Game Review

Super Paper Mario Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Anthony Dickens

Mario dusts off his cap and sets out on his first proper adventure on Wii.

Now, I say proper adventure, but really Super Paper Mario is something new, something different and something you've never played before. Essentially the game looks like any other classic Mario game, however there is one big twist, it's flippin' 3D!

For once it isn't Bowser that's causing problems in the Mushroom Kingdom, its the evil Count Bleck and his band of gruesome minions. Count Bleck is a true believer of the "Dark Prognosticus", his dastardly schemes to forefill the prophecy; according to his beliefs getting Peach and Bowser to marry will cause a dimensional rift that will engulf the universe, peachy!

Mario isn't alone in this game, he's first teamed up with Tippi, a "Pixl" which acts as your guide throughout the adventure. Along the way you will meet a bunch of Pixl creatures; each joining your adventure and giving you a new skills such as bombs, hammer and item throwing.

Mario is not only joined by Pixls; the "Light Prognosticus" talks of four heroes that are needed to save the kingdom, enter Luigi, Peach and Bowser! You meet up with your team mates as the game progresses, each bringing a different skill to the table. Bowser is stronger than the others and can breathe fire, Peach has a long floating jump, and Luigi has an extra high jump. It's worth noting that only Mario can flip into 3D, that's his "skill"; the best way to explain this is if you think back to a classic Mario Bros level, what would you do if you couldn't jump over a pipe? Now its simple, you flip into 3D and walk around it!

Now, at first glance Super Paper Mario looks like a classic 2D platformer- you couldn't be more wrong. The developers have ingeniously merged and twisted this relatively simple premise with a whole heap of RPG elements. For starters your life is measured in HP ("Heart Points"); you won't instantly die getting hit by a Gomba, you'll just loose some HP. Different enemies will drain your HP meter more than others, much like an "attack power" in an RPG. Similarly, your different characters also have different attack power, obviously with Bowsers being the strongest.

As you progress through the game your skill level and HP meter increases, allowing you to take larger hits before dying. Classic Mario elements such as Mushrooms, Flowers and Stars remain but take on a new role. Instead of making you large Mushrooms will replenish your HP by 10, Flowers activate a Coin Shower and Stars turn you into a giant pixelated Mario straight from the NES game. This effect is very similar to that in New Mario Bros and allows you to smash through everything in your path. There is also a whole host of items you can collect through the game; items that for example would double your attack power briefly or freeze enemies around you.

Nintendo have been accused of making Mario games too simple of late, Super Paper Mario sets the record straight; some of the puzzles will tax your grey matter and take a while to work out! The level design is simply superb and some of the best I've seen for a platformer. You have to constantly shift between different characters and Pixls- taking advantage of their individual skills in order to complete the puzzle.

The game is played out from a central region called Flipside and split into 8 chapters, all but one spanning 4 stages, with most chapters end with a boss fight. The aim of each chapter is to secure a "Pure Heart" which then has to be placed in Heart Pillars which are scattered throughout Flipside opening the next chapter. This central region contains its own host of mini puzzles and obstacles that makes opening the next chapter more difficult than you might imagine. With a decent amount of levels, we expect most gamers to be able to complete the game in roughly 15 to 20 hours; it depends how good you are at solving the puzzles.

Super Paper Mario has been a long time coming and, thankfully, its leap from Gamecube to Wii has been successful due to the games simple control style. You control the action with the Wiimote sideways in the "Classic" position with 2 being jump and 1 activating your current Pixl's action. Even though this game has been developed by a team not well known for recent platformers, the control system is absolutely perfect; it truly "feels" like the Mario we all know and love.

Everything about this game is suited to the Mario fanbase. The hilarious script contains a host of "in" jokes that all Nintendo fans and geeks around the world will appreciate- even the opening sequence plays jokes on the "classic" Mario storyline. You will find yourself in re-created levels from the original Mario Bros; being able to flip them into 3D is a total buzz.

It's really hard to pick faults in this game, the graphics are clean and crisp, the menu system and presentation is excellent, both the music and sound are superb. However one problem is present... there is simply too much text to read! This might actually suit some RPG addicts, but I did find myself skipping entire chunks of conversations just because I wanted to start playing the next level!

Personally, the most impressive part of the whole game is the dynamics of mixing 2D with 3D and platformer with RPG; I'm certain you will have never played anything like this before. It just goes to show that even with a franchise that has been reused so many times you can still create something entirely new and fresh 20 years after its original conception.


Super Paper Mario is a fantastic addition to the Mario universe, the puzzle and level design is simply breathtaking, a pure gaming pleasure. If you've enjoyed a Mario game before, the chances are you'll enjoy this one too. It's blend of classic platformer and RPG have worked wonders; adding a huge amount of depth to a normally shallow style of game. I'd recommended any Nintendo fan to buy this game, you won't be disappointed.

From the web

Game Trailer

Subscribe to Nintendo Life on YouTube

E3 2006 Trailer for Super Paper Mario on Wii

User Comments (28)



CanisWolfred said:

Loved this game! The Paper Mario series is one of my favorites, and this entry definitely lives up! One of my favorite Wii games!



Fuzzy said:

I think there is a bit too much text, and it seems to drag on a bit too much at the end, but I still think it's a fun and interesting game!



Bass_X0 said:

"some of the puzzles will tax your grey matter and take a while to work out!"

Thats putting it kindly. What it doesn't mention is that the puzzles that take a while to work out are so utterly dull and pointless that you will literally be bored to tears long before you work out what to do. Case in point - the space zone. An incredibly confusing maze with little to do and even less to look at. There is no sign-posts of any kind pointing you in the direction you should go in. AGH!!

And yes there is way too much text. The first time I played it, I got bored just watching the unskippable intro (it wasn't even an interesting introduction) which has got to be the longest introduction ever for a Nintendo game; like ten minutes long I should imagine. So by the time I got to control Mario I just wanted to find the nearest save point and turn the game off.



Aviator said:

@redflicky It wasn't that hard.

I didn't like this game. I would of preferred it if they stuck with the turn based fight system.




I played and completed this game. A fantastic game. I'd give it a 9 (just). Its not as good as Paper Mario 64 and it fall somewhere in between a platformer and an RPG without quite, out and out, being either. Also, the incentive-meter will be on low beacuse some parts of the game can be slightly dull as ONM have said themselves. BESDIES that though, it really is very,very good.



I don't like this game. It tries way too hard to be dramatic, and it isn't all that fun, just monotonous.



Knux said:

It is a good game, but not the best in the Paper Mario series. Personally, I would give it a 8.



vdallos said:

I likes more the RPGs...a miss the N64 mechanic and the sidekicks (goombario...)



Deviant_Mugen said:

I remember being psyched when I bought this game, then after playing it for a bit that feeling went away and was replaced by boredom. To this day I still haven't completed this game. Though, thanks to Mario & Luigi: BIS, I might just be reinvigorated enough to play-through it and complete it. After I'm done with A Boy and His Blob (and possibly MadWorld), though...

Great review, by the way...



JeanLuc_Vaycard said:

Can't believe this game got a 9/10. It's not even deserving of a 5. Watered down platforming and RPG elements which combined to make a really lackluster experience, boring and way too easy. I really am starting to think most games, except CDI as an extreme example, if it has Mario or Zelda slapped on the title then it deserves a high score.



Willy105 said:

No, Vaynard.

This game deserves it's score. Just because it's not in the genre you wanted doesn't make it a bad game. In fact, quite the opposite.



SuperMarioFan1995 said:

New Super Mario Bros. Wii is definitely better than this game. Mostly because that's a proper 2D Mario platformer. While this one remains in paper form. Some or most of the characters in NSMBW are in a 3D rendering. I personally find NSMBW better than this game.

Just my opinion. No, don't flame me with hate posts, thank you.



rhythmheavenfan said:

I was disappointed at first that the combat wasn't turn-based, but after I got used to it I really, really enjoyed the game. Definitely one of my favorite Wii games.



TikiTong said:

I think how most of the enemies are jagged and made of squares looks really cool!!!!A tad odd though



blackknight77 said:

I love visual style, music, gameplay, and humor. Easily a 9/10 and I like the fact the turn based battle were gone. Wonderful game



imagiNATIVE_AK said:

This game was great and I loved how you can be bowser and peach, hope the handheld successor can have a multiple character feature



Dr_Salvador said:

Let me start by saying that I loved TTYD, and I was really looking forward to this kind of sequel but It never got me hooked even though I have tried to get into it 3 times... But that's just my opinion!
Looking forward to the new Paper Mario for 3DS, as it seems to be more like first 2 games in the series!

Leave A Comment

Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...