I like Super Mario Odyssey a lot. It’s not my favorite 3D Mario – that accolade goes to Galaxy – but I do like the direction Odyssey went in. However, some don’t. One of the biggest criticisms I’ve seen Odyssey’s detractors levy against the game is that collecting the moons is as tedious and repetitive as collecting Korok Seeds in Breath of the Wild.
While I’m sure most reading this are aware of what a Korok Seed is, I’ll explain for those of you living under a rock(Ya ha ha!): Korok seeds are collectibles that can be found all across the overworld in Breath of the Wild and can be used to expand the inventory to a certain point. After collecting a few hundred they become utterly useless, and they’re a nightmare for completionists to collect given that there’s 900, you have little direction given in locating them, and you’re always solving the same handful of “puzzles” to unlock them. And the reward for getting them all is literally a piece of shit. The Korok Seed mechanic has (rightly) been universally decried as a very poor design choice. Likening the main objective of Odyssey – collecting Power Moons – to finding Korok Seeds is a pretty hefty criticism, and I’ve seen many hold that there’s nothing redeeming about the moons that makes collecting them any more meaningful than collecting Korok Seeds. So, given this understanding of the Korok Seeds, is such an assertion accurate?
The simplest answer is no. It really isn’t.
The more complicated answer is that while there are obvious similarities between the two, Odyssey’s Power Moons lack certain flaws that make the Korok seeds the poster child of collectibles done wrong. Thus, I feel it’s unfair to equate the two.
First off, one of the biggest issues with the Korok seeds is that there’s nothing in-game to help you locate them. Giving a list of how many Korok seeds are in each region along with how many you’ve collected so far would have been a simple and extremely helpful addition, but it wasn’t implemented. You’re more or less entirely on your own in finding these things.
To be fair, they did add the Korok Mask to the game. But it only tells you when you’re in the general vicinity of a Korok seed; why couldn’t there have been a sort of “hot and cold” feature that told you when you were closing in on it so that you knew which direction to head in? And then you have to consider the fact that it’s locked behind paid DLC. In order to even entertain the idea of finding all the Korok seeds without a guide, you’d have to just run in straight lines back and forth across the map. Here’s a visual aid for what that would look like:
The Moons in Odyssey do not share this problem whatsoever. The beauty of Odyssey is that the game will let you search for all the moons yourself if you please, but it also provides two different ways of giving the player hints towards finding them. Need to be pointed in the right direction but don’t want the location just given away? Talkatoo will tell you the name of the moon, which will usually provide some sort of insight on how to obtain the moon, similar to the names for the stars in Super Mario 64. If you need further help or simply don’t have the time to spend on that scavenger hunt, then you can pay the Hint Toad to show the location of the moon on the map. And the pause menu has a list of which Power Moons you’ve collected and how many there are total in any given kingdom. All of these factors makes collecting every Power Moon without a guide feasible and a lot less tedious.
The second big complaint I don’t feel applies to the Power Moons is the assertion that, like Korok Seeds, it’s the same small handful of “puzzles” to solve over and over, so that collecting the moons never feels meaningful. Like I said, it’s true that getting Korok seeds only ever involves doing the same few menial tasks over and over again.
You can’t honestly say the same thing about Odyssey’s Power Moons. Yes, there are certain types of moons that are unsatisfying to collect and repeated several times, particularly in the postgame(ground pounding sparklies, romancing a female Goomba, just nabbing a moon out in the open, etc.) there are still plenty of moons that are actually hidden quite creatively, or put at the end of a fun platforming segment or other challenge. While certainly there is a lot of filler, there’s also a lot of legitimate content, which was never the case with the Korok Seeds.
All things considered, the Power Moons may be similar to the Korok Seeds in some regards, but they’re a vast improvement in that they manage to avoid sharing the more mind-numbingly frustrating aspects of the seeds. Comparing the two without adding this caveat just strikes me as intellectually dishonest and unfair to the developers of Super Mario Odyssey.