Super Mario Odyssey review: controlling a sentient hat has never been so fun

New sidekick Cappy could have been just another annoying sidekick, but its inclusion only adds to the playfulness of Nintendo Switch’s first Mario adventure

In life, a few things are inevitable: death, taxes and the continual kidnapping of Princess Peach. But after more than 30 years of at least one new Mario adventure per Nintendo console, it helps to have a feature that differentiates the latest from the last. For Super Mario Odyssey, the first proper Mario adventure on the Nintendo Switch, it’s a new sentient hat.
A brief introductory cutscene explains: Bowser – already optimistically dressed for his wedding – incapacitates Mario for long enough to make off with Peach, but not without stomping on his signature red cap. As luck would have it, a hat-shaped ghost-like figure called Cappy is floating nearby and offers to help Mario pursue Bowser and rescue both Peach and Cappy’s sister Tiara. Cappy shapeshifts into a replacement hat, and soon demonstrates that he offers more than a warm head; Mario can throw him to “capture” (Nintendo’s approved verb for “temporarily play as”) other creatures.
Throw Cappy at a frog and Mario will disappear leaving the frog sporting both a red cap and a moustache. Mario appears to get sucked into the hat, though where that leaves the essences of both Cappy and the frog is an unanswered but philosophically fascinating question.

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