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Is Super Mario Odyssey a Free Roaming Game? A Friendly & Detailed Look

As a longtime gaming enthusiast, Super Mario Odyssey is one of my all-time favorite Mario games. One of the most common questions I get from fellow gamers about this incredible Nintendo Switch title is: "Is Mario Odyssey a free roaming game?"

The short answer is: Yes, Super Mario Odyssey allows for tons of free roaming gameplay, but within contained Kingdom levels rather than one massive open world.

In this detailed guide, I‘ll give you an in-depth look at exactly how free roaming works in Super Mario Odyssey, and how it compares to past 3D Mario games. I‘ve played through Odyssey multiple times, so I‘m excited to provide some gamer-to-gamer insight on this awesome title!

Odyssey‘s Gameplay Structure: Discrete Kingdoms to Explore

The first key thing to understand about Super Mario Odyssey‘s structure is that it does not feature one huge, contiguous open world like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Instead, Odyssey presents the player with a series of discrete Kingdoms.

These Kingdoms serve as the game‘s levels – beautifully crafted environments for Mario to explore. As a player, you travel between these separate Kingdoms via the Odyssey ship hub in a nonlinear fashion.

While the Kingdoms are not part of one giant seamless world, Nintendo designed them to be quite vast in scale compared to previous 3D Mario levels. For example:

  • The Metro Kingdom is a sprawling urban cityscape packed with skyscrapers, parks, and winding streets.
  • The Wooded Kingdom is a lush, expansive forest with towering trees, suspended platforms, and secrets tucked away off the main paths.
  • The Luncheon Kingdom is a mouth-watering land of volcanic meatballs and huge salad-filled mesas.

So while Odyssey doesn‘t have one completely open world, each Kingdom provides super large sandboxes full of fun secrets for you to discover!

Tons of Freedom Within Each Vibrant Kingdom

Here‘s where the free roaming aspect really shines – inside each Kingdom, you have immense freedom to explore every nook and cranny at your own pace and in your own order.

Unlike more linear Mario games, there are no enforced paths or time limits. You can choose where you want to explore, platforming challenges are completely optional, and you can gather the Power Moons sprinkled across each Kingdom in whichever order you prefer.

To give you a sense of just how open Odyssey‘s Kingdoms are, take these examples:

  • In the Sand Kingdom, you can climb enormous pyramids, scour underground caverns, or run across the desert finding oasis puzzles. There are tons of sequences you can do in different orders.
  • The massive Metro Kingdom lets you sequence break and reach areas in various creative ways. You might use a manhole to infiltrate the sewers early, or take a power line up to rooftops. The city is your playground!
  • In the Cloud Kingdom, you can opt to use the Magic Carpet power-up to soar between the islands in any pattern you want. With secrets on each island, the order you tackle them is flexible.

So while each Kingdom is its own contained space, you have immense freedom to sequence break, set your own path, and explore every landmark deeply however you see fit.

As a gamer, this freedom is incredibly rewarding and really sets Odyssey apart from more constrained Marios.

Odyssey Offers More Openness Than Past 3D Marios

To give some context, it‘s helpful to compare Odyssey‘s openness to some past 3D Marios. Let‘s take a quick look:

Super Mario 64Open sandbox levels, but smaller in scope vs. Odyssey
Super Mario SunshineLarge levels, but less objectives than Odyssey Kingdoms
Super Mario GalaxyMore linear, mission-based structure
Super Mario 3D LandStrict linear levels

As you can see, Odyssey matches and expands upon the open design of Mario 64 and Sunshine, while providing way more freedom than Galaxy or 3D Land.

In my experience replaying past Marios, the Kingdom levels in Odyssey stand out for their incredible density. For example, the Metro Kingdom has over 80 Power Moons hidden across its sprawling city! You could spend hours sequence breaking and discovering new challenges.

So while Odyssey doesn‘t have one fully open world, the content-rich Kingdoms encourage exploration way more than most past 3D Mario games.

Odyssey Lets You Set Your Own Objectives Order

An awesome aspect of Odyssey is the ability to complete quests, challenges, and objectives entirely in your own preferred order. This is very different from the strict level-by-level progression of early 2D Marios.

The levels were brilliant of course, but Odyssey‘s flexibility brings a great new dimension of freedom!

For example, let‘s look at the Wooded Kingdom. Here are just a few of the many sequences and Power Moons you could obtain in any order you want:

  • Use the flying seed pod to reach a Moon atop a tall tree
  • Visit the giant greenhouse and pass the vegetable growing challenges inside it
  • Defeat the poison piranha plant boss to get his Power Moon
  • Traverse the flower patches to collect the Moon at the end of the flower trail
  • Find the moon hidden underneath the Odyssey ship

This ability to choose your own objective order results in a wildly varied and flexible experience. No two playthroughs are the same because you make your own path through each Kingdom!

As a gamer and completionist, I loved that Odyssey gave me the freedom to set my own quest order based on curiosity. It made exploring every nook of each Kingdom an exciting adventure.

Odyssey Lets You Revisit Kingdoms Freely

In addition to the freedom within each Kingdom, Super Mario Odyssey provides immense replay value by letting you return to previous Kingdoms at any time once you‘ve completed the initial story requirements.

This means you can freely travel back and forth between Kingdoms you‘ve unlocked to keep searching for the hundreds of Power Moons you may have missed!

For example, once I unlocked the Wooded Kingdom, I was free to go back whenever I wanted to find all the moons I hadn‘t discovered yet. I must have returned to Wooded at least 5 times during my playthrough to fully explore it.

This ability to revisit areas is invaluable, and previous Marios would lock you out of levels permanently once cleared. Odyssey‘s free travel enhances that sense of exploration dramatically!

Post-Game Kingdoms Feature Massive Open Maps

After you beat Bowser and complete the main story, the post-game content opens up and Super Mario Odyssey‘s openness goes into overdrive!

The bonus Kingdoms you unlock contain some of the most sprawling and freely explorable areas in the entire game. For example:

  • The Mushroom Kingdom offers a ginormous castle and grounds area to platform through. There are over 100 Power Moons hidden across parapets, balconies, underground caves – it‘s incredibly dense with secrets.
  • The massive Darker Side Kingdom presents a towering cliffside to traverse and explore. There are challenging platforming sections and over 50 Power Moons strewn across the vertiginous map.

These enormous post-game Kingdoms provide some of the most open, unguided exploration in any 3D Mario game. I could choose any path I wanted through huge environments with tons of platforming skill put to the test.

Odyssey Struck Platforming Greatness

In the end, I believe Odyssey found an ideal balance – giving players way more freedom to explore and take on objectives than most prior 3D Marios, while retaining carefully crafted platforming challenges.

The ability to freely sequence break, uncover secrets, and revisit Kingdoms makes Odyssey feel magical compared to the more constrained Marios. At the same time, the discrete Kingdom structure allowed Nintendo to pack in dense content and brilliant level design not possible in a boundless open world.

For me, Super Mario Odyssey became an instant classic by merging free roaming gameplay with Nintendo‘s genius platforming pedigree forged across decades. It‘s one of the most fun and uplifting Mario experiences in my many years of gaming.

I hope this detailed guide gave you a clear gamer‘s view into exactly how Odyssey delivers on free roaming gameplay! Let me know if you have any other questions – I‘m always happy to chat more about this game I love. Game on!

Stats and Data on Super Mario Odyssey‘s Vast Content

To give some numerical insight into how much freedom and content Super Mario Odyssey provides, here are some cool statistics:

  • 17 main Kingdoms to explore in the game, plus bonus post-game Kingdoms
  • Over 800 Power Moons to collect across all Kingdoms
  • 124 minimum Power Moons needed to complete the main story
  • Most Kingdoms have 50 – 100 Power Moons hidden across their large maps
  • Massive areas like Metro Kingdom have over 80 Power Moons spread far and wide
  • You can play through the game in an average of 15 hours, but over 60 to collect everything!

These stats demonstrate the sheer density of content Nintendo packed into Odyssey. With 17 massive Kingdoms stuffed with 50-100 Power Moons each, you have hundreds of objectives to complete in your own order across huge environments.

This amount of handcrafted content is only possible because Odyssey uses separate Kingdom spaces rather than one boundless open world. But within each Kingdom, the developers gave players immense freedom to sequence break, explore, and uncover secrets however they see fit.

The combination of smart structure and expansive freedom makes Super Mario Odyssey stand tall as a masterclass in 3D platforming.

Odyssey Offers Gamers an Unforgettable Adventure

For longtime fans, Super Mario Odyssey delivered an experience that both honored the past and looked to the future. It stayed true to the joy of gameplay, creativity, and freedom that makes Mario so special.

While not fully open world, Odyssey‘s large Kingdoms brought back and evolved the thrilling exploration of Mario 64 and Sunshine. The ability to tackle objectives in any order, sequence break, and revisit Kingdoms made progression excitingly nonlinear.

And the pure fun factor of controlling Mario with such polish and options was unmatched. Chaining dives, rolls, cap throws, and jumps provided endless gameplay depth that rewarded skill.

In the end, Super Mario Odyssey gave millions of gamers a magical adventure fueled by freedom. One they‘ll remember for a long time as a hallmark of the legendary franchise.

For me as a gaming fan, Odyssey is the pinnacle of joyful 3D platforming done right. Here‘s hoping for an equally awesome sequel on the Nintendo Switch!



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.