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5 Lessons New Mario Can Learn From New Zelda



With the success of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s re-invention of the mechanics and feel of a treasured Nintendo franchise, one’s mind wanders from Hyrule to the Mushroom Kingdom. What elements might Mario borrow from Link in his adventure to come, 2017’s holiday Switch release, Super Mario: Odyssey? Here’s a wistful list of five grand hopes and dreams based on what we’ve swooned over in Breath of the Wild. What do you think?

1. A Great Big  World

Hopefully, it’s called Mario: Odyssey for a reason, right? In Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Nintendo took one of its most enduring franchises and cast it quite literally to the wild. All signs point to something similar for Mario, but will the open-ness be quite as bold? It seems likely that in true Mario tradition they won’t break the mold as fully and will include a kind of a hub more akin to Mario: Sunshine and Galaxy – in Odyssey’s case it looks to be a big airship. But what if they didn’t? Imagine exploring vast plains dappled with giant mushrooms and goombas to stomp, utterly untethered… A plumber can dream.

2. Climbing Super High

The newest Zelda is ripe with innovation, but arguably its greatest thrill comes from Link’s ability to climb up anything he can find (unless it’s raining, dammit). The trailer for Mario: Odyssey sparks hope for our vertical aspirations, showcasing our favorite moustache-man scaling towering skyscrapers with his trademark glee (and lack of regard for personal safety). We know Mario can get up there, but the real test will be whether or not he, like Link on his wondrous para-glider of joy, can wistfully sail down in any and every direction.

3. Cool outfits 

Zelda really upped its dress-up game, including a wide array of well-designed, multi-part, upgradeable armor sets. Each armor in Zelda is a pleasure to find, complete, improve, and then customize at the local dye shop like you’re dressing up your favorite doll in the toy box. Mario is known for its fun suits that are tied to great power-ups, and a few new additions are always an inevitability. Hopefully, they kick this up another level, experimenting with greater variety, and perhaps allowing for more customizing. Tanooki suit with frog feet sounds like a good start. The outlook is at least good for some cool hats, as Mario’s trademark red cap is featured prominently being hurled about in trailers.

4. Merciless Difficulty

Over the years, the venerable Zelda franchise has taken some heat for easing up on its difficulty curve and holding the player’s hand for a bit too long. But with Breath of the Wild, Zelda is back in unforgiving form, and you tumble through so many deaths that you can nearly hear Tingle weeping as you die. Mario is best known for an ease-in followed by some truly challenging later levels and deeper unlockable achievements. But imagine if the plumber was equally at risk from the get-go? This, of all the wishes, feels the least likely to be realized, as the welcoming nature of Mario is married to its friendly mechanics. But perhaps going a little Dark Souls on the Mushroom Kingdom could be just the thing for a Mario thrill-ride? Imagine stumbling onto an encampment of deadly Koopalings before you’d thrown your first fireball?

5. Stylish Graphics

Despite so often being the underpowered system in the current-gen pack, Nintendo seldom lets horsepower get in the way of stylish presentation. This has never felt truer than with the newest Zelda where, despite occasional frame drops, it feels nearly impossible not to be struck with a breathtaking vista at every step. Mario is likely to follow suit with its trademark style of eye-busting colors and brain-bending creatures. A welcome addition will be this particular franchise’s take on the so-called ‘real world,’ as we’ve already caught some glimpses of Mario bouncing through some urban streets. Hopefully, we’ll see a few more interesting examples of our everyday world as seen through Mario and Nintendo’s eyes. Forget the big city, I’m ready to double jump through some suburban sprawl.

In the end, who knows what Super Mario: Odyssey will offer? Only Nintendo, that’s who. But it being a proper 3-d Mario game means that one thing is very nearly guaranteed: the new Mario, like the new Zelda, is gonna be fun.

  • Marty Allen

Marty Allen is an artist, writer, and creative producer who lives in Brooklyn. Marty loves to write about video games, pop culture, and all sorts of things. He's written a pile of books and made a bunch of art and songs, but mostly he just plays Animal Crossing and eats watermelon.