Review by BassForever
"A fun 2-D/3-D Mario game with light RPG elements"
Once a Game Cube game that was announced late in the life of the system, SPM disappeared from the radar as quickly as it appeared, now it has resurfaced for the Nintendo Wii and does it live up to both the Super Mario and Paper Mario franchises?
The graphics in SPM are a step up from Paper Mario The Thousand Year Door which came out for the game cube a few years ago. The colors are far more vibrant and some of the character models are much more detailed then they were in PM:TTYD. However many of the characters and enemies in this game are really bland and boring, many of them are original creatures who just don't live up to most of the creatures from past Mario titles. Honestly most of the creatures you fight and interact with in SPM feel uninspired and were more distracting from the few good original characters the game throws at you.
Another issue I have is with the 3-D mode, it's a cool concept and it plays well, but the 3-D world is really bland to explore. When you flip into 3-D, the first thing you notice is the right wall (where the screen would be in 2-D) is often blank or very bland, making me wonder why I just can't fall off the edge of the 3-D world and where this magical wall comes from that keeps me from falling to my death. Also, why is it in the 3-D mode some monsters and characters are in full 3-D, while others (including your character) are still in 2-D, this is really odd and kind of annoying. Overall the graphics in SPM are not all the that amazing and while they don't have to be, it feels kind of a let down after the first two PM titles which did 2-D in a 3-D world quite well even having been released on previous generations. 6/10
Game Play 7/10
Super Paper Mario attempts to take the awesome side scrolling Super Mario action and the great RPG elements of Paper Mario and fuse them together, this works to a point, but has some oddities that keep it from truly shining. The RPG elements in the game are rather light, you gain levels based upon the amount of points you earn by killing enemies, which is a neat idea, but overall does not work as well as it should have.
In the old SM games there would be many instances for you to jump across a line of enemies to get massive points or other point gaining actions. I often felt that many of these situations were rare, because quite a few enemies in the game require alternate methods of killing, though flipping, using pixl's or items, etc. I also find the damage system broken, every few levels your attack goes up by one point, now this may not seem like a big deal, but most monsters in the game have a small amount of hit points, this isn't an issue with common foes, but this is annoying with bosses who end up being far to easy because of the amount of damage you can do.
Another complaint I have with the game is the character and pixl system. Instead of having party members with different actions who help you in combat and allow you to solve puzzles (like the other PM titles) you have pixls which can do basically the same features as the old allies did, only without the added damage allies brought. The pointer pixl Tippi who acts as your information guide when you need help solving a puzzle or defeating an enemy (such as the goombas did in the original PM games), however I often found the pointer to be not very responsive, even though the action stops when I point, the game takes a few seconds to realize I'm pointing at the screen and can sometimes get me hurt during the middle of a battle.
Mario does get allies who he can switch between on the fly (same as the pixls). These allies are Peach, Bowser, and Luigi. Each character has their own special abilities (Peach can glide, Bowser can breath fire and does 2x damage, Luigi can do a super jump which makes him go really high and makes him invincible). The problem is that only Mario can flip into 3-D, and most of the games puzzles require you to be in 3-D, this often kills any desire to play as the other characters. Also Bowser has a 2x multiplier for damage, this makes his character broken, because many foes can not escape his 2x fire damage breath, this can make quick work of quite a few bosses. Peach outside of the few platforms jumps where you must use her is virtually useless, and Luigi comes so late in the game you only get to use him for two chapters and that's it. Items do make a return in SPM, but like in the other PM games, they often server little use other then just being a fun alternative to your normal ways of killing foes and bosses. The motions you do with your remote to activate these items are a bit of fun, but you will so rarely get the chance to use them its kind of sad.
Flipping into 3-D is this games big call and it works rather well. Many spots in the game there will be obstacles that seem impossible to get past in 2-D, yet simply flipping into 3-D will fix all your problems and make the journey safe almost too safe. Often times what should be challenging plat forming sections become extremely easy by flipping into 3-D. Another problem I have with the 3-D system is that if you will begin to lose health if you stay flipped for more then 10 seconds. This can be really annoying at time because there is no way to increase your flip time or your recharge speed during the main course of the game, which is extremely annoying. Also because Mario is 2-D in a 3-D world, it can often be difficult to tell if you will hit a foe or not because of the poor camera angle when you flip into 3-D. Thankfully you more or less never have to actually fight in 3-D, but this is still an annoying issue that should have been fixed. Overall, SPM plays well and is a lot of fun, often times it can be a bit annoying but none of the issues are so major to keep you from enjoying the game. 7/10
The audio and sound effects in SPM fit perfectly into the world. The amount of sound tracks in the game is rather large and I never found any one piece to be repetitive where it made me want to mute my television. I was also fond of the little sound effects all the characters make when they talk. None of the sound tracks in the game are memorable with the exception of the few remix classic tracks. Many of the classic Mario sound have been implemented into the game or been remixed and this overall works rather well. Overall I have to say while the music and audio does not stand out in my book, its not terrible either, and remixed classics are quite awesome. 6/10
The game is rather easy and kind of short, most experienced players will beat the game in 12-15 hours, will the average gamer can complete the game in about 20 hours. Unlike the other PM games there are very few side quest and mini games to take part in this time around. There are the two pits of 100 trials, but neither of these will take to long to complete and do not add all that much to the game.
Other then the two pit's the entire game is not very challenging, with simple puzzles to figure out and easy enemies to kill. I did not have much desire to replay the game after I beat it, but I did not feel like I truly wasted my time. I liked the fact the game was broken into world X chapter Y (X-Y just like classic Mario), but because none of the bosses return for rematches, it does not really matter at all other then to find all the enemy cards (each card you have allows you to do another point to the enemy that is on the card, making an already easy game even easier) and recipes (just like in the other PM titles). Overall I felt SPM despite having much difficulty or replay is still a lot of fun and worth playing, I did not feel like replaying it do to the massive amount of text in the game, but it is enjoyable. 6/10
Final Score 26/40= 6.5, Rounds up to a 7/10
Super Paper Mario is the weakest game in the Paper Mario series, however it is still a good game and a lot of fun. I highly recommend you rent it and if you want to play it multiple times go out and buy it, but some people may be looking for a bit more in terms of length and difficulty.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 05/14/07
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