Phew, what a year! So many games were touted for a Game of the Year in 2017. Almost too many. Team Ready Up have been tying themselves up in knots trying to pick just one and only one game as their personal favourite game of the year for 2017. We are mean to them but it had to be done. In this series, we see which games the team loved last year, and why.
Adam – Super Mario Odyssey
The day of Super Mario Odyssey’s launch was also the day I’d finally be a Switch owner. After being burned on the quick demise of the Wii U, I decided to wait and see what Nintendo’s new console offered. In the end it gave me my favourite game of the year and one the best Mario games ever, so it all turned out pretty well. A departure from the more recent 2.5D incarnations, this was a true 3D exploration focused marvel not seen since Mario Sunshine (only much, much better).
The capture mechanic (being able to possess multiple creatures and even inanimate objects) makes Mario Odyssey such a surreal experience. You can capture anything from your standard Goombas to puzzle pieces. Though none is as bizarre as taking control of a piece of meat, pressing the jump button to wiggle about a bit, and then being taken by a giant bird. It has a wonderful sense of humour and a surrealistic nature not seen in the series before, something I am totally on board with.
Even with the Mario games I enjoyed, when I reached the credits I tended to drop off even when there were still collectables to find. Mario Odyssey is the complete opposite. Once Bowser was beaten I jumped straight back in to mop up the last remaining Moons. This was helped by the fact upon completion even more stuff is unlocked and none of it feels tacked on. New challenges, worlds and Moons are available and in abundance. Even as I write this at the start of 2018 I’m still dipping into Mario Odyssey every now and again to collect more stuff. Maybe this time next year I’ll actually have 100% completion.
If it’s not apparent that this is my game of the year then let me tell you that not only is that the case, this might also be my favourite Mario game of all time. If Nintendo decide to release DLC worlds for this game then I’ll be all over that. Anything to tide me over till Mario’s next adventure.
Susan – Super Mario Odyssey
Super Mario Odyssey has just the right mix of charm, creativity and solid gameplay to make it anyone’s game of the year. There has been a lot of commentary on the sheer joy of playing this game, the clever building of challenge that Nintendo is known for, and the fantastic return to form. All of that, I understood within the first 30 minutes of playing the game. Yeah, I get it. The game is fantastic. It’s fun to play. While I have played some corkers in 2017, this was really something else. If you could bottle the feeling you get playing Super Mario Odyssey, you would put it on the shelf next to the giddy, childlike excitement of Christmas morning.
But the first, true breakthrough moment where it all really clicked for me wasn’t near the start where you possess a T-Rex and smash things with abandon. It wasn’t when I ‘completed’ the main objective of the first world and everything else opened up to reveal the scale of the collectables and the universe beyond. It came with a trip to the game’s second world: the Sand Kingdom.
In the Sand Kingdom, things are not going well. Thanks to Bowser’s antics, the location is a little colder than normal. The cute village populated with skeleton folk in ponchos and sombreros is on ice, and the local landmark, the Inverted Pyramid, is looking suspiciously like the epicentre of disaster. In the desert, there are other funny things to discover, including Moai statue-like characters that wear cool sunglasses. But after meandering around a lot, getting distracted by the wealth of side-quests and collectables, you have to go and investigate the pyramid. Inside it is a very angry guardian statue, made up of a head and two separate fists that are just looking for a fight.
Thanks to the game’s intuitive controls, the first thing I thought of to do, rather than jumping or dodging or running away was to throw Cappy – the magic hat – at the fist propelling towards Mario’s head. To my delight, this resulted in possessing the fist, which I was then able to fly towards the angry statue head, therefore punching him in the face with his own fist.
When I had stopped laughing, I decided that this was definitely my game of 2017.