Paper Mario: The Origami King
A new threat to the Mushroom Kingdom, King Olly, uses streamers to uproot Peach's Castle atop a mountain, leaving it up to Mario and Olly's sister Olivia to stop him and save the Mushroom Kingdom.
Why It Rocks
- Despite not being a direct return to the series' roots, it's at least a different take on a Mario RPG that's welcoming in its own right.
- The game is visually incredible, with colorful environments, photorealistic-looking paper, and realistic-looking fluttering and folding animations.
- Decent plot that places an actual twist on the generic "stop the villain" story. While King Olly at first appears to be a generic antagonist wanting to turn the world into origami, it's revealed later on that he developed a bigotry against all Toads in general due to a grave misunderstanding between him and the Toad that created him. He is even redeemed for his actions at the end of the game.
- The ring-based battle system, while seemingly underwhelming at first glance, becomes much more intuitive as the game progresses, making for a decently challenging puzzle-solving mechanic.
- The overall world is the most interconnected out of the entire series, with its scope on par with that of the worlds from the Mario & Luigi games save Partners in Time. There are also plenty of collectibles to find in each locale, with the Not-Bottomless Holes and folded Toads especially providing strong incentives to find everything there is.
- The boss fights are especially memorable for taking the ring-based system to its absolute limits; instead of Mario being at the center, Mario himself must make it to the center using arrow signs and other panels. This leads to many creative boss fights later on, such as Hole Punch creating pits on some tiles, or Tape conjoining two adjacent rows or columns together.
- Some of the best writing and humor in the series.
- Bob-omb (Bobby) is an interesting supporting character with a simple yet relatable backstory, and his sacrifice in Sweetpaper Valley is one of the tensest moments in any Mario RPG to date.
- The final boss fight is easily the most whimsical and cinematic in the entire series.
- Due to it being a different take on the series as a whole, the game may not draw in every fan of the first two games in the series.
- The time limit for arranging the battle ring is an addition that's questionable at best, and can easily be bypassed with the screen capture button anyways.
- Like its two predecessors, battles are still lacking EXP.
- While not as rampant as in Sticker Star, the frustrating creative limitations imposed on what races and characters can appear in the game. (Characters debuting in this game are paper or stationery-related, while only pre-existing species from the Mario universe can appear in the game - meaning that no species introduced in the first three Paper Mario games can appear.)
The game was met with generally positive reviews from critics. While many casual players were disappointed that the game was not a direct return to the series' roots, most were more than content with what it had to offer.