Paper Mario: The Origami King Review

The Switch has had me entering long standing game series for the first time, and I was shocked to find out this mysterious Paper Mario series had five other entries. Regardless I wanted to know if you can fold your first sheet with Paper Mario: The Origami King, and can say definitely, this game looks like a Rabbit Ear Fold but is as easy as an Inside Reverse Fold.

As deep as a Mountain Fold

The world of Paper Mario is… well made out of paper.  The Origami King Olly has invaded the  town turning things and people into Origami characters. Once Origamid, the characters become mindless drones that speak in simple words and do as the Origami King has requested.

Unsurprisingly Princess Peach has been Origamid, so Mario needs to save her.  It’s a Mario game, were you expecting anything else?

Mario finds a new ally Olivia, Olly’s sister, who joins Mario in an advisory role. They set off to destroy the streamers which surround Peach’s castle but are rooted in different parts of the world.  The story is light, and initially I was critical of this, but by the end I was enjoying it enough with some surprisingly good writing that Crimped a laugh out of me here and there.

A battle system that seems as hard as an Open sink.

Initially the battle system seems complicated.  When you encounter Origamid creatures like Goombas you go to a battle screen which has Mario in the centre of some rings.  The enemies are dotted around those rings and you get a set number of turns to rotate the rings to line them up in a row or a 2×2 square.  Then you unleash an attack using a hammer or jumping using your boots.

The idea isn’t complicated, but some of the challenges can be.  I was properly getting my rhythm with the battles when Boos joined the enemy list.  They appear at the start, get shuffled around, then disappear.  Trying to remember where the Boos were when you spin the circles wasn’t so much a challenge as a pain in the ass.

So while the battle system isn’t hard you need to pay attention, as your time to make moves runs out pretty quickly. Lining them all up in correct groups gives a healthy damage bonus so it is worth focusing.  Fortunately there is no experience system and coins in the game are liberally dolled out, so where possible it is easier to avoid battles.

Beautiful and fun as a paper crane.

The game is so beautifully built.  The paper designs bending and moving as if alive have been gorgeously animated. Massive monsters like Koopa Troopas that are built as paper around a frame are outstandingly designed.

Running around the world and collecting coins, confetti to fill holes, and finding the Toads hidden/trapped in the world is plain fun.  The first few hours while I tried to overanalyze the game was for naught because when I sat back and experienced the game I had in front of me, I was having fun.  

At times like these, can’t we have a bit of fun?

There are some gimmicks like moving around big areas in a car or boat, which honestly felt like time wasting.  And then there is the 1000-fold arms, where in certain places you initiate this technique.  It then goes to a minigame of sorts where you move the arms around using the Switch or controller and then bash or pull things off the scenery.  As soon as the game let me turn off movement controls I did.

Relaxing as a petal fold.

Not dissimilar to Mario Odyssey before it, the game isn’t complicated by any stretch of the imagination, but time can easily disappear with it. I mean it’s not as good as Super Mario Odyssey, and if you haven’t played Super Mario Odyssey you should absolutely go play it now.

Sorry I got distracted, Super Mario Odyssey is good though right?
As I was saying, Paper Mario: The Origami King is a well crafted Nintendo game. Accessible for many skill levels, but at the core a treat to look at, a bit of a laugh, and so damn fun to play.  It’s not perfect, but not every game can be Super Mario Odyssey.

  • Score

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