The series forgets the ups and downs of the past and raises one of its best adventures; with the good work of the greats of Nintendo. Required.
There is something special about Paper Mario: The Origami King. We are sincere from the beginning: after two installments with not a few doubts and decisions that did not convince those who still remember the works of Nintendo 64 and GameCube, we can now say that this new installment has recovered that greatness is something that makes us happy. And it does so because we have had a smile on our faces from the first minute to the last; because Intelligent Systems has known how to make a mix of genres where adventure, surprise, magic prevails. This title has magic and, although it is not without errors, it allows us to declare emphatically that it has become a new must for the Nintendo Switch catalog.
Villa Toad, the backbone of this world.
Who was going to tell us a couple of months ago, when we did not even know of its existence, that Paper Mario: The Origami King was going to be one of the ones we will remember over the years inside the flagships of the machine of the Joy-Con. Let no one be fooled, we want to make it clear: this is not a role-playing video game; it is not a JRPG with experience and levels. It is a pity, because in its approach, structure and combat it would fit like a ring on the finger. However, before raising our hands to our heads, it is important to give a chance to the solution chosen by the parents of Fire Emblem: Three Houses, who have preferred to rely on objects, exploration and writing of memorable characters so that, in their Global computing, even such bouts have a touch of strategy that rewards and encourages you to continue. We will talk about it later, so make yourself comfortable, it is time to unfold everything that gives this unforgettable expertise.
A world that opens up in its proper measure: what is happening in Villa Toad
An episode that can perfectly last more than 30 hours has a beginning, a motivation. The reason for being of this trip is not complex, designed to be easy to understand in all kinds of audiences and with a sense of humor that is not ashamed of being extravagant, but is proud of it. It waves the flag of irreverence and makes it its own so that everything goes. There are no rules, and that sometimes self-awareness is part of the grace of this adventure. Get familiar with the name of Olivia, our partner, because it will be key – for good and bad – when it comes to stopping King Olly.
Broadly speaking, this guy with pronounced bangs and the face of few friends has kidnapped Princess Peach and transformed her into origami. I am not short on that, the castle itself has been torn off, it has been taken away by you, you know where, and it has protected it with enormous streamers. Our role? Easy: break all the streamers, free the castle, and finally get the aforementioned back. We believe that nothing would have happened if they had dared to do something different; not in vain, that appearances do not deceive us: Paper Mario: The Origami King will be remembered for the during, for the little adventures that we are living along the way; for the characters we are getting to know; by some final bosses who put the finishing touch to cleverly designed dungeons and puzzles that made us think at times if we were clearly approaching the Triforce saga.
There is a little bit of everything in this title. Elements of accentuated exploration so that we interact with the whole of our environment thanks to the implementation of the confetti. Mario picks up pieces of paper just by getting close, a comfortable solution to not stop the rhythm constantly – he already does, not always with the same success, fighting against some enemies – and explore in every corner. The fact that we cannot control the camera is also deliberate because, on many occasions, if we get close to a target, it will rotate and discover invisible elements under normal circumstances. Covering part of a building with confetti will allow something to appear, what? That is part of the surprise. Sometimes coins; in others, useful objects. Others, simply collectible, that there are hundreds across the Toads scattered throughout this universe.
All in all, a journey begins that has come off the straightening of the phases. This world is relatively open for us to travel to our liking. Each world, to understand us, is subdivided into zones and culminates with the rupture of one of the streamers. Along the way (and this is where the feeling of exhaustion disappears with each new approach), new mechanics, characters, types of puzzles and greater complexity in combat. Paper Mario is a very experimental saga, one that takes risks and is comfortable in not repeating patterns even if they work. It is a double-edged sword, no doubt. Luckily, in The Origami King almost everything is done well, and surely its main drawback is none other than the background. The Millennial Gate (2004, GCN) are bigger words, so we already say its name to save us more comparisons during this Reviews. After completing the game, we realize that this title is not The Millennial Gate … but it is neither intended nor needed. Yes, it has taken aspects of this work, also from the 3DS and Wii U iterations, only it exponentially improves these last two to give the result you see in the note of this review.
Experiment, a patent double-edged weapon in Paper Mario
Therefore, let’s move on to talk about stage design, adventure rhythm and, finally, combat, because they are the three pillars on which the best and worst of the video game are based. We cannot fault the approach chosen by the Japanese study. Overcoming the distances and without anyone misinterpreting the comparison, the structure of the worlds adopts a style similar to that of Super Mario Odyssey (2017, NS). In other words, open worlds, not huge. It is not a sandbox. The linearity is maintained, with the difference that here there are always ways to get lost, underground routes or something achievable if we look up. Villa Toad is the base of operations thanks to a location that will allow you, as we go through history, to make a kind of rapid journey between worlds. It makes sense because this Villa is where the majority of stores are to buy objects, accessories and other necessities. It should be said that in the rest of the world there will be sellers with interesting exclusive items from that area, more expensive than usual. An incentive to retrace our steps and give it that soft metroidvania touch that coherently combines with the exploratory proposal of the work.
Your hammer, companion of fatigue, will be a fundamental tool to interact with what is seen on the horizon; as is the Succionaentes at Luigi’s Mansion. Again, when you think you’ve seen it all, Paper Mario: The Origami King hits the table and brings you something new. Like a huge desert with some towers that require special pieces for them to come together and for the legend to appear; It shows you a huge sea for us to think about if this is truly Wind Waker or they are kidding us. Or they give you a candidate shoe for future kart in Mario Kart and it becomes our vehicle in the desert. The party does not stop, believe us, and that is extrapolated to the final bosses. We are not going to say anything that has not been seen in trailers, so we will stop giving examples and honestly recommend that you stop watching previews and videos: it always shows too much. Living this in the first person is very worthwhile.
In the museum we can see all the trophies that we find, all divided into rooms and types.
As well as the duration itself of each story. Independent stories of approximately seven hours long – much more if we look for all the collectibles – in which we will meet characters that we are not able to forget. Especially one that, due to different circumstances, will find a place in your memory for what it says, what it does and how it does it. The message the game sends you is the hallmark: our actions have consequences and tells you, between the lines, that everything makes sense if we have someone to do things for. It is not an empty message, it is not banal despite its simplicity.
The ship allows new ways to explore, secrets and hidden areas
Approach to the role, improvement system and a combat of “paper and pen”
So what are the problems of Paper Mario: The Origami King? Fortunately, they are minor, they are not serious and they allow us to move on to a character progress system that relies strictly on accessories to improve Mario’s character along with objects, all of which are destructible, in order to make sense of the internal economy of the video game. It is true that there is no experience or level up, but money becomes a necessary consumable that goes beyond the purchase of hearts to acquire health. Our doubt, and surely that of many of you, was the following: if there is no experience, what incentive is there to fight? Virtue is in balance. After finishing the game, there are moments where we have avoided fighting against some enemies along the way due to the simplicity of their challenge and the little reward that there was, but it has happened to us in few occasions because the combat system works like a charm. It is surely a mistake not to have opted for an improvement system that in turn would reward small confrontations, but the increasing difficulty of these face-to-face allows the struggles to have various ways of being resolved because they can always be completed in fewer steps, with more success. for our part. This does not mean that this redundancy in small shocks is somewhat heavy, avoidable. Excessive.
At first the pattern is predictable, it is easy; over time it becomes more complex to find the perfect match.
We have used the verbs “solve” and “complete” as if it were a puzzle. And so it is. So let’s divide the structure of the skirmishes briefly and clearly. For this, it is necessary to distinguish between fights against minor enemies and against final bosses or deputy bosses. In the first, Mario is the center of the target with four large rings around him. On screen we will see life, coins (which we can use to ask for help from the public, something wasted in our opinion) and time. Once the fight begins, you have to be agile and place all the enemies aligned either in a row (to attack with shoes) or in groups of four (if you prefer the basic hammer; others have range from a distance). We can move the boxes on the vertical or horizontal rotary axis, so we have the power in our hands to do and undo whenever we have the necessary time. The title rewards you if you achieve the perfect drawing through a damage multiplier, which will even be enhanced if we hit the at the right time.
At first it is extremely easy, but then it gets more complicated and, we insist, it rewards you for doing things well. It encourages you to find perfection. If we finish without damage and having solved the puzzle we will get more coins. It is possible to resort to objects such as Fire Flower, Ice and a few additional, depending on the type of enemy. As they are consumable items, in case an enemy is already in a state of fatigue, it may be better to use the basic shoe (the only one that is not consumed) than to spend that other pair of iron boots that the game reminds you to use. before enemies with spikes. As we must also be cautious and responsible in the use we make of that shining hammer that, surely, it is better to reserve for combats against a possible final zone chief.
We would have liked a little more variety of objects. It falls short. In previous installments, the diversity of medals gave even more depth to customize a Mario that stays here halfway between what we would have liked in the progress of the character and what we have finally ended up finding. All in all, the feeling of progress is not lost. In each world there will be hidden some equippable items to give us a plus of life, defense, attack power, discounts in the store, ease to identify the presence of collectibles … Replayable is, without a doubt, especially if we want to complete everything. Another problem, apart from the very superficial upgradable accessory management system, is Olivia. An adorable, sincere character that you empathize with, but he’s heavy. He comes to assume a role similar to Navi’s in The Legend of Zelda, stumbles over the same stone as Professor Fesor in the aforementioned Luigi’s Mansion: he is excessively interventionist. We understand that his purpose is to shake hands with the little ones in the house, to make you feel that we are not alone, and he succeeds, but he sometimes sins as a chatterbox and breaks a rhythm that is already sometimes interfered with by excess fights.
Final bosses, an encouragement to complete each world
Finally, the final bosses are the icing on the cake, both for the memorableness of some of their designs and for the confrontation itself. Sometimes, it will not be the standard structure of boxes with the roles reversed but something totally different, with action in real time. The others will respond to that other part of the engine: now Mario will be out of the rings and the enemy will be in the center. Here, Paper Mario: The Origami King becomes almost a turn-based strategy title with elements in real time, because it will be our task to draw the ideal path to reach the enemy, break their pattern and hit right where they are. vulnerable. As we move forward in the adventure, Olivia will be able to transform into various types of creatures, so it will be strictly our exercise to stop to think about which invocation is the best to finish with that box of colored pencils.
We are talking about combat so well designed that it can last even more than half an hour. There were some where we paused to think – always with the theme song echoing in our heads because they tend to be dangerously catchy – and try our luck, not always correctly. The difficulty, on the other hand, is correctly measured. It is not a necessarily easy video game; nor with desperate peaks of complexity. It does, however, maintain a dose of constant challenge with a balance that rewards, once again, that we are able to anticipate the trace of the perfect route, the one that is achieved with the least number of movements without hurting more health points than desired. . Really, very well the section of the final bosses. Therefore, and thus answering the initial question: yes, it is an addictive, comforting, satisfactory combat, although not perfect due to the excessive presence of these against enemies of the environment, which we can avoid, but which do not give the reward that we do find with the bosses.
The Origami King coffee grounds: will be remembered over time
It’s been days since we finished the game and we can’t stop thinking about it. We want to believe that this is synonymous with the fact that things have been done well. At the audiovisual level we cannot put a single but, although it is also necessary to make clear that all the creativity that the work gives off is also nothing that we have not seen in other works of this last five years on Nintendo. We are talking about the company that has endorsed the use of materials such as plasticine, wool, threads … Using paper is a good idea, but it is not surprising. It gives off magic by the method to exploit its use, which is sometimes insane, although the base does not give the impact that it did have, for example, Yoshi’s Crafted World –which as a video game is much inferior to this one. Luckily, aesthetics is an element that does not decisively influence the gameplay, and this Paper Mario knows how to speak in a clear language where the audiovisual is right to cohesive with the playable section, that which goes beyond the confrontations. Use of the Joy-Con for control by movement, interaction with the environment, recidivism in the exploration, to retrace our steps… It is a very video game, and that is appreciated.
The soundtrack, which raises catchy sound themes from the beginning, takes the license to apply arrangements with different predominant instruments in each world, always trying to replicate the main setting of each area. Thus, we will have moments of greater or less intensity, the presence of string instruments, percussion, electric and wind guitars. One of the best in the saga, without question. Graphically it is not the most cutting-edge of the Nintendo Switch, although there is an obvious improvement over the Wii U. The lighting now allows to identify a greater tonal variety in the environment, although again it prefers intense flat colors so that it is a title that enters the eyes. It does not rely on the whites of the light to highlight or simulate realism, but it gives prominence to the folds, to the role, which is the true protagonist. This simplicity in the artistic plane allows that when we play in portable mode absolutely nothing suffers, that it does not lose.
To carry out this Reviews we have played both on TV and in portable mode (original model of the console) and on a Nintendo Switch Lite model. Even in the latter, whose screen is 5.5 inches diagonal, the 720p do not resent one iota, there are no jerks or that uncomfortable hazy feeling that some first party works have accused. A product that does not overheat the console in portable mode. According to our calculations, it has given us about four hours of autonomy in Nintendo Switch Lite and about three hours and twenty minutes in the original model of the hybrid (the 2019 model has more autonomy) with maximum light and Internet connection. active.
And so throughout the game.
Before finishing, a separate mention to its excellent location; one of the best we remember, without exaggeration, of the last decade on Nintendo. The amount of text is considerable, so the company had the added complexity of not only correctly translating some jokes, but also narrating and locating situations that will make even the most serious laugh. It would not have been so pleasant without a job to adapt to our language like that.
We have made this Reviews through a download code supplied by Nintendo Iberica for Nintendo Switch.
Paper Mario: The Origami King is a must-have video game for any lover of the saga and for anyone who wants to add one of the best Nintendo Switch exclusives to their catalog. Because this is it. He returns through the front door, marks the way forward in terms of stage design and playable structure, without falling into experiments that generate conflict with the original canons and endorses the name of this beloved series. Its combat system is a delight, with the exception of sinning in excess of some expendable confrontations; spiced up by simply cool boss battles. It is an adventure with a simple story, but full of depth, a message, supported by the writing of characters that go directly to the list of unforgettable moments in the saga. In short, an honest title that goes straight ahead and adapts to all kinds of audiences; that asks you little and gives you a lot, among them, the feeling of being before something distinguished. It gives you reason to let yourself go, because everything that comes next is a box of surprises. Its greatest virtue is reinvention. Its result, memorable. We are in luck.
- The design of your world and the emphasis on exploration
- Deep combat system; especially against final bosses
- Collectibles and reasons to retrace our steps
- Soundtrack and characters to remember: don’t forget them
- Excessive fighting, aggravated by the lack of experience
- Some interventions by Olivia
- Accessories management; few and somewhat wasted
Game with a remarkable finish that we will enjoy and remember. A good purchase, highly recommended for lovers of the genre. It is well cared for at all levels.