Super Mario Odyssey provides pure joy for many reasons. The zany Capture gameplay, upbeat atmosphere, and bright graphics stand chief among them. But in the wake of recent uproar surrounding microtransactions, Mario Odyssey provides another, perhaps unintentional, relief: his vast wardrobe. Specifically, how players obtain Mario’s new duds.
Merchandise sold at the Crazy Cap store is purchased with gold coins. How does one obtain said coins? By playing the game. Coins can be found everywhere; on the ground, atop ledges, hidden invisibly on certain platforms. Play well and search thoroughly and you too can purchase a hyper-expensive skeleton costume. What a concept.
Whenever I peruse my outfits I can’t help but think how easily all of it could have been monetized. How does $0.99 sound for that Waluigi cap? Better yet, random drops from a loot box modeled after a question block. I bet the opening animation on that would be magical. This is Nintendo, after all. But they didn’t go that route and I’m grateful.
In a time where bad monetization practices are setting video games ablaze, it feels refreshing to play a triple-A title where goodies are earned the old fashion way. Super Mario Odyssey isn’t the only game kicking it old school like this, but the big spotlight it shines on extra outfits make it stand out.
I’m not entirely against loot boxes. If rewards don’t affect gameplay, the drop rate is balanced, and the game doesn’t make you feel like garbage for not engaging with it, knock yourself out for the most part. Overwatch’s crates offer an acceptable example. But imagine if Blizzard’s shooter worked like Mario; players pick and choose outfits from a store by spending credits earned by playing matches. Working towards a clear, obtainable goal would keep me logging in than playing for a chance to roll the dice–even if the rewards are ultimately frivolous.
So if you get bummed out by yet another news story of terrible loot boxes being terrible, cope using Super Mario Odyssey. Head to your closet, admire your collection of goofy outfits, and breathe a comforting sigh. After all, could you imagine how expensive the skeleton suit would be if it cost real money?