The Paper Mario franchise is one of the most beloved Nintendo franchises I can think of, and its fanbase is very vocal on what it likes about it. Everyone seems to agree that Thousand-Year Door is the best of the franchise, hands down. It makes sense, it’s got personality, a great world to explore, and likeable characters. Combine that with a good sense of humour and you can see why it’s the most critically-acclaimed gamein the series. It was certainly well designed. My only flaw was that I went in immediatly after the original Paper Mario, and the games were too similar. Thousand-Year Door may have done it better, but Paper Mario did it first, and I’ll always look more fondly on the first because of that.
Now on to the game this blog is actually about. I loved Paper Mario, and I don’t even like RPGs for the most part. When I went into Super Paper Mario I was expecting the same thing as always, but as a platformer, my favorite game genre. While I wasn’t entirely correct, it was generally what I had wished for. It was what I hadn’t expected that made it such a great game. I had no research on it before I had acquired it, and from the title it looked the exact same, however one thing I love about the game that I wasn’t expecting was its unique artstyle. I know a lot of people hated the change, but I found it gave the title its own identity, separating it from the rest of the bunch.
The unique playable characters were great too, and while there wasn’t any new ones like the great partners from the rest of the franchise, the Paper versions of these characters we all know and love had far more depth. Take Bowser for example, instead of a kniving villian he was more of an idiot who fell under Peach’s charm, and would do anything to have her. This new fleshed out character was immensely more likeable than the standard evil beast the main series presents. With the exception of Mario, all of the heroes were given more depth, and each showed flaws, giving them more human traits. Luigi is shown to be jealous of Mario, and often goes unnoticed no matter what he does. You begin to care about the characters alot more, which the first games never really bothered to do, at least to the extent of this game.
Gameplay-wise this game isn’t just your ordinary platformer either. Each playable character has a unique power. Lugi’s is jumping higher, Peach can float with her umbrella for a short while, Bowser breathes fire, and Mario changes the dimensions from 2D to 3D. This means if a jup seems impossible there’s a good chance the hill behind it isn’t just a backdrop. You can find new ways to get past obstacles and even defeat certain enemies all by switching to 3D. It’s not a permanent change however, as a bar counts down while you’re in it. This isn’t necassary a bad thing though, as it encourages you to move quickly and think on your feet. I can’t recall any other game doing this before, at least well.
My last reason for loving this game so much is its story. The main villain is attempting to destroy the world, but his reasons are more complex than just a thirst for power. He’s a likeable villian with a rich history explored throughout your journey. The rest of the villains are great as well, and while the majority aren’t nearly as complex, all of them are memorable and have their own respective themes and enjoyable battles. While the majority of these battles are repeated throughout your journey, each one is noticeably harder, and they don’t seem like they were just reused do to budget cuts. The overall plot is a bit confusing, but still intruiging enough to fullfill its purpose. Near the end of the game there’s a few big twists and surprises I won’t spoil, in case you haven’t played the game yet.
I’ll be the first to admit, the game isn’t perfect, but it’s still a fundamentally well designed game, and not worth all the hate it gets. I feel like many people go into the game wanting to hate on it for being different, and open their eyes to see all the things that make this game so great. Sure they changed the gameplay up a lot, but that’s not necassarily a bad thing. Sometimes you’re enjoyment comes down to how you feel going into it, you’ll never have any fun if you keep telling yourself you won’t. I won’t deny that this game has a few big flaws as well though, and I can really see how that could hurt someones enjoyment of the game. Though if you still haven’t picked it up, I’d say give it a try. Who knows, you might love it as much as I do.
So what do you think about Super Paper Mario? Love it? Hate it? Tell me in the comments below, I’d love to hear what you guys think!