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Paper Mario: The Origami King

Posted by GG Goblin On July - 28 - 2020

Folded paper proves to be the enemy this time around.

Everything is better on Nintendo Switch. While that sweeping comment may not be exactly true, there is no denying that almost every new entry in a popular series that has come to Switch has proven to be the best so far. From The Legend of Zelda to Luigi’s Mansion, Nintendo really are producing their best work so far. The latest proof of this comes in the form of Paper Mario: The Origami King. The series originally started out as a Mario-themed JRPG, but the formula has changed over time into something quite unique. The most recent entries in the series, while still enjoyable, have not been the best that Nintendo could offer, and so it would have been no surprise for Nintendo to revert to previous ideas with the latest entry. However, Nintendo keep moving forward and Paper Mario: The Origami King is the least RPG of the series, while still managing to be the most enjoyable.


Anyone who has played a Paper Mario game before will know what to expect. Mario and cohorts are made from paper and appear on-screen in two dimensions, while the world they inhabit is 3D. The twist in The Origami King is that Princess Peach has been captured by the titular king and, along with everyone else, has been rendered 3D through paper folding. As is often the case, it comes down to Mario to save Peach and the kingdom.

Another thing that long time players will instantly recognise is the great sense of humour in the game. Paper Mario: The Origami King is packed full of straight out jokes, comical moments and smile-inducing little features, and really is a joy to play. The player will barely be able to go minutes without finding something to chuckle about, and the game has a self-awareness that suggests it is in on all the jokes.


So, the Origami King believes that three dimensions are how all beings should be, and so Mario will have to stand up for the two dimensional world and put the king straight. This will mean a fair amount of exploration as the player guides Mario through the world. This is perhaps where I would raise the biggest issue with the game, as it is not always clear where the player is supposed to go next, which can lead to some mindless meandering. Fortunately, with the game being so funny, there is never a dull moment, and there are always interesting things to find.

There are hearts to find that will make Mario more powerful, and other collectibles that serve only as something to collect. However, the most interesting side content comes in the form of Toad hunting. The world is packed full of Toads that have been given the origami folding treatment, and finding them will make Mario’s life easier as they can help Mario out in combat by gifting items or even getting involved by damaging enemies, although that will cost the player some money. Fortunately, there is ample money to find as the player progresses through the world, so spending a little to make a battle easier is no big deal.

The combat encounters, of which there are many, are not too difficult for the most part. Combat in The Origami King has changed somewhat from previous entries, adding an almost puzzle element to the battles. When battle begins, the player is set in the middle of a circle, surrounded by the enemies that appear on rings. The player will have a fixed amount of time and fixed number of moves to rotate the rings, something like a sliding puzzle, in order to block the enemies together or line them up, making them susceptible to jump or hammer attacks. The perfect solution is to take them all out in one go, and thus avoid any counter attack. Of course, throw in different enemies that require the use of special items or different tactics, and help from any rescued Toads, and the battles will get more complex. It is a fun system that grows as the player progresses, but never gets too complex or difficult.


The boss battles are a different matter though. This time around, the boss appears in the middle of the circle, with Mario having to negotiate icons on the outer rings that will allow him to attack. The boss battles are much more puzzle like as each boss is different and brings their own complexities to the table, while also forcing the player to work out how to make their attacks land. They are much more difficult and take longer, sometimes perhaps a little too long.

As with every other series that has made the jump from a previous platform to Switch, Paper Mario: The Origami King is easily the prettiest Paper Mario game. Of course, much of this comes down to the increased capabilities of the Switch itself, but the bright colours and overwhelming charm of the game shouldn’t be underestimated. The Origami King has a cast of really fun characters and an imaginative selection of different environments to explore. Little features ensure that everywhere has something interesting or fun to look at, including wandering oversized enemies that are responsible for actually eating the world. Don’t panic though, a quick sprinkle of confetti can make the repairs. Nintendo games always have flawless presentation, and Paper Mario: The Origami King is no different.


From paper folding presentation and abundant humour, to Toad finding and puzzling battles, there is a lot to like about Paper Mario: The Origami King. The new battle system may not appeal to everyone, and there will certainly be those who miss the more RPG elements, but given the chance, Paper Mario: The Origami King cannot fail to entertain.




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