8.0 / 10
school platforming with a touch of RPG elements aren’t features one
normally expects to find in the same game, but the Paper Mario series
has managed to make it work. Now
with the series first entry onto the Wii, it has started experimenting
with the Wiimote as a means of adding one further dimension to how one
plays these games, pointing and shacking the controller to perform
certain tasks. Combining this mish-mash of gameplay and control elements in
Super Paper Mario has produced a surprisingly enjoyable game despite it
pulling from so many directions at once.
For this adventure, Mario and the gang find themselves traveling through various dimensions and universes trying to stop the evil Count Bleck from bringing darkness to every corner of existence. Along the way players will learn more about these various worlds and why the count is so keen on destroying them. The story is actually quite interesting, not so much for the archetypal tale of good versus evil, but more so for all of the little side stories that emerge along the way, and Super Paper Mario’s ability to poke a little bit of fun at itself, as well as most of geek culture. The one shortcoming of the game’s story, though, is that the pacing is off. Players will find themselves going through the game, having a blast, then WHAM! they’ll slam head first into a large chunk of narrative that passes a little slower than feels right.
Despite this, Super Paper Mario strikes an enjoyable balance between platform and RPG gameplay elements. As one makes their way through the game, they gain access to more controllable characters, and free a number of “pixls” (beings with unique talents who help Mario and the gang on their journey). As players gain access to these, the depth of
Super Paper Mario becomes apparent. Access to many areas slowly presents itself, as well as new ways of defeating enemies. As a result, there is plenty of reason to replay old levels, as there is a very good chance that one will be able to access new areas, find new goodies, or better defeat certain enemies indigenous to these levels. The platforming, navigating the levels, and often times solving puzzles is quite satisfying. There is a good mix of moments where one’s dexterity is tested, followed by times where one’s wits are put to the test.
of these skills are performed from a more traditional standpoint, where
players hold the Wii’s controller horizontally, and only on occasion
using it in a way that involves more effort.
As a result, some of the more involved control schemes with the
wiimote feel tacked on. There
is little reason that they couldn’t have just been done in a more
traditional manner, and in some cases it would have made more sense to
go that route in the first place. Nonetheless,
the controls are very responsive, and the more straight-ahead platform
elements are quite enjoyable.
for the RPG facets of Super Paper Mario, these largely come in the
characters’ ability to level up.
There’s also a handy inventory, and spiffy items one can
collect, as well as a cooking portion to the game.
While these features aren’t essential to the game, it is nice
to see them present, as it adds a little more flavor to the experience,
rather than making a full-on platformer.
like its predecessors, Super Paper Mario’s visuals have a very two
dimensional, paper-like quality to them.
Compared the Gamecube games, the graphics here aren’t vastly
better, but the style is nice. Levels
are nice and thematic, and there are little touches sprinkled about that
help give each setting a little pop.
The use of color is as cheerful as ever, and the animation brings
out the personality in all of the characters, especially when they are
particularly miffed or pleased about something.
At the same time, the music helps enhance this overall jolly
state of things (why everything is so cheery in the face of eminent doom
is beyond me, but I guess they’re just looking on the bright side of
Paper Mario does a nice job of bringing the Paper Mario series to the
Wii. The action is as fun
as ever, and the story is entertaining despite the pacing being off.
If in future installments on the Wii Nintendo can make the more
involved Wii controls feel a bit more logical, the series could become
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