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My Honest Review of Paper Mario: The Origami King

Gamingtodaynews1g - My Honest Review of Paper Mario: The Origami King
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*Edited from script for my Youtube video*

Intro:

Paper Mario The Origami King was revealed on May 14th of 2020 and despite the game looking colorful & having some different elements that fans were not used to seeing, many fans of the franchise were somewhat hesitant about the game due to the past couple of entries of the franchise.

However, more gameplay was revealed during a special event and well, many fans of the franchise still were not happy with what they were seeing. For myself, I was still very interested in the game. So on July 17th of 2020, Paper Mario The Origami King was released for the Nintendo Switch!

I picked up Origami King on day one and I must say, this artwork on the cover looks phenomenal, if the game flops, at least it’ll look good in my video game collection. So let’s go ahead and put this game in the Switch and see if it holds up to any type of scrutiny.

I have to say, this title screen is absolutely stunning. I love the colors and just everything that’s going on in the background. Really well done by the developers in my opinion.

Story/Plot:

The story starts off with Mario & Luigi riding in a kart. Mario & Luigi are both headed to the Origami Festival. However, when they arrive at the festival, no one is to be found, so Mario & Luigi drive up to the castle to see where everyone is. When they enter the castle, the door locks behind them, so Luigi goes to find the key for the door, and Mario goes through the castle to find Princess Peach to see what exactly is going on.

When Mario finally finds Princess Peach, she seems different and not herself. She asks Mario a series of questions, including one to join her to be folded. Once Mario is done answering all the questions, Peach then drops you through the hole in the floor. After meeting with some of Bowser's minions, you meet your new partner, Olivia, and you also run into Bowser. After speaking with Bowser and finding out what is going on, you go to the roof of the castle where you run into Princess Peach again, however, this time Peach has brought some friends!

Next thing you know, you find out a sinister plan to take over the paper world. Olly, Olivia’s brother, wants to fold everyone within the kingdom to be Origami so that he can rule them all! Olly uproots the castle, and sends streamers all over the land in order to take control of the kingdom.

It is up to Mario and friends to find each streamer and defeat it in order to get back into the castle. Mario and friends embark on an amazing journey across vast landscapes in order to do these tasks!

First off, I like the story here in Paper Mario The Origami King. Origami’s origin and tradition comes from Japanese culture, and since Nintendo is a Japanese company, I thought it was really neat of them to introduce this into one of their first party video games. They were able to incorporate their culture into one of their main video game franchises, and I think they did a good job at using Origami here in Paper Mario.

Another thing I really enjoyed about the story of this game are the characters that you meet and interact with throughout the entire game. Each character is very unique, and most all of them have some type of personality that livens the game up. For example, when you meet Bom-omb, he becomes your partner and sets off on the adventure with you and Olivia! However, later on in the game, when Olivia gets trapped underneath a massive rock, he sacrifices himself in order to save Olivia. I won’t lie, when that scene happened, it made me somewhat sad. But at the same time, the developers did a good job at making me have that emotional connection to the character, so hats off to them for accomplishing that.

Speaking of characters, I think the writing in this game was very well done. There was plenty of humor throughout this entire game, and I feel like Nintendo did a very good job with the dialogue in this game. Each character had their own unique personality, and with that came their own sense of humor. Also, there were definitely some other video game references in the game if you listened closely!

But honestly, I think my favorite thing about the story in this game is the places that you travel to here in Origami King. Each place is so unique and different from one another, and each place is just stunning here in Origami King. There were definitely some moments while I was playing the game that I just had to stop playing and just sit back and enjoy the view that the game was showing me. From Toad Town, to sailing on the Great Sea, and all the way to the town in the desert, Paper Mario The Origami King really blew me away from all of the amazing places that have the opportunity to visit and adventure in.

Overall, I really enjoyed the story here in Paper Mario The Origami King. I thought it was well written, with many places to explore, as well as many characters to meet and interact with. There’s definitely one thing for sure, this game is not a full out RPG video game, but rather an action adventure exploration type game, which is the furthest thing from a game like The Thousand Year Door. If you were expecting this story to follow something like the original Paper Mario game, you are going to be disappointed. But the really disappointing part for most people is the gameplay mechanics here in Origami King.

Gameplay Mechanics in the game:

Like I previously just mentioned, Paper Mario The Origami King to me is categorized as an action adventure rpg video game. Which as we know, the hardcore Paper Mario fans wanted The Thousand Year Door 2 on the Nintendo Switch, but yet here we are! However, there are some gameplay elements that I want to discuss because I think they are vital to the game itself.

  1. First off, while you are out exploring throughout the game, you will notice that there are random holes in the ground. These holes are filled with confetti that you can find throughout the entire game. These confetti pieces can be found throughout the game by hitting trees, defeating enemies, and finding a bag that has pieces in them as well. At times, you must have confetti in order to progress through the game because some areas will have holes that you must fill, so it’s always nice to have as much confetti as possible. Also, after defeating each boss in the game, you upgrade how much confetti you can hold.

  2. As you go through the game, you will play by chapter or by what color streamer you go to. I call them chapters because it was easier for me to keep up with in the long run. I also call them chapters because when you go to the main room to be able to warp to each section, they are numbered as well.

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    1. Each streamer color is broken down into two parts: one where you go into a temple and obtain the vellumental power by fighting the vellumental boss, and the other is going to the streamer and fighting the other boss that guards it. Each of these areas are going to have puzzles and other smaller enemies that you are going to have to fight in order to reach the bosses in each place. The puzzles to me are challenging and intriguing, but at the same time they aren’t so difficult to where it’s very frustrating. I will admit, you do have to keep a sharp eye out for what you need to do because I believe a good majority of the puzzles require some thought process behind them. Trying to rush through these puzzles blindly may irritate some people!
    2. Personally, I like this setup here in Origami King. Each temple had puzzles and enemies that you had to defeat in order to progress and get to the vellumental boss. However, I may be the only one saying this, but man do these temples feel like Zelda dungeons in a way! Also, after defeating each vellumental temple or dungeon, Olivia is able to absorb the elements of the bosses, which come in handy later on in the game.
    3. The boss fights are very interesting as well. Each boss has a unique style of how they fight, which makes each boss fight challenging in the long haul.
    4. However, my biggest issue with the boss battles is that you had to use a specific move in order to defeat them. You couldn’t use just a normal attack, and even if you got the enemy down to 0 health with a normal attack, it wouldn’t end the battle. I found that to be quite frustrating, but at the same time, I do see why they force the player to use the certain attack to defeat the boss.
    5. And that leads me into the thing most people argue about when it comes to Origami King, and that would be the combat mechanic that is implemented in this game.
    6. Paper Mario The Origami King implements a puzzle like turn based battle mechanic. While battling basic enemies in the game, you have to do your best to line up the enemies in a straight line or in a square like formation. You line up the enemies by spinning or pushing a certain ring or rings. However, you only have so much time and only so many times you can spin the rings, so you have to be strategic in order to get it done. If you are able to line up all the enemies the correct way, the game will give you a 1.5 damage boost. If you fail to line up the enemies correctly, the game does not give you the attack bonus, but it does not hinder you from attacking. So it’s best to line up the enemies correctly the first time, because some of these enemies definitely cause a lot of damage, especially later on in the game. However, with that being said, I do like this battle mechanic. I found it to be different, interesting, and challenging throughout the entire game, but at the same time, there were a couple of issues I had with the puzzle combat mechanic here in Paper Mario The Origami King.
    7. My first complaint with the battle mechanic is that there are no experience points to gather in this game. After defeating an enemy, you will get coins and confetti, which are useful in the game. Coins will help you buy a lot of items, and confetti will help you fill those pesky holes through the game! However, if you already have enough coins, you don’t really have a reason to battle enemies. You can just rush past them in order to get to the bosses in the game. And for some people, that may be a let down when it comes to this game. Personally, I battled most enemies I came across, but for others, I can see how this would be annoying further along in the game, because why fight the enemies in the game when you can just rush past them and get to the main boss? However, I will warn anyone who doesn’t battle a lot, you need coins later on in the game!
  3. Speaking of coins, everything is somewhat expensive here in Origami King, so that’s why they give you so many coins throughout the entire game. The coins are used to buy different types of hammers and boots to use in combat, which I found to be quite nice actually. Each hammer and different boot offers better attack advantages, so it’s best to go ahead and stock up on as many as possible here in Origami King!

    1. My second issue with this battle mechanic is that they made fighting normal enemies really easy, but then when it comes to the bosses, the game suddenly jumps dramatically in the difficulty level. Each boss has their own unique way of battling them, so you have to think on your feet quickly. For example, when fighting the rubber band man, that particular boss would shoot out rubber bands on the rings. In order to attack, you would have to maneuver around the area while factoring in his rubber bands and which way they would move you. Also, in order to defeat the same boss, you had to use a specific move. Any other move would not work, and I found that somewhat annoying. However, overall, I thought it was neat, and I did enjoy this, but my main concern when I thought about this wasn’t for older Nintendo fans, but for the younger kids that are just being introduced to the Paper Mario franchise. I could see the difficulty change to be quite a downfall for younger gamers and them being discouraged from playing the game. Because honestly, I was even having some difficulty with the boss fights in this game!
    2. With that being said, not only is there the puzzle turn based battle mechanic in the game, there is also some real time action as well! For example, while battling the giant goombas, those are real time action battles. You have to hit the Olly sticker on the back of the Goomba, and once you do that, you are free to hit the giant Goomba with your hammer till it explodes into tiny confetti pieces! But my thing is, Origami King also used real time action for some smaller boss battles. For example, while on the Princess Peach, you fight a massive Gooper Blooper. But instead of the game making you use the puzzle battle mechanic, the game instead lets you fight this enemy in real time. Another instance that this happened is when you are in the desert! You have to fight this thing, and well, this boss battle is in real time as well!
    3. For me personally, I thought they did a good job with these two fights in real time. They were really well done, fast paced, and they were hard enough to where I wasn’t just able to run through them easily! However, I do find it odd that they included real time battle for the smaller bosses in the game. I kind of feel like they should have stuck with either the puzzle based mechanic or the real live action mechanic throughout the entire game. But that’s just me and my personal opinion!

Final Thoughts on Gameplay/Mechanics

Overall, Paper Mario Origami King was never developed to be a Paper Mario The Thousand Year Door. I understand that people want The Thousand Year Door, but at this point, I don’t think Intelligent Systems is ever going to make another Paper Mario game like The Thousand Year Door.

But honestly, I don’t think the battle mechanic here in Origami King is terrible. It was different and unique, and sure, it sometimes was worthless to battle enemies that weren’t bosses, but that doesn’t mean the combat was just absolutely atrocious. The real action fights were a blasts, and the puzzles were good and challenging, so I have no complaints there.

So the gameplay was above average/good for me, but I don’t think it was downright terrible like some people are claiming it to be.

How the game runs/looks/music:

Graphically, Paper Mario The Origami King is stunning in my opinion. I love the art style, the way the game looks, and pretty much everything about the game in terms of graphics. The origami looks fantastic, and I love it because it looks so different than the rest of the game, which actually makes it easier to spot enemies here in Origami King. There were some moments in this game that I just had to sit there and just admire the scenery. I feel like the developers outdid themselves when it came to how this game looked.

In terms of how this game runs, I didn’t really run into any issues at all in handheld in docked mode. I thought the game ran very well, so I have no complaints or comments to give on this.

However, one thing to note, this music is fantastic here in Origami King. It’s so peaceful, and it blends in perfectly with the game. At times, there isn’t music playing, and the silence is quite eerie, but when the music is playing, it’s just so calm. You can’t hear the music because I muted it because more than likely I’d get a copyright strike for letting it play in the background, so you can blame Youtube for that being an issue.

Final Thoughts/Review of the game:

Personally, I really enjoyed Paper Mario The Origami King. I felt the game offered a very good story, fun characters, an interesting combat system, great music, and great environments for the player to explore while playing this game. So for me, I rate this game a 4 out of 5 stars. So the honest truth is, Origami King on the Nintendo Switch is a solid video game that does have its flaws, so for that reason I couldn’t give it a 5/5.

And no, it’s not The Thousand Year Door 2, and Origami King was never really showcased to be The Thousand Year Door 2. I realize that a lot of Paper Mario fans wanted a game like the first two games, but honestly, I don’t think Origami King is a bad Paper Mario game. There has been a lot of review bombing, and I understand people’s frustration but at the same time, you at least have to give the game a chance like I did. Because I wasn’t really expecting to enjoy Paper Mario The Origami King as much as I did!

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