The Return Of Mario
Super Paper Mario is a part of Nintendo's increasingly popular and ever-expanding Mario universe. This is a sprite-based video game that also makes use of polygons. The gameplay is a combination of platforming, role-playing and puzzle-solving and is exclusive to the Nintendo Wii.
Super Paper Mario sees Mario up against a new adversary, an evil sorcerer named ‘Count Bleck' who is trying to fulfil an ancient dark prophecy in order to open up ‘The Void.' This will destroy the universe and allow Bleck to create a universe of his dreams. Mario, along with Pixls and other heroes, set out on an adventure to collect the Pure Hearts so as to stop Bleck's plans. The game is very plot-driven and like any RPG, it is heavy on cut scenes and text-based dialogue. The player will find the story very humorous that has a surprising amount of depth and plot twists.
Graphically, Super Paper Mario is distinctive, a combination of high resolution 2D sprites and cell-shaded 3D polygons. Character models are like thin paper cut outs (which is why the game is called Paper Mario) and this is the reason it holds a very comic book look.
Review Of The Game
The game is very vivid and colourful - creating excitement, and in many locations you can explore a very retro feel as the look and design is reminiscent of old school 2D platformer. The new twist to the traditional platform gameplay is the new ability of Mario to flip from 2D to 3D within the same world: when you ‘flip,' the environments transform from 2D to 3D as traditional flat 2D levels/areas from 3D perspective are both unusual and fascinating. To put it simply Super Paper Mario is a ‘2.5D' game that takes the traditional 2D platformer to a whole new dimension and level.
When it comes to the gameplay, Super Paper Mario is easily the most diverse and varied 2D platform game ever made. For the most part, the game plays a lot like a traditional 2D Mario game and for a long time gamers will find themselves doing a lot of familiar activities. But there is much more to it.
The game is heavy on RPG elements and features just about all RPG norms. You will explore towns, interact with non-playable characters, level up characters, recruit new party members, learn new skills, learn new recipes and manage items. This is because of the RPG elements, and in fact, many gamers have categorised Super Paper Mario as an Action RPG.
The game is pure fun and the platforming elements will take you back to the good old days of eight- and 16-bit gaming. The dimension flipping allows gamers to access new areas and discover new routes and objects. This ability alone makes exploration more enjoyable and gives the game far more depth than any other 2D platformer.
Mario is not the only playable character as he is joined by other characters that also come with their unique abilities. You can switch between characters any time during gameplay. Mario will also meet many Pixls who will each grant Mario and his party new abilities such as setting up bombs, lifting objects, power stomping, etc. The dimension-flipping, multiple characters and Pixls lead to some interesting and clever puzzle-solving situations that require you to make the best use of your team mates and abilities.
The game pays homage to older Mario games, mainly Super Mario Bros (1985) and Super Mario World (1991). You will visit familiar locations and hear remixes of classic tunes and this will certainly give gamers who grew up playing Mario a feeling of nostalgia. Music is pretty old-fashioned but it still has a classic, friendly and uplifting charm to it.
SPM is all about goofy, off beat, witty and comical humour. The dialogues are well-written and just about every character in this game has a lot of charm, personality and humour. It often breaks the fourth wall with the player being referred to as the ‘great one.'
However, while SPM does a lot of things right, it fails miserably in one crucial area: making innovative use of the motion sensing functionality of the Wiimote. You will have to hold the Wiimote horizontally and play it like a traditional video game. You will be using the motion sensing functionally when using certain items, shaking out of things and pointing at objects of interest. The Wiimote functionality in the end is hardly groundbreaking or innovative.
Super Paper Mario is a fun game that features some very creative and wonderfully executed ideas. And even though it features many retro elements, the overall look and feel is that of a modern video game. The game is very unusual, charming, innovative and unorthodox in every aspect. For the gamers who spent their childhood playing Super Mario Bros and Super Mario World, this is probably the Mario game they were dreaming about back then.