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You know that we're all Super Stars,
We're the ones who've made it this far!
Put a smile on that face,
There's no time to waste, oh,
Let's do the Odyssey!
Jump Up, Super Star! (single version)
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Super Mario Odyssey is the first main series game in the Mario franchise for the Nintendo Switch, released on October 27, 2017. After the more linear level designs of the Galaxy duology and 3D duology, Odyssey marks a return to the more exploration-based formula used by 64 and Sunshine.

Bowser has once again kidnapped Princess Peach, this time with the intent of forcing her to marry him, and Mario must leave the Mushroom Kingdom, journeying to fantastic other worlds to save her. This time, however, he's not alone. Joining him on his journey is a spirit named Cappy, who's aiming to rescue his sister Tiara from the Koopa King, as he uses her as Peach's wedding tiara. Realizing the two share a common goal, Cappy possesses Mario's hat and allows Mario himself to Capture things, ranging from enemies to bystanders to nearby objects.

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The reveal trailer can be seen here and the gameplay trailer can be seen here.


Super Mario Odyssey provides examples of:

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    #-A 
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Which turns out to be a 13th Hour Superpower: Mario Captures Bowser after the Final Boss, and uses his new giant, fire breathing host to carry Peach out of Bowser's crumbling lair.
  • 100% Adoration Rating: Everybody in New Donk City loves Mayor Pauline. She even has her face on the local currency.
  • 100% Completion: Getting all 880 unique Moons makes the Odyssey's sail golden and unlocks a harder version of the final boss. Beating it will have a group photo of everyone appear after the credits. Getting 999 Moons puts a top hat on Peach's castle that gives a fireworks display, accompanied by an orchestrated version of the Level Clear fanfare from Super Mario Bros..
  • Achievement System: Once you unlock the Mushroom Kingdom, you can talk to Toadette in Peach's Castle, who will add a list of achievements to the Mushroom Kingdom Power Moon List. As you complete the achievements, you can talk to Toadette to get Power Moons.
  • Acrofatic: Unusually for the series, the game provides two characters who are significantly hindered by their weight.
    • Madame Broode, who mostly lets her pet Chain Chomp do the fighting, is too heavy to run after it for very long after Mario Captures it, giving him a chance to wind up and fling it into her face while she stops to take a breath.
    • Cookatiel is too chubby to hold her body up with her small wings after she's been hit a few times, so she loses energy and falls into the boiling stew below.
  • Action Bomb: Trapeetles, enemies in the Lost Kingdom, will grab Cappy if he's thrown at them and wind up before slinging themselves forward with their legs. They'll keep flying forward at the same elevation, and explode when they hit something or after a few seconds flying through the air without hitting anything. The brochure describes it as a "tragic display seen absolutely nowhere else in nature".
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Stupendous Stew. Fossil Falls and Lake Lamode, for area names.
  • Adventurer Outfit:
    • The Explorer Outfit and Explorer Hat combination bought in the Wooded Kingdom give Mario this look. Peach has one, too.
    • In the Lost Kingdom, you can buy the aviator version of this look, though the Steam Gardener roadblock looking for an explorer doesn't consider the outfit to count.
  • Affably Evil:
    • Bowser. Yes, he kidnapped Peach with the intent of forcibly marrying her and is stealing all sorts of sacred treasures from around the world, but he's really going all out to prepare for his wedding with nothing but the best things. He also doesn't consider blackmailing Peach to go along with the wedding (like he did in "Do You, Princess Toadstool, Take This Koopa..?"), or straight-up brainwashing her (like what happened in Super Paper Mario and Super Mario Adventures). He's noticeably very upset when Peach rejects him and Mario in the game's ending.
    • Bowser also seems to be on good terms with Crazy Cap, as he allows them to set up a branch in his Kingdom and document it with a flyer.
  • After the End:
    • The Ruined Kingdom, Crumbleden, was once a civilization that used its towering buildings to harness lightning. No one knows exactly why it was destroyed, but archaeologists theorize that was destroyed in a great battle against whatever the people used the lightning for, which is implied to be the dragon boss you fight. The world is a Boss-Only Level with 5 Power Moons and no local currency or NPCs to talk to.
    • The Crazy Cap flyer for Culmina Crater on the Darker Side of the Moon theorizes that this may be why the Moon Kingdom is uninhabited and sparse: The cataclysm that created this crater might have also annihilated the Moon Kingdom. Whatever the case, its only intact structures are the chapel where Bowser intends to marry Peach and a building seemingly based on New Donk City Hall. Rabbit Ridge seems to have been built and populated after the Moon Kingdom's demise.
  • Airplane Arms: When Mario hits his top speed while running, he outstretches his arms, like he did in Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World.
  • All the Worlds Are a Stage: The Darker Side of the Moon has parts with gameplay from every kingdom, although not in order.
  • Always Check Behind the Chair: Getting some of the purple coins, and some of the power moons, tends to come down to this. A literal example is three purple coins behind Peach's throne in the Mushroom Kingdom.
  • Ambiguously Human: No, not Mario, it's the other way around. The inhabitants of New Donk City are simply called "New Donkers", not "humans". Which is a bit suspect, since, if the inhabitants of a Kingdom have a proper name, they'll be called that in the brochure instead of a demonym, such as the Lochladies of Lake Lamode and the Mushroom Kingdom's Toads.
  • An Axe to Grind: Part of the Zombie outfit you can get includes a fake axe which looks like it's embedded in Mario's head. Since it serves as his hat, Mario can throw Cappy as a spinning axe, but being a cosmetic item, it doesn't do anything extra.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: Bowser's goal in kidnapping Peach this time around is to force her to marry him.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes:
    • The prize for beating the Broodal tower in the Dark Side is the King's crown and outfit, and the prize for clearing Culmina Crater in the Darker Side is the Invisibility Hat.
    • The specialized Wedding amiibo give Mario early access to the wedding outfits worn by himself, Bowser, and Peach.
  • Angrish: Successfully answering all of the Sphinx's questions leads to him shouting out a bunch of nonsense out of irritation that you've done so.
  • Animate Inanimate Object:
    • The inhabitants of Bonneton are all hat-like ghosts: this includes Cappy, who possesses Mario's hat after Bowser stomps on it, and his sister Tiara, who is a living tiara.
    • The Luncheon Kingdom has living kitchen utensils.
    • Mario's Capture ability isn't limited to living things; he can also capture things like trees, cars, and manholes, granting these things limited mobility while he inhabits them.
  • Antepiece:
    • The primary Capture mechanic of the Cascade Kingdom is Chain Chomps, and its boss, Madame Broode, must be beaten by Capturing her own Chain Chomp pet.
    • Throughout the Sand Kingdom, several small round cacti can be found. Hitting them with Cappy will grant you coins, and if hit correctly, one can set off a domino reaction as the cacti hit the ones next to them in sequence. Even if you've managed to not hit any or never tried to use Cappy on one while playing through the kingdom, the game puts a large group of round cacti before the doorway to face Hariet, to make sure the player knows they can be hit. Why? Well, they're meant to teach the player that Hariet's visually-similar spiky round bombs can be dealt with the same way. In fact, if you've discovered that the cacti can be chained, you'll likely realize that the small bombs can be smacked into Hariet to unhat her, rather than you having to wait for her stronger attack to give you an opening, and they can also be used to cut her counterattack short by knocking a bomb up into her flying hat.
    • The primary Capture mechanic of the Sand Kingdom is Bullet Bills, and the boss, Knucklotec, is beaten by Capturing one of his rocket fists, which controls in the same way and punching him in the face with it.
    • The Lake Kingdom puts extra emphasis on the flower trampolines that have already appeared earlier, letting you know what to use its Broodal boss, Rango's, hats for when you attack them, as they have identical flowers inside.
    • The Wooded Kingdom's primary hazard is poison generated by Piranha Plants, which can be cleared by a toss of Cappy. This teaches you everything you need to know to deal with Spewart, the region's Broodal boss, as he uses poison to attack and keep Mario at a distance.
    • The Wooded Kingdom also features Uproots as the primary Capture, and their stretching ability and tough heads are needed to weaken and damage the boss, Torkdrift.
    • The Metro Kingdom's first story section has you Capturing Sherms, which you should learn pretty well, as they're your only means of taking down the Mechawiggler menacing the city.
    • The Seaside Kingdom's main Capture are Gushens, which are the only way to chase down the boss, Mollusque-Lanceur, and, for the first hit, are the only way to damage him (You can ground-pound his head for the next two hits, though Gushens are still needed to get in position to damage him). In the rematch, they're your only way to win, period, since you fight in the open sky and cannot exit the Capture and survive.
    • The main Capture of the Luncheon Kingdom is the Lava Bubble. Traversing the level as one will prepare you for the boss, Cookatiel, as you are forced to remain in one during the entire battle, and its unique "platform" abilities in lava are key to defeating her. If you've discovered the Lava Bubbles' ability to deal contact damage from playing in the level or even from the first hit of the fight, you might also figure out that you can hit Cookatiel while she's flying low and attacking to cut short the phase and get right to the lava-vomit that will give you a chance to climb up and attack.
    • Bowser's Kingdom focuses on Pokios' beak-climbing ability, teaching the player early that soft materials are climbable, and towards the end in a vertical section, that metal is not. The level also showcases that bombs break metal things, and that Pokios can redirect bombs by smacking them with its beak, both of which are required to get a Moon Shard for a mandatory Moon. The final boss of the area requires the player to attack its metal armor plating with bombs to break it and expose the climbable wood underneath, which can be scaled to attack the boss's weak points.
    • One Power Moon has a particularly tricky 2D stage; instead of being purely 2D, it involves moving screens that take Mario out of the stage if he reaches the border. To prepare the player for that, the stage starts out with a small screen with a slow moving background. And in the event that the player gets taken out of element, a small platform catches them, safely and quickly teaching them about the gimmick and its consequences.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • To compensate for the massive worlds, Mario has a map that he can use to warp to any checkpoint flags he's activated in a kingdom. Or back to the flag on the Odyssey's deck, allowing a quick way out of a kingdom.
    • Should Mario have to exit a Captured character, the character will be stunned temporarily so that he can recapture it once he's ready. If he takes too long, the character or enemy will disappear and respawn again at the exact spot they were found in, so it's easy to find them again. In places where you need them for something, they'll also respawn when killed.
    • No need to worry about slipping off a platform to serious damage when you land— Falling Damage is one notable feature this game does not take from Super Mario 64. The worst that can happen is Mario getting stunned for a few seconds by the impact, which can usually be canceled by throwing Cappy before landing.
    • There are three different hint systems in the game to prevent Guide Dang It!: the Hint Toadnote , Talkatoonote , and Uncle amiibo note .
    • Upon re-entering a challenge sublevel, Cappy will tell you whether or not there is still something there for you to do there, alerting players to the presence of uncollected purple coins or Power Moons, or sparing them wasted time searching through a cleared area. Some sublevels gain collectibles in the postgame, so Cappy will still tell you to look again. Also, as a rule, each sublevel has two Power Moons, which lets you know in itself whether you've cleared the area.
    • For the first time, Mario doesn't have lives and there are no game overs. Instead, you just lose 10 coins (which are super easy to get). Somehow ran out of coins? Don't worry, you'll just be sent back to the last place you exited.
    • Characters with a big turning circle (such as Bullet Bills) will, when captured, be able to freely pivot for the split second after capture, so you can always face them the way you want regardless of which way they were going before.
    • In the post-game, the player can buy infinite moons from Crazy Cap stores for 100 coins each. This allows players to see the 100% ending even if they just can't complete a certain mission.
    • Have an amiibo like Mario or Peach and are low on health? You can re-use them as many times as you want to continue to receive the bonus health. Very useful if you accidentally fall or get hit too many times with a bonus heart.
    • Capturing an underwater enemy removes the air meter, and leaving them refills it again. This means a player who's out of air can quickly capture a Cheep Cheep to refill their air supply.
    • Collected items do not have to be collected again when the player dies, including purple coins, fruits that Yoshi eats, or Moon shards gathered in levels. They still appear, but faded out, and give coins if collected again. This is especially nice in the platform-heavy sublevels, where death won't make you have to re-collect the items along the way on your next attempt to complete the section.
    • In the final Escape Sequence after defeating and capturing Bowser, hitting ZL or ZR won't boot you out of his body like with other captured creatures so that you won't accidentally do so in the middle of all the frantic running, jumping, and smashing.
    • Hearts aren't the only things that heal Mario. Entering the Odyssey heals him to full health, as does touching previously-collected Moons. So if you're low on health and you don't know where a heart is, but you're nearby one of those, you're good. Even if you're not near the Odyssey, you can always warp to it and pop inside. This will not be possible during the initial run of the Lost Kingdom, however, as you need to collect Moons to repair it.
    • If you fail a boss too many times, a Crazy Cap employee will appear and offer to sell you a Life-Up Heart to give you more health during the fight.
    • Moons found by following Hint Art are listed as though they belong to the kingdom where you discover the hint, instead of the one where you actually collect the moon, as the Moons match the art's kingdom, like the Kingdoms have been hiding their own moons in other Kingdoms and leaving treasure maps for you. That way, you'll be reminded to look for the art in each kingdom to get clues, but this also means that you won't be told about those Moons by the hint systems if you're in the Kingdoms where they're actually found.
    • The region-specific purple coins in a Kingdom can total 50 or 100 depending on the size of said Kindgom, and because they're smaller collectibles, they're a bit trickier to find. Fortunately, the game makes the burden a little lighter, as the coins never appear alone- they're either in pairs or groups, which means there's no hunting around for one solitary coin that you just can't find. The groups make them easier to see and faster to collect.
    • You don't have to exit a Captured enemy to use a spark pylon — you'll just get transferred into it on contact. This can reduce any potential mishaps like bumping into the enemy after exiting or accidentally re-Capturing it instead of hitting the spark pylon when throwing Cappy.
    • During the postgame, each Kingdom has a moon rock that will release more Power Moons into the world. Perhaps as compensation for the new amount to collect, all of the Moons from a moon rock get automatically marked on the map.
    • If you find a Moon corresponding to a piece of Hint Art, the art will get a check mark on it, reminding the player that it's already been used and preventing them from checking and screenshotting pieces they don't remember using before.
    • In the Mushroom Kingdom, remembering which area each of the bosses' rematch paintings are found in could be confusing given that some are in identical structures and others are reached through pipes. To help, the game provides hints on the overworld. For the four identical towers, which contain rematch paintings of Knucklotec, Torkdrift, Mechawiggler, and Cookatiel, NPCs from the world the boss was fought in will stand next to the corresponding tower (e.g., Tostarenans are found next to the tower where Knucklotec's painting is kept, and New Donkers near the Mechawiggler's, etc.). For the other two, however, the hint is in the location. The aquatic boss Mollusque-Lanceur's rematch painting is fittingly reached by using the underwater pipe near Dorrie, and because the Ruined Dragon came from a castle civilization, its painting is reached by the pipe at the bottom of the castle moat.
  • Arc Symbol:
    • Hats: Mario, Bowser, and the Broodals use them in combat, the Odyssey is shaped like a hat, the Cap Kingdom's inhabitants, airships, and buildings are all hat-shaped, many enemies and most NPCs have hats, the Insert Song mentions them, etc.
    • Moons: The main collectible in the game, the moon is visible in every kingdom (with a huge one hanging in the sky of the Cap Kingdom), the square in the Metro Kingdom has a big one on the ground, the Insert Song mentions the moon, the last level is on the moon, etc.
    • Within the Sand Kingdom, a certain face and fists appear everywhere in the carvings of the ancient structures. The end of the kingdom's story reveal that they are images of Knucklotec, the boss of the area and an implied god of the old civilization.
  • Arc Words: Not in the main story, but the Brutal Bonus Level. It's "Thank You", shown by the massive crowd gathered to cheer you on and stated in the level by the Sphynx, some spark pylons, and at the very end, Cappy.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The fishing Lakitu's song concludes with him saying he'll fish "through poison, fire, or mold".
  • Art Evolution:
    • Mario's overalls are a bit more detailed than they have been in previous games, though nowhere near Brawl levels. His hair, eyebrows, and mustache are also made up of visible, individual hairs, when they used to be simply solid blocks of color.
    • Trailers shown in the September 2017 Nintendo Direct show how polished the game became since E3 2017, for example, character models were more detailed and full of life, Peach especially.
  • Artistic License – Ornithology: Played for Laughs, as penguins here are perfectly capable of flight.
  • Art Shift: The various Kingdoms have very different art styles from each other and most Mario games in general, creating this effect.
  • Ascended Extra: Toadette makes her second appearance in a main Mario game (the first being Super Mario Run, and not counting her very brief cameo in Super Mario Galaxy). Due to her main role in Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, she's now a member of the Toad Brigade, who also make their typical appearance.
  • Ash Face: Mario ends up covered in soot if something blows up in his face or sets him on fire. It lingers for a bit before fading away.
  • Astral Finale: The final area in the game is the Moon Kingdom. By extension, the Brutal Bonus Level takes place on the moon as well.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: If you come up against a Stairface Ogre while capturing a Pokio, Cappy will suggest attacking it in the glowing spot on its head. Poking said spot with the Pokio's nose causes the Ogre to explode the same way it would if it took a Ground Pound.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: The final leg of the post-final-boss Escape Sequence is accompanied by an upbeat, inspirational rock song.
  • Automatic New Game: The first time you start the game, you're asked if you want to play on Normal or Assist Mode before going into the opening cutscene. Subsequent startups include the title screen.
  • Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: The content ratings of Super Mario Odyssey are higher than usual for the series; it has a B rating (ages 12 and up) in Japan, a PEGI 7 rating in Europe, a PG rating in Australia, and an E10 rating in North America. While the content of the game is largely the same as other Mario games, the game heavily advertises its "realistic" elements such as the Tyrannosaurus rex and has a few very bleak stages with nightmarishly-designed bosses. The most likely intent was to market Odyssey as a "cool adventure game" — just as the creators always intended for Mario to be — and to give it more immediately obvious appeal to older audiences as well as kids (not that Mario wasn't an "all-ages" franchise in the first place).

    B 
  • Badass in a Nice Suit:
    • Mario can wear a dandy white wedding outfit.
    • Bowser's wedding uniform is a white suit and top hat. Mario can purchase one to wear himself (differentiated from his outfit mainly by the spiky turtle shell on the back).
    • If you return to Cap Kingdom, you can purchase a black tuxedo and top hat from the local Crazy Cap.
    • Once you get to the Metro Kingdom, you can buy Mario a black pinstripe suit and matching hat.
    • Updates later added the options to buy the suit Pauline's backup musicians wear and (of all things) Topper the Broodal's green suit.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The first two trailers for the game start off looking like something else entirely before revealing that it's a Mario game.
    • The initial reveal trailer starts off with a pan across a realistic cityscape before panning down to a wiggling manhole; Mario hops out to begin the trailer proper. The only tip-off before Mario's appearance is that the various advertisements in the city are references to Donkey Kong.
    • The E3 2017 trailer begins with a picturesque landscape that's interrupted by a ferocious and realistic-looking T. rex. It isn't until we see a familiar red hat on its head that we learn it's really Mario, with the entire scene serving as a hint towards the capture mechanic that's properly introduced later in the trailer. Many commentators, upon first seeing the T. rex, ended up mistaking the trailer for one for Monster Hunter until they saw Mario's cap on its head.
    • Extending from that, several scenes are deliberately edited to remove plot details in the earliest trailers. The reveal trailer hides the existence of Cappy until the very end, showing Mario to be wearing his normal cap in several gameplay moments. Also, Tiara wasn't revealed at all until the September trailer.
    • Before the game's release, a number of early reviews promised the game would change the status quo. This is true to a point, as while Mario does finally attempt to ask for Peach's hand in marriage, him and Bowser fighting results in Peach rejecting both of them out of frustration, ultimately preserving the status quo. Edge Magazine in particular also promised a significant post-game role for Peach that would leave fans surprised, which turned out to be her simply showing up in the lands as an NPC alongside Tiara and handing out Moons.
  • Balloonacy: Luigi is held aloft by a balloon on his back. As the player's rank in Balloon World increases, he attaches more balloons to a maximum of four.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: No one seems to have any difficulty breathing on the Moon. A spacesuit is available in Crazy Cap, but given how the dog on the moon wears just a helmet with no trouble, it's more than likely just cosmetic. Of course, this isn't the only time Mario and his friends have been to space without spacesuits. However, the Astro-Lanceur enemies seem to avert this, wearing bubble helmets with a breathing apparatus. The Ground Pound symbol on their helmet texture lets you know what to do, and the animation of shattering glass drives home that Mario has killed them merely by breaking their helmets, and not by the usual effect of such an attack.
  • Battle in the Rain:
    • The Mechawiggler in New Donk City is fought in a thunderstorm.
    • The rematch battle against Mollusque-Lanceur is in a rainstorm, because this time there isn’t a floor, meaning Mario needs to use water jets to stay aloft but also doesn’t have anywhere to get it; pausing for a second or two lets the rain refill his supply.
  • Big Applesauce: "New Donk City" of the Metro Kingdom is New York all but in name.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: The Cap Kingdom/Bonneton is a gloomy London-esque area inhabited by the ghostly Bonneters. It's a rare non-scary example, as said ghosts are universally on your side.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Many of the lanterns decorating Bowser's Castle read "寿空覇" ("kotobuki kuppa"), which can be translated as "Long live Bowser". The characters used to represent Bowser's Japanese name 空覇 (normally pronounced "kūha") translates to "sky conqueror".
  • The Big Rotten Apple: New Donk City mid-Bowser attack adopts most of the traits on the trope page, being overrun with crime (abundance of Sherm enemies), infestations (Urban Stingbies also serve as enemies while rats are just part of the environment), and pollution (the New Donk City Power Plant below is full of Poison Pirahna Plants and is mostly full of poison). Post-invasion, the city is in a much better state.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The day, and Peach, is saved, and Mario's about to pop the question, but, due to Mario and Bowser fighting for her hand, Peach decides there should be No Romantic Resolution and rejects both of their proposals. She does, however, call out to the both of them for a ride back to the Mushroom Kingdom on the Odyssey, which Mario is able to board at the last second, although Bowser isn't as lucky.
  • Black Comedy: After defeating Cookatiel, she falls into the stew arena and gets cooked alive, and the people at Mount Volbono remark that the stew is "chewier" and "stewier".
  • Body Surf: The main mechanic of the game, referred to as Capturing, lets you possess and control others with Cappy. You can control Goombas and Hammer Bros., Bullet Bills, taxis, frogs, Lava Bubbles, binoculars, trees, dinosaurs, and even other people. The only limitation is that he can't possess anyone that's wearing a hat.
  • Bonus Boss: Collecting all 880 listed Power Moons unlocks a rematch against Bowser, though this version is tougher.
  • Book-Ends: Mario's first and last Captures in the main story feature Mario traveling through the mind of the entity he's Capturing. Mario's first Capture (in the Cap Kingdom) and last Capture (in the Darker Side of the Moon) is a frog.
  • Boss Arena Idiocy: Torkdrift, Mechawiggler, Brigadier Mollusque-Lanceur III, and the RoboBrood all have enemies spawn in their arenas that can be Captured and used against them.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: The Yoo-foe enemies that appear in the postgame in some Kingdoms. They're encountered in the open world like any other enemy and can easily be avoided and don't force you to fight them, and have no cutscenes, but they have an alternating attack pattern, are harder to defeat, taking two hits and usually requiring Captures provided by them (Goombas) or the area (an Uproot in the Steam Gardens), and they give better rewards, with two granting Power Moons and a third giving a Life-Up Heart. The one in the Wooded Kingdom even earns one of the Kingdom's more intense music tracks while it's present.
  • Boss-Only Level: The Cloud Kingdom and Ruined Kingdom are extremely small levels that only serve as boss arenas in the main story. There are additional moons to collect if you return to these locations, but far less than any other Kingdom.
  • Boss Rush: Located at The Dark Side of the Moon, where you fight the Broodals again, all in a row, with no checkpoints and no healing in between. If that weren't enough, they're a lot tougher this time around.
  • Brick Joke: In the postgame, you Capture binoculars to spot the Sphynx flying through the air on an airship sail in the kingdoms where it otherwise wasn't present, and zooming in and looking for a few seconds will get you a Power Moon. Later, the Sphynx's bonus quiz on the Moon will ask how he got there, with the correct answer being "on an airship sail", which you should have learned from those binocular views.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: The Darker Side of the Moon, which is a very long and difficult level during which Mario has to use a lot of Captures masterfully. On top of that, it requires a whopping 500 Moons to access. However, compared to previous entries, it is very generous with health, and some sections can be outright skipped if you know how to play it right.
  • Bubbly Clouds: The Cloud Kingdom takes place in the skies above the world.
  • The Bus Came Back:

    C 
  • Calacas: Tostarenans in the Sand Kingdom are colorful skeletons wearing ponchos and sombreros, often seen carrying maracas.
  • Call-Back:
    • Pauline, Mario's original love interest from Donkey Kong, is back here as the mayor of New Donk City.
    • In the Mushroom Kingdom, the Super Leaf tree from Super Mario 3D Land makes a cameo.
  • The Cameo:
    • The silhouettes that represent the many minigames look like hat-wearing Game & Watch figures.
    • Some of the hidden Hint Art features Poochy from the Yoshi's Island games finding Power Moons. He makes a physical appearance in Bowser's Castle, where a captured Lakitu fishes him up instead of a Cheep Cheep to get a Power Moon.
    • The conspicuously absent Bloopers and Boos, as well as the Fire Flower, appear respectively on Peach's fan, mask, and kimono in Bowser's Kingdom.
  • Cast from Money: Capturing a Coin Coffer lets you shoot Coins out of its mouth, in either single shots with the Y button or in a radial spread by shaking the Joycon. Each Coin you fire off depletes your Coin count by 1.
  • Central Theme:
    • A journey to an unknown world. This game sees Mario leaving the Mushroom Kingdom to pursue Bowser around various kingdoms across the globe. This extends to Capturing, which allows Mario to see the world through the perspective of various objects and creatures, including enemies and the realistic humans.
    • Hats and caps. Throwing and using Mario's cap is a mechanic, his Odyssey airship is in a shape of a hat, and nearly every revealed character has a unique hat. The enemies have different hats in each world, the NPCs in areas like New Donk City and Tostarena wear appropriate headgear, and even animals like rabbits and birds wear tiny caps!
    • The Moon. It's visible in every Kingdom Mario visits (though not necessarily all the time), Mario collects Power Moons, the Odyssey's sails resemble phases of the Moon, getting fuller with each segment assembled, and in every cutscene that ends with Bowser's Airship, it's going in roughly the direction of the Moon in the sky. This all leads to the climactic wedding itself being set on the Moon, as well as the Boss Rush and Brutal Bonus Level.
  • Checkpoint: The Checkpoint Flag that debuted in the New Super Mario Bros. games and appeared in the 3D games from Super Mario Galaxy 2 onwards makes another return appearance here, though they function less as checkpoints, and more as landmarks. While you will respawn at the last one you touched (and you can touch a flag any time you want to set your respawn to that point), their more useful function is letting you warp to one on the map after you've activated them.
  • Checkpoint Starvation: Checkpoints become a lot less frequent in the post-game locations. Of note are Rabbit Ridge and Culmina Crater, whose main challenges have no checkpoints at all.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The mysterious, metal-like cuboid stones found in each Kingdom. They don't appear to do anything at first, and Cappy wonders what their purpose is. They're Moon Rocks. In the post-game, the Rocks become active, and when interacted with, cause several new Power Moons to appear across the Kingdom before disappearing.
  • City Noir: When you arrive at New Donk City, it's dark and raining, with Sherms and Urban Stingby enemies looking for trouble. This lasts until you defeat the first boss, after which the city becomes vibrant and populated.
  • Clamshell Currency: The purple coins in Bubblaine are shaped like scallops.
  • Climax Boss:
    • At roughly the halfway point of the game, Bowser intercepts the Odyssey en route to the Metro Kingdom, initiating a battle. Following the fight, he shoots down the Odyssey, sending Mario to the Lost Kingdom.
    • The Ruined Dragon is a surprise encounter that begins a three-part endgame, alongside the RoboBrood and the final battle with Bowser himself.
  • Clothing Appendage: The Lochladies have scales and fins in the shape of a dress.
  • Clothing Damage:
    • Mario's hat is shredded in Bowser's ship engine in the prologue, which prompts Cappy to retrieve it and find Mario.
    • Bowser's tuxedo explodes when Mario knocks him out in his final boss fight.
  • Cold Open: The game's logo doesn't appear until after defeating Topper for the first time and clearing the Cap Kingdom.
  • Collapsing Lair: Bowser's base on the Moon starts to fall apart following his boss battle, forcing Mario to Capture the unconscious Bowser and high-tail it out of there with Peach on his shoulder.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The Power Moons and the poles on Checkpoint Flags are colored differently for each kingdom, as follows:
    • Cap Kingdom / Cascade Kingdom / Cloud Kingdom / Lost Kingdom / Ruined Kingdom / Dark Side / Darker Side: Yellow
    • Sand Kingdom: Green
    • Lake Kingdom: Pink
    • Wooded Kingdom: Dark Blue
    • Metro Kingdom: Bronze
    • Snow Kingdom: Orange
    • Seaside Kingdom: Purple
    • Luncheon Kingdom: Cyan
    • Bowser's Kingdom: Bright Red
    • Moon Kingdom: Light Yellow
    • The Mushroom Kingdom uses the golden Power Stars in lieu of Power Moons.
  • Commonplace Rare: Power Moons are given out as prizes for races, as gifts, and one has even been buried in garbage in New Donk City, meaning they're of minimal importance to anyone but Mario in comparison to the public value of Power Stars or Shine Sprites in their games. Speaking of New Donk City, they use a near-infinite supply of Power Moons as energy for the entire city!
  • Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: When you're approaching an encounter with Bowser, Cappy will prevent you from backtracking, forcing you to move on to the next kingdom. Also, if you attempt to do the Sphinx riddle prior to the final showdown, it'll insist you've got better things to do at the moment. He also discourages you from backtracking from the Metro Kingdom the first time you visit it and the Moon Kingdom, but allows you to anyway so you can pick up any Moons you've missed.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: There are actually four in the game:
    • New Donk City is littered with references to the Donkey Kong series, including Donkey Kong Country.
    • At the start of the festival mission in the Metro Kingdom, one of the NPCs near the entry pipe mentions that the festival tells the story of the city's beginnings. As the mission takes place within a multi-sectioned 2D sprite zone that is one long send-up to Donkey Kong, it's really telling the origins of Mario himself.
    • Mario's closet will eventually become this, as most of Mario's outfits are direct references to older games, promotional materials, and other characters in the Mario and Donkey Kong franchises.
    • When Mario Captures Bowser during the final stretch, images of his boss battles from previous games briefly flash by while Mario is within his mind, with the original NES title, Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World and Super Mario 64, followed by images of Bowser's scenes from Odyssey.
    • The Mushroom Kingdom as a whole is a reference to several games, especially Super Mario 64. The boss fight rematches are accessed via paintings, with the same jingle as the Nintendo 64 installment, a number of power moons are accessed by doing similar actions (such as looking at the ceiling from the sun tile in the castle lobby), the purple coins are the familiar star coins, and the Power Moons and accompanying jingle are replaced by 64's Power Stars and jingle. Two of these stars are also located in the courtyard, which can only be accessed by wearing the Mario 64 costume. There are mushrooms with the color palettes of the original Super Mushrooms, Modern 1-Up Mushrooms, and Mini Mushrooms. The Tail Tree from Super Mario 3D Land appears as well. Meanwhile, the area reached by the secret painting in the Luncheon Kingdom is Yoshi's house, with the original appearance now translated into 3D. Finally, Toadette appears in her attire from Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In the Luncheon Kingdom, Mario can pick up and carry turnips much like in Super Mario Bros. 2.
    • Micro Goombas are a bright yellow color, resembling their appearance in the NES version of Super Mario Bros. 3.
    • Isle Delfino is visible here on one of the maps used in promotional materials, down to the dolphin shape and the Pinna Park island amusement park, next to the Mushroom Kingdom.
    • Platforming challenges in the vein of Super Mario Sunshine's FLUDD-less missions return, only this time they're, naturally, Cappy-less missions.
    • The way Mario holds his outstretched hand when collecting a Power Moon can either be a V-Sign (64), an open palm (Sunshine), or an outstretched fist (Galaxy).
    • The Gushens that are capturable in the Seaside Kingdom play similarly to FLUDD's hover nozzle, and you can even use them to clean up lava-like goop.
    • As in Super Mario 64, Yoshi can be found on the roof of Peach's castle.
    • The City Tripper from Mario Kart 8 (or if you prefer, the Sugarscoot/Bon-Bon from Mario Kart Wii) appears in the game, with a new color scheme.
    • There are a couple of 8-bit missions that utilize Gravity Screw mechanics similar to the Super Mario Galaxy games: one of these in the Moon Kingdom even has "Galaxy" in the name of its moons.
    • The poison goop in Wooded Kingdom is similar to the goop in Super Mario Sunshine. It hurts Mario if he touches it and covers his entire body if he does. It can be cleaned up with the help of Cappy and can even be spat out by certain Piranha Plants. The similarities are stronger in the Seaside Kingdom, where you use Gushen enemies (who behave much like F.L.U.D.D.'s nozzles) to spray away some molten goo in one section.
    • Poochy being found in a sea of poison isn't too outlandish, since he's been known to No-Sell any possible hazard in existence in his home series, including lava.
    • One particular Power Moon requires making use of a classic trick. In Peach's Castle, standing on the sun carpet and using First-Person View to look at the ceiling will cause a Power Star to appear. This is the same trick in Super Mario 64 used to access the hidden Tower of the Wing Cap.
    • The Mushroom Kingdom is surrounded by grasslands, but if you look far enough out to the horizon in one direction, you can see a desert. Desert-themed worlds are typically the second world after the grasslands in most Mario games.
    • In New Donk City you can find a hat, umbrella, and purse modelled after those same bonus point items from Donkey Kong. It'll even play the same "points" sound effect from that game the first time you pick them up, and you can return them to Pauline to earn a Power Moon.
    • In the Mushroom Kingdom, there is exactly one tree that has a Tanooki tail. If you get Mario onto the right part of the branch, Mario will sit down on it the same way he does in the opening cutscene of 3D Land.
    • The currency in the Moon Kingdom is referred to as "Star Bit-esque". Likewise, the currency in the Mushroom Kingdom looks nearly identical to a purple version of the coins from Super Mario 64 and are referred to as "64-esque".
    • The Jizo statues in Bowser's Kingdom look exactly like the statues Mario can turn into using the Tanooki suit, including the scarf from Super Mario 3D Land.
    • At the end of the credits, you can hear Mario say, "Thank you so much for playing my game!", which he also said at the end of the credits for Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy.
    • After the credits, it cuts to Mario sleeping in the Mushroom Kingdom, with Cappy suggesting that their trip to the Moon Kingdom was All Just a Dream. Mario then immediately wakes up, and Cappy states that it's a good thing that it wasn't.
    • You can refight bosses by jumping into their paintings in the Mushroom Kingdom. It even plays "Game Start" from Super Mario 64!
    • During the New Donk City Festival, Pauline does her animation from Donkey Kong during the chorus.
    • The tourist binoculars, and with them, the ability to zoom in on interesting distant things to get rewards, return from 3D Land, though here, the binoculars are a new design and accessed by Capturing.
  • Convection Schmonvection: The Luncheon Kingdom plays this completely straight. Not only does it follow the typical Mario logic of no-contact proximity being harmless, but it's actually cooler than the Sand Kingdom according to their brochures, and Mario can dress down to be more comfortable. Next to lava. But in the Sand Kingdom, nothing allows Mario to be cool enough to fall asleep outside.
  • Cool Airship:
    • Mario travels around the world in an airship named the Odyssey that's shaped like a hat and has a huge sail on top, which gets more sail panels the more collected Power Moons from the different Kingdoms the Odyssey travels to. By the time the Odyssey gets to the Moon Kingdom, the sail is now a glowing yellow hot air balloon envelope.
    • Bowser is shown to have an airship whose colors match his outfit.
  • Cool Crown: Tiara, Cappy's sister, is being used as a bridal substitution for Peach's crown.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: Building on the 2-player modes from Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel, Odyssey lets a second player assist Mario by taking control of Cappy, who then floats above Mario's head instead of sitting on it. With the ability to fly freely around Mario (even while Capturing), a second player greatly simplifies many of the actions, especially against enemies and bosses that require multiple hits in a row. The first player can still throw Cappy when the second isn't using him.
  • Cosmetic Award: In addition to clothes and Power Moons, Crazy Cap sells stickers and souvenirs that Mario decks out the interior and exterior of the Odyssey with.
  • Creepy Centipedes: One of the bosses is the Mechawiggler, a massive robotic Wiggler, only far less cute.
  • Critical Annoyance: When Mario is down to a single point of health, a buzzing alert will sound (the first time you fall to one point it will sound then sound whenever Mario is standing still until his health is raised higher than one).
  • Cumulonemesis: Ty-Foos, the gigantic cloud enemies from Super Mario 3D World that blow gusts of wind at Mario, reappear in this game and can be captured by Mario to blow enemies and wooden blocks away.
  • Cuteness Proximity: One of the Lochladies from the Lake Kingdom loves Cheep Cheeps, and will reward you if you bring her one.
    Lochlady: CLOSE-RANGE CUTENESS! I can hardly stand the adorability!
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    D 
  • Darker and Edgier: The game is just as optimistic and cheery as most other Mario games, but returns to the "cool, epic adventure" vibe of Super Mario Galaxy and takes it even further, with a number of "realistic" elements that are deliberately out of place in a Mario game but make the game feel more complex and daring. Some of the bosses and levels, such as Mechawiggler and the Ruined Dragon and their respective stages, are very much this, and bring a feeling of darkness and despair. The game's content ratings are also higher than usual for the series, being E10+ as opposed to the usual E.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Rather than losing Video-Game Lives, if Mario dies, he simply loses a small amount of coins that he can regain if he makes it back to where he died (unless he fell into a Bottomless Pit or similar hazard). Additionally, you can't even get a Game Over either — you still respawn even if you have no coins left.
  • Death Is Cheap: Literally. When Mario dies, he loses 10 coins and goes back to the last checkpoint.
  • Death Throws: The first sandbox-style game to apply this, with Mario getting thrown off the screen at the vertical coordinate relative to his current position (making this the first truly 3D example) if he either loses all his health or touches poison water.
  • Demoted to Extra: After having been playable in the previous four 3D games, Luigi is relegated to being the host of a balloon-collecting minigame that's only available in the post-game.
  • Descriptiveville: Almost every greater location follows the Mushroom Kingdom pattern of "defining characteristic/theme + Kingdom".
  • Deuteragonist: Mario's new sentient hat, Cappy, plays a major role in the game and has more of a presence than previous power-up sidekicks in the 3D games.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • While jumping off several types of friendly NPCs, Mario does not stomp on them, like he would an enemy. He instead vaults off of them, using his hands. Strangely, though, this does not apply to every friendly NPC; you can stomp on Toads and Bonneters, and most of the other "cartoony" NPCs, all you'd like.
    • Unlike previous games, performing a Ground Pound over an upright Pipe or Rolling into a sideways Pipe will now cause Mario to fall/roll into the Pipe respectively instead of performing his normal Pipe animation, accompanied by a sped-up Pipe sound effect.
    • If the player is skilled enough to reach certain out-of-the-way areas, the developers reward them with large coin caches. Speaking of coin caches, while most normal coins will respawn whenever you teleport or re-enter an area, coin caches respawn with a reduced number of coins, to discourage players from grinding the same cache of coins over and over again. The same is true for the hidden 8-Bit Luigis added in the update, as they'll give you 200 coins when first found, but only 10 when uncovered again,
    • When Mario's standing near Source Music, he dances to it. He's actually dancing in time to the music, and using the in-game Sound Test to override the music reveals that he'll dance in time to every song.
    • If Mario is in water that's above his waist, he won't lie down and fall asleep. He'll just keep yawning and doing exercises.
    • During the battle against Brigadier Mollusque-Lanceur III, the player can enter a 2D section and hear an 8-bit version of his song, even though the battle doesn't involve 2D sections. However, because this isn't intuitive, you won't need to do so to unlock the track on the music list — it comes with the regular battle theme.
    • In the final battle, Bowser will comment on whatever costume Mario has on at the moment, such as complimenting him if he has the wedding outfit on or accusing him of trying to scare him if he has the Clown costume.
    • During the boss battles, their prefaces, the Klepto chases, and Culmina Crater, Mario will not go through any of his idle animations, to show how focused and determined he is.
    • It's possible to skip many of the game's story missions and boss fights by collecting enough Power Moons to leave the kingdoms early. Doing this before encountering Bowser in the Sand Kingdom results in a unique cutscene, in which his airship leaves the Inverted Pyramid.
    • Talking to Luigi while wearing certain outfits, such as the wedding suit, the same outfits Bowser is scared by, or the Luigi outfit, will yield some extra dialogue from him.
    • A number of kingdoms have scattered seeds that must be put in pots and then let time pass to allow them to grow. In the Seaside Kingdom, you can instead water them with a Gushen to make them grow much faster — "Flowers need water to grow".
    • The developers thought ahead with some of the costume-locked Power Moons, so trying out things like a skeleton costume to party like a Tostarenan or wearing a Satellaview suit for a Lochlady wanting to see a spaceman will still work. Not all of them have alternatives, but there are some costumes which aren't hinted at that will still work for the NPC characters.
    • When fighting Topper, the obvious way to damage him is to knock off his hats with Cappy and then jump on his head. However, it's also possible to damage him by jumping on his back while he spins facedown on the ground to sweep the arena with his stacked hats. If you do this to finish him off, he'll still be wearing his hat in his defeat animation, since you didn't knock it off for that final hit. This also makes Topper the only Broodal who can be beat with his hat on.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: After Mario and Bowser's squabbling for her affection, Peach decides not to marry either of them. She doesn't sever ties with either party, though, and is still happy to see Mario and give him Moons when she takes a world trip with Tiara.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: The movement system is pretty deep, and proper use of Cappy can allow for amazing jumps.
  • Difficulty Levels: The game has the standard Normal Mode and a more forgiving Assist Mode, where your maximum health is doubled to 6 HP, arrows are placed on the ground in order to steer you towards your objectives, you cannot drown, and Bottomless Pits no longer kill you outright — you are put in a bubble when you fall and put right back where you started from at the cost of a single hit point.
  • Difficulty Spike: As with other Mario games, difficulty ramps up significantly in the post-game, with additional Power Moon challenges and objectives. Of special mention are the Boss Rush against the Broodals in the Dark Side of the Moon, its sub-levels, and the Darker Side of the Moon.
  • Disconnected Side Area:
    • Almost every kingdom has a painting in it that takes Mario to some distant unreachable area (typically a floating island) in another kingdom, where a Checkpoint Flag and a Power Moon are guaranteed to be waiting for you. Some of them allow you to go down to the rest of the level, but others are floating so high and far away from the rest that you would need to warp with the map to the main area. Some of the former can be reached from within the Kingdom with ridiculous advanced jumping, but none of the latter can.
    • The VR missions make these out of locations from the main game, which are only reachable with the slingshots; the Cap Kingdom gets Top-Hat Tower, the Seaside Kingdom gets the top of Glass Tower, and the Luncheon Kingdom gets the pot atop the volcano.
  • A Dog Named "Dog":
    • Tiara, Cappy's sister, is a living tiara.
    • Cappy's default appearance, outside his true form, is Mario's cap.
  • Double-Meaning Title: "Odyssey" is both the name of Mario's Cool Airship and the journey Mario and Cappy undergo to save Peach and Tiara from Bowser.
  • Downer Beginning: The game begins with Bowser defeating Mario and escaping with Peach, also destroying Mario's hat in the process.
  • Dressed to Plunder: Mario can don a pirate outfit, and the Goombas in Bubblaine wear captain hats.
  • Dump Them All: After Mario defeats Bowser and proposes to Peach, Bowser tries to shove his way in during Mario's moment. Peach gets fed up and rebuffs them both.
  • Dungeon Bypass: The Brutal Bonus Level is generally much kinder than most of Nintendo's earlier levels of the type since it provides you with frequent opportunities for health, but it still has hard platforming sections. Perhaps the hardest comes with a section where you have to climb a wall of blocks that pop out before they all pop out and push you into the lava. You activate them by hitting a scarecrow, too, so your can't use Cappy. However, the scarecrow is on the underside of a block which rises away once it's hit, so if you jump on top and use the motion controls to throw Cappy downward just right, you'll hit the scarecrow and get an elevator ride to the top, sparing you the challenge.

    E 
  • Early-Bird Cameo: A meta example. The game was one of many then-unannounced titles shown in the Nintendo Switch's reveal trailer, with a woman playing through Tostarena, two months before the game got its official reveal. The two-player mode is also hinted at in this trailer, with that mode not being revealed until eight months later.
  • Easter Egg:
    • Every kingdom has a hidden Pixel Cat Mario and Pixel Cat Peach sticker located somewhere. Hitting them with your cap will cause them to dispense coins and a Heart, respectively. There's also a Pixel Rosalina sticker located in both Rabbit Ridge and Culmina Crater.
    • In Toastarena, you can throw Cappy at round cacti, and they will dispense coins when they hit the ground and burst. If you knock a cactus into another cactus, a chain reaction will occur where the cactus you hit will launch the next cactus upon making contact, and so forth. When you do a chain this way, the second cactus onward will start playing the Red Coin sound effect from previous Mario games, and upon breaking four cacti in a chain, the last one will play the relevant fanfare.
    • Bowser's dialogue during the confrontation at the wedding will change depending on what Mario is wearing. For example, Bowser will attempt to bribe Mario to go away if he's wearing the Wario outfit.
    • Bouncing on the Odyssey's globe repeatedly will play a music box version of either the Cascade Kingdom's theme, or "Jump Up, Super Star!", depending on if you're in one of the Kingdoms before the Metro Kingdom, or if you're in the Metro Kingdom onward.
    • If you use the Photo Mode to zoom in on Hint Toad's brochure, you'll find that it's one for Super Mario 64's Bob-omb Battlefield. Zooming in on the newspapers in New Donk City will show one of the T-rexes that appear in the game, and on the New Donkers' laptops, you can see some kind of article discussing the Moon Rock in the Sand Kingdom.
    • The version 1.2.0 added another one: if you ground pound the spot marked by some new Hint Art shared by Nintendo on their social networks, you'll find a hidden 8-Bit Luigi or Captain Toad which gives you 200 coins.
    • Certain Moons are barred by NPCs who won't let Mario into the rooms they oversee until he's dressed to fit the area, which is usually solved by buying the area's primary or only exclusive outfit with the region's purple coins. However, for some of these objectives, some other costumes will also work, but they're less intuitive due to being so expensive, and only one of them being available before the postgame. However, you can enter the rooms for fun any time if you're dressed right, so these are likely just as nods to curious players and not expected to be players' first solutions.
      • In the Sand Kingdom, you're supposed to buy and wear a sombrero and poncho to enter a party room, but you can also buy the extremely expensive skeleton outfit in the postgame to fit the skeletal Tostarenans' dress code.
      • In the Lake Kingdom, you're meant to get the full swim costume to enter the shop display, but the boxer shorts, the most expensive outfit before the postgame, also qualify as swimwear and will get you in.
      • The Sunshine outfit in the postgame can be used as an alternative to the resort outfit in the Seaside Kingdom due to it being Mario's vacation wear from Super Mario Sunshine.
    • If you jab a metal box with a Pokio's beak over a hundred times, it will actually break. However, this is tedious and it's not very practical, as it's never the only or intended way to break them. As such, it's just a little secret for curious players.
  • Eenie, Meenie, Miny Moai: The Moe-Eyes are walking moai statues with sunglasses. If Mario captures one, he can toggle its sunglasses to see invisible platforms.
  • Equippable Ally: Much like in Galaxy, Mario gets a new companion inhabiting his hat that gives him a new ability. This time, it's the hat ghost Cappy, allowing him to do all sorts of crazy things with his hat.
  • Ermine Cape Effect: Peach averts this during her post-game vacation, as she wears various weather-appropriate outfits in the various kingdoms (including a swimsuit for the Lake and Seaside Kingdoms). None of these outfits even include her trademark crown. She changes back into her standard dress once she returns to her castle, but her outfit is randomly chosen from her classic outfit and her travel ones each time the Kingdom is loaded afterward.
  • Eternal Engine: There are a lot of industrial machines in the Wooded Kingdom.
  • Everything Is an Instrument: The Peronza Plaza music in the Luncheon Kingdom, as this behind the scenes video shows, uses the sounds of knives hitting a cutting board and a ladle hitting a metal pot lid as the sole percussion, to go along with the locale's Level Ate theming.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: One of the things Mario can Capture is a Tyrannosaurus rex.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: Small, blue penguins can be found in the Snow Kingdom. Unusually for penguins, these ones can fly.
  • Excuse Plot: The princess has been kidnapped again. What more do you need?
  • Exposed to the Elements: Mario can run around Shiveria in the Boxer Shorts and impress one of the locals enough to get a Power Moon.
  • Expository Theme Tune: Rather than describing the plot, "Jump Up, Super Star!" describes the gameplay of Odyssey, from jumping, collecting coins and other typical Mario elements to the exploration and freedom available to the player. Mixes with Thematic Theme Tune, as the lyrics encourage the listener to get out and explore their own world.
  • Extra Eyes: The Mechawiggler has five red eyes that glow.
  • Eye Cam: When Cappy does his first Capture on a frog, we get a view through Mario's eyes as he's opening them before realizing what just happened.
  • Eyes Never Lie: Among the other changes enemies receive when Mario takes over them (his hat and mustache), most enemies will also inherit his blue eyes, either by gaining more detail to have irises or by their colored eyes changing to blue. Even Lava Bubbles, who gain no color and little detail when Mario Captures them, still have smaller, friendlier dot eyes when Mario's face replaces theirs.

    F 
  • Fake Longevity: The only way to get the maximum moon count of 999 is to grind up an extra 11,900 coins to spend at Crazy Cap to make it happen, as there are only 880 actual moons in the game. Fortunately, coins are easy to hoard over the course of the game, especially after the Balloon World update, and by the time you can buy multiple moons from Crazy Cap, you'll have than likely have amassed enough coins to get a headstart.
  • Falling Damage: Unlike 64 and Sunshine, you can hit the ground from any height and Mario will be fine, although he will be briefly staggered by a high enough fall when he lands. It's a good thing too, as the levels can get rather vertical, and Mario has only three hit points by default.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: One of the Capturable enemy types is the Sherm, which is a tank that could almost pass off for a real one (almost; they still have headlamp eyes). So, of course, they fire fancy, firework-like shells with rainbow-colored trails, that look silly even by the standards of a franchise where cannon shells tend to have googly eyes and arms.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Cookatiel suffers this after being defeated, falling into the pot of Stupendous Stew and boiling alive in it, complete with sizzling sounds and bubbles surfacing from where she fell in before she finally blows up in it.
  • Fantastic Fireworks: After defeating the RoboBrood, the mecha blows up, propulsing it high up into the air before exploding in big fireworks representing all four Broodals cringing in pain.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Most of the game's settings are based on real-life locations:
    • The Cap Kingdom seems to be based on London, with the foggy towns and all.
    • According to Kenta Motokura, the Sand Kingdom was inspired by his own trip to Mexico. This is showcased by the town with sugar skull-headed residents and the Mayincatec pyramid with its boss Knucklotec.
    • Lake Lamode seems to be an amalgam of France (its name is based on à la mode, the country is known for fashion, and the Lochladies speak vaguely French-sounding gibberish) and Greece (the overall architectural style and segmented island-like topography).
    • Though there's no hint of it in the final game, the Steam Gardens were originally named Kogwald, which would make the Wooded Kingdom based on German forests ("wald" means "forest" in German). This would be supported by the kingdom's advanced technology; it's German engineering.
    • New Donk City is pretty transparently based on New York City.
    • Shiveria seems mostly inspired by Scandinavia (with large harp seals wearing traditional knitwear and living in Scandinavian-style wood housing), with a little bit of Russia (as one of its souvenirs is a set of nesting dolls) as well as Antarctica (due to the presence of penguins and the glaciers surrounding the area).
    • The Seaside Kingdom seems to be subtly based on the French Riviera, with snails wearing berets as the main characters and a huge champagne flute as the main landscape feature. Moreover, the boss fought here has a French name, and so do a few of the missions (Bonjour, Dorrie! and Merci, Dorrie!).
    • The Luncheon Kingdom is based on Italy, namely the facts that it's famous for its cuisine and is volcanically active. It also has ancient Roman architecture, and cans of tomatoes lying around in addition to living tomato enemies.
    • Bowser's Kingdom is a painstakingly accurate Japanese castle, with 3 concentric walls (accurately translated as "maru" in the Japanese version), yagura towers, arrow holes, and even a traditional Japanese garden with a tea house where the level's Crazy Cap is located. Mario can obtain accurate samurai armor and Japanese festival clothing by spending traditional Japanese ryō, the 2D platforming section is a traditional set of Japanese screens, some of the sound effects are replaced by a samisen, the enemies wear traditional Japanese jingasa and sandogasa hats, and you can capture jizo statues common throughout Japan. The main keep is guarded by thunder and wind guardian statues found at Japanese temples and shrines, there are two large shrine buildings visible in the castle, and the entire level is filled with waving Japanese battle flags and festival banners.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Peach and Tiara, if the way they always appear together in various places during the post-game is anything to go by.
  • Flying Flightless Bird: Each level has different small birds roaming them; they fly away as Mario approaches. The birds in Shiveria are tiny penguins, which fly just as well as the others.
  • Flying Saucer:
    • A big, daisy-like UFO named Torkdrift appears as a boss in Steam Gardens, where he is found vacuuming all the flowers from the secret flower fields.
    • Much, much smaller flying saucers appear in both the Moon Kingdom and the Mushroom Kingdom, acting like the various birds from other regions. Close inspection reveals that they are miniature Torkdrifts, with a single white flower inside of them.
    • Also, when the Broodals get hit, they retreat into their hats, making them look like miniature flying saucers. Fitting, since they actually come from the Moon.
  • Flying Seafood Special: Brigadier Mollusque-Lanceur III, the gigantic octopus boss fought in Bubblaine, hovers above the water during the fight between opposing him to Mario.
  • A Foggy Day in London Town: Bonneton in the Cap Kingdom seems to be based on London, and it's just as foggy as its real-life counterpart.
  • Follow the Money: In addition to the traditional yellow coins, each kingdom (except the Cloud Kingdom, Ruined Kingdom, Dark Side, and Darker Side) has 50 or 100 purple coins that act as local currency. They're different in each world: the Metro Kingdom has purple pennies, the Sand Kingdom uses coins modeled after the Inverted Pyramid, the Luncheon Kingdom has tomatoes, the Wooded Kingdom uses mechanical nuts, and so on.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Within the Sand Kingdom, the ancient architecture contains carvings everywhere of a face and some fists amid jewels and Jaxis. It turns out that face and the fists are the three pieces of Knucklotec, the guardian and boss of the ancient kingdom.
    • The finale taking place on the moon is heavily hinted at throughout the game:
      • The moon is very prominent in cutscenes and on the world map, and the main collectibles are moons.
      • Looking at the moon in each world will also let you know how many moons you have left to collect there.
      • In any cutscene where Bowser's airship is present, the last shot of the airship is it heading in the direction of the moon in the sky. Ditto for any travel eastward made by Mario.
      • The song "Jump Up, Super Star!" features the line, "Oh we can zoom all the way to the moon / From this great wide wacky world", though it may be hard to notice as the song is first heard in-game during a coin-heavy 2D section.
      • In Japanese folklore, the image of a rabbit can be seen on the moon's surface, instead of the face that Western audiences see; the miniboss squad are a group of rabbits, who are revealed to be from the moon.
    • Mario and Bowser vying for Peach's hand, as well as her reaction to it, was foreshadowed by the poses of the Wedding amiibo, and the corresponding official art.
    • At various points during the Broodals' battles, they'll weaponize their hats, and once the hats start spinning, they take on a distinct resemblance to flying saucers. Fitting, as the Broodals are from the Moon.
    • The very first Power Moon you get is encased in a structure that has weird silver squares poking out of it. Those are moon rocks.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: Try Frothy Ocean of Water, as the Seaside Kingdom has an ocean of "fizzy water" that the boss creature is trying to suck up. Given the cork-popping symbolism of the cannon fountains, and the wedding themes of all the other stolen items, this is family-friendly champagne.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: In the Luncheon Kingdom, Hammer Bros. throw pans at Mario.
  • Funny Robot: The Steam Gardeners, who talk about flowers and silly stuff in Robo Speak.
    "We are programmed to grow flowers. The flowers are programmed to grow."
    "The Steam Gardens are objectively superior to other regions! Wooo."
  • Furry Confusion: The Dark Side is home to the Broodals, Funny Animal rabbits, and normal rabbits.

    G 
  • Game-Breaking Bug: If you capture a stack of Goombas and touch a Life-Up Heart at the same time, most of the game will freeze, allowing Mario to run around without getting hit or respawning, but because objects' interactivity is disabled by the freeze, progress is barred, and falling off the level means falling forever with no death to reset things. (No, you cannot open up the menu in this state.)
  • Genre Throwback: While the previous "course-clear" style 3D Mario games (Super Mario 3D Land, Super Mario 3D World, and the Super Mario Galaxy duology) were driven by linear level design meant to mirror the 2D classics, this game features bigger, more open worlds akin to Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The French translation sneaks one example in the post-game via a pun: one of the Steam Gardeners in the Wedding Hall declares he'll splash anyone he hears using "flowery language".
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The Ruined Dragon. How did Bowser know where to find it and why did it agree to help him interfere with Mario? It shows up for one battle and then immediately vacates the story (though you can visit it again during the post-game). It also has a completely different aesthetic from the rest of the game, adding to its feeling of being out of place.
  • Girls Stare at Scenery, Boys Stare at Girls: During the post-game, you can find two Bubblainian tourists, one male and one female, in the Lake Kingdom. The female one is commenting on the beautiful scenery, while the male says that he only has eyestalks for the female.
  • Global Currency Exception: Each world's Crazy Cap shop has a counter that uses the standard golden coins, and another that only accepts the purple coins specific to each world.
  • Go Fetch: You can play this with the Shiba Inu pups, using Cappy in lieu of a ball or Frisbee.
  • The Goomba: Micro-Goombas take on the role of the first, easiest-to-deal-with enemy; they're also too small to be Captured. Actual Goombas are a Capture target, as are Paragoombas.
  • Goomba Springboard: At the ending, Mario jumps on Bowser to reach the Odyssey in the sky.
  • Gorgeous Garment Generation: Before taking off for the Moon Kingdom, Cappy changes Mario's clothes into a white tuxedo. If you didn't have the amiibo to get it early, this is when you obtain Mario's wedding outfit.
  • Grand Theft Me: By throwing Cappy, Mario can Capture things to temporarily hijack them. He can do this on frogs, Goombas, Koopas, Cheep Cheeps, the RC car-controlling citizens of New Donk Citynote , and even a T. rex. Even inanimate objects aren't immune: trees, binoculars, taxis, enemy tanks, and manhole covers can come under his control. And Bowser himself, when he loses the only protection he has and is unconscious but needed to break the group out of the caverns they're trapped in.
  • Green Hill Zone:
    • The Cascade Kingdom is the typical first grassy world. The Cap Kingdom, the actual first world, is a more atypical example, being spooky and black-and-white in theme.
    • Peach's Castle in the Mushroom Kingdom.
  • Grimy Water: Poison water can be found in at least one sub-area of most kingdoms, in isolated "lakes" in the Sand Kingdom, in moats in Bowser's Kingdom, and utterly surrounding the Lost Kingdom. Per tradition, falling into it is instantly fatal.
  • Groin Attack: It's how you take down old-school Donkey Kong during the final 8-bit segment in the New Donk City festival. And Bowser, for that matter; due to the height difference, when you put on his boxing glove hat, it essentially results in Mario punching Bowser in the balls.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • There is no way to get hints for the local currency locations without the Bowser amiibo. If you don't have one, better hope you like poking your nose into every single nook and cranny looking for those last few coins.
    • The Hint Art Moons. Barring those that feature Poochy, which are screenshots of actual overworld locations (and not even those are very helpful sometimes), some of the Hint Art can be very obtuse, ranging from hard-to-read illusions to spot-the-difference puzzles (the difference marking the spot, of course). Hint Art Moons also count as a different Kingdom's Moon than the one they're found in, meaning that using Uncle amiibo or Hint Toad won't do you any good. The "bonus" Hint Art images released online and through the Switch's news feature are even tougher, but they just grant coin rewards and aren't needed for getting a hundred percent completion.
    • A handful of Captures don't tell you all the possible moves you can execute, or that there are alternate ways of executing others. Some examples of the former include the game never stating that you can spin as a Pokio by shaking the Joy-Con, which functions as a Double Jump when jumping normally, a sweeping attack when your beak is extended on the ground, and as a high-jump when your nose is embedded in a wall, or explaining that both Cheep Cheeps can do a dashing spin by pressing the dive and surface buttons at the same time. For an example of the latter, when you're a Spark Pylon (the electricity wires), you can pick up coins and collectibles around the wires by pressing any button in addition to shaking the controller. Some of these cases can be found out by experimenting, but it isn't always easy to guess.
    • There is a Power Moon found in Steam Gardens's Deep Woods that involves Capturing a Coin Coffer, then finding a sapling and spitting 700 coins at it (granted, the sapling is surrounded by a few coins lying in the brook, and uncollectable coins never appear anywhere else). Even if you've stumbled onto every step but the last, it takes a particularly persistent and stubborn player to keep at it for that long, especially since there's no visible progress after about one-fifth of the way through. Also, just entering the Deep Woods requires jumping off the edge of the level in the landing area, which would kill Mario in any other kingdom.
    • In various kingdoms, to get a specific Power Moon, you need to use binoculars to look in the sky at the flying ships in the background. But one of those ships is actually a taxi (or, in the postgame, the Sphynx) and you have to stare at it for a few seconds. You would not even think of doing that the first time you're in the kingdom.
    • The Power Moon On The Eastern Pillar is a bit tricky, and if you try all the Bullet Bills in the Sand Kingdom, their time limits don't get them close enough to break the block the Moon is hidden in. What you're supposed to do is to capture a Bullet Bill, wait a bit so it shoots another, lure it to one of the pillars to the right of the ruins (on the map), jump out of the original Bill, capture the second Bill before it explodes, and go as fast as you can to break the block and get the moon.

    H 
  • Hailfire Peaks: Many of the levels were designed with this kind of contrast in mind.
  • Hair-Raising Hare: The Broodals, a group of fancy-dressed but mean-looking rabbits who serve as Bowser's personal wedding planners.
  • Hair Reboot: After the Final Boss, when Bowser flies into a wall and his tuxedo explodes off of him, his hair, which had previously been coiffed for the wedding, goes back to his usual mohawk.
  • Hat of Power: Mario's Cap was just really spiffy before, but now it has eyes, courtesy of its inhabitant, Cappy. He gives the hat the utility of functioning like a boomerang weapon, and as an object that Mario can throw, then jump on, to use as a springboard. And of course, Mario can Capture things using his hat, too.
  • Hearts Are Health: Rather unusually for the series, there are heart items to heal you instead of hit points being restored by a coin each, and there are also Life-Up Hearts which add three temporary hit points like the Galaxy Life Mushrooms. This is likely because the amount of coins in the game is greater, more comparable to the 2D Mario formula, and as such, they'd make healing too easy. Checkpoint flags (when first activated), Moons, and returns to the Odyssey will also heal Mario.
  • He Cleans Up Nicely:
    • Bowser cuts a rather striking figure in his white wedding outfit. The in-game description for Mario's version of said outfit even states that Bowser cleans up nicely for a fire-breathing monster covered in spikes, while Bowser himself will compliment you on your choice of clothing before the final fight.
    • Mario's no slouch either, Cappy even comments on how dapper the white tuxedo makes Mario look.
    • And, of course, Princess Peach looks stunning in a white wedding dress. It helps that this dress isn't just a Palette Swap of her normal gown like in Super Paper Mario.
  • Helpful Mook: The usually antagonistic Koopa Troopa and Lakitu enemies actually appear as friendly NPCs. The former often gives Mario challenges, including Koopa the Quick-type races, while Lakitus can be captured to fish up hidden items. Other NPCs in the area also don't react in fear if Mario approaches while capturing a Lakitu as they would when he captures other mooks near them.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: More like "Dogs Love Heroes". The Shiba Inu that shows up in some of the kingdoms will follow Mario around after it unearths a treasure, play fetch with Cappy, and curl up to sleep next to Mario if he nods off.
  • High-Altitude Battle:
    • The rematch with Brigadier Mollusque-Lanceur III has the starting platform with a single Gushen, a Glass Tower replica you can't climb, and nothing else. The fight is in the sky during a rainstorm (so you don't run out of water), with that starting platform as the only place to rest.
    • The initial battle with Bowser in the Cloud Kingdom is this in its entirety, though you're on a flat arena and can't see the ground through the clouds.
  • Holy Pipe Organ: The church on the moon where Bowser plans to marry Peach has some reverent organ music playing inside. But once you confront Bowser, there is a cutscene just before fighting him where the organ switches to playing more sinister music as Bowser sends Mario down a trapdoor in the church's floor to the battlefield.
  • Homing Projectile: If you shake the Joy-Con while Cappy is in flight, Cappy will home in on the nearest valid target, be it a collectible or enemy. You can use this to compensate for bad aim or squeeze a little extra distance out of your throws.
  • Humongous Mecha: One boss battle involves Mario fighting a giant robotic Wiggler by Capturing a tank enemy to attack it. Another boss battle involves a gigantic wooden robot which is piloted by all the Broodals together, and it must be defeated by knocking bombs at its legs and climbing the fallen machine to attack the cockpits that the Broodals are in.

    I 
  • Idiosyncratic Wipe:
    • The scene change transition is an Iris Out with Mario's hat, twirling like he's throwing it away from the screen.
    • The wipe when you skip the cutscenes is crescent-shaped, much like the Power Moons.
  • Idle Animation:
    • Mario once again eventually falls asleep and dreams about pasta if you stand still long enough. Leave him long enough after that and a bird (type varying by location) will land on his nose.
    • On his bed in the Odyssey, he will go to sleep more quickly, and if left idle on any kind of chair, he will sit down on it.
      • Mario can also doze off momentarily on one of the chairs in the ship, but he wakes himself up after a while unlike when on the bed. During this Cappy will float around admiring any decorations you’ve placed inside the ship as well.
    • Mario will shiver and try to warm his hands in a cold enough area, while he'll wipe sweat off his brow and fan himself in a hot enough area. Though if he's wearing an appropriate outfit, such as the jacket while it's cold, or the boxers while it's hot, he'll go back to his regular idle animation.
    • If Mario's standing next to Source Music, such as a radio, or the live band in New Donk City, he'll begin dancing to it.
  • Ill-Fated Flowerbed: The Steam Gardens feature a secret flower field that is very dear to the Steam Gardeners' robotic hearts. Unfortunately, the field has been found by Torkdrift, a daisy-like UFO that vacuums up all of its flowers. Mario manages to destroy the monstrosity, but not before it managed to destroy most of the parterre. You can return to restore the field and get a Power Moon, though.
  • Improvised Platform: An unusual case. Magmatoes are Luncheon Kingdom enemies which melt into a pool of lava when hit, making them a hazard... to anything except a Captured Lava Bubble, which can swim in their puddles to cross solid ground that would vaporize the Lava Bubble otherwise.
  • In a Single Bound:
    • In this game, Mario can use springy poles to launch his way up and across the New Donk City skyscrapers, and can land safely after leaping from them to street-level.
    • A skilled player can make Mario pull off insanely long distance leaps in this game; it's possible to bypass most sections where you have to Capture a creature to progress by pulling off said insane jumps, and many platforming challenges can likewise be made much easier with skilled enough jumps.
  • In Case of Boss Fight, Break Glass: Torkdrift, the Mechawiggler, and the RoboBrood all are defeated this way.
  • In Medias Res: The game starts with Mario fighting Bowser aboard his airship.
  • Insert Song: It ultimately turns out that "Jump Up, Super Star!" isn't the Title Theme Tune some people thought it was.note  It plays when Mario gets the band back together, and then goes though the Donkey Kong-inspired Retraux section during the festival. There's also one other one that plays when Mario captures Bowser, and he and Princess Peach make their escape from the underground lair under the wedding hall. To be exact, it plays in the last area when Mario has to destroy the four columns.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • Bowser is largely referred to as a monster by other characters.
    • The Mushroom Kingdom's collectibles are still called Power Moons, despite the fact that they're in the form of Power Stars.
  • Instant Awesome: Just Add Dragons!: One of the bosses, The Lord of Lightning, is an absolutely gigantic dragon whose visual design is more in line with The Elder Scrolls or Dark Souls than anything you'd expect in Mario.
  • Interface Spoiler: A minor one, but looking at the Moon lists reveals all the potential moons that the world has, including ones that can only be found in the post-game.
  • An Interior Designer Is You: You can buy souvenirs from the various kingdoms to customize the interior of the Odyssey, though they all have predetermined spots, so the customization is limited to what you buy, since you cannot decide where the items will be placed or remove them after they're bought.
  • Interspecies Romance: At one point two guys, a snail-like Bubblainian and a fork-like Volbonan, can be seen competing for the affections of a female New Donker, who, like all other New Donkers, looks like a realistic human. Her body language indicates that she's rather flattered.
  • Invincibility Power-Up: Starmen are notably absent, but scanning a Mario amiibo achieves a similar effect by granting you a brief period of invincibility.
  • Invisibility Cloak: The Invisibility Hat Mario gets by collecting the Multi Moon in Cumina Crater.
  • Invisible Wall: Surrounds the Cap Kingdom and Seaside Kingdom, to prevent Paragoombas and Cheep Cheeps/Gushens from flying/swimming (respectively) out in the distance forever.
  • Irony: The song "Jump Up, Super Star" features "1-Up Girl" and "1-Up Boy" as lyrics, though this is the first main-series game without a lives system.

    J-L 
  • Jiggle Physics:
    • Oddly, the game features this for, of all things, Mario's nose.
    • Mario's hats are also affected, bouncing slightly off his head with every step, practically flying off as he runs, and even exposing the hair underneath as it bounces.
    • The typical application of the trope is found here too, with Madame Broode's chest and stomach. It's not sexy.
  • Jungle Japes: The Lost Kingdom is a tropical island jungle with a lot of interesting plants.
  • Kabuki Sounds: Stairface Ogres utter a kabuki-like "Yoooooo" when they're defeated.
  • Kaizo Trap: The final battle begins with Bowser already attacking you, so if you don't move or counter quickly you'll take damage as soon as it starts. That being said, the cutscene right before the boss battle ends with Bowser initiating this attack, making it a small case of Gameplay and Story Integration.
  • Kick the Dog: After Mario's hat is knocked off, Bowser crushes it with his foot. Funnily enough, though, it rebounds right back with no visible damage after he steps off; it's not until it is left to fly into the airship propellers that it gets destroyed.
  • Kung Fu-Proof Mook:
    • The Piranha Plant, of all enemies, can counter Capturing because it can just eat Mario's hat when he tries to throw it. It is possible to Capture it if you feed it a rock first.
    • Trapeetles are also immune to Capturing. Not only can they grab Cappy from any direction, they will then throw Cappy back at Mario as an explosive projectile. Cappy is not harmed, but this move can easily catch you off guard if you're not prepared for it.
  • Last Episode Theme Reprise: "Jump Up, Super Star!" gets an encore performance right before the Brutal Bonus Level.
  • Last Lousy Point:
    • Because they are scattered widely across kingdoms, chasing down purple coins in each of them can get to be a hassle as they start to dwindle in number.
    • If you're trying to fill out the Capture list, Piranha Plants can be tricky to get because they normally eat Cappy when he's thrown at them. The only way to Capture them is to feed them a rock, then throw Cappy at them.
    • One music track can be very hard to track down if you're not the type to mess around throwing Cappy at things: "Honeylune Ridge: Escape (Japanese)", is obtained in the post-game by throwing Cappy at any radio that normally plays the Crazy Cap theme. Prior to the post-game hitting said radios will instead play a clip of Bowser kidnapping Peach.
    • Talkatoo and Hint Toad exist to make exploration easier, as they give free hints to those who interact with them. Talkatoo gives the name of a random unobtained Moon (which can be pretty on-the-nose at times), while Hint Toad will mark a Moon location on the map for the price of 50 coins.
  • Later Installment Weirdness:
    • 1-up lives and Game Overs are completely done away with for the first time in the core games, instead having Mario lose 10 coins upon death.
    • None of the typical Mario power-ups, such as Mushrooms or Starmen, are ever seen in the game; the only recurring items that appear are Coins.
    • Though Starmen no longer appear, temporary invincibility is still possible through scanning any Mario amiibonote .
    • While the game does use the exploration-based gameplay of 64 and Sunshine, the game does not boot players out of the level after collecting a Power Moon, making it more similar to collectathons like Banjo-Kazooie. Also in that vein, there are no selectable story missions for each moon — instead, the area's plot advances permanently upon collecting certain primary objective moons. This also means that one cannot redo certain major objectives or refight certain bosses, until the rematches in the Dark Side for the Broodals, revisiting the Moon Kingdom for Bowser, and the Mushroom Kingdom for all the other bosses.
  • Lava is Boiling Kool-Aid: The lava in this game looks pretty normal, with the exception of the strange solid-pink lava in the Luncheon Kingdom, which may literally be boiling Kool-Aid.
  • Lazy Dragon: The Ruined Dragon in the post-game. He hangs off the tower where Mario first fought him and complains of tiredness. (Said tiredness may also explain his Tactical Suicide during the boss fight.)
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • The theme song as a whole, along with uses some clever wordplay to reference everything from Odyssey's relationship to past 3D Mario installments, staples of the franchise such as coins and mushrooms, and even the dedication and skill of long-time Mario fans themselves.
    • The brochure for New Donk City mentions that the NDC Festival's schedule is subject to frequent changes, since the player can choose to replay the festival any time they like.
    • The fossils in the rocks of the Cascade Kingdom are classic 8-bit enemy sprites, and there are costumes which re-create Mario's 64 model and the 3D form of his 8-bit sprite — one Toad even has nostalgia for Mario looking as he did in 64, implying that the changes in the series' art style are in some way part of the universe's history.
  • Leap of Faith: One Moon in New Donk City, appropriately titled "Leap of Faith", involves attempting to get a scooter into a parking spot situated on top of a roof. The thing is, there is no way to get to the rooftop from ground level. You are thus required to go to the very top of City Hall, where you can find a scooter, and drive straight off. Thankfully, you can control your aerial momentum so you can aim for the rooftop in question.
  • Leitmotif:
    • Captain Toad's theme tune plays every time he appears.
    • The melody from Fossil Falls is recurring: examples include the map selection screen, getting a Life-Up Heart, or activating a switch. It's also featured in the second Bowser battle, the moon cave escape sequence, and the credits.
  • Lethal Lava Land:
    • Mount Volbono of the Luncheon Kingdom erupts bright pink lava, which the whole level is surrounded by.
    • Additionally, there is the Lava Crater inside the Moon Kingdom, which is a more traditional lava-filled corridor.
    • There are also shades of this in the Seaside Kingdom, as Mollusque-Lanceur fills the hot springs with lava and generates lava on his head, and a couple of sublevel challenge areas are surrounded by lava.
  • Level Ate: The Luncheon Kingdom is made of heavily stylized food, has living utensils as NPCs, and features pan-tossing Hammer Bros. There's even a giant bird dressed in chef attire named Cookatiel menacing the place by cluelessly taking over the cooking.
  • Life Meter: While the graphics are different, this game's life meter is functionally identical to the Galaxy games', with just three hit points, but a power-upnote  which will add three for as long as the player can keep them.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Captured version of Bowser is as fast as Mario, can jump as high as Mario, is strong enough to destroy giant, stone blocks with a single swipe, and starts with doubled HP.
  • Limited Wardrobe: A significant aversion, for, unusually for a mainline Mario platformer, not only can Mario can dress up in different outfits, but Peach will do so as well when she tours the different kingdoms in the post-game.
  • Living Dinosaurs: The Cascade Kingdom is known for having these. More Tyrannosaurus can be found in the Wooded Kingdom and the Metro Kingdom, though only the Wooded and Cascade Kingdom ones can be Captured.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: After the final fight with Bowser in the Moon Kingdom, the interior of the moon begins to collapse, prompting an Escape Sequence. Justified by Bowser hitting and shattering a background pillar when Mario delivers the final punch to knock him out of the arena, which, if it were load-bearing, would in turn destabilize the cavern.
  • Lone Wolf Boss: Some of the bosses, such as Knucklotec and Cookatiel, don't work with Bowser. The former only fights Mario because he mistakes him for the thieves, and Cookatiel is a random stupid bird who probably doesn't even know she's a menace to the stew she's taken over.
  • Long Song, Short Scene:
    • It's very easy to miss hearing the 8-bit version of "Mollusque-Lanceur Battle" at the only opportunity to hear it, as it only plays when Mario is in an 8-bit area that he has no reason to be in at the time (since, well, an octopus is rampaging around Bubblaine). Fortunately, the song appears in the sound test after beating Mollusque-Lanceur regardless of whether it played or not.
    • If you're really good at the game, you won't get to hear much of the second Insert Song that plays when Mario (who has captured Bowser at this point) has to claw his way through the four columns as he and Princess Peach make their escape from the underground lair under the wedding hall.
  • Lost Technology:
    • The Steam Gardens are an ancient, high-tech greenhouse tended by watering can robots. These robots are advanced enough to have sentience and free will (think WALL•E but better-spoken). According to the kingdom's Crazy Cap brochure, nobody knows who built the gardens, but they took off centuries ago, leaving the self-sustaining gardens behind.
    • Knucklotec, the boss of the Sand Kingdom, seems to be partly robotic — capturing its fists causes them to reveal rocket boosters.
  • The Lost Woods: The Wooded Kingdom is a typical forest area, but with a lot of machinery thrown in as well. The semi-hidden Deep Woods area beneath the Steam Gardens is far more natural in appearance.
  • Lunacy: Instead of Power Stars or Shine Sprites, the main collectibles in Odyssey are Power Moons. The Mushroom Kingdom has 64-style Power Stars, but they're still called "moons", theorized by Cappy to be a different shape for the same object.

    M 
  • MacGuffin: Most of the Kingdoms Bowser passes through have something he wants to steal to furnish his wedding with.
    • He kidnapped Cappy's sister Tiara from the Cap Kingdom to serve as Peach's tiara/wedding veil.
    • He stole the Binding Band from the Sand Kingdom's pyramid to act as Peach's wedding ring.
    • The Lochlady Dress from the Lake Kingdom to be Peach's wedding dress.
    • The Wooden Kingdom's Soirée Bouquet field was picked to be Peach's bouquet, though Bowser added some Piranha Plants to it.
    • Bowser tried to siphon electricity from the Metro Kingdom for an unspecified purpose.
    • The prize for the Snow Kingdom's big race, the Frost-Frosted Cake, was stolen to be Bowser's wedding cake.
    • Much of the Seaside Kingdom's Sparkle Water was drained so that Bowser could use it to make a toast at his reception.
    • A large amount of Stupendous Stew was stolen from the Luncheon Kingdom to be served at the wedding.
    • And, of course, he stole Peach herself from the Mushroom Kingdom.
  • The Many Deaths of You: Since there is no Game Over in this game, and Death Is a Slap on the Wrist, there are many different ways to off poor Mario in this game, and different animations to boot. Getting hit by a Bullet Bill, in particular, gives Mario an Ash Face as he falls off the screen.
  • Mayincatec: The primary theme of the Sand Kingdom, in the first departure from Mario deserts' ubiquitous Egyptian theming. Here, the most Egyptian feature is a Sphynx, but the rest is based on Mesoamerican history, with the pyramid being a step pyramid common to Mayan, Aztec, and other societies, and the boss being based on Olmec statues. There's also a more modern-day Mexican town, a cowboy outfit bought there, Asian statuary in the Jaxi, and moai creatures, further distancing the theme from Egypt.
  • Meaningful Name: Tostarena, the village in Sand Kingdom, is a bilingual meaningful name. The first syllable sounds like "toast", referring to the kingdom's toasty, arid climate (after both its bosses have been defeated) & "arena" is Spanish for "sand", as in the landscape.
  • Meet Your Early Installment Weirdness:
    • The prevalence of 8-bit areas means that enemies get to be seen in slightly dated designs; Mario also has his old sprite, but it's recolored to match his modern look (and also changes to show most of the outfits he can wear). In the 8-bit segment of Honeylune Ridge's finale, Peach and Mario-as-Bowser keep their Super Mario Bros. looks unchanged.
    • The Mushroom Kingdom's purple coin outfit is the Mario 64 hat and suit. Wearing them gives Mario an updated version of his 64 look — an update that keeps its blockiness, lack of mouth, blank stare, and fingerless hands, all combining to make him look incredibly weird next to the game's Scenery Porn. Wearing the outfit also opens up a bonus area in Mushroom Kingdom that recreates the fountain area in Peach's Castle, complete with the perpetually-frontward tree sprites (opening Snapshot Mode lets you break their illusion and see them at an angle). Metal Mario also appears as an unlockable outfit.
  • Mercy Mode: Failing enough times in certain sections of the game will eventually trigger a Crazy Cap employee to appear nearby, offering items such as Life-Up Hearts for coins. Also, the Assist Mode acts as an optional one, wherein Mario will have 3 extra health points, is saved by a bubble if he falls off of a level, has arrows that tell him where certain plot-centric objectives are, and regains lost health if left idle for a few seconds. That last one makes getting through certain levels much easier.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: Subtly used. At times, it almost seems like Mario's compelled to act like whatever he's inhabiting when he first inhabits it.
  • Minsky Pickup: One of these begins the theme used in Koopa Freerunning and Luigi's Balloon World.
  • Missed Him by That Much: Banktoad mentions that he and the other members of the Toad Brigade haven't found out where Captain Toad went when Mario finds him on the summit of Forgotten Isle. If you went to the cave the Captain was hiding out in before climbing the mountain, it invokes this trope.
  • Mister Muffykins: Madame Broode's Chain Chomp pet is named Chain Chompikins, and has a higher-pitched yap than most Chomps.
  • Mobstacle Course: One Timed Mission involves Mario running through (or jumping over, if you prefer) a large crowd of New Donk people to get to a Power Moon. There's a Bonneter among them, too!
  • Mondegreen: Players have managed to hear various English phrases in the New Donkers' Simlish. A particularly clear one is the yellow Crazy Cap merchant apparently saying "I just want to die" whenever you talk to him. Have a listen for yourself.
  • Money for Nothing: The only things coins are used for are Life-Up Hearts, outfits, and Power Moons. Outfits and Power Moons only need to be bought once and Life-Up Hearts can be found for free in the open world. Because collecting coins are no longer used for earning extra lives, it's easy to wind up with hundreds, even thousands of coins with little to spend on.
  • Money Sink: Once you hit the post-game, Crazy Cap really opens up with its stock. Not only is the purchase limit on Power Moons removed, allowing you to buy as many Power Moons as your wallet allows, but earning more Power Moons progressively adds more and more outfits and hats to buy, including the amiibo outfits and a Skeleton outfit that costs a whopping 9999 Coins!
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Not so much one that suddenly makes the game dark out of nowhere but traveling to the Metro Kingdom is a bit jarring at first. The people there are proportioned like real people, the vehicles are conventional cars, and the building designs have none of the whimsy the series is known for, being very brick-and-mortar city skyscrapers. This is contrasted against locales such as the Sand Kingdom with its cartoonish Dias de los Muertos-like skeleton citizens and stylized Mexican-esque dwellings. The robot centipede that takes over the New Donk City Hall is also grimly cold and mechanical in design as opposed to the less sci-fi robots you might see elsewhere. The place is also initially raining, at night, and infested with mosquito-like enemies called Urban Stingbies.
    • Within the Snow Kingdom, you start in a dark blizzard with no visibility that does a great job at masking the tiny size of the area and making the player feel lost and unwelcome, but then you end up falling into the cheery, cozy underground town and meet its adorable NPC inhabitants and the tone has completely changed.
    • For a more traditional example, after exploring the cold but cuddly Snow Kingdom, the relaxing Seaside Kingdom, and the cheery, goofy Luncheon Kingdom, you're then attacked by a terrifying dragon, and end up in the Ruined Kingdom, which is dark, moody, and very creepy.
    • And also you have the Deep Woods, deep in the cheery, lively Wooded Kingdom. To get there, you have to jump off the undulating cliff next to the Odyssey, which wouldn't at all come to mind.
  • Moon Rabbit: The Broodals apparently hail from the Dark Side of the moon, more specifically Rabbit Ridge. Rabbit Ridge is also filled with bunnies wearing top hats.
  • Moral Myopia: Bowser has transgressed against every civilized Kingdom on the planet by terrorizing the locals and stealing something from them as part of the necessary preparations for his wedding. Then he "invites" some special guests from each of the Kingdoms to bear witness to the marital union between him and Princess Peach and acts like there's nothing wrong about it. All the while obstructing and condemning Mario for being the "bad guy" who has to go out of his way to ruin all of his hard work.
  • Morphic Resonance: Anything captured by Mario will feature his red hat, mustache, and blue eyes. Including a dinosaur.
  • Motifs:
    • As Tanooki tails were to 3D Land and cats were to 3D World, hats are to this game. Many NPCs wear them, the Crazy Cap store appears in many of the worlds, and Mario's airship, the Odyssey, is even shaped like a top hat. And of course, Mario and Peach's hats are possessed by spirits named Cappy and Tiara, respectively.
    • The moon. Mario collects moons instead of stars, the moon is visible in every stage, the Broodals are a gang of rabbits who hail from the moon, "Jump Up, Super Star!" mentions you can zoom all the way to the moon, and there's also the pun of a wedding honeymoon. And the final kingdom? Moon Kingdom.
  • Mundane Fantastic: The Moon Kingdom in spades. It's a popular tourist location which also warranted a brochure from Crazy Cap and equally popular for hosting weddings, and the kicker is that it's perfectly accessible by taxi (but doing so would require a lot of fuel to be replenished) and wearing a space suit or at least a helmet is optional.
  • Mundane Utility: Some Power Moons require you to use Captured enemies for basic tasks, like using a Fire Bro to light a campfire or warming up stew pots by hopping in as a Lava Bubble.
  • Musical Nod:
    • If you go into the deepest level of the pause menu and backnote , you'll notice that the selection jingles form the melody of "Rosalina in the Observatory". In addition, pausing and then quickly unpausing will form the classic 1-Up jingle, which is otherwise absent due to this game's lack of Video-Game Lives.
    • The bassline in the bridge of "Jump Up, Super Star!", the game's main theme, is a variation on the music for the first level from Donkey Kong (AKA 25m). The "item get" sound is also worked into the bridge during the version played in "A Traditional Festival!".
    • Similarly, the bridge for "Break Free (Lead the Way)" is Bowser's Leitmotif from Super Mario 64, and the version that plays over the final cutscene also contains 25m in the second bridge.
    • Various radios in New Donk City play piano versions of the ''Super Mario World'' overworld theme.
    • You hear the airship theme from the Super Mario Bros. setting from Super Mario Maker during the opening cutscene.
    • The music during the second half of Bowser's Kingdom is an orchestrated remix of Bowser's boss fight theme from Super Mario Bros. 3.
    • Bonus rooms have mostly original music. However, the exceptions are NPC minigame challenges like Slots (Super Mario Bros. 3 minigame theme), the RC Car challenge (which uses Super Mario Kart's Mario Circuit theme), and those accessed through beanstalks (cue the Super Mario World bonus room theme).
    • In the Mushroom Kingdom, the victory theme that plays for getting Power Moons is swapped out for a new arrangement of Super Mario 64's Power Star theme. Peach's Castle also uses an orchestrated arrangement of "Inside the Castle Walls" from the same game.
    • The racing theme that plays during the Koopa Freerunning and Shiverian races sounds remarkably similar to "Full of Vigor" from Mario Party 4.
  • My Nayme Is: "Hariet" is usually spelled with two R's, but has just one to aid the rabbit pun ("hare").
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The astronomical collectibles in this game come in regular and large size (Power Moons and Multi Moons), the latter coming from harder challenges or Kingdom bosses, which is much like the Power Stars and Grand Stars system of the Galaxy games.
    • Various preceding works in the franchise, such as The Super Mario Bros Super Show!, Super Mario Adventures, The Great Mission to Save Princess Peach!, and, of course, Super Paper Mario involved the idea of Bowser marrying Peach.
    • The Big Applesauce-ness of New Donk City recalls the original backstory of Mario and Luigi coming from New Yorknote  and ending up stranded in the Mushroom Kingdom by Warp Pipe. Mario has finally come home!
    • The mosquito-like Urban Stingby enemies are this game's nod to the bee-like enemies debuting in Super Mario 3D Land, which are absent after appearing in the two previous 3D Mario entries.
    • One of Mario's alternate outfits is a blue shirt and red overalls, rather than the other way around. This was actually his original color scheme before it got swapped starting with Super Mario Bros. 3.note 
    • A few of Mario's outfits are taken from the 2016 Club Nintendo calendar:
      • The Swim Goggles and Swimwear come from June.
      • The Painter Outfit comes from September, with extra inspiration from Mario Paint. The accompanying cap, however, comes from Mario Artist.
      • The Samurai Helmet and Armor come from May.
      • The Hakama comes from January.
      • The Santa Hat and Outfit come from December.
    • The Mario 64 and Metal Mario clothes change Mario to his low-poly model from his early 3D days.
    • New Donk City has some graffiti of original DK and Pauline's old "Lady" design. Upon closer inspection of the text underneath it, "New Donk City" was scratched out to say "New Donk Cranky".
    • The ambiguous plaque from Super Mario 64 rumored to say "L is real 2401" is back and just as blurry as before.
    • The women running the jumprope minigame prompt Mario to "Jump, man!", with "Jumpman" being his original concept name.
    • Mario's dancing animation has him swinging his arms from side to side; in other words, doing "The Mario".
    • Bowser's Kingdom's main export is Hanafuda cards, referencing Nintendo's own origins as a Hanafuda card manufacturer.
    • A side area in New Donk City has Mario escape from a Tyrannosaurus in a New York-esque city, much like in the movie. No explanation is given as to why a T-Rex is running around in an area inspired by New York City.
    • One of Pauline's animations during the festival has her turning to the side and kicking her legs in a weird manner... which is actually a recreation of her animation from the original Donkey Kong.
    • When the player reaches a certain rank in Balloon World, Luigi will have three balloons, colored blue, red, and yellow. Combined with his green hat, it altogether resembles the buttons on a Super Famicom/European/Australian SNES controller turned sideways.
    • The Koopa Freerunning races are a throwback to Super Mario 64's two races against Koopa the Quick, the first member of the Koopa species to be given any sort of characterization.

    N 
  • Nature Loving Robot: The Steam Gardeners are robots that were explicitly built by precursors to take care of the plants in the Wooded Kingdom's Steam Gardens. Long after the precursors have disappeared, the Steam Gardeners are autonomous, and the gardens are thriving.
  • Never Bareheaded:
    • While this is hardly the first time we've seen Mario without his hat, this is the first time he's been hatless (or headgearless at all, for that matter) on the cover of a game, and the fact that he isn't wearing a hat actually has significance, rather than being an Easter Egg or something similar. He also spends long stretches of time hatless while Cappy is doing his own thing, and, if you use co-op, can spend the entire game without wearing Cappy.
    • This also applies to most NPCs, who also wear hats. In addition to fitting with the game's theme, it also indicates what characters can be captured: if they're not wearing hats or caps, you can capture them.
  • Never My Fault: In the post-game, the Broodals complain that, despite following Bowser's orders perfectly, they blame Mario for nobody wanting to hire them anymore despite the fact that their following Bowser's orders led them to steal every Kingdom's treasure and leave a path of destruction and mayhem in their wake. Such things are never good for anyone's reputation.
  • New World Tease: Most worlds have a painting to another world somewhere, and some of those paintings will take you to a place you haven't been yet (such as the Luncheon Kingdom painting warping you to Yoshi's House, floating in the distance from the Mushroom Kingdom). In all instances, all you get is a high and far vantage point of the world in question, with no way to access it.
  • Nice Hat: Weaponized by both Mario and Bowser. Bowser uses a white top hat, and as for Mario, take a wild guess (though it can be swapped for a different hat if you wish). Also, Pauline has added a wide-brimmed fedora to her wardrobe, and Peach has Cappy's sister Tiara as a new crown.
  • No Fair Cheating: Assist Mode does not save you from falling on Cappyless challenges, including on the Dark Side of the Moon.
  • Non-Appearing Title: Played with. One lyric says "It's time to 'jump up' in the air", while another says "you're my super star", but doesn't actually say "jump up, super star" in the same line.
  • Non-Indicative Name:
    • Despite the levels being called Kingdoms, they don't necessarily have royalty or even leaders at all. The only kingdoms that have leaders of any kind are the Mushroom Kingdom (ruled by Princess Peach), the Metro Kingdom (which is run by Mayor Pauline), the Snow Kingdom (which is presided by the Shiverian Elder), and Bowser's Kingdom (take a guess).
    • In Japanese and some other languages, however, the worlds are more broadly called Countries ("kuni" in Japanesenote ).
  • Non-Standard Character Design:
    • New Donk City features realistically proportioned humans who contrast with the cartoony Mario.
    • The Mechawiggler has a very detailed, complex design compared to other machines in the series, and doesn't resemble a Wiggler much at all.
    • The dinosaurs in Fossil Falls are also depicted in realistic detail, making it surprising when Mario was revealed to be possessing a Tyrannosaurus rex in the trailer that revealed the Capture mechanic. Perhaps even more surprising is Mario's usual dinosaur companion Yoshi being Capturable in the same game.
    • Several kingdoms feature a realistic Shiba Inu that can find treasure for Mario.
    • The Sand Kingdom has a realistic steppe eagle that Mario has to hit in order to gain a Power Moon.
    • The frogs in the Cap Kingdom are also realistic.
    • Some of the background animals (small lizards, palm squirrels, pigeons, doves, bats, seagulls, crabs, and various small fish) are realistically proportioned compared to the others.
    • The Ruined Dragon, a.k.a. Lord of Lightning, has a more realistic looking design compared to other dragons in the Mario series that would more likely fit in The Legend of Zelda, The Hobbit, or possibly even The Elder Scrolls.
  • No OSHA Compliance: New Donk City is rather tame platforming-wise for a mid-game area, but you'll still see the residents casually hanging around construction sites (some of them right over large drops) with no railing or safety gear. And some of the buildings have open-to-the-public doorways leading to places with the strange hazards typical of Mario platformers (including a chase sequence with a tyrannosaurus rex).
  • No Romantic Resolution: Obviously, the name of the game is to stop Bowser from forcing Peach to marry him. However, in a twist of Status Quo Is God, when Mario goes to propose to Peach after Bowser is defeated, the Koopa King gets back in there for another attempt, and Mario becomes so distracted by his rivalry that he accidentally causes Peach to storm off in an huff. Better luck next time, buddy.
  • No-Sell: Cappy cannot Capture entities already wearing hats, as they have to be knocked off first.
  • Nostalgia Level:
    • One of the sub-levels in New Donk City features the obligatory World 1-1 cameo as a "movie" in a theater. You can jump into the Pipe and play it to get two Power Moons, and the audience will clap for you when you find collectibles.
    • The festival in New Donk City ends with a recreation of the original Donkey Kong, which includes knocking him off his platform. A more unique variant is used near the end of Culmina Crater.
    • Peach's Castle in the Mushroom Kingdom is a loose adaptation of the Super Mario 64 one. The local coins are shaped like the coins from that game, Power Moons are shaped like Power Stars and Yoshi can be found on top of the roof. The game reuses the 64 Power Star jingle when Mario gets a Moon, the unlocking jingle when Mario drains the moat, and the jingle from the mission select screen when he enters a Portal Picture. There is also a room that replicates the courtyard from Super Mario 64 almost entirely, with the same textures, sprites and low-poly models. An alternate entrance to the same area takes you to a 3D version of Yoshi's House from Super Mario World, with a sign replacing the message block.
    • Bubblaine has gameplay elements reminiscent of Super Mario Sunshine. One of the enemies you can Capture gives you a water jet you can use to hover, dash, and clean up lava, similar to FLUDD's various nozzles.
    • The beginning of the game sees Mario blasted away to an unfamiliar place by the bad guys, where he is met with a strange white creature upon waking up. After chasing said creature down, he teams up with Mario and inhabits his hat, granting him his primary abilities for the game. Sound familiar?
  • Notice This: Rays of light shine gold on areas hiding coins, and in a rainbow of colors on areas hiding power moons.
  • No, You: The description of the red-and-white-stripe on blue-and-yellow-plaid Fashionable Outfit.
    Description: I'm not clashing, YOU'RE clashing!

    O 
  • Octopoid Aliens: The Astro-Lanceur enemies are enormous octopus aliens found hovering over the Moon Kingdom. They notably look an awful lot like Brigadier Mollusque-Lanceur III, which is fought in Bubblaine. Ironically, however, despite being aliens, they are the only beings in the game that cannot breathe on the Moon without space helmets, as Mario smashing through theirs kills them.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Madame Broode has a moment of panic when you Capture her Chain Chompikins, and she desperately tries to chase after it to smack Mario out.
    • Hariet of the Broodals freaks out if you knock off her hat during the second fight against her, since she knows she's about to get a stomping from Mario.
    • The look of absolute sheer terror on Bowser's face when his hat is grabbed during his boss fights.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: Bowser's final boss theme contains some pipe organ parts.
  • One-Gender Race: The Lochladies are universally female.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Not for the characters, but for the levels. Each part of each level is lovingly handcrafted to match the theme, with beautiful scenery and intricate detail. Until you get to the end-game and find bonus levels in plain, textureless blocks in an empty void. Congratulations, you are now up for an extra-hard platforming challenge that deserves the "prepare to die" tagline as much as Dark Souls or Super Meat Boy.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Cappy is a hat ghost that possesses Mario's hats and allow him the ability to use it as a weapon and even possess people and things with it.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: The Lochladies of the Lake Kingdom. They all have blue skin, are excellent seamstresses, and can easily maneuver and survive on dry land. Oh, and they're exclusively female.
  • Overly Long Gag: One of the moons in the Deep Woods involves capturing a Coin Coffer and feeding a specific sprout coins. It's not a prompt. You just need to sit there and spit coins out at it as it slowly grows. 500 coins, to be exact.
  • Oxygen Meter: A return to the roots of 64 and Sunshine necessitated Mario losing his Super Not-Drowning Skills. Once your Air meter runs out, you'll start taking actual damage. Predictably, capturing aquatic enemies will negate the need for oxygen (and when you hop back out, Mario’s oxygen will be topped off again). Assist Mode removes the Oxygen Meter entirely.

    P 
  • Painting the Medium:
    • Reflecting the age of the location, the music for the Steam Gardens sounds as though it's coming from an old record player.
    • While standing outside of certain buildings (such as in front of New Donk City Hall in the Metro Kingdom and Peach's Castle in the Mushroom Kingdom), you can hear the interior's music quietly muffled.
    • Some of the "instruments" used in the Luncheon Kingdom music were kitchen knives, ladles, and pot lids.
    • The music in Top-Hat Tower adds a guiro (percussion scraper) instrument when you're capturing a frog. A popular shape for guiros? Frogs.
  • Palette Swap:
    • The Musician Hat and Outfit, added in patch 1.2.0 for purchase in the postgame, are this to the Black Fedora and Black Suit. The Musician Hat's band is silver whereas the Black Fedora's is blue, and the Musician Outfit is a red pinstripe suit with a red button, black undershirt, white tie and low collar, while the Black Suit is a black pinstripe suit with a blue button, white undershirt, red-and-white striped tie, and a white collar.
    • The 5 unique overalls and caps (Mario's, Luigi's, Wario's, Waluigi's, and the classic pair) are all swaps of each other.
    • Naturally, the Black Tuxedo and Mario's Tuxedo are swaps of each other, with one being black with gray accents, and the other being primarily white with a bit of brown on the shoes. However, they both have gold buttons and a red bow tie, and the hats are completely different.
  • Piñata Enemy: The Coin Coffer returns in this game. The strategies for earning Coins from it remain from previous games, but this time, you can Capture the Coin Coffer. While you control a Coin Coffer, you will earn Coins simply by walking for a brief period of time, and you can shoot Coins as an attack.
  • Planet of Hats:
    • Most levels have a specific theme which applies to their architecture and inhabitants alike.
    • The Cap Kingdom is a literal Kingdom of Hats.
  • Playable Epilogue: After the credits roll, a few changes happen in the game world. With Bowser defeated, NPCs including Princess Peach travel to the various kingdoms, and the moon rock in each Kingdom can be activated to pepper the kingdom with new Power Moons to collect. Also, every kingdom has its own main path of Power Moons to collect that, when completed, causes some kind of positive change in that kingdom that is observable while running around in it.
  • Plot Tunnel:
    • The first time you attempt to travel to the Metro Kingdom, you're intercepted by Bowser and forced into a boss battle, then shot down to the Lost Kingdom. You can't go back to any previous areas until you've collected enough moons in the Lost Kingdom to repair the Odyssey.
    • After leaving the Wackyland known as the Luncheon Kingdom, you're intercepted by Bowser again, which begins a portion of the game where you cannot return to any prior kingdom until you land on the Moon Kingdom. After defeating the Ruined Dragon, you head straight to Bowser's Kingdom, and throwing Cappy on the Odyssey's globe will simply have him say "Let's hurry after those two!" and pop back off. Upon defeating the RoboBrood and fixing the Odyssey, you're taken to the world map, but can only select the Moon Kingdom; Cappy will tell you "Let's hurry on ahead!" if you try any other option. However, upon landing in the Moon Kingdom itself, Cappy will only say "But... Bowser! HERE!" if you try to leave, but ultimately he'll relent and ask if you need to do stuff in other kingdoms.
  • Point-and-Click Map: Despite the return to the exploration-based style of Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine, the game still averts Hub Levels in favor of a global map where Mario selects a kingdom to travel to. Unlike the ones from previous games, this one mainly serves a way for Mario to get between kingdoms.
  • Pop Quiz: The Sphynx appears in a few stages and asks questions about happenings in that stage.
  • Portal Picture:
    • Most kingdoms have at least one hidden painting that depicts a different kingdom in the game. These can be jumped into to teleport you to an otherwise impossible-to-access area in the depicted kingdom that holds a Power Moon.
    • A large painting of Bowser and Peach appears in the final area of the game so you can battle the final boss again.
    • In the Mushroom Kingdom, you can access Super Mario 64-styled painting rooms (complete with music and relevant jingles) with giant paintings depicting the game's main bosses; jumping into them will take you to souped-up rematches of the boss fights that earns you Multi Moons.
    • Culmina Crater has, for its final challenge, a painting of Mario Bowser you can jump into, which sends you into the last leg of the dungeon as Mario Bowser.
  • Power-Up Mount: There are sphinx-like creatures called Jaxis that Mario can ride on in the Sand Kingdom.
  • Precious Puppies: Aborable, photorealistic Shiba Inu wearing various hats appear in numerous Kingdoms. They follow Mario around and even help dig for Power Moons.
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: Mario can throw his hat friend at enemies. You can also make it stop in midair and platform off it. Justified in that Cappy is a sentient being and is returning to Mario of his own volition.
  • Precursors: The Crazy Cap brochures for both the Wooded Kingdom and the Ruined Kingdom state that there used to be people inhabiting these kingdoms before... something happened and they took off.
  • Prehistoria: There are plenty of dinosaurs in the Cascade Kingdom, though the only living one seen there in the game is a Tyrannosaurus which Mario can Cap-ture.
  • Projectile Pocketing: Cappy and certain Capture projectiles like Sherms' cannon shells can be used to pick up items like coins, music notes, Moon Shards, and the like—the only thing they can't collect are Power Moons.
  • Psycho for Hire: Of a sort. The Broodals are a wedding planning firm, and they're extremely dedicated to their job. If that means trying to brutally murder anyone opposed to your wedding, well, that's just part of the service they provide.
  • Punny Name:
    • The Broodals' name is a pun/portmanteau on bridal, brutal, and brood.
      • Hariet is a twofer — not only is she a rabbit ("hare"-iet), but she uses her Braid of Action as a mace.
      • Topper is the only one in the group that wears a top hat.
      • Spewart fights by spewing toxic liquid.
      • Rango uses his hats like a boomerang.
    • Knucklotec comes from knuckle, Olmec, and Aztec.
    • Cookatiel is based on cook and cockatiel.
    • Bonneton in the Cap Kingdom, New Donk City in the Metro Kingdom, Shiveria in the Snow Kingdom...
    • Honeylune Ridge is a play on both "lunar" and "honeymoon", as it's a popular wedding site on the Moon.
    • Culmina Crater, the last and most difficult level, is the culmination of everything leading up to it.
    • Mario's ability to possess objects and creatures with his cap is known as Capturing.

    Q-R 
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Broodals are a group of anthropomorphic rabbits that act as Bowser's wedding planners. They harass you throughout the game as they collect supplies for the wedding and try to stop Mario from intervening.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: The fact that life can exist on the Moon, unlike in real life, is explained rather handily by the volcanic activity happening underground on the Moon, which is more similar to the volcanic activity of our Earth than to the volcanic activity of our Moon. Gnoggin elaborates here.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Pauline is now mayor of New Donk City as well as the lead singer of a band, requesting Mario's help to get it back together.
  • Recurring Boss: Every boss has two or three variants, with the toughest being rematchable:
    • The Broodals will each be fought twice throughout the game, once in the first half and once in the second. They come back later for a replayable Boss Rush in the postgame, mostly unchanged from the second encounters, with no healing in between.
    • Madame Broode is fought in the Cascade Kingdom at the beginning of the game and returns as the penultimate boss in the Underground Moon Caverns; she'll respawn at the latter location in the postgame for rematches.
    • Bowser is fought halfway through the game at the Cloud Kingdom and again at the very end. By getting enough Moons and completing Culmina Crater, a tougher version is unlocked, and you have the choice of rematching the second or third variants.
    • RoboBrood is first fought at Bowser's Kingdom late in the game. In the postgame, it's fought after beating all of the Broodals in the Boss Rush, with only one heart of healing before the fight. The boss itself is unchanged between fights, with the only change being the enemy Captured.
    • The remaining six bosses are fought throughout the game once each and can be rematched in tougher fights in the Mushroom Kingdom during the postgame.
  • Recurring Extra: Captain Toad can be found sightseeing in almost every Kingdom. Talking to him will yield a free Power Moon.
  • Regional Riff: The music that plays during the second half of the Japanese-inspired Bowser's Castle features a small excerpt from "Sakura Sakura", a famous Japanese folk song.
  • Remilitarized Zone: There are tanks and other war machines in the Wooded Kingdom.
  • Remixed Level: Many of the sub-levels on The dark side of the moon are previous sub-levels with a twist, such as a timed scooter-riding challenge that takes away the scooter. Also included are many levels that were much easier when you had Cappy...that you have to do cap-less.
  • Retraux:
    • Mario can enter murals in which he and the enemies look like they came straight from the original Super Mario Bros., and they move on a 2D plane as well.
    • You can purchase Mario's cap and clothes from Super Mario 64, low-poly textures and all, from the Mushroom Kingdom Crazy Cap, which alters Mario's model completely into his 64 look when worn together. Earning enough Power Moons also lets you unlock the Metal Mario Hat and Suit from the generic Crazy Cap store, which gives Mario the appearance of Metal Mario from 64.
    • Parodied with the 8-Bit Mario Cap, which turns Mario into a blocky 3D rendition of his Small Mario form (with modern colors) that's perpetually stuck in a jumping pose.
    • The Steam Gardens' music is styled like 1960s surf rock, and even sounds like it's playing on a record player.
  • Revisiting the Roots: This game revisits the roots not of Mario as a whole, but of 3D Mario, bringing back the wide open worlds of Super Mario 64 that are full of collectibles that can be gathered in any order. This reverses of the trend of increasingly linear design that started with Super Mario Sunshine.
  • Ribcage Ridge: A Triceratops skeleton crowns the peak of Fossil Falls.
  • Riddling Sphinx: A Sphynx appears in almost every area, usually asking questions. When met near the outskirts of Steam Gardens, it blocks the platforming area unless Mario can answer why the Steam Gardeners are worried. It even shows up in Culmina Crater, with one final quiz you only get one shot at per life that requires you to remember all of its previous appearances and have a good grasp on its personality.
  • Right-Hand Attack Dog: Madame Broode sics Chain Chompikins, a golden Chain Chomp, on Mario, who Captures him to attack her.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect:
    • The presence of realistic humans next to the bright and cartoonish Mario in New Donk City simulates the effect.
    • This trailer for the game uses it outright, with a CG Mario dancing with live action dancers in New Donk City.
  • Rolling Attack: Mario has one in this game. Unlike previous games, this time he can use it to go into a continuous roll.
  • Ruins for Ruins' Sake: In the Sand Kingdom, just outside of Tostarena. Except for the Inverted Pyramid, which has a backstory, the rest of the ruins are just... here.
    • The same goes for the Cloud and Ruined Kingdoms, both of which are ruins which serve as imposing arenas for their respective boss battles. Their brochures posit some theories about their origins, but even these are just educated guesses. The true origins of these locations remain shrouded in mystery.
  • Rule of Three: Most of the bosses are defeated after running through their routines and hitting them where it counts three times, with the exception of the RoboBrood, which needs four, one for each Broodal.
  • Rump Roast: If Mario lands into lava or a pot of hot soup in the Luncheon Kingdom, he jumps high up with his derriere burning and runs amok for a few seconds until the flame is extinguished...
  • Running Gag:
    • Mario can expect to get knocked off of the tallest building in the area or the Odyssey itself at least once per kingdom.
    • The Sphynx first appears in the Sand Kingdom before randomly showing up in a bunch of other, less fitting Kingdoms later on to ask more questions. In the postgame, it can be seen in most kingdoms it doesn't initially appear in flying on a Cap Kingdom airship sail. It gets to the point where it shows up in the Brutal Bonus Level for a quiz.

    S 
  • Same Content, Different Rating: This game has a B rating (ages 12 and up) in Japan, a PEGI 7 rating in the U.K., a PG rating in Australia and an E10 rating in North America despite the content of this game being no different from any other Mario game. This may be to Avoid the Dreaded G Rating and/or because of realistic, mildly scary elements such as the Ruined Dragon.
  • Scenery Gorn: The Ruined Kingdom has been ravaged to pieces, and it looks absolutely stunning.
  • Scenery Porn: The Kingdoms in the game are large, intricate and quite beautiful.
    • The Luncheon Kingdom is quite intricate and the level of detail reveals that while the hills look like food, they're actually stylized and polygonal.
    • The Cap Kingdom looks gloomy but eerily beautiful and whimsical, with its Tim Burton-esque monochromatic aesthetic.
    • The Moon Kingdom's view of the earth from space is breathtaking, with various NPCs even commenting on its beauty.
  • Say My Name: Peach calls out for Mario at certain points in the game as usual, but in a late game cutscene, Mario actually calls out to Peach, the first time he's done so in a mainstream Mario game.
  • Schizo Tech: clothing and architecture of New Donk City are reminiscent of the late 1940s or early 1950s, however the taxicabs driving around the city are based off the second generation Ford Crown Victoria (most prominent during the Turn of the Millennium), RC cars are available as toys (not available commercially until the 1970s) and you can see a few citizens using laptop computers (rare until the 1990s). The developers said they didn't want the city to feel anchored in any particular era.
  • Self-Deprecation: The Satellaview helmet's description simply reads "A memento of some forgotten service."
  • Self-Imposed Challenge:
    • You can try playing with the Invisibility Hat, which makes platforming significantly harder due to making Mario completely invisible except for his shadow, his cap when thrown, and Cappy's eyes, if applicable.
    • Playing the game while capturing as few enemies as possible. At least one player finished the game and collected 450 moons with only 14 captures.
    • The Jumpless Run, in which you complete the game as much as possible without jumping. (This isn't as bad as it sounds, as jumping while in a capture doesn't increase the jump counter.)
  • Sequence Breaking:
    • You can skip most of the main storylines of the regular kingdoms and go onto the next just by collecting enough sidequest Power Moons to move on. The only exceptions are kingdoms that have forced boss fights (Cloud Kingdom and Ruined Kingdom), and Bowser's Kingdom, as Cappy didn't know Bowser was going to keep running away to the Moon Kingdom.
    • By using a move that the game never tells you about, you can skip the entire final leg of Culmina Crater via gaining enough altitude with Glydon to fly over the entire area. This includes the Mario Bowser segment, which cannot be skipped otherwise.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Bowser's wedding suit is pristine, sharp, and deadly. Mario can wear a similar suit, has an additional pinstriped suit, and can wear a tuxedo.
  • Shell Backpack: Bowser wears a white and purple tuxedo with the back of his shell showing.
  • Shifting Sand Land: The Sand Kingdom is a Mesoamerican-themed desert with a Mexican town, in a sharp contrast to the usual Egyptian-themed deserts throughout the series.
  • Shipshape Shipwreck: The Odyssey is first found in the Cascade Kingdom, embedded in a rock wall, layered with heavy rust and out of power. Otherwise, it's in pretty good shape and only requires a few Power Moons to make it look and run as good as new again.
  • Ship Tease: There's a Cat Mario and Cat Peach sprite hidden in each level. In the Moon Kingdom, they're found together, at the top of the chapel.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Skull for a Head: Tostarenans have heads themed on Mexican sugar skulls, with the rest of the body lacking a skeletal appearance, such as having black Rubber Hose Limbs. Unlike most examples of this trope, however, Tostarenans are a very nice and friendly bunch of people.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Shiveria (and likely the Snow Kingdom as a whole). Goombas are surprisingly sure-footed on ice, which carries over to their captured state.
  • Snowy Sleigh Bells: The rhythm from Shiveria's theme is provided by prominent jingle bells. Also, when in the blizzard, distant sleigh bells can be heard in the wind.
  • Sore Loser: When you encounter Bowser at the Nimbus Arena, Mario beats him pretty thoroughly but rather than take the easy way out, he runs back to his ship and bombards Mario with cannonballs in order to escape, which damages the Odyssey and plunges Mario and Cappy into the Lost Kingdom, all while Peach begs him to stop.
  • Sound Test: After beating the main story, a new page is added to the menu that allows players to play any song they wish, overriding any music that normally plays in the level.
  • Source Music:
    • Jukeboxes and radios seen throughout the various worlds play different tunes, which Mario can change by throwing his cap at them.
    • A series of missions in New Donk City involve assembling a band for a festival. You'll see various musicians through the area, and they all play their respective instruments as you pass by them. As they join together in the concert hall, they'll start with a simple backing tune and end up with a lively rendition of the original Super Mario Bros. theme. And then they play "Jump Up, Super Star!" for the festival level, as musical accompaniment to Mario's athletics.
  • South of the Border: The Sand Kingdom, particularly the town of Tostarena, is a huge red desert populated by sombrero-wearing skeleton folk with designs straight from the Day of the Dead.
  • Space Zone: The Moon Kingdom, which has a boiling hot interior. Also, by extension, the Dark Side of the moon and the Darker Side of the moon.
  • Spam Attack: While Button Mashing with a Hammer Bro. causes them to chuck hammers at a ridiculously fast rate, shaking the Joycon continuously will cause them to chuck hammers even faster.
  • Speaking Simlish: Used extensively. All of the spoken dialogue in cutscenes is accompanied by Bowser, the Broodals and Cappy speaking gibberish, though you can make out characters' names being said. Additionally, when talking to an NPC (or even standing near ones who can't be talked to directly) their dialogue will be accompanied by a couple simlish clips. Each race has their own "set" of simlish, with a handful of lines, in a couple of voices. Mario, Peach and Pauline are they only characters who don't speak in some form of gibberish, though they're limited to a small handful of phrases, such as Mario's usual catchphrases. There's also a single line of intelligible dialogue introducing Pauline before she sings "Jump Up, Super Star!".
  • Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: Stopping Bowser for forcing Peach to marry him is the driving goal of the entire game, and Mario dramatically bursts into the wedding chapel where the wedding is being held just as Bower's trying to put the ring on Peach.
  • Splash of Color: Bonneton is mostly black-and-white, but has gold/yellow accents.
  • Stalactite Spite: One room in Shiveria has circular shadows on the floor. Should Mario stand too long in them, a big stalactite will come down crashing on his unfortunate head.
  • Standard Hero Reward: Deconstructed in the ending. When Bowser still tries to propose to Peach after escaping Honeylune Ridge, an alarmed Mario tries to propose to her as well. However, due to the fact that their proposals amounted to them just shoving flowers in her face, like children, (and also likely due to Peach's captivity for most of the game), she not only rejects Bowser, but Mario as well, and heads off towards the Odyssey as the two cry together over the rejection.
  • Status Quo Is God: Like always, Peach is saved, and she decides not to marry either Mario or Bowser, rejecting both of their proposals.
  • The Stinger: The credits ends with a scene of some Bonneters investigating the Moon Rock in Bonneton, which is now radiating golden energy.
  • Stock Dinosaurs: The only real dinosaurs in this game are Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops, though the latter only appears as a giant skeleton crowning the peak of Fossil Falls.
  • Stop Hitting Yourself: Knucklotec is defeated by capturing one of his fists and then piloting it directly into his face.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: The Air meter will be turned off in Assist Mode, allowing you to stay underwater forever.
  • Surprise Creepy: This game is as fun as the other Mario games, but it has surprisingly creepy and dark areas like the Deep Woods and the completely desolated Ruined Kingdom.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • The Broodals seem to be this to the Koopalings, as they ride an airship similar to them (but with a silver rabbit head with glowing red eyes). Spewart in particular bears a striking resemblance to Ludwig, between the Wild Hair, single sharp front tooth, and large build.
    • Cookatiel bears a resemblance to Wingo.
    • The Chincho enemies manage to be one for both the Mud Troopers and the Mummy Mes.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Played for Laughs in the ending. After saving Peach, Mario proposes to her, only to be butted out of the way by Bowser as he makes his own proposal. The two of them keep shoving flowers in Peach's face until she tells them to stop and storms off. Bowser collapses to the ground crying and Mario, who is similarly sad, comforts Bowser by patting his back. The whole thing is dropped when Peach has the Odyssey take off, prompting Mario to use Bowser as a springboard to get on board.

    T-U 
  • Tactical Suicide Boss:
    • Two of the Broodals do this. Hariet attacks with spiked bombs either thrown by her or tethered to her hair, which Cappy can knock back into her to remove her hat. Rango leaves his head unprotected when he tosses his hat, and it so happens that the underside of the hat reveals a jump-boosting flower when hit by Cappy.
    • Madame Broode's golden Chain Chomp is more threatening to herself than Mario, as he can Capture it and, when she refuses to let go of the chain, slingshot it back at her.
    • Knuckleotec can't be damaged normally, but his fist attacks will eventually open up an opportunity to Capture one of them and pilot it directly into his face.
    • Cookatiel starts spewing Mount Volbono's signature pink lava once Lava Bubble Mario bothers her enough. As a Lava Bubble, Mario can ride that lava upwards and jump into her head at the top.
    • The Lord of Lightning, a Dragon of the Ruined Kingdom, will tire itself out after his massive shockwave attack, letting Mario climb onto its head and start pulling swords from it.
    • RoboBrood's body is impervious to all attacks and moves too fast to climb onto. Both of these problems are solved by it occasionally spawning Pokios and constantly dropping rolling bombs. Though they rectify this in the second meeting on top of the carrot tower on Rabbit Ridge, they're still vulnerable to the Hammer Bros also found up there.
    • In both encounters with him, Bowser's undoing proves to be his insistence on throwing his own hat at Mario.
  • Tank Goodness: The Sherm, an enemy based on an M4 Sherman tank that Mario can capture, most notably to battle the Mechawiggler during its boss battle in New Donk City.
  • Tears from a Stone: Knucklotec, the giant Olmec head statue boss, sheds some tears upon its defeat. And then it explodes.
  • Tentacled Terror: Brigadier Mollusque-Lanceur III, Dauphin of Bubblaine, is a jumbo-sized purple octopus that seized the Bubblainian Glass Palace and drank its Sparkle Water. His title, which hints at a French origin, indicates that he is of high nobility, and he, therefore, sports a very fancy appearance, with noble clothes, a Badass Mustache and hair curls.
  • Thanking the Viewer: The game ends with the iconic "Thank you so much for playing my game." And just like Special 8-Crown and Champion's Road, the final stretch of the Brutal Bonus Level has level elements (In this case spark pylon lines) that spell "THANK YOU!".
  • That Was Not a Dream: After the credits, it cuts to Mario sleeping in the Mushroom Kingdom, and Cappy suggests that their trip to the Moon Kingdom was all a dream. Mario then immediately wakes up, and Cappy states that it's a good thing that it wasn't.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: "Break Free (Lead the Way)", the song that plays during the final section of the story, uses snippets of Bowser's leitmotif from Super Mario 64, but isn't just a rendition of said song.
  • Too Dumb to Live: While en route to Bowser's Kingdom, the Odyssey is intercepted by Bowser, with the help of the Lord of Lightning, and blasted out of the sky because Mario and Cappy just stood there and didn't think to take any evasive maneuvers.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Of all things, Mario's cap. In previous games, the most importance it's ever had is slowly draining Mario's health if he's not wearing it anymore. Thanks to Cappy, Mario can throw it like a boomerang and jump on it to reach areas usually out of his reach. It can also be used to Capture other beings, controlling them through the cap until you decide to stop.
    • Not that he wasn't already, but Mario's recurring Achilles' Heel is being separated from his hat (takes more damage, slowly dies of heat exposure, just plain doesn't have it in his small form in some cases, etc.). Thanks to Cappy, he actively throws his hat as an attack, and it's extremely effective for what it is.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Early trailers went out of their way to avoid spoiling the cap-themed characters and mechanics.
  • Tropical Island Adventure: The midway point of the game has Mario crash-landing in the Lost Kingdom, a series of tropical islands in a sea of poison, after the Odyssey is shot down by Bowser when he is defeated for the first time, and Mario exploring the islands and searching for Power Moons in order to repair it and head to the Metro Kingdom.
  • Tutorial Level: The Cap Kingdom starts off as this, being a short and simple stage with few enemies, and all the time and space you need to get accustomed to the game's controls. Then, after the Odyssey is salvaged and Mario's journey begins properly, you can go back to it to find its hidden secrets.
  • Tyrannosaurus rex: One features in the Cascade Kingdom, the Deep Woods section of the Wooded Kingdom, and a secret area in the Metro Kingdom, and is depicted as realistically as Rexie, in an incredible contrast to Mario's usual dinosaur companion Yoshi. And like almost everything else, you can Cap-ture and control it.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Mario-Captured Bowser can run as fast, and jump as high, as Mario, starts with double health, and he can destroy giant, stone blocks, but his triple jump is nowhere near as graceful as Mario's.

    V 
  • Variable Mix:
    • Areas where Mario goes into a 2D Retraux wall area have the music change to a retro chiptune-style; the live instruments are still there, but muffled back in the mix.
    • The music in New Donk City starts out as a simple piano tune with light percussion, but as Mario finds and assembles band members, their instruments are added to the theme — the drum player adds heavier percussion, the bass player adds bass, the guitar player adds jazz guitar, and the trumpet player adds a whole brass section. When the full band is assembled, the tune becomes very lively.
    • Capturing certain creatures in certain areas will add instruments into the mix. For example, Capturing a frog in the Cap Kingdom's Frog Pond adds a guiro, and Capturing a Sherm in the Steam Gardens adds various techno instruments. On a related note, travelling through powerlines with spark pylons plays an electronic sound in tune with the music currently playing. In Bowser's Kingdom, the added sound comes from a shamisen instead, following the kingdom's Wutai theme. The sound of the Fire Flower will also stay in tune with the music of the area. Interestingly, changing the BGM using the in-game music player will cause most (but not all) of these accompaniments change to match whatever song is playing.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • Mario can bounce off characters' heads like in Sunshine and Galaxy, though this time he uses his hands (rather than his feet like with enemies) when doing so.
    • In Super Mario 64, Mario could drop a penguin off a cliff. In this game, he can send sheep flying into the bottomless pits by hitting their rump with Cappy. They eventually spawn back in their initial positions.
    • You can make Mario wear Boxer Shorts in the Snow Kingdom and a Snow Outfit in the Sand Kingdom, among other combinations. Doing the former even nets you a Power Moon!
    • You can march the entity you're "Capturing" off a cliff. Although, since their pain is pain Mario also feels, it's still not good for Mario unless he jumps back onto the stage after uncapturing them.
    • You can toss Cappy into the hungry mouth of a Piranha Plant, accidentally or not. Either way, it's a viable option to stun them and leave them open.
  • Video Game Flight: Mario can Capture many flying enemies, but they're generally limited in some way. Bullet Bills and Banzai Bills stay level and explode after a short amount of time. Paragoombas and Parabones can fly forever, but their max altitude is limited depending on where they start flying from. Ty-foos can only float at their starting altitude and can't move any higher or lower. Gushens have the greatest flight potential, but they need to land on higher platforms to be able to boost farther upwards, and they have a limited water supply.
  • Video-Game Lives: Breaking from Mario tradition, lives are absent in this one; dying instead comes with a ten-coin penalty.
  • Video Game Settings: The typical Mario settings are frequently played with in this game, with none of the returning settings being exactly familiar in their theming.
  • Villain Ball: Bowser undoes his own plans by taking wedding items from each kingdom by force and in a hasty way that causes further problems in each area, angering the citizens of every kingdom and ensuring that they'll do what they can to assist Mario. The first thing he takes is Tiara, which gets her brother Cappy to join Mario, who would have been stranded at the Cap Kingdom without Cappy's powers.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: You can buy caps and outfits for Mario, and mix them together as you please. This has a gameplay effect, too: Mario needs specific outfits to access certain missions in each world.
  • Visual Pun:
    • Madame Broode throws her pet Chain Chomp like a yo-yo...thus, "walking the dog".
    • Mollusque-Lanceur and the Astro-Lanceurs shoot explosive shells at you. Seashells, that is.
  • Voices Are Not Mental: If Mario captures something with its own distinct voice, they'll keep their voice. This includes Bowser and Yoshi's iconic voices.
  • V-Sign: After nearly two decades of disuse (mostly due to Shigeru Miyamoto not wanting the gesture to be the only thing Mario would be known for), this classic victory pose is finally brought back for the first time since Super Mario 64 as one of the three poses Mario can make when collecting a "lesser" Moon (i.e. not a Multi Moon or tied to a major objective). The other two poses are call backs to Sunshine and Galaxy.

    W-Z 
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: One of Mario's outfits is a pair of boxer shorts and nothing else. And yes, he has visible nipples.
  • Wall Jump: Strangely, Yoshi, of all characters, has gained this ability. If Yoshi's tongue comes in direct contact with a wall, Yoshi can latch onto the wall like a gecko and he does not slide off them like Mario does and can hang indefinitely until he jumps off or is forced off. If Yoshi does so between walls, he can keep licking back and forth to climb much like Mario's wall jumps.
  • Warp Whistle: By touching Checkpoint Flags in each level, you can use the map to quickly teleport to it once it's activated.
  • Weaponized Headgear: One of the big gimmicks of the game is for Mario to throw his hat at enemies as a boomerang. Bowser likewise utilizes his top hat at the start of the game and in his boss fights, which you must take command of to fight against him.
  • Wedding Smashers: The entire point of the story is to stop Bowser from marrying Peach. When Mario finally catches up to him in the wedding hall, the Koopa King and the princess are seen endlessly tugging on the huge wedding ring, but they both stop, and the Final Boss fight begins shortly thereafter.
    Bowser: Gwahahaha! Crashing the wedding, Mario? That's tacky, even for you! Also, your outfit isn't halfway fancy enough for the occasion! Not that it matters, since you WEREN'T INVITED! So now it's time for you to make like a bouquet and get thrown out. Get ready, Mario! Here's your happily ever after!
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Mario can wear a replica of Peach's Wedding Dress (altered to meet his measurements) after using the Wedding Peach amiibo or after a certain moon total is reached. A game update would later also allow him to wear a replica of Hariet's dress.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: This game strikes a balance between the styles of Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine, generally following the former. While both of those games had a few major collectibles per area, Odyssey has many more that are less-involved to collect, encouraging lots of exploration, and you can collect them in any order like 64's Power Stars. More in line with Sunshine are special Power Moons that can be collected to open up more of the world, and there is a storyline path for each kingdom, though unlike Sunshine it's not necessary to complete that path to make progress. World sizes range from the small size of 64 to the large size of Sunshine, but there is no Hub Level and you access the levels in a specific order (even the two split-path choices require you to complete both branches); like Sunshine (where you had to collect a certain Shine Sprite in each world to unlock the final level), a specific amount of Power Moons need to be collected in each world to progress. There's also a way to "expand" each world; after beating the game, Moon Rocks activate in every kingdom, and breaking them will spread several more Power Moons and secret area pipes across the world.
  • Wingding Eyes: The Tostarenans have different-shaped glowing eyes depending on their mood, such as pink flowers when happy and yellow starbusts when hurt.
  • Wintry Auroral Sky: While most of Shiveria is explored by aurora-less daylight, the Iceburn Circuit - the second Bound Bowl Grand Prix racetrack - is visited at night and is bathed by green and pink auroras.
  • With This Ring: The Broodals are searching the Sand Kingdom for a legendary wedding ring; one that's said to keep the bride and groom together "even if the world is turned upside-down." Ironically the thing is completely gigantic that Bowser has to hold it with two hands while utterly failing at putting it on Peach's hand. The most he can do with it is just use it as a bind to hold Peach and Tiara during the final boss fight.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Much of the marketing focuses on characters and elements of specific worlds that don't contribute much to the overall plot but are meant to be attractive to players, such as the Tyrannosaurus rex in Fossil Falls, as well as Pauline and her theme song "Jump Up, Super Star!".
  • Woman in White: Peach's wedding dress is white, just like the one from Super Paper Mario, though it looks more like an actual wedding dress compared to the one from Super Paper Mario, which was a Palette Swap of her pink dress.
  • Wutai: Bowser's Kingdom's design is based on a feudal Japanese castle, and there are even statues inside depicting Raijin and Fujin modeled after Bowser.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One:
    • The Broodals will have stolen the six items necessary for Bowser and Peach's wedding before you even set foot in each of the kingdoms they loot for the first time. In particular, they manage to get out of Seaside Kingdom before Mario even sees them, leaving Mollusque-Lanceur as the sole boss of that kingdom.
    • En route to the Metro Kingdom, Mario manages to catch up to Bowser's airship and forces him into a confrontation in the Cloud Kingdom. After a boss fight, Mario is victorious ...until Bowser decides to just bomb him out of the sky, dropping Cappy, the Odyssey, and Mario into the Lost Kingdom.
  • You No Take Candle: Knucklotec, the boss of the Sand Kingdom, speaks in broken English lacking any conjunctions or interjections.
  • You Shouldn't Know This Already: Most buried Moons that are unearthed via ground pound do not spawn until you actually are told in-game that they are placed there. This includes the Hint Art pictures — their corresponding Moons cannot be dug up until you actually examine the art yourself.
  • Youkai: Not only are Bonneters based on tsukumogami, but the Stairface Ogres found in Bowser's Kingdom are Whomps modeled directly after Oni.
  • Your Size May Vary:
    • Pauline is a lot taller now; probably to emphasize that she's the same "species" as the New Donk City Residents.
    • As usual, Bowser's size changes depending on the scene. He can be massive in his fights, and then only just taller than Mario in cutscenes.
    • Mario seems much shorter than usual, things like Toads, Goombas, and Koopa Troopas should be smaller than he is, but they're all nearly his size or larger in this game.
  • Zeerust: The Satellaview Suit Lampshades this with its description: "This outfit represents what the future used to look like."
  • Zerg Rush: The preferred style of Chinchos, who appear out of the ground in large quantities without end. Individually, they're as weak as a Goomba and a lot slower, but they can become quite dangerous in quantity.

I'll throw my hat in the ring 'cause you're the one
A miracle in three dimensions
Follow the brick path straight to my heart
And we'll grab the flag together
The fireworks are gonna start

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