Super Mario Odyssey is like a cluster of tiny, beautiful toy boxes collected into one package. That’s abundantly clear when you hit one of its most memorable moments: the finale to everyone’s favorite kingdom, New Donk City, where the game delves back into Mario’s beginnings for some brilliant, nostalgic level design.
Spoilers for the Super Mario Odyssey campaign follow, should you not have finished the Metro Kingdom yet.
Once Mario completes Metro Kingdom’s final mission, before the Odyssey heads elsewhere, Mayor Pauline invites him to the city’s traditional festival. It’s being held in Mario’s honor this year, she says, since he helped get New Donk’s power up and running and recruited a backing band for the main event.
And what an event it is. While Pauline sings the Super Mario Odyssey theme song, “Jump Up Super Star,” Mario goes into a pixelated pipe, becomes an 8-bit version of himself and runs alongside the concert in a fun, old-school Mario level.
It’s the level’s familiarity that makes this moment so good. It’s an homage to Mario’s arcade days as Jumpman, whose duty it was to save Pauline (!) from the malevolent Donkey Kong (hence, New Donk City). It’s basically a recreation of a level from the classic Nintendo game Donkey Kong, and it looks and plays beautifully.
The reveal that Mario has ended up back where he began is one of the best Easter eggs for longtime Nintendo fans. Enjoy the magic of this moment in the video below.