Super Mario Odyssey's Motion Controls Aren't Mandatory, but Aren't Optional Either

Super Mario Odyssey's Motion Controls Aren't Mandatory, but Aren't Optional Either

Super Mario Odyssey has one point of contention.

Super Mario Odyssey comes out tomorrow, and you're no doubt excited for what is arguably one of the most anticipated games of the year. However, be warned: There's a little bit of chicanery going on when it comes to the game's motion controls.

In Super Mario Odyssey, most of the game's primary controls have button inputs. Things like jumping and attacking or using your new hat companion Cappy are all mapped onto specific buttons. However, some of Cappy's bonus attacks are only available with motion controls. Things like homing attacks, reverse throws, or even specific movements when possessing a captured enemies will require specific flicks of the wrist.

Some Cappy attacks are only available with motion controls.

As noted by some online, the fact that motion controls exist in Super Mario Odyssey isn't all that surprising. Especially considering that the team worked on Super Mario Galaxy, which also had motion controls.

However, the Switch is no Wii and the motion controls can get a little tricky considering the Switch has multiple ways of play. While motion controls aren't difficult when using the split control joycon setup (like how you would use a WiiMote and Nunchuck), other modes are a little more complicated. Handheld mode in particular requires you to shake your Switch, screen and all, if you want to use some of the more advanced moves.

Perhaps anticipating some of the tedium, Nintendo even suggests that the best way to play the game is using the solo, split Joycon setup. Even though the game does support all manner of controls, including the Switch Pro Controller.

Split Joycons

As highlighted by some critics, the use of motion controls isn't necessary per se. But if you want to collect all the Moons (Odyssey's collectible replacement for Stars) there are some locked behind platform puzzles that require advanced motion controller moves.

On Reddit, the reactions to the motion controls revelation are divided. "SkulkingSneakyTheifs" writes:

I’d do anything to never have to use motion controls again so this is concerning to me. (Just so we’re all aware, I fully expected there to be motion controls)

Meanwhile "theicemanwins" replied:

Best option, is more options. Say what you will about motion controls but I'll never say no to having more options. Personally I hate motion controls since I evolved from a tool using ape, and have much more fine dexterity in my fingers than in my arms. I feel more immersed using a controller than motion simply because I have more control.
Some captured posessions also have motion controlled moves.

So far, amid the perfect scores, the motion controls in Odyssey appear to the be the game's most glaring inconvenience. It's not that the game is unplayable without motion controls. But when you're on the go, playing in grip mode is easier than setting up a mini standalone Switch station with detached Joycons.

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Matt Kim

News Editor

Matt Kim is a former freelance writer who's covered video games and digital media. He likes video games as spectacle and is easily distracted by bright lights or clever bits of dialogue. He also once wrote about personal finance, but that's neither here nor there.

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