|Early impressions, after getting about 5 levels and 100 moons in:|
I'm surprised at how much charm this game has... like wtf, even the in game menus are oozing with charm. The digital instruction manual gives me the same feels as reading an early NES/SNES Mario game's manual... the cute little sprites demonstrating each action (and they're animated, which is something a physical instruction book can't do)... Not to mention the map screen for each kingdom is literally in the same tourist brochure style as the EarthBound player's guide.
It also seems like it took the best things about all the previous 3D Mario games and blended them together.
Super Mario Galaxy: it has that same kind of epic looking visual/atmosphere design, as well as having NPCs with one line of dialog that you can read as you go near them, without having to interrupt the gameplay to talk to them... and the electricity lines going between areas is kinda like the Luma stars in Galaxy. The Odyssey is kinda like a smaller version of the Comet Observatory or the Face ship from Galaxy 2, but it becomes seemlessly integrated into whatever kingdom you are currently in.
Mario 64 and Sunshine: It has the painting portals from 64, and like Sunshine it does the whole "Mario 64 moveset but with a wacky gimmick character attached to Mario" thing... but in this case the gimmick character is WAY more interesting and well designed, and it feels much more like a "pure" Mario game than Sunshine did... and best of all it did away with the whole "boot you out of the world every time you collect one of the end goal collectibles" thing that all the other games all had, making it way less tedious to 100%.
And I'm seeing a lot of the same kind of 3D World and Galaxy style level designs integrated into the open world as like little mini levels. This is a great way to do an open world platformer imo because you have the option of just going through the linear tight platforming paths to the boss, or you can go off the beaten path and treat it more like a BK style game where you try to collect everything.