Alright. So I’m a sucker for this whole Wii thing. I’m also a sucker for Mario games. So when I found out Super Paper Mario was out, I had to buy it…
This is a sequel, of course, to Paper Mario and Paper Mario: the Thousand Year Door. These are in turn somewhat derived from the SNES classic Super Mario RPG, which arrived somewhat late in that console’s history. Mario RPG focused on RPG-like elements such as turn-based attacks and spellcasting, item usage, etc, but also had a great humorous story and writing (kid friendly per Nintendo norm) and almost perfect controls in a 3/4 view (that’s orthogonal for the 3D geeks) 3D environment. It was one of my favorite games on SNES and I made sure to sneak a ROM of it back in my emulatin’ days.
Paper Mario scrapped the full 3D look in favor of a stylized paper cutout look, and this tradition has been faithfully continued throughout the series until now. One thing the original Paper Mario had that SPM has not continued with is a completely turn-based system. Whether you like or loathe them, menu-driven combat does slow things down, it’s unavoidable. SPM eschews this in favor of more traditional SMB-style side scrolling and enemy-bopping. However (here’s the wrinkle) SPM also allows you to “flip” into 3D (essentially rotating the world 90 degrees and allowing movement along the Z axis) and explore elements of the map which would otherwise be impossible to investigate. There are MANY hidden areas in the game, and there are constantly new uses of existing powers, as well as a constantly-expanding repertoire of new moves. Pixls, digital fairy-like creatures (whatever that means) are where you get these new powers. So far, I have a pixl who allows me to see hidden objects, one who allows me to pick up and throw items/enemies, one who can turn me sideways without rotating the view (rendering you essentially invisible and intangible to enemies/moving obstacles) and one who explodes as a bomb. Good stuff. With gameplay reminiscent of the original SMB, this game is destined to be a classic.
If you’re looking for cutting-edge graphics or bloody action or simply aren’t a Mario fan, look elsewhere. Otherwise, if you have any amount of kid still in you, you have GOT to try this game.
Final Rating? 8 out of 10.