Need help capturing enemies, beating bosses, or moon-gazing? Check out our Super Mario Odyssey guides.
I'm not good with endings. I was always that dumb kid who'd weep at the end of a book, TV series, or movie. For a long time, I dreaded finishing great games, too.
See, it wasn't so long ago when a video game was invariably a compete, sealed package. You got your beginning, your middle, and your end. Finito. No DLC, no patches. Even sequels rarely picked up where the previous story left off. Once the characters you loved exited stage left on an airship at the end of the credit roll, that was usually the last you'd see of them. Sure, you could start a new game, but you'd just walk over the footsteps you left on your first adventure. Never again would you have new experiences with these characters.
So here's my dirty secret: I'm glad we live in an age where remakes, DLC, story expansions, and robust post-game content are commonplace. I can spend more time with the characters I love. I can delay that last goodbye for just a little longer.
That's not to say I hate games that close the book and tell me "That's it. We're done. Go outside." I'm a big girl; I know good times can't last forever. I'm just particularly appreciative of games that give me a good reason to keep on playing once I've accomplished my biggest and most pressing task.
Super Mario Odyssey, for example, has some excellent post-game content, and I hope other big releases take a few cues from the globe-trotting plumber.
(!!!Spoilers for Super Mario Odyssey's ending and post-game follow!!!)
After Mario busts up the wedding between Peach and Bowser, you're allowed to visit the Mushroom Kingdom. This is cool on its own, as the small level is a re-creation of the courtyard from Super Mario 64. You can even meet Yoshi on the castle's roof, and buy a delightfully polygonal costume that calls back to Mario's boxier days.
But there's more to the visit than just futzing around in a courtyard of nostalgia. You quickly learn Princess Peach has vanished again-this time seemingly of her own volition. She packed a suitcase and took off with Cappy's sister to parts unknown.
The Toads are, as usual, beside themselves. Instead of attempting to find Peach themselves (I guess those stubby little legs can't take them very far; even the unusually brave Captain Toad needs to rest often), they beg Mario to find their monarch and drag her back.
Right off the bat, Super Mario Odyssey gives us a good story-based reason to keep on playing. Of course you want to find Peach and congratulate her for just packing her shit up and taking off. Good call, girl.
You soon learn Peach isn't angry; she just needed a vacation. You find her when you re-visit levels, and she's happy to bless you with more Power Moons. Peach-hunting is fun for a couple of reasons. First, there's a bit of a "Where's Waldo?" vibe that asks you to guess which Kingdom Peach is going to next-then you have to find her, which is a challenge in larger Kingdoms. Second, Peach changes her wardrobe from Kingdom to Kingdom, and her outfits are very fashionable and adorable.
As you track down Peach, you learn the many different races populating Mario Odyssey mingled after Mario defeated Bowser. They're all visiting each others' Kingdoms now, which results in some funny background jokes: I saw a giant snail-person from the Seaside Kingdom and an anthromorphic fork from the Luncheon Kingdom argue for the love of a woman from New Donk City.
Of course, there are a couple more Kingdoms to unlock, though they're more like contained challenges for the hardcore. To be honest, when I learned Peach departed the Mushroom Kingdom with a suitcase, I'd hoped she was off to Isle Delfino from Super Mario Sunshine. Mucking around in a high-resolution realization of Peach's courtyard from Super Mario 64 is a trip, and I wouldn't mind a small slice of paradise. Free DLC idea here, Nintendo.
I digress. The point is, Mario Odyssey gives you several good reasons not to hit the power button after "The End" pops up. There's still a little more story to experience, some new lands to explore, some new costumes to collect, and tons of Moons to gather. Tons and tons of Moons.
Nintendo clearly wants you to keep frolicking once Bowser's been put down, and it's hard to say no.