If you ask a dedicated Super Mario fan what Mario's last "open world" game was, you might be told one of two things: "Super Mario 64," or "Super Mario Sunshine." If not those, some might even tell you "Super Mario 3D World," his Wii U title.

No matter which game you hear in reply, "Super Mario Odyssey" is a return to form. With "Super Mario Odyssey," Nintendo's little plumber in red returns to his open world glory. Along with new skills, new places to explore, and new characters to meet, the game's theme song sums it up best: "It's freedom like you never knew."

There's a talking hat this time

The plot, despite being the usual "Bowser kidnaps Princess Peach" song, has some changes as well.

This time, Bowser takes Peach with intent to marry her, rather than just keep her captive. After Mario gives chase, he's quickly beaten and ends up in a mysterious, new kingdom. A new character, Cappy the talking cap, introduces himself, and the game starts from there.

Cappy wants to help Mario rescue the princess, but has his own goal as well: His sister, Tiara, was also taken. Using Cappy's help, Mario is able to perform new moves, such as throwing his cap to defeat enemies, using it as a platform to extend his jump, and spinning it around to discover hidden items. In addition to those new moves, Mario's usual arsenal from "Super Mario 64" is back: the triple jump, the backflip, the side jump, the long jump, and the ground pound.

Swiss Army cap

The biggest addition that Cappy brings is the ability for Mario to throw his hat at enemies and objects, allowing him to control them.

For example, capturing a Hammer Brother enemy allows Mario to throw hammers around, breaking down walls and defeating other enemies. In another world, Mario can capture poles on buildings and use them to fling himself higher into the air. Some of the things that Mario can control are amazing, but I won't give the best ones away.

Remember something? It's in here

With his flying ship named "the Odyssey," Mario adventures through many different worlds. From a frozen desert, to a jungle with dinosaurs, all the way to a huge city named New Donk, the stages never get boring. One particular world features a musical number with an awe-inspiring area that celebrates Mario's earliest days. While venturing through the game, it wasn't very often that I didn't have a smile on my face at all the little details Nintendo packed in.

In between Cappy's powers and the fantastic worlds to explore, "Super Mario Odyssey" has a big first for the plumber's adventures: the player can change his outfit. Rather than Mario's usual red and blue overalls, he can wear many new costumes that are nods to past games, Nintendo commercials, or even other characters.

These costumes can either be unlocked by specific amiibo, or by progressing in the game; nothing is locked behind amiibo, they just make unlocking faster. Some costumes will even help progress through the game, if worn at the right time; for example, a chef outfit clearly inspired by the puzzle game "Yoshi's Cookie" will help Mario enter a special bonus room in a kingdom made of food.

Adventuring on-the-go

Like other games on the Nintendo Switch, Mario plays fantastic in handheld mode too. I ended up playing the majority of the game in handheld mode and never once had an issue of frame dropping, a worse picture, or anything negative whatsoever. Of course, seeing the game on a television screen is where the details really shine, but it still looks fantastic on the Switch's own screen.

The game supports every kind of control scheme that the Nintendo Switch allows: individual Joycons, the Joycon grip, and the Pro Controller. It also has motion controls a la "Super Mario Galaxy," complete with flinging a Joycon to throw Mario's hat, but thankfully these are never required.

The final say

If I had a rating scale from 1 to 5, I would have to give this game a 6. Even taking a few days to write this review, I couldn't think of a single negative thing to say. If this is the kind of great content that Nintendo is giving the Switch during its first year, I can't wait to see what's coming next.