Nintendo Switch Review: Paper Mario: The Origami King

Could this unfold to be the best Paper Mario game yet?

Featuring a new ring-based battle system that mixes puzzle-solving skills with traditional turn-based combat, Paper Mario: The Origami King aims to put new twists in the series’ established formula.

I’ve been a big fan of Mario RPGs and to this day have finished every last one, even the game that started it all, Super Mario RPG for the SNES. Paper Mario began like a traditional turn-based RPG on the N64 but stood out with its humour and characters, which would spread onto what many consider to be the best of the series in The Thousand Year Door.

We’ve had a mixed run of Paper Mario games since with the highs being Super Paper Mario and the lows being Sticker Star. The Wii U’s Color Splash entry was a mixed bag as well, but I still enjoyed it overall. I honestly didn’t know what to expect from The Origami King with the ups and downs of the series, but it still deserves a chance.

While the game has the same visual style of past Paper Mario games, The Origami King is different in the way it handles. Combat is handled through ring-battles which has you essentially rotate rings to line up enemies in a position for a swift attack, but you’re also against the clock and lining them up isn’t always the easiest thing to pull off. You also can equip more powerful weapons such as boots and hammers, but these fancier versions break so it’s best to save them for something tough.

Boss battles change this ring battle formula by placing down arrows which Mario has to follow in order to get in range to actually attack, but there can be obstacles in the way that will make it incredibly tough. Honestly, it can be brutal until you figure out the best strategy. Other fights can occur outside of ring battles where you essentially just have to hammer gigantic Papier-mâché versions of classic Mario enemies like Goombas and Shy Guys.

Combat itself doesn’t reward you with anything like XP as there’s no levelling system, but you will grab extra HP during the course of the game and you can buy equipment that will help you in or out of fights. The world is full of missing Toads for instance and you can get extra HP for finding specific ones and they can also help you in battle for a small fee. There are also huge holes in the world that need filling with confetti to rebuild, which will reward you with coins and other items.

The story itself is definitely the best since Thousand-Year Door, it’s menacing to see the origami versions of famous Mario characters and they act creepily, while new cast members are just as memorable, even if they don’t have a specific ability they can do like they could in past games, which is a shame but understandable given what we know about the issues surrounding characters in the series.

I have to say that even though I miss the classic RPG elements, I still love The Origami King with its classic Paper Mario humour and there are also some superb moments thrown in that I won’t spoil for you, but also has anyone noticed just how damn good the water effects are in this game? They are crazy and surpass anything I’ve seen before, which is surprising considering this is a Switch game we’re talking about.

The Verdict

Paper Mario: The Origami King may not be the “TTDY Killer” that we had hoped for, but it’s the best game in the series since then and while we may miss certain gameplay elements from the early games, this is still a superb game and one worthy of the Paper Mario name. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll get a traditional game or even better a TTDY Remake? Until then, this will more than satisfy the fans.

Score: 9.0