There's a lot to love about Super Mario Odyssey—its photo mode, its robust post-game content, its bone-chilling conspiracies—but nothing else in the game matches the sheer fun of capturing an enemy with Cappy's assistance and then turning their own bodies against their comrades.
It's like that scene in Gravity Falls where Bill Cipher steals Dipper's body, except you can't go around slamming your host's extremities into cutlery drawers. If Mario plays too rough in his temporary shelter, he gets evicted.
Thankfully, many of the foes Mario captures offer strong offensive capabilities—far better than the weaksauce slapfest you'd get out from a 13-year-old and his noodley arms. As I traveled from Kingdom to Kingdom in Super Mario Odyssey, I harassed as much fauna as possible and made note of my 10 favorite transformations.
Bullet Bill is one of the earliest transformations you nab in Odyssey, and it's also one of the most satisfying. You're only allowed a short ride in the Bill's explosive soul, but it offers you everything you want out of life: Speed, power, and the ability to ram into stone face-first.
When you capture one of Mario Odyssey's tank-critters, you're treated to an interesting gameplay shift. As a Sherm, Mario can take precise aim at his targets with the Switch's control sticks, and the can let fly a barrage of confetti to bring them down. Don't laugh, streamers are no joke. See how amused you are when you suffer the Death of a Thousand Paper Cuts.
Mario's stubby limbs aren't Olympic swimmer material, which is why the Cheep-Cheep is one of the most useful captures in the game. When Mario first gets his head wet in Mario Odyssey, it quickly becomes clear the soggy caverns of the Lakeside Kingdom is no kindergarten splash pad. The second you capture a Cheep-Cheep, the difference in maneuverability is a huge relief—and the fishie's inherent ability to breathe underwater isn't amiss, either.
This Oceanside Octopus is amongst my very favorite Mario Odyssey transformations. I'm not a huge fan of Super Mario Sunshine, but I do appreciate how FLUDD lets you jet into the air and skedaddle across the ocean's surface at hedgehog speed. Gushen mimics the FLUDD's abilities almost to a tee, resulting in a lot of splishy-splashy ocean fun.
Funny how one of the simplest transformations is, again, one of the most useful in Mario Odyssey—and one of the most fun to use. Found primarily in the Cap Kingdom, Paragoombas are essential for mapping the dangerously foggy corners of the land. The winged mushrooms aren't great at getting height, but their stamina is boundless.
I really shouldn't have to sell this one.
This gliding lizard is Mario Odyssey's answer to Link's paraglider from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Glyde is also a rare example of a symbiotic capture: He wants Mario to possess him and take him flying. If Mario obliges, he can leap off high peaks and get an eagle's view of the Kingdom. Glyde is a perfect companion for Moon-hunting, but he can be tricky to control. Don't enter a graveyard spiral.
These tiny Tengu are adorable, but they're far from harmless. Their needle-sharp beaks are multipurpose. First and foremost, they're deadly weapons capable of jabbing through stone and volleying explosives. Second, if Mario captures a Pokio, he can sink its beak into soft surfaces and fling himself upward to reach high places. Incredible. Never under-estimate small things.
About mid-game, Mario finds himself in a tropical world overrun by poison bogs. One touch means death, and platforms over the quagmire are worryingly tiny. It's rough going—until Mario captures a tropical wiggler. These stretchy bug boys can gain secure footing on even the tiniest platforms. They're essential for grabbing coins and Moons in dangerous areas, and the accordion sounds they make while doing so is a big bonus.
A hunk of meat
Meat Mario cannot fly. He cannot defend himself. He cannot climb, swim, or bash through obstructions. But he is mighty, for he perches atop a massive mountain and shakes off his caked-on salt crust so that all may behold his delicious, well-marbled surface. Bow down to Meat Mario and pray for his blessing so that your children may keep their bellies full this winter.