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Nintendo Wii Review: Super Paper Mario

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From first glance, Super Paper Mario looks no different than any of the other Mario RPG games, but underneath that characteristic look lies a game that not only changes the way that Mario RPG games have been played, but is a title no Wii owner should be without.

The game opens with a sequence of events that you’l need to watch to understand the game, involving Bowser marrying Princess Peach, with Luigi present at the wedding. Mario, however, is noticeably missing from this scene, hinting that something might just be fishy here.

Turns out Mario was doing the world a favor by keeping Peach out of Bowser’s hands, as their marriage fulfills a prophecy that will bring about the end of the world as we know it, with the nefarious Count Bleck trying to set the whole thing into motion. This time, it’s up to Mario, with help from his friends, to stop Count Bleck’s plan and save existence once again.

What makes Super Paper Mario so unique is the ability to jump back and forth from 2-D to 3-D at the push of a button. Doing so allows you to find hidden items and passageways, avoid enemy attacks, and access areas that seem to be blocked off. However, you are timed in how long you can go 3-D, and going over that limit will result in you losing life.

For the first time since Super Mario RPG on the Super Nintendo, more than just Mario is available to play, as Luigi, Bowser and Peach all join the cause to save the world. Each character has their own attributes and unique ability, such as Mario’s ability to move between 2-D and 3-D and Peach’s ability to jump large gaps and float over potential hazards.

Also joining Mario in his quest are the Pixls, a group of ancient creatures, many locked away by the Ancients, which Mario must find in order to progress through his journey. They each have unique abilities of their own that can usually be activated with the press of a button or give a status change, like the ability to move faster. Some are optional, but the ones that are generally make the game a little easier to play.

Super Paper Mario is a fusion of both what makes the Paper Mario series great, with an RPG-style leveling-up component, hit points, and the ability to use items in battle, and what makes the original Mario Bros. platformers so good, with a real-time battle system that at times lets you stomp and smash your way to the end of the level. Though it might seem weird to combine the two ideas, it feels great in this game. Leveling up is no longer done with experience, but based upon the player’s score they accumulate by playing through the game.

The Wii remote is not particularly used often, except for using the Pixl Tippi’s ability to find hidden doors and items and gain info, and for some of the items. Instead, most of the game is played with the Wii remote held sideways, like an old-school NES controller. Given that the platforming aspects of the game give it a throwback feeling, using the controller in this manner fits perfectly with Super Paper Mario. The game is easy enough to pick up and play for anyone, and as far as control issues go, there aren’t any ones that are truly noticeable.

Though the game is only in 2-D for the most part, it looks incredibly vibrant, and the characters look as smooth as they ever have. The background can get a bit jagged when you jump to 3-D, but it’s nothing that takes away too much from the game’s overall look. You won’t be blown away by Super Paper Mario’s looks, but they should be more than satisfying.

The music is really no different than any of the past Paper Mario games; in fact, it’s about the same as Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door’s music was. Considering that Super Paper Mario was originally a Gamecube title like Thousand-Year Door, it only makes sense. There’s little voice acting in the game, causing you to rely heavily on reading the screen to follow the story along, but the dialogue and parody in this game are absolutely hilarious. It’s even tempting to say that the game is worth a purchase just for the humor and the entertainment value.

Super Paper Mario is a bit short, as the game can be fully completed in about 20 hours. But there’s plenty to do in that time, and any chapter that has been beaten can be gone back to and played through again. Plus, there’s always the daunting Pit of 100 Trials to try and make your way through, which is not required to beat the game.

The Legend of Zelda: Twlight Princess’ run as the single must-have Wii game has come to an end. Super Paper Mario is an enjoyable game, especially for Mario fans looking for something a bit more old-school, like New Super Mario Bros. was on the DS. Super Paper Mario successfully blends 2-D platforming with the best elements from the Paper Mario series to create a game that’s both easy to pick up and play and an absolute blast.

Super Paper Mario is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB for Comic Mischief and Mild Cartoon Violence.

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About Brian Szabelski

  • I’ve played this for around an hour now and this is, as of now, one of the best games I’ve ever played. Unless something is amiss late in the game, I see no reason why it won’t stay that way. The 2-D/3-D switching is brilliant.

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  • ChaosVortex

    I just beat the game last night. This is a pretty good game, and is worth a play. It’s about just as good as the past Paper Mario games. The ability to “Flip” is an excellent add to the game.