Zak Hughes reviews Immortal Redneck - a first-person-dungeon-clearing shoot-em-up with enough charm and enjoyment to at least peak your interestWritten by Zak Hughes on 21st March 2018
Super Mario Odyssey – Balloon World Update
Sam Nason jumps into the free Super Mario Odyssey update which includes Luigi's very own Balloon World!
Dropping rather suddenly on the 22nd February, Super Mario Odyssey has received its first content update since its release.
A few cosmetic items have been added to the game - a Super Mario Sunshine-inspired costume, as well as knight and musician outfits to dress the Italian plumber in. Not only that, a few new filters have been added to Snapshot mode, namely the neon and coin ones, giving your in-game pictures some additional flair.
Of course the biggest feature of this update is the new Luigi’s Balloon World minigame. After beating the main game, you’ll now find Luigi in any given kingdom, floating wistfully above the ground with a snazzy new bowtie. Speak to him and you’ll be presented with two modes to enjoy Balloon World in - ‘Hide It’ or ‘Find It’. In ‘Hide It’ mode, players are tasked with hiding their own balloon in whatever kingdom they’re in within 30 seconds. In ‘Find It’ mode you’re doing the opposite, attempting to find the balloons other players have hidden against the clock. It’s nothing revolutionary or ground-breaking but is a surprisingly fun mode and has brought me back to a title I’d previously put on the backburner upon completing it.
When it first dropped, I played Balloon World for a good few hours and had a very pleasant time! It was exciting to explore familiar kingdoms in a more pressurised setting, encouraging creative thinking and use of Mario’s moves to find the most likely hiding places. A small cosmetic detail is that the world’s environment normally changes while in Balloon World - Metro Kingdom, for example, faces torrential rain - and so it’s nice to run through the kingdoms with a different aesthetic.
One of the appeals of the mode is that it is by far the easiest way to earn coins in the game. As you advance up the ranks by finding lots of balloons or hiding yours in particularly good places, your coin rewards get larger. This is extremely helpful in obtaining some of the more difficult to unlock outfits in the game, for example the elusive 9999-coin skeleton outfit. Bearing in mind you’ll need to buy the new outfits that came with the update in-game as well, Balloon World conveniently comes at a time where players will want to earn coins quick.
While a fun distraction, the shallow mechanics of Balloon World don’t totally convince me it’s something I’ll be coming back to religiously - then again, this is a free content update and more fresh things to do is never a bad thing. It is worth noting however that within a day the minigame was filled with out-of-bounds balloons that were impossible to reach, thus tricking you into spending coins in your attempts to pop an unreachable balloon. It might be wise for Nintendo to try and find some way to discipline those who exploit such glitches to maintain the fairness of the mode.
All in all, Balloon World offers an enjoyable diversion from your moon-collecting adventures. The challenge is amusing and it does feel good to pop numerous balloons in a row - it’s just a shame balloons hidden by glitches are so abound. That being said, if this is a hint at some of the content Nintendo has planned to support Odyssey with, I am eagerly awaiting whatever comes next!