Most of the world is just starting to get its hands on Super Mario Odyssey, and as you dig in, you might be wondering why you’re having trouble getting every moon in a kingdom or just how deep the rabbit hole of this game goes. Lucky for you, we’ve been playing for a week straight now, so we can fill in some of the details.
Spoiler warning: While this post will not discuss any specific plot or gameplay sequences, it does spoil some of the rewards you get for “finishing” the game. If you want to be surprised, read no further.
For anyone who’s played recent Mario titles like Super Mario 3D World or even going back to the Mario Galaxy games, it’s no surprise that there are more challenges waiting after the credits roll. Here’s what Super Mario Odyssey has in store for dedicated players.
Tons more moons
If you’re journeying through some of Super Mario Odyssey’s kingdoms and ever think to yourself, “Wow, the list of moons in this kingdom is surprisingly short,” I have good news. By beating Bowser and finishing the game, you unlock the ability to stuff every single kingdom full of even more moons.
In each kingdom, you’ll find a strange metallic box that Cappy will comment on but you can’t seem to actually interact with. After credits roll, return to that box and you’ll now be able to toss your hat at it, sending it rocketing into the sky, where it bursts open and fills the surrounding level with new moons.
You’ll need to locate each individual box in each kingdom, but they add a lot of moons — in some cases, even doubling the total number available in a kingdom. Many of these new moons are also extremely challenging.
A nostalgic new kingdom
Once you’ve rescued Princess Peach, you get the chance to go visit her in the Mushroom Kingdom. This throwback world is reminiscent of the Peach’s Castle area in Super Mario 64, including the ability to jump into paintings (for extra-hard boss battles) and at least one room that is directly taken from that N64 classic.
Best of all, the Mushroom Kingdom has dozens of new moons to collect, including moons that are offered up for completing statistical milestones. We spent several hours scouring this kingdom and still have more to do, so expect to keep busy.
One strange thing you might notice on your trip to the Mushroom Kingdom: Princess Peach isn’t actually there. That’s because she’s decided to go on her own roadtrip with her hat companion, Tiara. As you return to older kingdoms to clean up old moons and bust open boxes of new ones, you’ll also be able to find Princess Peach, retrieve a moon from her in each area and follow along on her journey.
Besides Peach, other denizens of Super Mario Odyssey will pop up in different zones than usual. With peace returned to the world, it seems that tourism has picked up. Many of the traveling NPCs are just there for flavor — like a fish person from the Lake Kingdom who you can discover happily bathing under a waterfall in the Woodlands Kingdom — but others will present you with new missions that reward (duh) even more moons.
Even more new zones
The Mushroom Kingdom isn’t the only new area you can unlock after the credits. As you gather even more moons, you can power up the Odyssey — the ship Mario uses to travel between kingdoms — further to reach even greater heights.
By gathering a total of 250 moons, you’ll open up the ability to reach The Dark Side of the Moon, a smallish area that features a really tough boss rush challenge. To complete this, you’ll need to defeat all four of the game’s main rabbit bosses, plus their final mech form, on one life and with no checkpoints.
It took us a ... a while. Pro-tip: Go to a different kingdom first, enter a store and purchase an extra heart before returning to the Dark Side. This will help a lot. Once you manage to survive the boss rush, you’ll unlock other challenges on the Dark Side.
That’s not all, though! By gathering a total of 500 moons, you’ll be able to travel to the Darker Side. Yes, seriously. While the previous level had a boss rush challenge with no checkpoints, the Darker Side features one of the most intense, demanding and lengthy platforming sequences in the game ... with no checkpoints. Godspeed!
There also might be an even harder final challenge waiting for players who manage to collect every one of the game’s 800-plus moons, but we’re honestly still chipping away at it, so we’re not sure yet.
Not everything you unlock for beating Super Mario Odyssey is about challenge. By finishing the game, you’ll also earn the option to purchase lots of new hat and suit combos for Mario. Many of these are unlockable via amiibo use as well (such as the swanky wedding outfits), but if you don’t want to shell out real money for figures, you can just pay in-game gold coins. More of these will unlock for purchase as you gather moons.
Whether you’re looking to play at fashion or to prove your skill at platforming, Super Mario Odyssey has a ton for dedicated players to achieve, even long after Bowser is busted. If you need help along the way, be sure to check out our Super Mario Odyssey guide, which we’ll be building on throughout the weekend and into the weeks ahead.