October 27th marked the worldwide release of Nintendo’s newest video game, Super Mario Odyssey. As the twenty-fourth entry into the traditional Super Mario game series, Odyssey’s release was met with resounding critical acclaim. Based on the popular review aggregator, Metacritic, it is the best reviewed video game of 2017. With 70 critics submitting a final evaluation, the game has an average score of 97 out of 100. Only one other game released this year has been able to match that score. Nintendo’s newest entry in its other major franchise, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild also boasts a Metacritic score of 97/100 based on over 100 reviews.
These two incredibly high scores may be due in part to Nintendo’s philosophy for both games. Super Mario Odyssey sees Mario returning to the open world design found in Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario 64. Nintendo scrapped the more linear levels of previous entries and instead created a series of dense sandbox environments that allow players to focus on exploration rather than progression. Breath of the Wild similarly abandoned the previous entries reliance on linear progression through numbered dungeons. Instead they focused on an open world, expanded player choice, and improved exploration mechanics that reward players for interacting and discovering their own path through the game.
This improved design philosophy of open exploration and discovery has been warmly received by critics and gamers worldwide. Mario has nearly 40 years of video game history, but Super Mario Odyssey proves our favorite plumber still has plenty of energy and fresh ideas to go for another 40 years. Super Mario Odyssey is out now and retails for $59.99.
Virtual reality gaming may be coming up; however, how can you beat the classic Super Mario?