In all honesty, I dropped off Paper Mario: The Origami King quicker than I hoped I would. But whilst I may not remember the last checkpoint I reached during my second playthrough, or exactly who was accompanying me, I do remember how much the game made me laugh. In the end, it was the lacklustre battle system that prevented me from truly loving the game, but the top-notch comedy at least saw me through to the end of the story.
It all started in the early game. As soon as I saw a folded Bowser struggling to follow Mario up the stairs, and as soon as I heard him remark, ‘Hey, slow down! I’m walking with my face here!’ I was in stitches. And throughout the rest of Origami King, the funny moments just kept coming. Whether it was Mario’s adorable animations or the razor-sharp quips the NPCs came out with, this was a game with perhaps the best gag rate I’ve ever experienced.
And with 2020 being the year it has been, I think we can all agree that a good laugh was much needed.
King of Comedy
But why exactly is the humour in Origami King so successful? Well, the way I see it, there are two different types of humour on show: visual slapstick and dialogue jokes. Slapstick humour is defined as a type of physical comedy involving absurd situations and overexaggerated movement. To take another example from the early game, Mario finds himself flung from Peach’s Castle only to land upside down in the canopy of a pine tree, his little boots waving frantically in the air. Of course, it’s a struggle to escape, and we all giggle until he lands safely on the forest floor and adjusts his cap like nothing’s happened. This is classic slapstick humour, and just one of many such moments beautifully executed throughout the game.
Whilst the slapstick humour in Origami King is undeniably excellent, I would argue that the dialogue is even funnier. In fact, the lines that NPC’s come out with are my favourite moments of the game. Mario’s time with each character is sometimes short, yet always memorable. Exchanges such as Bob-omb explaining his ailment as ‘You know that memory-loss thing? What's it called... Ambrosia? Amnesty? Thinky Thinky Panic?’ come thick and fast, and sometimes left me having to put down the controller because I was in fits of laughter.
Even more impressively, Origami King is an extremely accessible game and the written jokes are designed to be consistently funny, no matter the age of the player. The writing really is fantastic, and the flow of gags never dries up even though the video game medium can’t rely on improvisational humour, like say, TV or stand-up comedy can.
House of Fun-ny
So, are there any other Nintendo franchises that are as funny as Paper Mario? Thinking about Nintendo Switch and its first-party titles, Luigi’s Mansion 3 is perhaps the only other game to have consistently made me laugh. Luigi’s Mansion 3 primarily employs slapstick animation to elicit humour. Titular character Luigi is not like most heroes you see. With an all-consuming fear of anything spooky, he’s the least likely member of Mario’s gang to be the hero in an eerie ghost story. Watching Luigi panic every time he comes across a ghoul is what makes the game so hilarious. Plus, being the type of person who’s afraid of everything, I can relate. All things considered though, with less prolific dialogue and written jokes, Luigi’s Mansion 3 didn’t have me laughing quite as much as Origami King did.
Of course, there are other Nintendo Switch games that could be classed as comedies. The South Park games are very funny, but to really enjoy them you probably need to have watched and loved the show. I’ve only dipped into the cartoon, and the humour is sometimes a little too crass for my taste. There are also a few indie experiences that provide a good laugh such as Untitled Goose Game. Playing as a mischievous goose and terrorising a village and its peaceful residents is an experience that every Switch owner should have, but the game is really quite short, and I was left wanting more.
Can They Take A Joke?
Whilst there are third-party and indie comedy experiences, is there room for more AAA first-party Nintendo comedies? As you might have guessed, I think there is! I suppose Nintendo could either resurrect old comedy-focused franchises or develop new ones. As for old franchises, the first thing that comes to mind is Kid Icarus: Uprising.
The last instalment of Kid Icarus came in 2012 for the 3DS. Pit and Lady Palutena’s priceless banter is up there with some of the best video game dialogue of all time. In fact, the game was bursting with moments included just for laughs, breaking up the intense battles and fast-paced gameplay. Animal Crossing is another Nintendo staple that is just begging for an injection of laughs. In New Horizons the pool of nearly 400 villagers only grew by 8, and no new personality types were added at all. What if Nintendo added a comedian personality type? With so much dialogue in the game, a group of villagers solely designed to make the player laugh would be a welcome addition.
When it comes to Nintendo developing new comedy franchises, what about a potential Wario and Waluigi game? These pantomime villains are ripe for their own comedy adventure, perhaps with the two reluctantly teaming up to rescue Mario and Luigi at the behest of a Princess Peach they seem unable to say no to. But there are other famous Nintendo characters that also seem to skew towards comedy. What about a Donkey Kong game with the focus on giggles rather than platforming? Wouldn’t that be a barrel of laughs? (Sorry.)
Do you know of any other funny games available on the Switch? Let us know in the comments!
My take on Paper Mario The Origami King is that, if you're anticipating an RPG with all the usual trapping, you're going to have a hard time. I found that I appreciated it better when I considered it a point and click adventure game instead.
Origami king is great but the humour is just ok. The battle system is where it really shines.
Just come and talk to me, I’m full of dad jokes
The jokes got incredibly grating after awhile. Can't say I was a fan of TOK after playing it to completion.
Just started playing Undertale. That one is also funny, albeit in a more bizarre way. It's also quite dark.
But I agree with the author: more funny games!
I'm quite surprised how much praise the humor in this game gets. For me, it's likeable and sort of chuckle-material. Not laughing out loud funny, but likeable. At first i thought something got lost in translation but watching a stream of the game in english it was just on the same level to me. Super interesting how subjective this is
TOK is a great game and anyone who can't see that I feel bad for.
It is also a really fun way to get young kids to work on their reading skills.
Puyo Puyo Tetris and What the Golf are the first things I think of when I think of funny games. The former has all the cutscenes on YouTube if you want to enjoy it that way.
One of my favorite comedy games on the Switch is West of Loathing. It’s a delightful blend of parody, witty writing, and absurdist humor, and it had me laughing out loud on several occasions.
I like almost no story....save the princes... and good gameplay.
people dismiss xbox and ps games for looking pretty but having poor gameplay. Should we be dismissing TOK for being subjectively funny but having objectively poor gameplay.
I liked your proposal for a Wario and Waluigi game!
There's nothing more subjective than humor. What's funny for one person can be cringe inducing for another. That being said, I loved the humor in Xenoblade Chronicles 2.
Other games on Switch in which I enjoyed the humor are Dragon Quest XI, Final Fantasy IX, Final Fantasy XII, Owlboy, Machinarium, the Shantae games, Indivisible, A Hat in Time and Wuppo... among others.
Depending on your humor the South Park games are pretty funny.
I like a bit of humour, but I play games for gameplay, and watch comedy for, er, comedy.
I'm bewildered by people excusing Origami King's battle system because of the humour on show. The humour should compliment the action, not be a substitute.
I'd say Kid Icarus got it right.
@Snowman25. Never heard of west of loathing before, now jus checked it out , it’s on sale as well. Gonna download soon. Looks gd! Thanks for recommendation x
Oh, please. The humor in those games was leagues better in the first few entries. Mario & Luigi became sterile after Bowser’s Inside Story, and the same goes for Paper Mario post-Sticker Star era.
The entire Jackbox series is built on the premise of humor.
Yes it’s usually prompted and requires user input but that also keeps it phenomenally fresh as each experience is unique.
@Mana_Knight I never thought of that either. It would actually be legit. Albeit fart jokes are pretty much guaranteed
"humor is subjective, Murray"
The game is pretty funny, but there are funnier games out there. Personally Banjo Kazooie is still the holy grail of humor in games!
Hellblade: Senuas Sacrifice is pretty funny
Origami King had me with a smile a few times on my commute.
Always a good thing on the way to work (or stuck in a Hotel middle of nowhere USA)
And you (like many other) apparently think, the battle system is the only, or at least, most important gameplay element of the game.
TOK is more charming than funny, IMO. Its writing lacks the sharp edge and personality of TTYD, which had me busting a gut almost every time I sat down to play it.
West of Loathing is the king of comedy games on Switch, but I've enjoyed a lot of the writing in Origami King.
@jobvd I'm not sure if you're trying to be funny, but if not, you might be the only person in the world who thinks the battle system is better than the humor.
I think "lacklustre" is the wrong word entirely to describe the battle system. Lacklustre means something that lacks conviction and is uninspired. Whether you like it or not, there's virtually no argument in the world for it being uninspired and lacking conviction. Just read any of the many interviews with the creators about the literal inspiration for it and how they, with strong conviction, wanted to make something new and different. Did it turn out to be a masterpiece of a battle system? Maybe not. But it sure is hell isn't uninspired. It's interesting, unique and totally Nintendo in that "we like to experiment with weird, creative things" sort of way". Surely you can see that.
Also, you said:
"But whilst I may not remember the last checkpoint I reached during my second playthrough, or exactly who was accompanying me..."
You're disappointed in your progress in the game even though you beat it and you started a second playthrough? I can't fathom why anyone would play this game a second time end to end. It's just not that kind of game. Also.. you just have gotten pretty far in that second playthrough to have any other companions beyond Bob-omb. And.. has it ACTUALLY been so long that you don't remember who was with you or is that just hyperbole meant to exaggerate your dissatisfaction?
@Ralizah I think it's the other way around. TTYD is charming, but never made me laugh. Just smile. It's too goofy to be funny most of the time. Seems more wholesome than humorous.
@Deltath you must lack a sense of it
Not Nintendo made, but Ubisoft’s Mario Kingdom Battles had some great humor with Ninty characters, including with DK in the DLC.
Humour is subjective. The jokes in Paper Mario Origami King are comical, cringe worthy and childish in equal amounts.
There is also far to much dialogue in the game, which just distracts from the gameplay. You expect the dialogue in an RPG but this is not an RPG.
Unfortunately jokes can not save the games ranking coming 4th just above Colour Splash and two DS games.
@jobvd ha ha very funny 😄
Honestly, the writing and slapstick comedy were the main things that kept me going on Color Splash (haven't played TOK yet). IMO that made that game worth playing on its own, flawed as it is.
@Deltath Really? Because TTYD isn't a game I'd think of as "wholesome." The game is full of criminals (from run of the mill muggers and con artists to full-blown mafiosos), references to death, NPCs openly talk about being miserable and/or fed up with their lot in life, etc. It's why I think the game is able to maintain such a sharp comedic edge. Also, the humor is very organic and naturally swells up from the foibles in the richly characterized cast, which makes it much more grounded and relatable to me.
TOK is more slapstick and absurd in comparison. That's not a bad thing, necessarily, but it's a different style of humor, and more forced in comparison.
@Ralizah I don't think the game itself is particularly wholesome, I just think the humor aspect is, generally. Charming. Though I don't disagree that TOK is more slapstick, for sure. It's definitely got the vibe of a gag manga.
Untitled Goose Game absolutely tickled most people! As it should, because you can enjoy the game whether you're an aggressive (or even Sadist) type of personality or one just watching some sightgags unfold. You can climb boxes with a smoking pipe in your beak or you can trip a child for hours on end or both!
Shantae and the Seven Sirens (as with all Shantae games) has great absurd situational humor, but...I don't know, I enjoy it greatly, but it seems like between the dialogue stopping the gameplay and largely having the one type of humor makes it hit-and-miss to the public.
Nintendo has the image for it (XBox and Sony don't), so I expect there'll be plenty of laughy games in the future!
Funniest games on Switch? I'd have to go with The Messenger and Ace Attorney Trilogy. Maybe Yooka-Laylee if you like puns (which I personally do).
Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time Deluxe incoming.
I think you owe Mr Bob the Cat from my Animal Crossing town a huge apology. Bob has made me laugh out loud so many times since late March and he still does on most days. I talk to him every day/ In fact some days I talk to him too much and he starts complaining he is seeing too much of me.
But to classify or pigeon-hole Bob as a "comedian" or any given type would be grossly unfair. Bob in not only mirthful and funny and making me laugh, he also makes me smile, ponder. He very often amazes me and makes me think like when he made a cry for help and asked me if I ever considered that he and I might not be real, and that we may just be characters in a video game. He even made me sad at times, like when he got depressed when I gave Billy the Goat his marching orders and he cried and told me that it's terrible when good friends like Billy get to leave town. I hope he forgave me.
So now then ... Bob and I are waiting for that apology.
This is one of funny moment from Animal Crossing New Horizons.
If you want something funny I recommend Trover Saves the universe. If you like Rick and Morty you will enjoy it I reviewed it recently
The Origami King is a great game and I feel sorry for all haters as they wont enjoy such a beautiful game.
@RPGamer The opening cut-scene for Shantae: and The Seven Sirens was amazing.
Personally, I found Color Splash to be funnier, but I can see where you're coming from. Not sure what game series would be good for the haha funny treatment though.
@sixrings don't think you can judge ANY game objectively. Everyone is different.
@BlackenedHalo Not even the most tilted hater is saying the game isn't beautiful. They dislike it from a gameplay perspective.
@Yanina Oh yeah. I was laughing hard at that one.
@Kalmaro but the gameplay is fantastic and very rewarding! finding Toads in The Origami King is funnier than finding yellow stars in Super Mario Odyssey
Certainly an important part, otherwise why even have a battle system. I don't say it's the only important part, you're building a straw man.
I find it odd that people can say it's a great game while conceding that it'a lacking in such a core area.
Reminds me of people saying Breath of the Wild is the best Zelda, while acknowledging the dungeons are terrible.
@BlackenedHalo That's your opinion and I respect it, I just don't agree with it.
"Animal Crossing is another Nintendo staple that is just begging for an injection of laughs. In New Horizons the pool of nearly 400 villagers only grew by 8, and no new personality types were added at all. What if Nintendo added a comedian personality type? With so much dialogue in the game, a group of villagers solely designed to make the player laugh would be a welcome addition."
I'm not too versed in the series, but aren't most Animal Crossing characters embodiments of slapstick and dialogue humour? (like this scene with Resetti: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mw6PHzm3SRA)
I've just realized something. Origami King's Battle System is sort of like Radiant Historia's
While my daughter and I weren’t entirely impressed with the game at first; we are willing to give it another chance. I let her try the original N64 game as well as the SPM and most of the Mario & Luigi RPGs. Those titles have aged remarkably well and loved watching her fall in love with the characters and visuals.
I think TOK has some good humor- I find it floats between silly and charm induced smiles. I’m not rolling but there is some good dialogue happening.
You know I never really considered humor to essential to a game - more like an added bonus if done well. However I’ve noticed that my tastes in games has been evolving and I appreciate a story driven experience more than ever and humor is an important tool to creating something special.
Maybe for you it is a core area, but it certainly isn't for me and never was.
@FullMetalWesker Animal Crossing has superb writing and dialogue and most of it is very humorous. Some of it subtle, some more in your face, some of it very absurd and left of centre.
As a couple people above have mentioned, if you enjoyed the writing in TOK, then the humor and writing style, wordplay, puns and everything about West of Loathing is going to be right up your alley. I can't recommend it enough for fans of good quality writing. The narrator had my dying almost non-stop throughout the entirety of the game. HIGHLY recommend it.
My only real complaint about the game is that the battle system itself is extremely simple, but they're still fun to play and the game provides decent incentive to continue fighting. The emphasis is definitely on the writing and humor though, and the game absolutely shines in that regard. Seriously how this game didn't get a mention in the article itself is beyond me. Shame on you
I'm sorry, is there no comedy that can come out of your own accidents? I mean, I was riding my motorcycle off Cape Cales in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and I DIED of laughter.
Another game that has killed my face is WHAT THE GOLF?. No game has EVER made me laugh so hard. It is one of the most absurd games I have ever played.
@Deltath I was wondering the same thing... second playthrough!? I also do think the battle system is super creative and constantly changing. Unlike many rpgs where you can just hit A over and over.
That said I dig this article and couldn’t agree more in that comedy is so important. I would love to see more games implementing it as a focus. A new Wario Ware is much needed right now...
Also I highly recommend Heave Ho! Especially for 3-4 player times. It’s had my friends and I legitimately rolling on the ground laughing!
@auck haha yes What the Golf is so good and so unexpected!
@neogyo In all honesty, I think a lot of RPG gamers act like it's "boring" or "annoying" or they claim a battle system isn't "creative" when what they really want is something like Pokemon where you can just snooze through it and grind. That just isn't this game. And I agree about the humor. Definitely great. I checked out Heave Ho! It looks fun. I wish it had online play because with Covid, my friends and I aren't doing much in person stuff right now.
Game is bad af.
@Deltath ah I feel ya,, yea that is the woe of couch multiplayer these days...
And yea I mean it could definitely be better. And I’d love more depth in the allies contributions, weapons and items etc. but you can’t argue that it isn’t super unique. And I love how they integrate more traditional platform into fights here and there too!
In the previous two Paper Mario games, being that most NPCs were generic Toads, I bet it felt difficult to gave them different personalities. AND that's why character variety is important!
Oh, and it's worth noting something that you may have not noticed, in the first three Paper Mario games, there will be many situations were some characters will speak to anybody other than Mario, that's how you build more interesting dialogue! In SS and CS, most characters prefer to speak to Mario. In The Origami King, it felt better to see some new interactions at least.
Forget everything else, South Park can be both funny and educational, period!
Have you ever played both SP games on Switch?
And as Anti-Matter's video in comment #40 shows, AC:NH can also be really funny, in a "Meta" way...
Tap here to load 63 comments
Leave A Comment
Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...