Super Mario Odyssey is an absolute whirlwind of creativity. In fact, the only thing predictable about it is its plot; Mario once again has to save the princess from Bowser’s clutches. It’s an old concept that holds up well thanks to a few small surprises, however Bowser is rarely alone in his efforts. Bowser’s army always includes a few henchmen to act as boss characters throughout the adventure, such as Bowser Jr. and the Koopalings. These enemies have always been endearing, even if many of their battles seem simple. However, the Koopa King’s newest underlings, the Broodals, are easily the weakest of the entire franchise. Their boring and overly simple nature is a direct contrast to the rest of the fantastic bosses in Mario’s latest adventure, and we can only hope that they don’t return in the next one.
From an aesthetic perspective, The Broodals really couldn’t be any duller. Their gang is made up of four rabbits with four hats that do four different things. However, their abilities do little to give the player any sense of their personality, as they really just feel shoehorned in. It’s clear that the use of hats was simply thrown in to match Mario’s newly acquired abilities as there really doesn’t seem to be any connection between the headgear and the Broodals themselves. In Super Mario World, the Koopalings were each fought in an aesthetically interesting arena with abilities that seemed to match up with their demeanor. In Odyssey, the Broodals just show up sometimes and throw their hat at Mario in slightly different ways.
What really kills the Broodals’ likeability is their distinct lack of charm. They’re the worst combination of plain and ugly, leaving the player completely uninterested in the concept of them as villains. They pale in comparison to the other baddies showcased in the game, such as the Lord of Thunder. Not enough was done to give each member a distinct enough identity, making each encounter with the team feel like a chore.
Each battle essentially involves running around a circle while one of the Broodals attacks you with their specific hat. The attacks aren’t hard to dodge in the slightest, and some don’t even require the player to move. Once their hat is off their head, all it takes is a head stomp to deal damage. Make no mistake, most of the bosses in Mario’s 3D adventures are relatively simple and often require little skill to beat. However, they’re almost always engaging and fun either due to the design of the boss itself or the environment in which the player fights them in. The Broodal fights opted for the blandest arena possible, making the majority of their fights a chore.
The four underlings aren’t the only members of the newly formed team, however. Their gang leader, Madame Brood, rounds out the pack by checking off on all things that made the rest of the cast dreadful: she’s ugly, provides no challenge whatsoever, and requires the player to resort to the most boring strategies in order to win. Just like the other Broodals, her fight takes place in a circular arena. Madame Brood simply chases the player around with a chain chomp that can be captured and launched back at her via Cappy’s capture ability. The only thing the player has to do to dodge her attacks is literally run around in circles. The worst part is her rematch near the end of the game incorporates no new idea or features, just rinse and repeat.
Do you agree that the Broodals are woefully underwhelming? What are some of your least favorite Nintendo villains? Let us know in the comments or on twitter!