Nintendo revealed a number of new mechanics for its Super Mario Odyssey platformer for Switch (read our preview) at the Electronic Entertainment Expo trade show last week in Los Angeles, and one of the biggest changes that we experienced while playing it at E3 is that Mario can now play dress-up.
The publisher has shown Mario running around in different outfits in a handful of Odyssey trailers and screenshots since announcing the game in October. The plumber can ditch his default overalls in favor of a tuxedo, an Al Capone-style pinstripe suit, his construction outfit from Super Mario Maker, and more. Fans have since pieced together that many of these outfits are from previous Nintendo spinoffs like NES Golf or Super Mario Land. But Mario donning a sombrero and poncho isn’t just a reference or a fashion statement (or a stereotype), it also has ramifications for how you can explore Odyssey’s wacky worlds.
In the clip above, you can see me try on Mario’s safari-style “Explorer Outfit.” The description suggests how that could help you in certain stages: “Clothing that keeps you comfortable in the deepest heart of the wilderness.” I also find and put on the aforementioned “Black Suit.”
But in the Crazy Cap shop, I could have used purple coins to also buy the “Builder Outfit,” which the game describes like this: “The Perfect outfit whether you’re constructing or inspecting the construction work of others.”
During my time investigating the spaces of New Donk City, I figured out why I would want those clothes when I came across a building that I could not enter. The human out front explained that no one was allowed inside until the building inspector checked it out. Clearly, I had to go in search of enough purple coins to buy the Builder Outfit so that I could gain entrance into this new space as the construction inspector.
Nintendo told me that the rest of Mario Odyssey will gate exploration based on your clothing in a similar way. That’s a major change for this series, and it illustrates how Nintendo is opening up the sandbox levels to enable more discovery while forcing you to do more than just run and jump.
Now, all I want to know is if I’ll need to wear Mario’s Star-Spangled Outfit to gain entry to the United States of America. At that point, the game probably just turns into hours of sitting at customs and trying to hire Waluigi as your lawyer to deal with Trump’s travel ban.