Mario has never been so crisp and charming as he and his paper friends roam the papercraft world. His newly found friend Olivia is an origami trying to stop her brother from chaos. Paper Mario starts strong, introducing Olivia’s brother Olly, who has gone rouge. Olly has turned Princesses Peach into an origami and plans to fold the world into origamis as well. Olly then wraps Princess Peach’s Castle in streamers and unleashes the folded soldiers. It is up to Mario and Olivia to unravel all four streamers and save the princess.
Instead of fighting the traditional paper flat goombas and koopas, you will be facing folded soldiers (origamis) that look like goombas, bats, and shy guys who are determined to fold Mario at his will. This opens the opportunity for the paper enemies to be on your side for once. The enemies who are now friends gives the game a different outlook that feels like you have made new friends and have a whole team on your side.
Instead of the traditional level style, the game is seen as a continuous adventure, with toad town serving as a central hub. Here you can access all the worlds (once unlocked), the shops, and the docks to the open sea. There are plenty of bright, colorful worlds to explore in Paper Mario. The deep oranges and purple colors of autumn heights had a lot to offer like tall swaying grass fields and a crazy river ride down the rapids. Shogun studios is a ninja themed amusement park where Mario gets to act in a cleverly crafted play and participate in ninja-like games. The scorching sandpaper desert took some brains to solve tricky riddles that unlocked the pieces to all four towers. While out in the desert, you could always check into the bright and exciting Shroom City. This town put off a Vegas-like feel with the neon lights and pool party hotels. The night lights reflecting into the local town oasis was a sight to see. I found myself always wanting to explore each part of the game. Whether at the open sea, a quiet hidden café, or in the desert, each destination in Paper Mario has detail, color, and excitement.
Paper Mario: The Origami King is funny, and witty, with its sarcastic, smart-alecky jokes. Every character has something to say, adding charm and personality to the game. Whether you pick up a bomb-omb, a toad who claims to be a professor, or just saving a folded toad, each one is unique in their personality. One of the best aspects of the game are the hidden toads throughout the game. There are hundreds of toads that the origami soldiers folded up. Each toad is craftily hidden in every nook and cranny; from a folded-up flower to a beetle crawling on the wall, it is your duty to save them all. I determinedly told myself that “no toad left behind” quote multiple times in hopes of finding them all. There are little tools like a toad bell and a toad detector that make finding the harder toads easier. The dialog given by the toads you find is cute and corky, not to mention each toad you save becomes a part of the crowd while fighting the enemies. They can cheer you on and help fight in the arena.
The combat style in Paper Mario is very different compared to the previous Paper Mario’s. Instead of the traditional RPG style fight, this time, it is more like a puzzle. Mario is placed in the center of 4 rings, while the enemies are dispersed on the rings. Your job is to line up the enemies for Mario to attack correctly. Sometimes these puzzles can be fun while other times can be frustrating. You are only given a certain number of moves to make in a certain amount of time, keeping you on your toes while in battle. At times, I found myself wanting to mindlessly play the game, while the combat puzzle ring prevented that from happening. Running into enemies back to back, triggering a battle of moving rings got old at times. Boss fights are even different in their way. Instead of Mario in the center of the fight, it is the enemy in the center. The boss fights were my favorite combat style in the game. You must move the rings to align arrows that guide Mario to set up an attack against the boss. Overall, the combat is different and can be aggravating, but it is respectable for something so new.
Paper Mario The Origami King may not have played like the fans wanted, but it is undoubtedly what the switch franchise needed. As a first-time Paper Mario play, I absolutely loved this game. The comic relief, along with exploring what felt like an open world was great. I even got attached to the travelers along the way, meaning there was significant character development along every journey. Overall Paper Mario is charming and full-hearted. I loved exploring all the fun, colorful places with Olivia and our travel companion. The ring battles can be triggering at times, but the unique boss fights make up for it. Toad hunting was one of my favorite aspects of the game, mainly to see them later rooting me on in battle. Paper Mario: The Origami King is a delight and must-have switch title if you are up for another fun, Mario adventure.
The Ruling Score: 8.5