WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Super Mario Odyssey
It’s been over a year since Mario made his debut on the Switch with what is easily not just one of, if not the, best Super Mario game ever made, but one of the best games ever period. You only have to take a cursory glance at Super Mario Odyssey‘s success to know this. It was a game stuffed with content – things to do, places to explore and challenges to complete, but never once did it feel bloated. It was brimming with imagination and just really fun to play. It was an adventure befitting its title of ‘odyssey,’ bursting with so many memorable moments.
I could easily fill up an entire article of these, from the first time Mario captures a T-Rex to that final challenge on the Darker Side of the Moon. If I had to pick one, though, I’d probably have to pick the most iconic; the one everybody thinks of when they hear the game’s name, and that’s the New Donk City Festival. I feel like it’s the moment that best demonstrates how good this game is at capturing that sense of wonder and discovery. New Donk City isn’t available until roughly the halfway point of the main adventure so the fact that the game is still throwing new surprises your way is simply astounding.
The festival itself almost feels like a reward for reaching this point in the game. The whole city has come out to celebrate you. The night sky is lit up with fireworks and the city is glowing bright neon. You play through a cool side-scrolling section that references the original Donkey Kong arcade game that’s just the right level of challenging so it doesn’t take away your enjoyment of the scenario. And throughout all of this, you’ve got Mayor Pauline all glamorously dressed up and singing Jump Up, Super Star! – a perfectly jazzy, dance number that will have you bopping your head all the way through the level. Mario even gets to join in with her dancing when you get to the end.
Aside from the gorgeous presentation, this section is unlike anything we’ve ever seen in a Mario game before, which I think is one of the main reasons why it stuck out so much. It showed that while Mario may have been around for several decades now, he wasn’t out of new tricks and could still capture our hearts with something special; something that no other game may have done before.
Now if you”ll excuse me, I’m off to play that section again. It’s that damn good.