With hundreds of secrets and puzzles hidden within its bright and beautiful Kingdoms, a fully completed run of Super Mario Odyssey takes approximately 40 hours—longer, if you don’t know what you’re doing. Here are some tips and pointers to help you get a jump on the epic journey to come and ensure you make the most of your time in every level.
You have a map now! It has markers that will not only show you areas of interest and mission targets, but also allow you to fast travel around the map. This new feature of the core Mario series will make it much easier for you to explore and get every last moon.
The upper left corner of the screen will show you how many moons you need to collect in order to move on to the next world, filling up each slot as you find them. However, there are still many more in the level, so don’t use the telltale outline of an uncollected moon fool you: the total moons in that particular Kingdom may take up as many as three rows.
The jumps and move combos of the core Mario series are more or less unchanged since the N64 era. You should feel right at home doing wall jumps, long jumps, ground pounds, back flips and all the other physical feats Mario uses to explore his environment. But if you’ve forgotten any and need a refresher, you can find a handbook in the menu.
Also, a warning: the spin move that debuted with Super Mario Galaxy does not work if you’re not wearing Cappy.
The Kingdoms in Super Mario Odyssey are full of things to do, so don’t worry too much about finding a mission or objective. Let your natural curiosity lead you—you’d be surprised what gets rewarded with a moon. Take cues from your environment whenever you can.
And if you can’t figure out a puzzle or a mechanism, try Cappy! The game wants you to use this new gimmick as often as possible.
There are so many coins hidden throughout Super Mario Odyssey, you may after a while assume you don’t need to collect them all. After all, they’re everywhere, right? And continues only cost ten gold coins. But keep in mind that in every Kingdom, there’s at least one moon that can be purchased for 100 coins, and there are also several outfits and accessories that you can buy too, with a selection that rotates depending on the Kingdom. Also, if you see a purple coin, no matter how far away, you should probably take the time to collect it. There are a limited number of purple coins, and each are specific to their Kingdom and can only be purchased to buy outfits, sticks, and knick-knacks related to that level. You’ll kick yourself later if you don’t grab the coins the first time you see them, especially since you need every purple coin available in a level to purchase all the unique goodies at the store.
You have a very limited breath meter as you swim in Super Mario Odyssey and your health will drain rapidly in huge chunks if you run out of air. If you can’t find an air bubble nearby, try finding a Cheep Cheep. Tossing Cappy onto their head and occupying their body will save you from drowning.
Oh, and don’t worry about struggling to swim to the bottom of the ocean floor to grab coins and other items. If you hold still, Mario will sink, making it much easier to reach a precise location.
If presented with the opportunity to “stack” Goombas (that is, use Cappy to occupy a Goomba, then jump on other Goombas to form a tall stack), you should do it. There’s always a moon nearby.
In some areas you can find a small green and yellow robot, and activating him with Cappy will launch a periscope, allowing you to see large sections of the map and get a much needed vantage point revealing the location of moons, purple coins and more.
At several points in Super Mario Odyssey, you’ll be thrust into a 2D mini-level resembling the original Super Mario Bros.. They operate pretty much exactly like the old game you remember, but be aware that Cappy is disabled while you do them. You won’t be able to use him on any of the enemies you encounter while completing a 2D challenge.
In other core Mario games like Super Mario Galaxy, two player mode was mostly a way to keep your little cousin occupied with busy work while you played the “real” game. In Super Mario Odyssey, however, two player mode allows the second person to use Cappy, which helps not just with item collection but with mission goals as well. Cappy can be used to reach coins in risky areas where you don’t want to spare the time and effort to climb, and he can also levitate in the air and be used as a jumping point for high ledges.
Holly Green is the assistant editor of Paste Games and a reporter and semiprofessional photographer. She is also the author of Fry Scores: An Unofficial Guide To Video Game Grub. You can find her work at Gamasutra, Polygon, Unwinnable, and other videogame news publications.