Paper Mario and Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door are classics. Not only are they filled to the brim with the charm one would come to expect from Mario, but they're also excellent RPGs with awesome dialogue. Contrary to what my Pokemon obsession would imply, I'm not the biggest RPG fan. But I've always enjoyed the Paper Mario games. So, when I heard they were making a third Paper Mario game for the Wii, with less emphasis on RPG elements and more emphasis on platforming, I couldn't have been more excited. Then I got the game. Oh boy. Everybody loves analogies, so the most honest one I can make in this case is, when I was little I was excited to start middle school. Then I started it.
The game looks just as appealing as ever with its paper-looking cartoony graphics. The worlds are colorful and imaginative. The music's alright, nothing really stands out, though. It's pretty to look at, but then you start to play it. Like I said, most of the RPG elements are gone. Instead of dynamic turn-based battles, you get to jump on enemies' heads. Alright, like classic Mario, cool. You can also shake the Wiimote after you've landed the hit to make Mario do a "style move" or whatever and get more EXP. Wait, did I say EXP? That's right, you still level up in this game. You level up by killing enemies as I just established, and when you do you get more health. So, the combat of the game basically boils down to you jumping on top of enemies (sometimes they take more than one hit to die) and waggling your Wiimote after every hit. Sounds fun? Well, guess what, it isn't. It would be much less tiring if there wasn't so much waggling. And I know it's not mandatory to waggle, but the game encourages you to do it. It's hard to resist it. Besides, you want to level up faster, because if you don't have more HP future enemies will kill you faster. It's a trap.
There's also completely unexciting items you can buy or sometimes find in item boxes. Stuff to regain your health, make you invincible, yadda yadda. The only awesome thing is the Star, which turns you into a giant, apocalypse-inducing 8 Bit mario. You can also summon 8 small 8-bit Marios that walk beside you and smash enemies. That's sort of entertaining, I guess. More integral to the gameplay, but in the end pretty similar to these items are the Pixls. You find these guys, and they do cool stuff. Like make you do a ground pound, lay down bombs, cover you in a spiky shield, carry you across electric fences, etc. None of these powers are particularly exciting and it's always obvious when you have to use them.
There are three characters you can play as. The first one you get access to, and the one you'll be using for about 80% of the game is Mario. He's your regular guy, but he has a unique ability which I'll get to in a bit. You can also play as Peach, who is the same as Mario but can hover across pits and duck down under her parasol so enemies bounce off of her. And finally, you'll run into Bowser, who can shoot fire but is slow and big. Cool story, Browser. Mario's unique ability, and the main gimmick of this game, is that he can flip the world from the second dimension into the third. You switch back and forth between 2D and 3D to solve puzzles, find hidden stuff, etc. But the problem is these puzzles are never appealing, and when you're in 3D, not only do you have to move with a d-pad on a 3D space, but the game goes from looking amazing to looking like my toilet after four extra cheese beef tacos. I honestly can't believe how big the difference is. It's embarrassing.
So, Super Paper Mario already ruined the gameplay and the visuals, what more could it ruin? Well, what else is there to ruin in the Paper Mario franchise? They have cool, quirky stories, don't they? Oh yeah. Well Super Paper Mario sort of has this too. Well, it does. But I don't care because there is an insane amount of dialogue. Literally, an insane amount. And there's no cutscenes, only textbox after textbox after textbox and it never, ever stops. I find myself mashing the A button faster than in that LightFoot Strength Test in StarFox Adventures (I wanna review that game sometime). To its credit, the dialogue is fun, I guess. But I don't care. It's too much.
Playing games can give you many feelings. Fun, relaxation, entertainment, a freakin' headache, nostalgia, etcetera. Take a guess in which of those categories Super Paper Mario fits for me. And what's worse, and what makes me dislike this game even more, is that it's a Mario game. A Paper Mario game. And it's ruined. Not only that, but it came out in April 2007, when there was nothing to play on the Wii. I had beaten Twilight Princess a while ago. So I forced myself to stumble through Super Paper Mario and beat it. Every chromosome in my body was telling me to stop, but the bored gamer in me carried on. As I continued playing my hatred for it grew and grew, and that's why I feel qualified to write a review for this awful game. Because I beat it. Fuck this game.
Yeah, I quite liked SPM myself. It was more than the sum of its parts to me (which would be pretty good platforming elements mixed with pretty good story/RPG elements), but I don't really disagree with most of the review's complaints. The 3-D world does kinda suck and since Mario is the only one who can flip, you'll be using him almost the whole time in hopes that you don't miss anything.
On the other hand, I rather liked the story and dialogue (which I didn't think was any longer than the somewhat-wordy other PM games, and every bit as entertaining) and the game had lots to do, from the lengthy chapters to the catch cards to the two Pits of 100 Trialses.
I do agree that it's got nothing on the first two PMs though...those two games were among the best of their respective systems! Bring on PM 3DS!
@-JKR- Oh, you're counting shovelware? Well in that case Super Paper Mario would probably fare better, but when I think of most games that I've loved, Super Paper Mario wasn't nearly as enjoyable to me as any of them were. Whether I think of Nintendo-developed titles, Wii games, or games in general, Super Paper Mario ranks pretty low for me.
@TriforceBun I forgot about only Mario being able to move in 3D. I've never understood how that could possibly be a good idea. I'd rather play as Peach, but it's as if the game forces me to be Mario whenever possible so that I don't miss anything in the 3D world. It makes Peach and Bowser's roles in the game feel much more limited as a result.