What I'm Playing - No. 50
Welcome back to another weekly wrap-up of the games I’ve been playing over the past week!
For Super Mario Odyssey, boss and general plot spoilers are present. If you want to be surprised by the worlds and bosses encountered in Super Mario Odyssey, you’ll want to skip that section!
For Danganronpa, I’ve avoided all main story spoilers, and only really wrote about the post-game “School Mode” this week.
Click a title to skip to that section. Games contained within this post:
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (PC)
I finished Danganronpa this week, and it did not disappoint! The writing stayed strong until the very end, and it was just so good! Avoiding spoilers, I can’t really write anything about the parts I played through though. What I can write about is the non-canon, just-for-fun mode you unlock upon beating the game though!
After completing the game, you unlock the “what if?” School Mode option, Dangan Academy. This is an alternate version of the story, but at the beginning of the game instead of starting the killing game like he does in the main story, Monokuma instead tasks the class with building backup Monokumas for him. If they can build all the backups he asks for within 50 days, he’ll let them go free!
The gameplay of Dangan Academy is split between work and free time. During the work day, you can craft items, use items, and assign tasks to each student. Tasks consist of either resting to recover that student’s HP, cleaning to increase the cleanliness of the school, or gathering materials from various locations, each of which has a different list of potential materials to gather. Your characters level up in cleaning and gathering based on their assigned job. Once you’ve got everyone’s tasks assigned, you start the work, and adorable pixel art versions of the characters get to work. It’s honestly a fun and surprisingly addicting little management game!
The whole experience is much more light-hearted than the main game, and for good reason since the purpose of this mode is to serve as a dating sim. After the work is done each day, you’ll get Free Time. You can make progress on a character’s Report Card the same way you do during Free Time in the main game, or spend Trip Tickets Monokuma gives you for completing objectives to build your Dangan Academy specific relationship with characters. Spending a Trip Ticket lets you choose where to hang out with your chosen character, and you’ll get a dialogue prompt with 3 choices, where 1 is the best, 1 is good, and the last one is bad or neutral.
I played through a full 50 day cycle of Dangan Academy. At the end, Monokuma scolds the class, calling all their backup creations terrible. He then told them to redo all of them, and the 50 day cycle started again. I read on the Danganronpa wiki that this mode has a “good” ending that you can get if you’ve unlocked all characters’ Report Card pages and completed every Monokuma backup that cycle. I don’t intend to do all that. School Mode is fun, and it was pretty addicting, but the gameplay loop is pretty repetitive. It is a super cool post-game activity though, since it’s basically an entirely separate game, with a lot more to it than I expected! Fun fact, this School Mode wasn’t in the original Danganronpa release on the PSP, but was added for the PC, PS4, and PS Vita editions.
Super Mario Odyssey (Switch)
I finished the main story of Super Mario Odyssey this week, and I saw a wide variety of new kingdoms along the way!
One highlight of the experience this week was Metro Kingdom’s New Donk City. I never imagined I’d see a city of skyscrapers and regular looking humans in a Mario game. The gameplay during the city’s festival also pays homage to the original Donkey Kong arcade game, which is fitting since Pauline, the mayor, is from the arcade game. The song that Pauline sings during the festival, “Jump Up, Super Star!” is awesome too!
I’ve also enjoyed stopping at the shops in each world to buy new hats and outfits for Mario. You can change at any dresser to swap out your hat and outfit independently of each other, picking from all the articles of clothing you’ve purchased. Each world has a themed outfit, like a poncho and sombrero in the Mexico-inspired world, a neat explorer outfit from the Wooded Kingdom, and a stylish black suit from New Donk City.
The first confrontation with Bowser also occurred, with Mario briefly catching up to Bowser’s airship to challenge him. Following the hat theme of the game, you damage Bowser by waiting for him to throw his hat at you, then using Cappy to capture his hat for yourself. You then use the hat’s punching glove attachments to pummel Bowser. This repeats a few times, and even though the fight was clearly in Mario’s favor, Bowser gets the final blow, and sends Mario and the Odyssey flying, escaping with Princess Peach still in his clutches.
Naturally, after Mario and Cappy get the Odyssey back in working order, they pursue Bowser. After collecting Power Moons in a few more kingdoms, they finally have enough fuel to reach Bowser’s Kingdom, and they set off in pursuit once more! Unfortunately, Bowser has apparently enlisted the help of this huge black dragon, and you have to fight it first to get through to Bowser’s Kingdom! I knew this dragon was in the game already, but seeing it for myself was still a really unique experience. Mario doesn’t usually go toe to toe with enormous scaly dragons! Unless it’s in the Paper Mario series, but those have a papery, cartoon design, unlike the beast seen in Odyssey.
After that, Mario finally reaches Bowser’s Kingdom, which has a historic Japanese design for some reason. It was another really cool world to explore though! I put Mario in the world’s unique outfit, the Samurai outfit, and set out to reach the top of the castle. There, instead of fighting Mario, Bowser just tells him he’s too late, and leaves for his wedding ceremony on the Moon with Peach. Bowser’s cronies the Broodals then show up for the final time, and fight you in this huge mech. Defeating it requires you to capture the bird enemy that was used earlier in the world to scale walls, and hit bombs at the mech’s legs in order to break its armor, scale its wooden surface, and attack the Broodals’ directly.
After defeating the Broodals, Mario and Cappy finally had enough Power Moons to complete the Odyssey, and give it enough power to pursue Bowser to the moon itself! There, a lone chapel stood on the surface, though Mario had to pass through lava-filled underground caverns to reach it.
Inside the chapel, characters from each of the worlds you’ve visited so far are in attendance…for some reason. I’m not going to over think it, I’ll just accept that it’s a cool end of the game scene to have all the characters together in the same room! There’s a final showdown with Bowser that is nearly identical to the earlier Bowser boss battle. The only difference I remember is that Bowser had a phase where he blew fire and spun around this time. It would have been a little underwhelming had the game ended with this recycled boss fight, but luckily it wasn’t over there. Bowser is defeated and Peach is freed from his clutches, but the battle with him causes the underground caverns to being collapsing. There’s only one option: using Cappy to capture the unconscious Bowser in order to carry Peach and Cappy’s sister to safety, and claw your way out of the caverns!
This final scene where you claw through rocks as Bowser Mario was so cool. The music was this pumped up, rocking track with lyrics, and it really elevated the final escape scene! There was even a little 2D segment where you show up as the original pixel art Bowser and pixel art Peach from Super Mario Bros.! After escaping to the moon’s surface, everyone is safe at last. Bowser wakes up at that moment though, and tries to win Peach over one last time with a bouquet of Piranha Plants. Mario competes with him by offering Peach a rocket flower, and the two shove each other and bicker over Peach’s affection. Fed up with the whole situation, Peach turns them both down, and walks away. She fires up the Odyssey, and it seems like she’s going to leave Mario and Bowser stranded for a moment. But as the Odyssey begins to ascend, Peach waves for Mario to jump aboard, and he jumps off of Bowser’s head to make the jump. Roll credits!
Super Mario Odyssey was an absolute joy to play from beginning to end. The main story wasn’t very long. My Switch’s Play Activity claims I played “5 hours or more” of Super Mario Odyssey…I really wish it was more specific, because I know it was more than 5 hours of playtime. There were to many great sights to see along the way, that it would a bittersweet ending if not for all the post-game content! Upon finishing the main story, you unlock the Mushroom Kingdom world, which looks very similar to the opening of Super Mario 64! At the Mushroom Kingdom, Cappy says he’s enjoyed traveling with Mario so much that he wants to continue adventuring with him for a while longer, and there’s so much more left to see! He even says if they collect more Power Moons, they’ll be able to travel somewhere new, so I’m looking forward to seeing what that might be! I may have finished the main story, but I’m definitely going to continue playing Super Mario Odyssey for the post-game content. Collecting Power Moons is just so fun. I don’t know if I’ll collect all of them, but I’ll keep playing and collecting a few at a time.