Super Mario Odyssey is fantastic, and you should play it. But you should know some things before you start.
Nintendo usually does a good job making sure that its games are easy to understand. But Odyssey is a massive experience that has more secrets than an angst-ridden teenager. After spending dozens of hours in Mario’s latest, best adventure, I have some advice that new players should hear.
These tips will make your journey more easier, earn you more Power Moons, and maybe even save you some actual cash.
Use whatever controller you want
When you start, you’ll see a message from Nintendo encouraging you to play Super Mario Odyssey by holding the detached Joy-Cons in each hand. That’s because the game uses some motion controls, so you can fling a Joy-Con to do things like throw cap in a circular motion.
But you can also do all of this with the Pro Controller. And I think it’s more comfortable to hold an actual joypad. The motion controls even work if you’re playing the game in handheld mode, with the Joy-Cons attached to the Switch. Many of the motion commands have button alternatives. Others just have you shake the controller to make certain movements go faster, like climbing.
Don’t let that opening message scare you into using the detached Joy-Cons if you don’t want to. All of the controller methods work fine.
You don’t need to buy Amiibos to unlock costumes
Using Nintendo’s toys-to-life line of figurines can help you unlock new costumes for Mario, but don’t feel obligated to rush to a store and spend money. You’ll unlock all of those just by collecting Moons. Reaching certain Moon milestones will make the Amiibo outfits available in Odyssey’s shops.
They’ll just cost a lot of money, sometimes 1,000 coins. Using Amiibo speeds up the process, but it’s not a necessity.
If you’re looking to gather a lot of coins quickly, remember that they don’t disappear forever once you grab them. Yellow coins reappear in the same locations any time you die or return to a level. This also applies to extra areas inside of worlds. If a stage has a door that loads into a new zone, entering it will refresh all of the yellow coins.
You can use this to your advantage to grab a lot of them quickly. If you know of an area with a lot of coins that’s near a portal to another area, you can manipulate it. You can also kill yourself to quickly refresh them. Death causes you to lose 10 coins, but that could be worth it if constantly dying keeps bringing you back to an area filled much more.
Remember that purple coins do not refresh. Every level has a set amount of those. Once you grab them, they turn into transparent ghosts of their former selves when stages refresh. But you can still walk over these to earn regular coins.
Special areas have extra Moons
Doors, pipes, and portals can take you special areas with unique challenges. Some of these are linear platforming sections, and others are small rooms with puzzles. Each will give you a Moon once you reach the end of the mini-stage or complete some objective.
But almost all of these areas will have one extra Moon hidden somewhere. Keep an eye out for hidden paths or out-of-the way secrets.
If you’re not sure if one of these rooms has more Moons, just go inside them. If it isn’t your first time, Mario’s talking hat, Cappy, will tell you if it has any more Moons or purple coins to collect. If it doesn’t, he’ll tell you so.
Moons you’ve already collected will restore your health
Remember how collected purple coins turn into transparent ghosts that you can collect again? The same thing happens with Moons you’ve already grabbed. Touching these will give you a few yellow coins, but it’ll also fill your health.
Unlike in some other 3D Mario games, coins don’t give you back any life. You need to find hearts to restore health, and they can be rare. So don’t forget that used Moons can do the trick if you walk by one and you’re missing some life.
You can capture things that don’t wear hats
Not sure what you can capture? Look at people’s heads. If a character isn’t wearing a hat, that’s a sign that you should throw Cappy at them.
Some enemies will start wearing hats that you can still capture. You just need to hit them with Cappy once to know their head-wear off, then throw him a second time to possess them.
Some outfits can help you unlock Moons
The outfits you unlock are mostly cosmetic. But most levels will have a locked door that you can’t access unless you’re wearing specific clothes. These are always a hat-and-clothes combo that you can buy at that kingdom’s Crazy Cap store with purple coins.
So, when spending those level-specific coins, try to buy each world’s unique outfits first. Those stickers for your ship can wait.
Mario has some advanced jumping techniques
Characters, signs, and an in-game action guide will tell you about Mario’s basic movement techniques, like triple jumping, wall jumping, rolling, and more. But the plumber has a lot of other, fancier tricks.
For example, if you jump immediately after landing into a ground pound, you’ll quickly leap high into the air. If can also time a jump right when Cappy returns to you after a throw to earn a little height.
Just experiment. You’ll be surprised by how much Mario can do.
Collecting Moons unlocks levels even after you beat the game
Even after the credits roll, you still have a lot of reasons to keep playing. I already mentioned you can unlock new outfits in the shop, but you can even access new levels by collecting more Moons.
So if you want to see everything in the game, plan to keep going after the defeated the “final” boss.
You can’t unlock a lot of Moons until you beat the game
You’ll want to revisit every old world after the credits. Many Moons in every kingdom aren’t available until the endgame. You unlock them by destroying a large block box. Then the new Moons will become collectible.