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5 Ways Super Mario Odyssey is a Souls-Like


Dark Souls Remastered for Nintendo Switch has been delayed, but we already have something to tide us over. Here's a piece I wrote back when Super Mario Odyssey was released. Since we have to wait a few more months to take our Switches into Lordran, I hope this light-hearted list will help you pass the time...

Dark Souls, and its predecessor Demons’ Souls, have ascended to the loftiest heights, becoming genre defining. From Software has produced excellent sequels to Dark Souls, and with Bloodborne, they retooled their own formula into what is sure to be another lasting franchise. There have been decent attempts at imitation like Lords of the Fallen and The Surge. Nioh draws comparisons. The upcoming Code Vein, from Dark Souls’ publisher Bandai Namco, is banking on its similarities, marketing them. Souls-like, as a genre term, is now as deeply planted in the gaming zeitgeist as Metroidvania or Rogue-like.

One defining quality of the Souls-like is a return to difficulty, often compared to the punishing lessons of NES classics like Ninja Gaiden, Mega Man, and the more difficult levels of classic Mario games. So without further ado…

Source: Know Your Meme

5 Ways Super Mario Odyssey is a Souls-Like:

  • The Fashion- Every enemy in Dark Souls can end you with one or two hits. That’s just the way it is. Therefore, Souls players tend to care less about the statistics, and more about the fashion. Just Google Fashion Souls, you’ll see what I mean. In Mario Odyssey, literally every enemy can kill you in three hits, and the outfits offer no protection at all, so the player is encouraged to fashion their Mario in any style they desire.
  • The Death Ring- Every time you die in Mario Odyssey, you lose 10 coins. Every time you die in Dark Souls, you lose all of your souls. But in both games, if you manage return to the spot you perished before dying again, you can recover what you had lost. The penalty might not be much in Mario Odyssey, but I often feel compelled to regain those coins anyway. It’s a Dark Souls thing.
  • The Bowser Banners- After scaling a challenging platforming section in Mario Odyssey, the player is often rewarded with a Bowser Flag, that can be converted to a Mario flag, and then used as a fast travel point. Just like the liberally sprinkled bonfires in Dark Souls 2 and 3.
  • That Level and That Boss- Here there be spoilers, but in Mario Odyssey, there is both a level and a boss that are directly lifted from Dark Souls. You’ll just have to trust me that you’ll know it when you see it.
  • Mind Controlling Headwear- One of the more tragic tales in the original Dark Souls is that of Solaire of Astora. He only wanted to be so grossly incandescent as the sun. While he can, in fact, be saved, most players saw him mesmerized by the Sunlight Maggot, a loathsome parasite that fashioned itself into a crown and drove him insane. Sounds like the Sunlight Maggot might be Cappy’s cousin, or, at the very least, be from the Cap Kingdom?


Obviously, I’ve been having a bit of fun here. But they are all valid points as well. Either way, let me have it the comments. I look forward to your thoughts. 

- A million monkeys at a million typewriters...

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About jerrrberone of us since 6:48 AM on 02.05.2018

I'm a freelance writer based in Toronto, ON, and I'm the voice behind nerdsofacertainage.com. Like the rest of you, I've been playing games my entire life. But I'm old, so... I've played a lot of games.

I don't really focus on the past. I like to stay current, and tend to write about whatever I'm playing that day, week, month... I'm starting to fear 2017 as the year that time stopped. A lifetime worth of quality games were released in 2017.