Ranking the Kingdoms in Super Mario Odyssey Matt Green November 6, 2017 Articles, Video Games What can be said about Super Mario Odyssey for Nintendo Switch that hasn’t already been said? No one needs another review telling them that the game is stunningly amazing and certainly anyone who has played it knows that for a fact. So instead of reviewing the game as a whole, I’m going to rank and review each of kingdoms within Super Mario Odyssey. 17. Lost Kingdom Whereas every other kingdom in Odyssey is essential to the game as a whole, the Lost Kingdom is the only one that feels like padding and an unnecessary bump in an otherwise straightforward road. I was having a blast collecting Power Moons but upon reaching this kingdom due to how it is placed contextually within the main story of Odyssey, the fun came to complete halt as collecting Power Moons suddenly felt like a chore. Not to mention that the design looks like one of those boring-randomly-generated planets from No Man’s Sky. 16. Luncheon Kingdom Excessively colorful to the point of being jarringly eye-numbing, the Luncheon Kingdom feels like it was pulled straight out of an unfinished indie game. With its polygonal textures and overt wackiness, the whole experience comes across as if Odyssey is trying too hard to be different. The only genuine moment that I felt in this kingdom was when Mario captured a giant slab of meat in order to be snatched up by a giant bird and flown out to a cooking pot over a volcano. Needless to say, the whole scene made my jaw drop. 15. Cloud Kingdom Like the Cloud Kingdom itself, I’ll keep this one short: Despite being the first time that you fight Bowser in the game, the Cloud Kingdom doesn’t have much else to offer aside from how pretty it is and its “hilarious-if-you’re-bad-at-it” Goomba puzzle. 14. Cap Kingdom Had this kingdom chronologically been any other level but the first, I might have placed it higher on this list. However, the Cap Kingdom is such an oddly somber introduction to the wonder that is the rest of Odyssey, it becomes relatively forgettable almost as soon as you leave and reach the next kingdom. Sure it’s awesome how the level is seemingly inspired by the work of Tim Burton, but it being the first level in the whole game only leads to a lot of unanswered questions: Why is it a world of ghosts who wear hats? Why aren’t the hat ghosts Boos? Since Mario was beaten by Bowser in the opening sequence and then suddenly appeared in a ghost world, does that mean he was killed? Did Cappy bring Mario back to life by possessing “capturing” his hat? Was Odyssey inspired by Dante’s Inferno? Is this just a theory? A game theory? 13. Lake Kingdom Upon my first playthrough of the Lake Kingdom, I loved it for how beautiful it is and how navigating through it felt like a puzzle in it of itself. I would even go as far to say that it reminded me of the Zora’s Domain from a Zelda game! However, once I reached another certain kingdom in Odyssey, I realized that the Lake Kingdom was merely a delicious-yet-needless frosting to an otherwise perfectly layered cake. 12. Snow Kingdom The bait-and-switch of a level that is the Snow Kingdom is utterly fantastic. When I first arrived and saw the dense fog of a snowstorm laid out in front of me, I thought: “Oh great, it’s gonna be one of these.” But once discovering the kingdom for what it truly is, it easily becomes one of the most quaintly pleasant within the game. And who can deny that the Shiverian Bound Bowl racing mini-game is fun enough to warrant an entire spinoff game of its own? 11-9. Dark Side/Darker Side/Moon Kingdom (Honeylune Ridge) One could say that it’s cheating to lump these three together, but when taken at face value, these levels really are one-in-the-same due to their atmospheric designs and mechanic of flowy-gravitational-physics à la Super Mario Galaxy. With Dark Side being the lowest for basically being a boss rush stage, followed by Darker Side as it rewards the player with a truly challenging experience for those who are willing to put in the effort of getting there, and ultimately Honeylune Ridge being the best of three simply for how stellar the lead up to the climax is and how amazingly awesome that moment is. 8. Cascade Kingdom Though it’s the second level, the Cascade Kingdom should have been the first because it feels as if it’s the true beginning of the game. From the arrival by way of an electrical spark into a face plant, followed by the swelling of epic-orchestral music, to finding your first Power Moon by becoming a Chain-Chomps and then turning into a T-Rex immediately after, to going 8-bit for the first time and to finally have the grand sense of freedom that Odyssey evokes overall: The amalgamation of everything in this kingdom makes one feel as if they are embarking on their own adventure just as Mario is. 7. Ruined Kingdom Despite being just as short as the Cloud Kingdom, the entirety of the Ruined Kingdom had my jaw on the floor. Containing one of the most shocking moments in Odyssey, this stage’s boss fight is absolutely stellar and makes one of the shortest stages (if not the shortest) the most memorable. 6. Mushroom Kingdom If I didn’t place the Mushroom Kingdom here, I would have blindly placed it higher simply for the sake of nostalgia. Returning to an expanded version of the classic 64 hub-world was an absolute joy, if not purely fan-service. However, all the added secrets, nods, and winks are what truly set this Kingdom apart from the rest. 5. Bowser’s Kingdom This is probably the best “straight-forward” kingdom in the game. Whereas every other kingdom in Odyssey felt as if they invited the player to explore at their own pace (with the exception of the Cloud and Ruined Kingdoms), Bowser’s Kingdom evoked an immediate urgency, allowing for its more linear design to make the kingdom have an earned sense of importance. Given the already wonderful Japanese-inspired design of the kingdom, the stage ultimately culminates in an epic Mario-versus-mech-battle that seems rightly stolen out of an anime. 4. Sand Kingdom Bigger sometimes does mean better and does the Sand Kingdom certainly prove this to be just so. Being the biggest stage in the game, the Sand Kingdom is the level that just keeps on giving and giving, seemingly never running out of things to do or explore. It was with this Kingdom that I started to realize that Super Mario Odyssey just might be better than Breath of the Wild. 3. Seaside Kingdom Gorgeous. Relaxing. Picturesque. Undeniably Entertaining. Fantastic Music. Grandly Adventurous. I have nothing but positive things to say about this kingdom and the fact that it constantly reminded me of favorite Super Mario game (Sunshine) makes it an instant win in my book. 2. Wooded Kingdom I almost placed the Wooded Kingdom as my number one simply for its theme music alone but to do that would take away from how truly amazing it is based on its own merits. From its steampunk-greenhouse design to its hilariously charming inhabitants, the look and style of this kingdom are absolutely perfect. Plus the unique capture to this level, onion-like enemies known as Uproots, are both the most satisfying to control and fun to play as. On the surface this stage may not seem like it has much to offer, but it truly rewards a player who is willing to explore and, to some extent, some could even say that it rewards unskilled players all the same. 1. Metro Kingdom (New Donk City) Come on. It’s New Donk City. You knew as soon as you clicked on something titled “Ranking the Kingdoms in Super Mario Odyssey” that this was going to be number one and I think the reasons why are extremely apparent to anyone who has played the game. Thanks to the vibrant aesthetic, sprawling cityscapes that beg you to explore every nook and cranny, and an NYC inspired hustle-and-bustle, New Donk City will be remembered as one of the best Mario stages of all time and it needs to be in the next Smash Bros.