Paper Mario: The Origami King Review

Introduction

Paper Mario: The Origami King is a RPG developed by Intelligent Systems and was published by Nintendo. It was released for the Nintendo Switch in July 2020.

Review

The Origami Festival is in full swing and Mario and Luigi are invited to the festivities! Except when they arrive in Toad Town, and Princess Peach’s castle, no one is around. What happened to them? Well unfortunately everyone and everything is being turned into origami, and when they’re origami, they’re mean and hurtful and destroy everything in their path! So what happens to poor Mario? Well he gets tossed into a dungeon and stumbles upon his new partner, Olivia!

The story is a wonderful light hearted adventure for the most part, but the story doesn’t shy away from having a few sad moments. For the most part I was having a good laugh, while traversing the land. Especially against the boss fights. But we’ll touch on that soon. Unfortunately this is very unlike a normal Paper Mario game. In old iterations, there were always a huge cast of characters. Between teammates, and characters throughout the chapters to interact with. But there aren’t nearly as many teammates here. You only get about two throughout the entire game, and even then, you don’t actually get to do anything with them in game. They just attack whenever.

For one of the few times, Bowser actually isn’t a villain. He actually acts like an ally for the few times you see him. This time the big villain is an origami named Olly. King Olly for that matter! He was mysterious, mean, and ruthless! Then the game revealed his motives as to why he is the way he is…and he turned from evil, to just petty, and it made me dislike the reasons for the entire journey. Sort of.

The game is honestly more of a puzzle game than RPG. I played it when it first released in 2020, and I was not expecting the game to play the way it did. It made me drop it shortly after starting. But this time I started it, I knew what I was in for, and I loved it for what it was! As you traverse the land, you do a lot of puzzles and platforming. From jumping around in ruins, to driving a car in a desert! You even get to drive a boat around a giant ocean! Every chapter seemed to find a new way to mix it up, but at the same time each chapter plays out the exact same way. You start off, you find your way blocked by some sort of elemental hazard, you do the elemental dungeon, then go to the main boss. It was always the same. But it was fun running around each area and even finding hidden toads to save, that help you in battle! You even get to fill the landscape back in with pieces of shredded confetti. Though this empties your bag of confetti, I was never worried, as there was always plenty around me at all times.

As for battles, when I say they are more puzzles, you need to put your thinking cap on to solve it. The battle grid is a giant circle, and you’re in the middle of it. Your job is to line up the enemies by either getting them in a straight line of four, or by getting them into a square formation, so 2×2. You do this by spinning the circle around, or shifting the lanes vertically, in the amount of moves granted. This increases your attack power and gives you the ability to kill all of your enemies in the amount of attack actions you’re given. This is done using either your boot and hammer, or you can equip different kinds of boots and hammers that are much stronger than the default ones. The only issue is that they break after too much use, but I always had an abundance of them, so when I needed to use them, I wouldn’t freak out about losing them.

If you’re having a hard time lining up the enemies though, you get two options. You can either use your abundance of coins to buy more time for lining up enemies, or you can get the toads help lining up the enemies. Eventually I really relied on the toads help because the way the enemies were positioned just hurt my head to line up. When you finish a battle, you don’t get experience points though. You get a bunch of coins that are used to buy accessories to help you in battle. They give you more HP, or more time to line enemies up in battle. You do get more HP and get stronger by finding hearts in the world. Whether it’s by finding a hidden box, or helping a Toad in peril.

The best part of the battles though, are easily the boss fights. Each boss fight is based off of a specific crafting tool. Like a stapler, or tape, or pencil crayons! The best boss fight though was a roll of tape, that just so happened to talk like a New Yorker! Each boss is defeated differently and it was amazing to do. You have to attack them in different ways and use your special origami attack powers to fight them. Like ripping apart a bunch of rubber bands at once, or taking off many strips of the roll of tape. The fights were fun and frenetic, but it was a pain to try and stay alive because they also hit so damn hard! Eventually the bosses even have ways to mess with the battlefield. This made the puzzle aspect even tougher for me, and I have to be honest, I was not a fan. I had a hard enough time making sure everything lined up perfectly, to get to the attack buttons, let alone with a handicap. But I managed in the end.

Rating

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Pros:

  • Fantastic World
  • Silly Story
  • Driving A Boot Car In A Desert

Cons:

  • Villains Motives Are Terrible
  • Puzzle Combat Gets Annoying Sometimes
  • No Huge Cast Of Characters

Summary

I grew to really love this game after I came back to it with the mindset that it’s a puzzle game as opposed to an RPG. The writing was silly, the gameplay was different, and there were a few minigames that I thoroughly enjoyed as I journeyed around the land to end the terror of King Olly. If you have a chance to play this, I can’t recommend it enough. But don’t think of it as an RPG, or you’ll be thoroughly disappointed.

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Game & Developer Information

Developer Website: Intelligent Systems
Publisher Website: Nintendo
Publisher Socials: Twitter

Paper Mario: The Origami King – Announcement Trailer – Nintendo Switch

Published by oniwalker

Co-owner of NodeGamers(dot)com. Reviewer and Guide Writer. I'll play just about anything as I cry about my backlog!

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