Game: Paper Mario: The Origami King
Genre: Action | Adventure
System: Nintendo Switch
Developers | Publishers: Intelligent Systems | Nintendo
Age Rating: EU 7 | US E
Price: EU €59,99 | USD $59.99 | AUD $79.99 | CAD $79.99 | UK £49.99
Release Date: July 17th 2020
No review code used.
Paper Mario is back with his first paper outing on the Nintendo Switch. Paper Mario: The Origami King has been released to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the series, and this is the sixth entry after the mixed reviews for the Wii U’s Color Splash and Sticker Star on the 3DS.
Even though fans of Paper Mario games have been hankering after a return to the more traditional RPG gameplay from the past, this Paper Mario game shouldn’t be overlooked. Billed as an Action/Adventure game by Nintendo on the games webpage I guess they had other ideas about the direction Paper Mario would go. I had to try it out for myself, so here we go.
Invite to the Origami Festival
As the game opens, Mario and Luigi are invited to the Origami Festival by none other than pretty-in-pink Princess Peach who awaits the duo near her castle.
Upon their arrival at the castle they are shocked to see that Princess Peach and many of Bowser’s minions have been turned into origami by nasty King Olly…and worst of all, Bowser has been folded into a paper square and he ain’t too happy about it! But King Olly hasn’t finished his dastardly work yet and he wraps the castle in coloured streamers and rips the streamer wrapped castle from its foundations, sending it flying in the air where it lands atop a mountain.
Mario escapes along with Bowser and Olly’s sister, Olivia. Mario and Olivia band together to go on an adventure to fight off the invaders and restore peace to the land. I don’t want to go into too much detail about the story as I wouldn’t want to spoil it for those that are playing the game. But I will say that this is a story full of fun, its a jolly romp full of comedic experiences and light-hearted humour.
Travel Through a Paper World
You’ll travel with Mario and the ever helpful Olivia though a vibrant paper textured world of grassy plains, fall mountain, uncharted seas and desolate deserts and lots more beside. Through dungeon-like areas such as the Vellumental Temples and areas filled with the usual Mario game staples like lava and slippery ice and so much more.
Along the way you’ll gain another companion every so often to help Mario out and hunt down Toads, lots and lots of Toads and put the world to rights.
In this riotous adventure Toads are everywhere and I mean everywhere. They can be found in some odd places all folded up into all manner of shapes. Mario uses his trusty hammer to unfold any toads he finds and sometimes I felt a bit sorry for the little crumpled toads, being rescued and then whacked with a hammer to un-crumple them, that can’t be easy on them. Toads are not the only thing to collect on your journey as the game is packed with collectibles, which is fantastic for those completists like myself who like to 100% complete a game and who find it enjoyable to search every nook and cranny.
Mario can collect confetti from just about anything in the world by using his hammer. You use the confetti to fill in or cover up the Not-Bottomless Holes. When filled, the bottomless holes give out coins, which can be used in variety of shops to buy accessories and better equipment for Mario. And your equipment such as the Steel boots and Shiny hammer break after an amount of uses.
We have seen the use of breakable weapons before in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and it honestly doesn’t bother me as long as you remember to stock up on weapons and have a supply of them in your equipment menu, you won’t find the breakable weapons to be much of a problem.
A new item to use is introduced to you shortly after starting the game. It has its own tutorial, in fact, everything in the game is explained well to the player. The new item is the 1000-Fold Arms which are extendable arms that can reach various parts of the world to complete puzzles. They sure are fun to use and you will use them during boss battles too.
They are an interesting feature though I did have a slight problem with them on first use as the motion controls are the default for controlling the 1000-Fold Arms, within the first five minutes of using the 1000-Fold Arms I had turned off the motion controls. I didn’t like controlling the arms via motion as they waved about uncontrollably, it’s really great to have that choice in the setting menu to turn them off. And once I turned off the motion controls the arms are a fun feature to use.
Puzzle-like Battle System
The battle system has changed considerably from the previous Paper Mario turn- based RPG style battles, and it does take a little bit of getting used to when you first encounter a foe and a battle starts.
Mario takes on King Olly and his minions in a new ring-based battle system where you must slide and rotate the rings to line up enemies the correct way to give Mario a heightened attack power. All the while a countdown looms in the corner of the screen. It adds just a little bit of pressure to the proceedings and more so during Boss Battles which are different again.
Once you have lined everyone up nice and neatly, then you select a weapon depending on the enemy type, either Mario’s hammer or boots and take out the opponents. And if you are able to complete the puzzle properly, the enemies will very likely be defeated on the first try. If not it can lead to a longer battle. One draw back I have found is that every time you bump into an enemy in the overworld, more often than not, these encounters are more or less the same battle puzzle through most of the adventure, so normal battles can get a tiny bit repetitive.
In a Boss Battle it is the Boss who is placed in the middle of field of 12 movable circles. It’s your job to move Mario around the circles to reach the Boss in the middle to allow Mario to perform an attack. The Boss battle certainly help to change things up a bit when it comes to the puzzle side of the battle as you try and work out how to get Mario closer to the boss to attack. The bosses are well spread out enough that they never feel too overused and help to keep the game fresh throughout the adventure.
Most of the bosses you battle are very inventive, you’ll meet a few everyday household items that are ready to rip apart Mario and anything else they come across. For example, you’ll face off against a box of 12 coloured pencils that have an big attitude and in the process of the battle comes off with this great one liner which gave me a chuckle “You were better as a side-scroller”. It sets the tone of what just to expect from Paper Mario: The Origami King.
Visuals and Controls
Paper Mario: The Origami King looks and sounds incredible. The paper craft world you journey through with its vibrant colours and papery textures is extremely detailed. Just look at the pictures in this review and you can not deny that it looks outstanding in handheld mode and as expected, it looks amazing on the TV as well.
The musics is brilliant, mixed with moments of silence where there is no music playing and all you can hear are the sound effects. To times when you’re listening to a rollicking toe tapping tune. Play the game with headphones on and you really are treated to a feast for the ears.
Mario is controlled via the joy-cons and all controls work perfectly, I have absolutely no complaints about the control system.
Though this Paper Mario: The Origami King isn’t an RPG, and more of an Adventure game it is still a brilliant game. It is a game full to the brim with delightful writing, lots of humour, bright vibrant colours, old faithful characters and laugh out loud moments for the player. While it follows the Paper Mario formula in some aspects, it does more to re-imagine the series then not.
Paper Mario: The Origami King is a worthy contender in the Paper Mario series, and is the perfect game to immerse yourself in for a wonderful crumpled, creased and folded adventure.
Final Verdict: Two Thumbs Up