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‘Super Mario Odyssey’: Here’s how to solve every kingdom’s common puzzles

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The focus of Super Mario Odyssey is on completing challenges, figuring out puzzles and exploring its various worlds to find Power Moons. As in its past Mario games (like Super Mario 64 with its stars)Nintendo has hidden a huge number of moons throughout Mario Odyssey, and as you venture through each of the many kingdoms of the Nintendo Switch game, you will find a few recurring puzzles that are always good for a lunar reward.

If you don’t know what to look for in each kingdom, though, you might miss several common puzzles that pop up in each of them. Recurring characters are present in most of the kingdoms, especially after you worked your way through the story of the game and beat Bowser, and in each place you can track them down to snag moons from them. Here is a list of each of the recurring characters and puzzles you find in most of Super Mario Odyssey ’s kingdoms, and how to best them.

Hat dog

Super Mario Odyssey: Common Puzzles -- Hat Dog
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Look around most kingdoms for a little dog wearing a hat hanging around. He is usually near where the Odyssey sets down, but sometimes you can find him in other places — in the Metro Kingdom, for instance, he hangs out in a small park not far from where you find Pauline.

If you approach the dog, he usually rears back on his hind legs before wandering off somewhere nearby. Follow him when he goes, as he always sniffs the ground until he finds something buried, and then digs it up. If the first thing he finds isn’t a Power Moon, keep looking; the dog will follow you around the area until he smells something else, so explore around and see if he tracks anything down. Look for small hills and mounds, as those are the spots where you usually find buried items.

Hoppy rabbit

Super Mario Odyssey: Common Puzzles -- Rabbits
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Another animal that pops up in a lot of kingdoms is a small rabbit that wears a top hat. The little rabbit will hop around in various places, and when you approach it, it darts off and runs you on a chase. The rabbit will generally hop in a particular pattern, but it’s quick and pretty hard to stop.

If you can grab the rabbit, you get a Power Moon, but it’s hard to snag him. He’s faster than Mario, so catching the rabbit is about strategy. The best way to deal with him is to bop him with Cappy when you can get a clear throw, which will daze the rabbit and slow him down. That is not always a viable option depending on where you find him, though; in the Snow Kingdom, for instance, you find the rabbit on the side of a hill, which makes hitting him with Cappy pretty tough. In any event, try to shorten the distance between you and him until you can touch the rabbit. Once you do, you receive a moon.

Koopa Bros. races

Super Mario Odyssey: Common Puzzles -- Koopa Bros. Races
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After you beat Bowser, most of the big kingdoms will have a Koopa character that you can find waiting for you. Talk to him and he invites you to a parkour-style race across the kingdom with four other Koopas. The race requires you to be the first competitor to get to a specific place in the kingdom, but how you get there is up to you. That usually means you can get pretty creative about your race route, especially if you’re good at some of Mario’s more skill-intensive jump moves.

You can earn two Power Moons from each Koopa race. With one win under your belt, you are invited to a tougher race with a golden Koopa who is an even more formidable opponent. Beat him and you get your second moon for the event. You can keep racing after that for better times — Mario Odyssey includes online leaderboards — but you won’t win any more moons.

Buying the moon

Super Mario Odyssey: Common Puzzles -- Buying the Moon
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Drop by the Crazy Cap shop in any given kingdom and you find a quick and easy way to nab (at least one) moon. Each of the Cap shops has two vendors, with one accepting regular gold coins and the other taking purple coins specific to each kingdom. You find that each shop will sell you a Power Moon for 100 gold coins, giving you a quick way to snag a moon without a ton of effort.

In fact, it turns out that you can keep buying moons from shops if you so choose. Cap shops will even sell them in batches of 10. If you’re hurting for moons to unlock your next kingdom, stop by the shop and drop some coins.

Catching birds

Super Mario Odyssey: Common Puzzles -- Birds
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For most of the game, there’s not much reason to keep an eye on the birds soaring overhead in Super Mario Odyssey, who seem mostly to be there for the sake of looking nice. But if you’re keen-eyed, you will notice that there is usually at least one bird in every kingdom that glows with a rainbow hue. That is an indication the bird is carrying a Power Moon and you need to catch it to get it.

Like the rabbits and other puzzles in which you need to catch something to snag a moon, birds always move on predictable, if far-reaching, paths. Watch them fly around a bit and you will notice that they make a big loop, often coming close to the ground in a couple of places where you can intercept them. Jump into the birds when they’re low enough, or tag them with Cappy, to get them to drop what they are carrying.

Gold flowers

Super Mario Odyssey: Common Puzzles -- Gold Flowers
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One of the less-obvious recurring puzzles in many kingdoms involves a little gardening. As you walk around, look for several flower pots scattered around a given area. If you find some, start keeping an eye out for large golden acorn-looking seeds. Find one and bring it back to one of the flower pots, then toss it in. That will start a flower growing in the pot.

You need to give the flower a few minutes to grow, so head off and find some other Power Moons while you’re waiting. After a bit, come back to the plant and look for a gold flower bud at the top. Hit the flower with Cappy and it will produce a moon for you to snag. You will find a few flowers in most of the big kingdoms.

Taking notes

Super Mario Odyssey: Common Puzzles -- Taking Notes
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There are lots of puzzles in Super Mario Odyssey that involve rainbow-colored, floating musical notes. You find them all over many of the kingdoms. When you see a floating note, grab it, and several more rainbow notes will appear. You need to grab all of them before the timer runs out, but when you do, you earn a Power Moon. Look for notes to appear both in the regular world and in the 2D Mario murals throughout the game.

Goomba stack

Super Mario Odyssey: Common Puzzles -- Goomba Stack
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In just about any place there are goombas, there is a chance to get a special Power Moon for stacking them up. Look near where the Goombas appear for a Goomba wearing a pink hat. The hat-wearing goomba is usually on a higher level or platform.

To get the moon, use Cappy to take over a Goomba, then jump on top of another goomba to stack them. You can do this for as many Goombas as are available, but to get the moon, you just need to reach the same height as the pink hat Goomba. Once you have a big enough Goomba tower, run over to the pink hat goomba and get close to her. She rewards you with your moon.

Captain Toad

Super Mario Odyssey: Common Puzzles -- Captain Toad
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After you finished off Bowser, you find Captain Toad hanging around the Mushroom Kingdom, near the Crazy Cap shop (or actually on top of it). That is your signal to locate Captain Toad in most of the other kingdoms. He always give you a Power Moon if you can find him, but the trouble is that he is often pretty well hidden. Toad is high on platforms, buried under sand, and located deep under the ocean in various kingdoms, although you also find him out in the open and pretty obvious in a few of them.

The Tostarenan tourist

Super Mario Odyssey: Common Puzzles -- Tostaren Tourist
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When you get to the Sand Kingdom, you find a skeleton-like Tostarenan talking to a human Taxi driver from the Metro Kingdom. After you beat Bowser, this tourist Tostarenan will be able to travel the world by taxi. If you talk to him, he gives you clues as to which kingdom he means to check out next, usually by referencing something you will find there, such as dinosaurs in the Cascade Kingdom.

Head to the kingdom the Tostarenan wants to visit and you will see him with his taxi. Talk to him wherever he is and he will reward you with a Power Moon for being an acquaintance. Keep meeting him on his travels for more moons.

The Sphynx

Super Mario Odyssey: Common Puzzles -- Sphynx
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Starting with the Sand Kingdom, you’ll find a mini stone Sphynx in basically every major kingdom in Super Mario Odyssey. Locate the Sphynx and you can talk to it like any other non-player character. Once you do, the Sphynx will ask you a (pretty easy) riddle. Answer it correctly, and you’ll receive a reward.

You won’t always get a Power Moon from answering the Sphynx’s riddle, but more often than not, your reward will be worth it. The Sphynxes aren’t especially difficult to locate since they’re pretty large and often out of place in various kingdoms, and their riddles are usually even easier than locating them.

Hidden hats

Super Mario Odyssey: Common Puzzles -- Hidden Hats
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With Bowser defeated, the characters from each of Super Mario Odyssey’s kingdoms are free to roam the world just like Mario, and you will find several residents of the Cap Kingdom hanging around the other kingdoms. Usually, a pair of traveling caps is looking for their buddy or buddies, who got lost somewhere in that kingdom. This puts you on a bit of a scavenger hunt, looking for the hats in the kingdom that don’t belong. Find them, and you will earn at least one Power Moon.

The hidden hats are usually pretty hard to spot, but the trick is looking at people from behind. Check out characters wearing hats and look at the backs of their heads to see if their hats sport the eyes that Cappy and other Cap Kingdom residents have. If the hat has eyes, initiate a conversation with it. The Cap Kingdom absconders all want to stay where they are, and they offer Mario a moon to buy his silence.

The Slots

Super Mario Odyssey: Common Puzzles -- Slots
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In some of the kingdoms, you’ll find skeletal Tostarenans who have set up a gambling shop away from home. Head inside and talk to the Tostarenan running the place and he will let you play his game. It works like this: Four icons are constantly changing, displaying a moon, coins, and hearts. Like a slot machine, you need to stop all four icons so they match, which will then award you the appropriate prize.

The easiest way win at the slots is to stand immediately to the left of them, wait for the moons to appear, and throw Cappy in a straight line to hit all of them. The slots are slightly delayed in changing from left to right, making them perfectly match your hat’s throw speed. You can win one moon from each slots game you find.

Peach and Tiara

Super Mario Odyssey: Common Puzzles -- Princess Peach and Tiara
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One you freed them from Bowser’s forced marriage plans, Peach and her Cap Kingdom companion, Tiara, decide that hanging out in the Mushroom Kingdom would be pretty boring. Instead, they embark on a trip around the world, and if you can track them down in each place they wind up, you get a mess of Power Moons for your trouble.

Peach and Tiara appear in each kingdom after you defeat Bowser, including the smaller ones like the Cloud Kingdom and the Ruined Kingdom. They are usually pretty easy to find, often on the beaten path through the kingdom, or hanging out near where you park the Odyssey. Occasionally, though, they will be in tougher-to-reach places. In the Seaside Kingdom, for instance, you will find Peach and Tiara atop the big fountain in the center of the map, and you need to use the geysers of soda water to get to them. Peach and Tiara are in every kingdom you visit after beating Bowser, regardless of the order, so make sure to take a quick look around for them every time you make a stop.

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Phil Hornshaw
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Phil Hornshaw is an author, freelance writer and journalist living in Los Angeles. He is the co-author of The Space Hero's…
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