It’s everyone’s favorite mustachioed plumber! This time, he looks a little different…oh yeah, he’s made of paper!
Paper Mario is an interesting take on the Mario series, where our favorite hero takes on the consistency of paper, along with all of its characteristics. Everyone around him also looks like cardboard cutouts, and I believe the entire story takes place inside of a storybook.
The story is just like any other; Bowser kidnaps Princess Peach, again. Although, this time it is with a twist. Bowser builds a castle underneath Princess Peach’s castle, and lifts it up into the air. Bowser also managed to steal the Star Rod, which is used to grant wishes, and uses it for his own selfish desires, to make himself stronger so he can beat Mario. When Mario tries to protect the Princess, Bowser demonstrates his new power, and knocks Mario out of a window so he floats down to Earth and our story begins…
This game is cute as it moves in chapters, again coming back to what I said about it being a storybook. I like the added bonus of in between chapters; you may play as Princess Peach for a short while. Although she can’t do much at first, she increasingly becomes of greater help to Mario as the game progresses.
The game is very nice to look at. Water glitters, buildings are well-detailed, and the game is full of interesting sights to see all over the vast world. I think this is what made the game stand out to me; it is very detailed for its time, as it came out on the 64. What I haven’t understood, though, is how the landscape looks 3-D while the characters are paper cutouts. Maybe it’s all part of the storybook feel.
The game play is great. The option to wear “Badges” that improve battle make combat more like a stunt show with all the things you can make Mario do. At first he can only “Jump” and “Hammer” but later on, when you acquire more badges, he can do more elaborate attacks, not to mention when you get the “Action Command”, which further improves your attacks and defense. This, in combination with the graphics and storyline, make it a great game all around. My favorite part is all the different locations you can visit, from a desert, to a meadow, and even inside a toybox!
The story keeps you engaged, with the cast of quirky characters and many partners that can accompany you on your journey. I find it greatly satisfying to defeat a boss and gain another Star Spirit; the things necessary to win back the Star Rod from Bowser’s evil grasp, and ultimately, save the Princess.
The controls are easy to use, and very basic. Jump with A, run with the control stick, and so on. Although, you need to time your taps well if you want to make the most out of Mario’s attacks. If you press a button at the right time, Mario can jump twice on an enemy, or block a foe’s attack. Some badges require you to press a button in a timely manner to increase damage.
I really enjoy the game’s music. It sounds very Mario-ish and is catchy to listen to. Some of the tunes, especially Princess Peach’s castle and Bowser’s themes, are very familiar to Mario fans and will be welcomed.
Even though poor Mario was reduced to a flimsy cardboard cutout in this game, it was not a disgrace. Instead, Paper Mario has made a wonderful game I come back to again and again. Once I pick it up for another run, which I do at least once every year, I can’t put it down until I defeat Bowser yet again. If I were to score this game, I couldn’t give it any less than a perfect 10.
Yes, yes he does.