I’ve been putting off writing this Paper Mario: The Origami King review for some time because I really wanted to like this game. There was one element in particular that drove me crazy and hoped it would get better but it didn’t. I was quite happy in the beginning as you can see in our Paper Mario First Impressions article, but that one thing kept dragging it down. Did we like it? Continue reading!
Nintendo‘s Paper Mario: The Origami King is a linear RPG where you take control of Mario and with the help of his sidekick, Olivia, must investigate what has turned all of the Mushroom Kingdom, along with its residents, into origami, including Princess Peach. The story opens with an invitation from Princess Peach to Mario to the origami festival. When he arrives at Princess Peach’s castle, he finds she’s been turned into origami by Olivia’s brother, King Olly of the Origami Kingdom.
Mario finds that much of the kingdom has been destroyed and must be repaired with confetti. Through his adventure, he finds that many of his past enemies are now his allies, like King Bowser who himself has also been folded into origami. Using Mario’s special ability, 1000-Fold Arms, he interacts with his environment by pulling, peeling, and hitting key points throughout to unravel Princess Peach’s castle and unfold King Olly’s origami plans.
The Paper Mario: The Origami King story is fun, quirky, and like other Mario titles, short and to the point, making it very engaging. As I mentioned earlier, this is not an open-world game but a linear RPG. Players can, however, go back and forth through previous worlds to either find hidden Toads or to buy special items like mushrooms, special boots, and special hammers. The backtracking can become tiresome but luckily, there are some transportation short cuts that enable fast travel between worlds. Some items are found throughout the world as well, but most of the time you will be re-supplying by seeing a Toad and buying items with coins collected throughout Mario’s adventure.
Paper Mario’s Weapons and Accessories
Hammers and boots are Mario’s primary attack. There are several types of hammers and boots that offer more attack damage and some that have special abilities. For example; Flashy Iron Boots offer greater attack power (30) and protection against spiked enemies and the Ice Hammer also offers great attack power (27) and adds ice damage. All but the starting hammer and boots can break over time which can be frustrating against harder enemies since the equipment does not improve over time. There are also different attack items like fire flowers, Tails, POW blocks, etc. that can make Mario’s adventure easier.
Some other special items that can be found or bought include special hearts to increase Mario’s health, guard items to protect Mario, and time extensions which are used in the Battle Waves, which I will explain in a bit.
Part of the fun of Paper Mario: The Origami King is seeking out Toads and collecting things. Mileage may vary if you’re into that sort of thing. For me, it was fun for a bit till it wasn’t, catch my drift? There are items that make it more palatable, like the Confetti Vacuum (collects confetti at long range), membership cards (give shop discounts), and the Toad Alert (alerts you to a hidden Toad). There are so many hidden things to find that these are important.
Battle Waves – Paper Mario: The Origami King’s Battle System
Battle Waves… Battle Waves are the single most annoying element in Paper Mario: The Origami King, and is the only thing that keeps me from continuing onward.
But first: What are they? Battle Waves are turn-based puzzles, like battles that require the player to line up the enemies so Mario can attack them in the most efficient way. If done correctly, am\n attack bonus of 1.5x attack power is given. Enemies throughout the world initiate the Battle Wave if Mario makes contact with them. Mario can cause some damage by hitting them with his hammer, which will benefit him in the actual battle.
Nearly every time you encounter an enemy, a Battle Wave ensues. I say nearly, because as Mario journeys on, previously hard enemies, like Goombas, can be defeated with one hit, while others start a Battle Wave.
From what I have seen thus far, there are no benefits to these Battle Waves except during boss battles. The prize for winning is more coins, a lot of coins, which can be helpful to buy items mentioned above.
Boss Battle Waves are a lot more fun but can certainly be challenging, as they should be, but some are downright ridiculous and long-winded. The problem is, by the time you’ve reached a boss battle, you’ve done countless Wave battles, and have lost interest. Most of the time, an audible groan is let out when it’s time to fight. It’s a distraction more than a feature and does overall hurt the replayability.
Do we still like Paper Mario: The Origami King?
In short, Yes. This is definitely a top tier game for the Nintendo Switch that brings a lot of fun, humor, and adventure to the game. The continuous backtracking and Battle Waves do take a lot of the fun out of the game though. There are some nuances that, hopefully, will be cleared up in a sequel but will cause frustration here. If continuous turn-based combat is something you like then wait no longer and purchase this immediately. If you are a die-hard Paper Mario or Mario fan, the same rules apply. If you’re on the fence or have never played Paper Mario before, this may be a good title to rent to ensure that you absolutely love it.