Mario Odyssey is out today, and it’s by far the most expansive Mario game I have ever played. After putting more than 60 hours into the game over the past week, I thought I’d put together a list of things I wish I had known about Odyssey going in.
This piece originally appeared on Kotaku UK.
If you are keen to avoid anything that could possibly be considered a spoiler, skip this to be safe—I’ve kept it as spoiler-free as humanly possible, but there’s obviously some low-level info in here.
You cannot get every moon in a world on your first visit, so don’t stress about doing so. You will have a reason to come back later.
On my first playthrough of Odyssey, I stressed about getting as many collectables as possible before letting myself move on. On the very first world in the game, I spent hours searching before checking the list of moons in that world, and seeing as I had collected fewer than half the total available. I felt disheartened, like I had failed to explore properly, and frustrated myself a little trying to find more.
As it turns out, around half of the total stars in each world aren’t even available upon first visit. Basically, don’t stress. Explore as much as you want to, then move on, you will have a great reason to come back later and find the things you missed first time around.
You are eventually rewarded for moons you collect beyond minimum progression.
On my first playthrough of Odyssey, I was honestly more interested in collecting all the level-specific coins than I was collecting bonus moons beyond the number required to progress. Level specific coins could be used to buy exclusive outfits and trinkets, while bonus moons seemed to offer no value. Getting extra in one world didn’t reduce the number needed in the next and there was no overall target I needed to hit before fighting the final boss, so I wasn’t sure what my incentive was for collecting extra moons.
As it turns out, your overall total number of moons does have a purpose. To go into any more detail might spoil any surprises, so I’ll leave it at this: the bonus moons have a role to play later in the game. Knowing this from the start would have made Moons feel like a more valuable reward from the start.
All Challenge Worlds accessed through pipes contain two moons—one standard, one hidden.
Much like Breath of the Wild before it, every isolated challenge room in Mario Odyssey has a standard path of progression, as well as a secret well worth finding. Where Breath of the Wild hid treasure chests in Shrines, Odyssey hides a second moon in each challenge room. One moon will be located near an exit pipe, while the second will be hidden somewhere either difficult to find, or risky and challenging to access. It’s worth getting these when first visiting each challenge room, because the game does not do a good job of reminding you that you missed a bonus moon, and tracking them down 30 hours later is going to be considerably trickier.
There are over 800 moons in Odyssey, almost as many as Korok Seeds in Breath of the Wild, so adjust your play accordingly.
Yes, some moons in Mario Odyssey are hidden behind boss battles, challenge puzzles or NPC quests, but some of them are literally just under rocks, under snow, in trees, or in wooden boxes. Look out for rainbow sparkly glows emanating from areas of the environment, look out for something missing or unexpected, and treat the world the way you did in Breath of the Wild, if you played that. Examine everything that seems odd, and you’ll probably be rewarded.
There are exactly enough world-specific coins in each world to buy all exclusive items, so prioritize buying costumes that help unlock moons.
While in theory you can buy every exclusive trinket in each world, the fact that there are exactly enough coins in each world to buy everything offered means that if you struggle to find just one coin, you’ll be unable to purchase every available shop item. I recommend purchasing costumes first. While they don’t change how Mario controls, each unlocks at least one additional moon in that world, and further moons later on.
If you can see a moon, you have the tools to reach it, with one very specific exception per world.
Mario Odyssey, unlike prior 3D Mario titles like Mario 64, doesn’t tend to put visible moons in the world that you cannot access yet. Any moon you see is attainable straight away, provided you work out how to reach it.
The one consistent exception to this rule is that in each world, you may spot a platform floating high up in the air with a moon on it, seemingly inaccessible, far from other structures on the map. You won’t be able to get to these for a while.
If something already has a hat, you can’t possess it.
This is the golden rule of Mario Odyssey: if something has a hat, you can’t possess it with your own hat. This means that all sorts of animals and characters are wearing cute hats. Sometimes, though, you can knock something’s hat off before possessing it, so give it a go.
Mario Odyssey is a truly immense game, so good luck working through it all. Happy travels, and leave your own tips in the comments.