I have never ever played a Paper Mario game before, I’ve heard about Mario RPGs and always been interested but never managed to get round to them. Seeing as I view the Switch as my console for platformers and JRPGs this sort of game should be a match made in heaven right!
Let’s briefly talk about the story first. The origami king has turned all of the paper characters you know and love into …..origami, including Princess Peach! The folding process turns your former allies evil (I imagine the pain of folding drives them mad) and against you. After the king takes Peach’s castle Mario and Olivia (the king’s fairy sister, also the only good piece of origami) have to go on a quest to get the castle back. The castle has been wrapped up in various coloured ribbons which you must unravel to release the castle. The end of each ribbon is in a different world and, in typical RPG fashion, you will unlock various powers along the way to help you get through obstacles. I use the term RPG….lightly as there are no specific ways to equip new items or level up.. Behind every story beat and piece of dialogue there are jokes made often on Mario’s behalf. The game is very aware of itself, which is a good thing for sure; there are plenty of jokes referencing old Mario and the constant battles he’s in. In this world Mario is regarded as legend who can overcome anything, because he can! The story mixed with the dialogue and very funny, often meta, characters works very well and makes the game more appealing to a more mature audience. Every now and again there will be a few too many breaks for dialogue, but I can forgive this as it’s often worth the joke!
By the way this game looks absolutely fantastic. The world you’re playing in, especially when hand held, pops right out and can make you forget you’re playing a game and not actually just reading an interactive story book. The contrast between the established paper characters and the new origami world work fantastically well, the aesthetic the devs have gone for has 100% worked and makes the game that bit more fun to play. The origami elements look like they’ve all been lovingly crafted and based on real origami, I imagine it has been anyway! I have thoroughly enjoyed each new place I’ve visited which has been quite different from the one before, and re-visiting Toad Town (your hub world) to see how that changes and develops as you play more of the game. I had read online that the Paper Mario style was ‘lazy’, and as much as Mario himself doesn’t change or move that much this statement is very wrong as everything else has clearly had a lot of time put into it to make it look just right. I’ve put a gallery below to show off some of my favourite images.
For any good RPG (or RPG-lite!) you need good mechanics, and this game ensures it has this every step of the way for it’s 22-27 hour play time. As with every Mario game there are solid platforming mechanics you must use to explore the open world, focused primarily around jumping and smashing in this one. You’ll often have to navigate you way around an area to find a secret by avoiding obstacles, and enemies if you don’t want to fight. The world you’re exploring has been literally torn about at the seams, so there are giant holes everywhere, Mario must throw confetti to cover these holes so he doesn’t fall down and lose health! Watching your health is very important as you can only hold 1 extra life (well the shop only ever seems to have 1) and you can’t heal in battle. Speaking of which the battle mechanics have more to them than you may think at first, and instead of going through this at length I’m going to put this official Nintendo gameplay trailer in!
Basically I could write for ages about what’s good about this game because there’s honestly so much to enjoy; the mechanics, the story, the humour and the world all come together for an extremely enjoyable experience. There are a couple of very minor issues I have: such as sometimes there being too many breaks for dialogue and sometimes there are too many tips given (not difficult enough) but I can forgive this as the target age group for the game is so vast! Paper Mario: The Origami King is very different from some of my other games this year, but it has reminded me why I have a Nintendo Switch. It’s truly a fun and joyous experience and exactly what I need to distract me from all of the difficult games I’m playing on PS4. I think this will end up in my top games of the year and ultimately gets a:
Keep an eye out for this week’s lightning cave for my video review, for now you can enjoy this little Gallery!