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Revisiting the Super Mario Odyssey Demo

Even ten minutes can change one’s perception


Super Mario Odyssey comes to the Nintendo Switch in a little over two weeks. But though it’s a mere sixteen days, some of us might be starting to get itchy fingers—like me.

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I sought out the Odyssey demo in stores after I heard hints of its existence via the grapevine. It’s a rumor that proved to be true; the demo is available for play in select Best Buys, Targets and GameStops. And by ‘select’ we mean select. Of the major stores in my area, only the GameStop just off the Metro Transit train had a booth set up.

Coming in, it was strange to find it just sitting there, a short ways from the door, looking rather lonely.

At E3, it was this exact booth that gathered lines hours long. It was this same ten-minute breath that drove news outlets crazy and inspired weeks of theorizing.

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Outside the chaos of thousands of people, it was weird to experience the Odyssey demo this way; alone, and without the threat of someone else waiting their turn. It wasn’t the same, and neither was the demo.

Let me just say that I recommend playing with Odyssey’s motion controls. Mistakenly playing with the controller, I found that there were some features of the dual Joy-Cons I couldn’t replicate. Like, namely, the ability to roll (a fast means of getting around). Additionally, I didn’t enjoy nearly the same level of finesse with my hat throws, which the lost ability to circle around Mario. Playing with the controller was a weirdly unnatural experience that I wouldn’t recommend to anyone. Which makes Odyssey one of the first games I’ve ever said that for.

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Now, content-wise, the demo is essentially the same as what I previewed at this year’s E3. But there’s one major difference in that half of it is missing. The player’s choice to visit New Donk City or Tostarena was removed, with Tostarena now being the only kingdom available for play.

The gameplay is still wonderful, however. There are multiple avenues to explore in the demo, with several Moons readily available. In my own ten-minute playthrough, I obtained three. Coming back, it begins to feel like the collectibles could be hiding anywhere, even within thirty steps of each other. Even in this one level, Super Mario Odyssey gives new meaning to the term ‘collect-a-thon’.

Exploration seems to be tied off by putting gates on certain areas. To reach the area of the boss, I first needed to grab two other Power Moons, whose discovery directly led into new areas. At the very least, it’s a nice means of making many experiences of the same open-world demo fairly consistent.

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Speaking of experience, the demo is something one should experience for one’s self. I know many people who have been wanting to go in blind with Odyssey, but there are some things one must experience to know. For one, revisiting the demo reminded me how strange it was to play a Mario game where Mario doesn’t run. I rather instinctively kept trying to hold down the hat throw button to burst into a dash or lengthen my jumps. For better or worse, Super Mario Odyssey would seem to be more about proper hat use than it is about using one’s jumps to the utmost.

I’m most happy to report that the demo is still exciting—that it is still worth the attention. The lines may have died down, but the hype hasn’t diminished since E3. If it’s something you haven’t experienced, I recommend that you try to find it, as it provides a better handle of the game than any review or video one might watch.

That being said, I think we’re still going to find a very good game come launch day, with many very high ratings of the experience.

Look for Super Mario Odyssey on the Nintendo Switch come October 27. In the meantime, stay tuned at B-Button Media for more Super Mario Odyssey news and features.

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