Jigsaw Review: Super Mario Odyssey and Team Fortress 2 Puzzles

I have two new USAopoly jigsaw puzzles to tell you about. One’s bright and cheery, the other’s more dark and dreary. A contrasting pair for my fellow jigsaw connoisseurs to enjoy, depending on your mood or game affinity.

Let’s begin with Super Mario Odyssey and the “Snapshots” puzzle, a 1,000 piece 19″ x 27″ jigsaw depicting an enlarged, landscape rendition of the game’s box art. Like a photo album collage, the puzzle allows you to tour Mario’s grand Nintendo Switch adventure, from New Donk City to Fossil Falls, as you piece it together. There’s even a little compass added to the bottom of the image to help guide the way.

It really is the perfect image for a jigsaw puzzle. Each “photo” represents one of the game’s many Kingdoms, so there’s plenty of color and variation, as well as clearly distinguished borders between the different pictures helping to provide additional visual guidelines. The puzzle’s bursting with color and Super Mario spirit, the eponymous Italian plumber (forget what Nintendo says, he’ll always be a plumber to me) and his headwear sidekick, Cappy, looming large as the central focal point, surrounded by smaller shots of Mario in other outfits and locales.

One really nice thing I’ve noticed about Super Mario Odyssey and other puzzles that have come out this year is that USAopoly has started to specify the exact dimensions on the back of the box. Many puzzles inevitably wind up being a fraction of an inch smaller or larger than the rounded-off dimensions, which can matter for those of us who like to frame favorite puzzles upon completion. For example, there’s an “Actual puzzle size” note on the “Snapshots” puzzle indicating that it is actually 19.25″ x 26.625″ rather than an exact 19″ x 27″. That extra bit of packaging detail is very much appreciated.

The Team Fortress 2 puzzle came out late last year (though I didn’t get it until this year) so it doesn’t have the actual puzzle size notation. But by the standard dimensions it is similarly 1,000 pieces and 19″ x 27″ in size. USAopoly’s Team Fortress 2 premium puzzle draws its inspiration from the key art for Gargoyles & Gravel, the web comic Valve put out a few years ago to usher in the game’s Scream Fortress update. The TF2 play on Dungeons & Dragons mixes darker fantasy tones with the game’s multi-class warfare and unrealistic, cartoon-like attitude, a mishmash that makes for an engaging puzzle.

The lettering and iconography across both the bottom and top edges, as well as in the bottom-right corner, are obvious starting points as, after the edges have been set, the text pieces are the easiest to identify and sort out from the pile. Getting the text sections in place sets an early foundation to quickly build out from. Certain colors and patterns appear in multiple areas of the image, but for the most part there’s ample differentiation throughout that assembly flies by fairly quickly.

The most impressive thing about the TF2 puzzle is how tightly the completed puzzle holds together. Without any adhesive whatsoever, I was literally able to grab the puzzle, pick it up, carry it around, and even bend it without any fear it was going to fall apart or have a loose piece shake off. I’ve had puzzles hold together enough to frame without needing glue, but I’ve never had one cut so perfectly that I could lift it by hand and have it feel so secure in its construction.

The Super Mario Odyssey puzzle is appropriately more casual in its challenge, while the finer details and murkier colors of the Team Fortress 2 puzzle make it a bit trickier to solve. However, for 1,000 piece puzzles neither one is overly demanding. I’d put both of them in the low-to-mid range on the difficulty scale.

Buy From: Super Mario Odyssey “Snapshots” Premium Puzzle is available from Amazon.com for MSRP $19.95. Team Fortress 2 Gargoyles & Gravel Premium Puzzle is available from Amazon.com for MSRP $19.95.

Disclosure: Puzzles were provided to VGBlogger.com for review purposes by USAopoly.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!