Review by Kunlun
"A different Mario experience that's just as enjoyable and charming as any other."
November 11, 2008 The Paper Mario series from Nintendo have always been role playing genre games. Super Paper Mario breaks that habit and mixes in a heavy dose of platforming along with traditional role playing elements. Anyone that is looking to play a role playing game will not find this to be that game at all. Despite some role playing elements, Super Paper Mario is pretty much really a platformer. However, that's not to say that it's not a good game, in fact it's really fun to play and rather unique in a way because it's different from other games in the genre.
The story of the game like other Mario games is very cartoonish and there's not much depth to it. Like other Mario games, that does not matter because the gameplay is where this game shines. An evil and mysterious Count Bleck has kidnapped Princess Peach and Bowser while sending Mario and Luigi away to another dimension to separate them. Count Bleck has forced Princess Peach and Bowser to get married and created the Chaos Heart which will destroy the universe. As Mario, the player must find his friends (yes, Bowser is a friend too) and save the universe from complete destruction. Helping you from the beginning will be a wizard, Merlon, who tells you what to do, and Tippi, a pixl that will journey with Mario throughout the game. Pixls are fairy like creatures that have different abilities that can help Mario and his friends through the game. For example, Tippi can detect hidden objects by holding the Wii Remote like a flashlight towards the TV screen and scanning the area. Mario earns the ability to switch to 3D mode early in the game and that will be a useful talent throughout the remainder of the game, new members that join the party will always bring a useful ability with them.
Super Paper Mario plays like a platformer. Jumping on top of an enemy is usually the best way to take it out, but some enemies require the player to get creative and use some of the character or pixl abilities to defeat them. 2D side scrolling is similar to how other Mario games work, except players deal damage points like an RPG and receive score points when beating an enemy or eating mushrooms. As the total score increases, the level of the character will increase. The higher the level of the player, the more points it will require to level up again. Leveling up will increase character damage and health points. There is an inventory system that allows stuff like healing and defensive/offensive items to be carried around, but only up to a certain amount. Special items like a "return to home" pipe do not take inventory space and instead are stored in another section. Mario and his buddies can interact with all the other characters they meet in the game, but rarely do random characters do anything interesting.
Playing through the game is quite fun, but like an RPG it can really stump a player for a while. Knowing the uses of all the characters and pixls is very important in passing through the game without getting stuck for long. The first half of the game is quite easy, but as later stages are unlocked the difficulty definitely rises. Mainly, it's the puzzle solving parts that could pose problems and may require some backtracking. The platforming is actually pretty easy, bosses don't take long to figure out can usually be taken out on the first try.
If players are looking to take a break from the main game, around halfway through the game, an arcade and challenge rooms will be available to play. The arcade games are basic mini games that are mildly entertaining, but could get boring fast. The challenge rooms are called tedious and will take awhile to get through as 100 rooms need to be completed in one sitting to be able to beat it. These are just slight distractions to offer something besides the main game, but will not keep players occupied for long.
The graphics are very clean and are very well done, especially in 2D. The graphics for 3D mode could be a little more polished. Sound effects are simple and go well with the game. There are some remixed classic Mario tracks in the game, and some new ones as well. One thing about the game that many people may not like is that there is a lot of reading to be done. There is no voice acting and everything is told through speech bubbles and text boxes. The game is actually very well written and humorous, so it won't make reading that tedious. The story is a bit predictable, so there aren't any moments that will keep players really looking forward to what will happen next.
All in all, Super Paper Mario is a very well made game. The story is decent, but predictable, it's very wordy, but well written. All the favorite Mario characters are there, as well as some new ones. The game looks and plays nice, but there is a lot of reading to be done. It's certainly fun to play and it will take some time to complete.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/11/08
Game Release: Super Paper Mario (US, 04/09/07)
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