It's time for another great Switch exclusive so let's get folded and jump into the paper craft world of Paper Mario: The Origami King.
Fans of the Paper Mario series expect something unique in every new title and The Origami King definitely doesn't fail to deliver. In this 6th game in the series, the world has been attacked by a dastardly dude who is intent on folding every last thing he can get his hands on which includes the world's inhabitants, too. It's up to Mario and Olivia (the sister of the evil King Olly) to save the day and unfold everyone while untying the ribbons that King Olly has tightened around Princess Peach's Castle.
The world of Paper Mario: The Origami King is fun to explore and has plenty of variety in its scenery. It primarily consists of a never-ending collection of puzzles with many requiring some good noodle-scratching and use of practiced skill to complete. You'll travel around the grounds of Princess Peach's Castle, through woods filled with trees that sing jazz, underground while spelunking in mysterious caves, and even spend a day at a theme park. All the while, you're looking for collectibles as you try to make your way to the next ribbon.
The best collectibles to unlock are Toads that are often disguised like a flower or beetle but can also be found stuck in the ground which requires a strong pull or inside a hole in the wall which necessitates a few hits with your hammer. On top of being collectibles, Toads also play a role in battles. The more Toads you save and the more money you give them, the more they'll help you out. Aside from Toads, there are holes in the scenery to fill in with confetti and plenty of treasure chests to uncover that contain little figurines.
Confetti plays a key role in Paper Mario: The Origami King as it's used to repair areas of the world such as building a bridge that's missing or uncovering a doorway to a cafe. Confetti is obtained through battles or by hitting as many things in the scenery as possible while hoping for a big pay-off of floating paper pieces. It's fun to throw confetti in the air and it acts like a neat gameplay gimmick, too.
Paper Mario: The Origami King has a strong variety of gameplay and environments and as I played, I could never get enough of it all. It's not just walking around and fighting enemies then solving the odd puzzle. You also have to ride down rapids while collecting coins and avoiding hazards, complete a ninja house while spotting clues to find hidden Toad ninjas, and dodge an elaborate set of traps in an underground cavern filled with lava. It never gets boring and is constantly challenging which makes for one rewarding campaign.
When you're not exploring the world, you'll be fighting battles and this is an area where The Origami King does some things really well and leaves other elements lacking. Unfortunately, there's no experience points system which may dissuade you from fighting every enemy that you come across. The only reward for fighting standard enemies is some confetti (which you can get through other means) and coins which are used for a lot of things such as healing items, accessories, and battle items. However, it was a very rare occasion when I lacked cash so I found myself running from enemies quite often. On the other hand, boss battles are an absolute blast. These fights require paying close attention to what the enemy is doing and working out an efficient path to reach them while picking up helpful items or coins along the way. Some of them are downright entertaining, too, such as the pencil case boss found early in the campaign.
The battle system is as far away from traditional RPG combat that you can get. You're placed in the middle of 4 rings that can be rotated and are sectioned into panels that can be pushed backwards and forwards. Enemies are scattered within the rings and you have a certain amount of moves and time to position them in a way that you can do maximum damage with your available equipment. These aren't always easy to figure out and when you don't get it on the first shot, you'll end up spending extra time taking out enemies in groups of 1 or 2 instead of 4 per turn which can make a battle go on rather long. Considering you're simply working with variations of jumps and hammers, I would have liked to see more variety in this system. It feels like the developers are testing the waters to see if people like it before investing in a more complex battle system that could adopt more variety in solving puzzles and attacking enemies.
Last but not least, I have to discuss the humour. The dialogue in Paper Mario: The Origami King is a blast to read and you'll often find yourself chuckling. It's very self-aware in its writing and succeeds in making the overall gaming experience highly entertaining. Most of the humour is found in the absurdity of the moment such as through watching Shy Guys and other baddies having a tin can themed party or walking through a newly opened secret cave only to find speaker systems and spotlights wired up as if it was an established museum. It takes a lot to make me laugh while playing a game yet Paper Mario: The Origami King does it with ease.
Paper Mario: The Origami King is a hilarious game with a ton of variety in its world and a clever new puzzle-based battle system. There's so much fun to be had that if you don't already own a Switch, this will act as a fantastic reason to go out and get one.
- + Colourful graphics, awesome music, and a top-notch goofy sense of humour
- + Tons of unique gameplay scenarios
- + Plenty of nifty and useful collectibles
- - No experience points makes battles sometimes feel pointless and tedious
- - Puzzles and weapons could use more variety