Super Mario Odyssey, as with most core games in the Mario series, is a major switch (ahem) from the titles before it, trading gameplay mainstays for radical new reinventions that challenge the boundaries of our comfort zones even as it feeds our nostalgia. Cappy, Mario’s new companion, allows Mario to swap bodies with a number of colorful enemies and characters, offering creative solutions to various puzzles and problems. Of the many, here are the ones we adore most.
By itself, transforming into a Goomba may not seem interesting, but as a group activity, Goombas are where it’s at. Stacking Goombas, a challenge that comes up about once per Kingdom, is usually in the interest of impressing a femme Goomba. That being said, who cares why they ask you to precariously teeter on top of a Goomba tower to solve puzzles? It’s just sheer goofy fun.
These flying skeleton Koopas, seen in other Mario games over the years, may not look like much, but after the disappointing gliding action from Glydon, it’s a refreshing change of pace to hover and flit above the giant lava pits in the cave found underneath the moon.
They’re cute, they’re chubby, and when they rev up, they do a little pee-pee dance before powerfully headbutting through the nearest barrier. Basically they’re toddlers with superior head gear.
Not only can you pop into a Cheep Cheep to save Mario from drowning, you can also dip, dive and duck in and out of the water with the fluid freedom of a dolphin and the charming wiggle of a goldfish. In his human form, Mario’s swimming skills leave some room for improvement, but as a Cheep Cheep, the experience is almost exhilarating.
The moveset of the Hammer Brothers and their kin vary from type to type, but they share a few things, mainly a bouncy gait and some serious projectiles. Whether hammers, frying pans or fireballs, the transformation turns Mario into one of the most powerful enemies of Super Mario Odyssey, and also makes up for the lack of some of the iconic features of Mario games past.
A friend of mine recently asked, why are there so many dinosaurs in videogames right now? Answer: because they are rad. As. Shit, My Friend. They are rad as shit. There’s more than one moment in Super Mario Odyssey when you can possess the body of a T-Rex, but the best one comes early, in the Cascade Kingdom. While her (the pause menu brochure makes it clear that T-Rex is female) realistic modeling and skin texture are a bit off-putting in the cartoonish world of Mario, the sheer power and absurdity of possessing a T-Rex more than makes up for it. Plus, that power nap she takes after you leave her body is just adorable.
Holly Green is the assistant editor of Paste Games and a reporter and semiprofessional photographer. She is also the author of Fry Scores: An Unofficial Guide To Video Game Grub. You can find her work at Gamasutra, Polygon, Unwinnable, and other videogame news publications.