Super Mario Odyssey Beginner’s Guide: Tips, Tricks, and More


Super Mario Odyssey is out for Nintendo Switch, and that means fans new and old are finally getting their hands on Mario’s latest adventure. This time around, Mario teams up with Cappy, a ghostly floating cap whose sister Tiara was captured by Bowser after he abducted Princess Peach for his forced marriage.

As far as 3D Super Mario titles go, Nintendo’s latest take brings on some brand-new gameplay features, from “capturing” enemies to open-world exploration. For that reason alone, Super Mario Odyssey may be daunting to some fans who haven’t played through a Super Mario game in years. But don’t fret. Here’s some simple tips that will help you get started in Odyssey in no time.

Fixing Controls

First up, before you jump into Super Mario Odyssey, check out the options menu and familiarize yourself with the controls. Because Odyssey uses both motion controls and traditional analogue controls, there’s some features you may want to turn off (or keep on) while playing.

First off, check out the Joy-Con setup below for one-player. This can also be found in your in-game Action Guide, which we cover below.

Screengrab via Nintendo

After firing up Super Mario Odyssey, play around with the game’s thumbstick sensitivity. If you’ve been playing a lot of games with inverse camera controls, like Splatoon 2, you may feel more comfortable inverting the game’s camera. Increasing the speed is also a good idea if you feel that the right thumbstick adjusts the screen too slowly.

While the motion controls are fun, it’s a good idea to turn them off if you don’t plan on using them all that often. This is particularly the case when using the Switch on-the-go. Unlike Splatoon 2, the gyro controls aren’t quite as easy to maneuver when the Joy-Cons are attached to the Switch. Aiming the Sherm tank while using motion controls can be somewhat difficult, for example, and not quite as approachable as other games’ gyro control schemes.

Lastly, there’s an assist mode that helps navigate the player through the world with arrows and quickly rebound after falling off the map without losing coins. For newcomers and young kids, it’s not a bad way to play the game. But for hardcore fans, it’s a good idea to make sure this mode is off, as it can take away from some of the challenge and exploration that makes the game so fun.

Making the Most Out of Kingdoms

Each kingdom is a gigantic open-world level to explore, with unlockable moons guiding the player from objective to objective. It’s a pretty unique idea, breaking from the linear level design that defined the Super Mario series in the past. And while players can still play through the game by largely following a linear course, Super Mario Odyssey encourages players to look around, check out their local surroundings, and see if there’s certain areas to explore for coins and moons.

For that reason alone, make sure to take your time and explore each kingdom you visit, playing through both its main route as well as its various side challenges. As it turns out, there’s plenty of moons to grab throughout each kingdom, along with underground levels to explore through pipes. Checking out the world around you is a great way to progress through the game with a much more rich and rewarding experience. It’s also an excellent way to pick up golden and purple coins, which can earn the player power-ups and outfits.

Screengrab via Nintendo

When in doubt, remember each kingdom comes with a map in Super Mario Odyssey. Players can also fast travel to regions they’ve already gone to, including warping back to the Odyssey to go visit another kingdom. This is a great way to figure out which areas to explore in a new kingdom, to reacquaint yourself with an old one while searching for moons and coins, or to simply get your bearings if you become lost.

Fighting Enemies and Using Abilities

In Super Mario Odyssey, Mario has more abilities than ever before. And that means the list of moves, attacks, and jumps can get rather confusing fast, especially when dealing with Cappy’s capture ability. Here’s what you need to know when running around kingdoms.

Generally speaking, Cappy is a great resource during any fight. This is because Cappy can be used as a projectile, attacking enemies without making Mario take damage. Try using him first when engaging enemies instead of jumping on them. In some cases, this will let Mario immediately capture his foes and take control of their bodies. In other situations, it will kill enemies outright while minimizing damage done to Mario.

Some enemies also wear hats to prevent themselves from getting captured, making Cappy a great opening attack followed by a second Capture attempt. And Cappy can disable some bosses during fights, giving Mario an opening to Goomba stomp on their heads.

Screengrab via Nintendo

As for Mario’s reverse somersaults and other athletic maneuvers, players can access Mario’s moves by pausing the game and going to the Action Guide. This includes overviews for everything from the game’s controls to Mario’s capture abilities. The guide shows players how to activate moves, demoing them with a short looping clip showing the action in-game. This is particularly useful for Cappy’s Joy-Con controls, which require the player to shake the Joy-Con in a specific direction to use.

There’s also the Capture Actions section, which keeps a record of Mario’s captured creatures and tells the player how to use their abilities. This is particularly useful for recurring enemies, like Goombas, who the player will repeatedly find in kingdoms throughout the game.

Finding Moons

Last but not least, finding moons is at the heart of Super Mario Odyssey. It drives the gameplay and lets players unlock new kingdoms to explore. But finding moons can get tough. Here’s some tips we recommend for picking up moons and powering up the Odyssey.

First off, after landing at a new kingdom, play through the game’s main objective levels. Many kingdoms have two, although some only have one major boss fight. Progressing through these courses is a great way to earn multi moons, which are vital to unlocking new kingdoms.

Screengrab via Nintendo/YouTube [Fair Use](

It isn’t necessary for Mario to earn moons from boss fights to proceed, however, so players can also explore kingdoms however they wish. So again, make sure to explore your nearby kingdom. Doors with golden hats on them and green pipes lead to challenging level segments that end with moons, plus many hearken back to classic Mario gameplay. And moons may be hidden across levels, whether stuck in the ground, carried by nearby animals, or tucked away in rocks and other small objects. Don’t just search through kingdoms, take your time going through them.

Lastly, when in doubt, Toad can pinpoint a nearby moon on your map in exchange for coins. If you’re in a bind, this is a great way to quickly pick up that last moon to reach your next kingdom. As long as you’re willing to pay up for it, that is. Amiibo can also be used to pinpoint moons on the map, helping players find their location instead of searching throughout the game.