883. That’s how many Power Moons you need to collect in Super Mario Odyssey before getting to the big reveal. While there are allegedly over 900 Power Moons hidden throughout in the game, those extra 20 or so crescent-shaped trophies can only be purchased in shops.
Compared to Super Mario 64, this is a massive upgrade. Gone are the days where 70 power stars would win you a one-way ticket to a final Bowser showdown, and where 120 power stars brought you 100 bonus lives and a sit-down with Yoshi atop Peach’s castle. With 883 Power Moons before them in 16 different worlds (14 regular and 2 special), Mario and Cappy clearly have their work cut out for them. While uber-talented gamers can beat Super Mario 64 in absurdly fast times, expect Odyssey to demand a bit more patience.
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When you do catch that 883rd Power Moon, however, what can you expect? Rather than a simple send-off, or Peach waxing poetical about “making a cake,” Super Mario Odyssey brings out all the stops. As soon as the 882 Power Moon-tally turns to 883, the Odyssey’s yellow sail turns gold. Mario then gets alerted to a new portrait of Bowser appearing in the Wedding Hall, summoning him to return to Moon Kingdom and get down to business.
Upon jumping into the silvery portrait, Mario is taken to a major showdown against the beast-turtle that demands your sharpest gaming faculties. This final fight puts all of the duels in Super Mario 64 to shame. The stakes are higher (forced marriage to Peach, anyone?), the danger is increased, and the time commitment is drawn out. If you’re on your A-game, it will take a good five or ten minutes to bring Bowser to his knees.
When that finally happens, Super Mario Odyssey throws a curveball. Mario is forced to possess Bowser’s dazed and confused body, throw Peach on his shoulder, and beat his way out of certain doom (all while playing to a punk rock theme song that feels weirdly perfect for Super Mario Odyssey). Playing as Bowser is so satisfying that it makes you wonder how little Mario ever beat him.
When all is said and done, and Mario and Peach (seemingly) sail off into the moon-set, the credits start to roll. Fans hoping to see Luigi at game’s end will sadly be disappointed, as the final reveal is just a postcard of the Super Mario Odyssey ensemble.
With Mushroom Kingdom and Dark Side levels unlocked however, the fun is only just beginning.