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Author Topic: A Hoffy Review: Super Paper Mario.  (Read 1140 times)

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Hoffy

Hero of Fire
A Hoffy Review: Super Paper Mario.
« on: October 15, 2007, 12:31:46 am »
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A Hoffy Review:
Super Paper Mario




Developer: Intelligent Systems
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date:
USA: April 9, 2007
AUST: September 20, 2007
Genre: Platform/RPG
Rating: E (ESRB), G (OFLC)
Platform: Nintendo Wii
Players: 1


Like The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Super Paper Mario was originally going to stand as a swan song for the Nintendo GameCube, much like how the original Paper Mario appeared on the Nintendo64. Unfortunately, however, the GameCube saw a distinct lack of consumerism in it's final years meaning that releasing a game during that time of the life cycle would be, well, let's face it, really dumb. And so we find ourselves on the Nintendo Wii, where the game has taken advantage of a new and unique control scheme. But does Super Paper Mario really show off what the Wii can do? And furthermore, does it feel like next-generation software and not a sloppy GameCube port? That's to be investigated.

Gameplay & Controls: 8.0
If you're like me and you can't resist the urge to download the original Super Mario Bros. on the Virtual Console, then you'll already know what the control scheme feels like. You hold the Wii Remote on it's side, with your left thumb on the D-Pad and your right thumb on the 1 and 2 buttons. You use the D-Pad to move and the 2 button to jump, it couldn't be simpler. You'll also realise that this control scheme is meant to feel like you're holding the original NES controller, which is a retro feeling indeed. But as trendy as this setup is, it does meet up with some bothersome issues. While moving left and right is a breeze, pressing up on the directional pad initiates context sensitive actions, such as opening a door or talking to a character. If you're like me and you have enormous hands, you'll find that your left thumb covers the entire d-pad, and that sometimes you can accidentally push in directions you didn't mean to. I found myself accepting a long elevator ride simply because I accidentally slipped my thumb. This is probably why most developers don't assign context sensitive buttons to a certain direction on the joystick... think about that next time, Nintendo.

Super Paper Mario takes on an extremely unique genre, playing as part platformer and part RPG. Players are given chapters to play through like in the other Paper Mario games, but these chapters are divided into four separate worlds, much like in the original Mario Bros. games. Some worlds are more based on traversing confusing platforms and some revolve around exploring a town or helping out a character. So while the game is presented as a platformer, there are still numerous role-playing tasks and it all comes together seamlessly. That said however, the game is obviously more of a platformer than an RPG. The RPG elements you know from the other Paper Mario games are absent, such as turn-based battles, FP and badges. What remain are experience points, items and multiple characters and abilities to harness. I for one was quite disappointed in the lack of role-playing elements when I picked up the game, but as I got into it I realised I could enjoy it just as much without them. The fact is, while not so much an RPG, Super Paper Mario is still able to tell a great story... but more on that later.

Obviously the selling point of Super Paper Mario is the ability to flip between the 2D world you're so used to, and the 3D world. In the 3D world you're able to see things from a different perspective, meaning previously unknown objects become clear, and the puzzle can be solved. While a very interactive feature at first, the use of the flip technique can become a little repetitive and you as a player can also come to rely on it too much. I found I was flipping every five or so seconds when traveling through a world, simply because I don't like to miss anything. And even though flipping into 3D takes less than a second, I found that using it so often slowed down the quest immensely, as I was always stopping to look for things I missed. It's not like other Mario games which are usually quite fast and filled with quick movements and action, you actually have to take some time to stop and look closely... which can be a little bothersome at times.

On the difficulty side of things, Paper Mario veterans will find most puzzles are fairly simple. The fact is, if you get stuck, you know the first action to take is to flip into 3D. If that doesn't work, use a Pixl to perform an ability, like search for invisible objects, blow up a wall or open up a rift in space. As you progress and you have more abilities, the puzzles will increase in difficulty, but overall, the game is easy. The enemies and bosses, too, are fairly easy to take down. Without the turn-based battles all you need to do is run in and stomp their faces, or if that doesn't work, use Bowser's flame. I found myself slaughtering bosses so quickly, unlike the other Paper Mario games which actually took a reasonable amount of time and effort.


i see what u did thar

Visuals & Graphics: 7.0
It has to be understood that Super Paper Mario was originally going to play on the Nintendo GameCube, and not on the Wii. But with that said, it's obvious Intelligent Systems didn't go to any effort to create new character models for Mario, Luigi, Bowser, Princess Peach, and pretty much all of the enemies. You will have seen these graphics before even if you didn't play The Thousand-Year Door. But, the fellas over at Intelligent Systems did take their time to work with a new art-style. Super Paper Mario is set in various dimensions with very different looks and atmospheres. Some stages have algebraic formulas involving mushrooms multiplied by stars over warp pipes floating in the backdrop. Other worlds are made of big, fat pixels and some are just coloured all wrong. It's kind of like Yoshi's Story, if you ever played that. The difference between each world really gives you the feeling that you're traveling between dimensions, and it all comes together perfectly. When I started Super Paper Mario I was worried that strange-looking NPCs and odd worlds would rid the universe of the sense of culture that the Paper Mario franchise is known for. As I played further into the game, the worry was proved false as I went into space, into a prehistoric age and even into hell. Yes, that's right, the place where you go when your game is over. The art style complements the humor and culture perfectly. The game looks fantastic in widescreen, too. But, Super Paper Mario occasionally drops it's framerate, and most graphics have just been reused, resulting in a loss of marks.

Sounds & Music: 8.0
The sound in Super Paper Mario is actually some of the best I've heard in the franchise. Most background music is fantastic, the music for the space stage is brilliant, it's very reminiscent of those 1980's space voyage films. I also came to enjoy Count Bleck's theme, and most other themes. Unlike the other Paper Mario games, the background music doesn't get repetitive or overly annoying, which should come as a relief to some. You'll also hear a few remixes of some of your favourite tunes from Super Mario World and Super Mario Bros. Oh, and there's plenty of wacky sound effects too. Sadly however, unlike the other Paper Mario games, a lot of the background music, while terrific, is hardly memorable. The lack of turn-based battles also results in a lack of a battle theme, which is pretty much all I remember from previous Paper Mario games. But, it sounds fantastic nonetheless.


SPAAAAAAAAAAAARTA!!

Story & Presentation: 10.0
It shouldn't come as a surprise that this section is where Super Paper Mario scored the most marks. The story begins with Princess Peach marrying Lord Bowser against her will, wouldn't you believe it. It turns out that they're being married by a mysterious villain wearing a white cloak, a top hat and a monocle, known as Count Bleck. Count Bleck has hold of a book known as the Dark Prognosticus, which foretells that the marriage of these two will result in a summon of a "Chaos Heart" which will consume and destroy all worlds. The story is unlike any other Paper Mario, or Mario game to date, as it deals with two concepts the franchise has never touched on: love and death. I'm not going to spoil anything, but I will say that the way Super Paper Mario utilizes the concepts of love is fantastic. The concept of death is also used well, as a few characters appear to get a "game over", but of course in true Mario fashion no character really dies except for the main villain. Still, I found that I actually gave a damn about what was happening. As I approached the final boss, I was anticipating the impending doom and I was curious of the love story that was going to unfold. It's extremely well done, and something any fan of the Paper Mario series can't bare to miss.

Overall: 9.0
Super Paper Mario has a few ugly flaws here and there, and this is mainly due to the fact that it doesn't really prove what the Nintendo Wii can do, because like Twilight Princess, it wasn't developed from the ground up for the Nintendo Wii. You'll find that when you play Super Paper Mario, it'll feel like a GameCube game; probably more than Twilight Princess did. The game is also very much aimed towards Nintendo fanboys and anyone who has ever enjoyed a Super Mario Bros. game. If you don't exactly fit into that criteria, you might find it difficult to enjoy this game. It's not "next-gen" by any means, but it is a lovely game. It's not a perfect blend of gameplay and story, but it's a damn close one. The storyline and characters are just brilliant, as there are plenty of thrills, twists, turns and visits to Hell. Oh, and Luigi fans don't want to miss this one, either. Buy it! Bleh bleh bleh bleh bleh bleh! Bleck!
« Last Edit: November 22, 2008, 04:48:52 am by 4Sword »
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Hoffy.
Re: A Hoffy Review: Super Paper Mario.
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2007, 02:20:17 am »
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I liked it, but it got boring towards the end. It was very pretty, though. Did anyone notice Count Bleck talks in the third person?
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Re: A Hoffy Review: Super Paper Mario.
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2007, 12:46:13 pm »
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Another great Hoffy review. Have you got unlimited cash flow? You seem to be buying every game possible =X.
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the a o d c

Kyubi

GET ON THE BALL!
Re: A Hoffy Review: Super Paper Mario.
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2007, 09:41:40 pm »
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Another great Hoffy review. Have you got unlimited cash flow? You seem to be buying every game possible =X.

It's a new-fangled magic thing called a "job" or something. At least a good one anyway.

Very gopd review, HoF! Ever considered using these to apply for a magazine as a writer?
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Hoffy

Hero of Fire
Re: A Hoffy Review: Super Paper Mario.
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2007, 09:56:13 pm »
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Another great Hoffy review. Have you got unlimited cash flow? You seem to be buying every game possible =X.
Lol, no. There's just a lot of good games coming out this year and I seem to getting them all. Plus, Virtual Console games are cheap as. I'll be picking up Phantom Hourglass next Wednesday, and I'll probably be finished by the weekend! Expect a review then.

Another great Hoffy review. Have you got unlimited cash flow? You seem to be buying every game possible =X.

It's a new-fangled magic thing called a "job" or something. At least a good one anyway.

Very gopd review, HoF! Ever considered using these to apply for a magazine as a writer?
All in good time :). Well I was working for DSRevolution back in the day :P. I only managed to write 2 reviews, though.
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Hoffy.
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