics Mario 64 and Mario Sunshine, Galaxy was much more of a reinvention than its predecessors were, including new space-themed mechanics that provided for a fresh gameplay experience unlike any other. The title’s power-ups in the way of bee and ice powers only aided the incredible experience further, giving Mario new means of traversal and forcing the player to think of how to best use these newly acquired skills to collect as many Stars as possible.
Super Mario Odyssey works to largely the same effect, though instead of empowering Mario through fancy power-ups, players are given the choice of possessing nearly every enemy in the game through the plumber’s handy hat friend Cappy. From gigantic T-Rexes to huge slabs of meat, Odyssey forces the player to think on his or her toes if they want to get that one Power Moon that’s been teasing them from afar. Obstacles can be cleared to circumvent challenges too, as in the case with the beach kingdom a cephalopod critter can be possessed that uses streams of water to blast itself into the air or wash away lava. It all makes for a game that’s grounded yet still imaginative, giving players freedom to express their own joy as they see fit.
Though this entry is meant to serve more as a homage, it can be argued that Donkey Kong did influence the entirety of Super Mario Odyssey’s New Donk City. Silly at a glance (is Mario an alien?), the level features everything a sprawling metropolis should, complete with bagel stores on every block and annoying commuter congestion. Pauline sees her return from the classic arcade too, this time no longer a damsel in distress but rather the mayor of the city. Her song “Jump Up, Super Star!” that’s performed towards the end of the level references sound effects used in the arcade version of Donkey Kong, thus bringing everything full circle.
What other games may have influenced Super Mario Odyssey? Let us know in the comment section below and don’t forget to stretch before doing all that jumping.