So what do we now know about the most controversial Nintendo game of the decade? What aspects were shown off at E3 this year?
Let’s watch the trailer and find out:
First off, our fears about the lack of original characters seem fully justified. Yes, the world is a bit more interesting than Sticker Star’s bland Mushroom Kingdom clone. Yes, the generic characters in the game do have a tiny bit more personality this time around.
But as a general rule, our fears have been confirmed. There are few interesting Toad designs, no new species or notable characters bar the partner and overall it feels like one big wasted opportunity. After all, why didn’t they actually do something cool with the new world they designed? The layout is there for a game that blows Paper Mario the Thousand Year Door out of the water, it’s just wasted under generic Toad hordes straight from Sticker Star and Paper Jam. Just like before, you get exactly one new character to act as a partner, this time a paint bucket called Huey. Heck, he even has a snarky personality just like Kersti!
That said, it does have some neat additions. Like Paper versions of the Koopalings, with Paper Morton playing a large role in the livestream playthrough. I guess that’s pretty cool, though it does make me wonder why they never appeared back in Mario & Luigi Paper Jam. After all, the Koopalings even lampshade the idea in game!
And hey, the dragon from Captain Toad Treasure Tracker shows up too. As a rideable ‘mount’ you can use to attack enemies and move around some areas on. That’s quite good, shows Intelligent Systems are at least considering stuff from games outside of New Super Mario Bros.
Moving onto the gameplay now, and honestly… it’s a tad better looking than Sticker Star. The new colour mechanics make exploring the overworld a bit more interesting than the sticker thing ever did, and you can refill your paint meter very easily in general. That’s a notable upgrade from before, where you had to backtrack all the way back to Decalburg if you messed up a puzzle or something.
However, there are still many issues here. For starters, the card based battle system is basically the sticker system all over again. Yes, right down to boss battles you can only win by using a specific Thing card effect. That’s disappointing, given how fantastic Thousand Year Door’s battle setup was and how obnoxious the later fights got in Sticker Star.
There’s also the map system, which takes away from the immersion a tad. Yeah, it has a Sticker Star esque map to choose stages, complete with loading screens and all. It’s not a deal breaker in itself, but it does make the world feel more artificial and limiting, and keep ideas confined to their own levels.
Oh, and there are no partners again. Because hey, why not take the one thing people loved about the first three games and toss it out the window? Surely no one will complain, right?
All in all, it won’t impress anyone who wasn’t impressed before. The graphics are decent and the music seems to be catchy, but that doesn’t hide the fact that the gameplay is just a bit of a mess and takes many of the worst aspects of Sticker Star and runs with them.
Still, why don’t we have a few screenshots and bits of artwork anyway? The game does look quite nice after all:
This is obviously the box art design for the game. It looks okay I guess.
The obligatory fact sheet for the game, the one Nintendo tries to get the press to post as news.
Various new screenshots of the game. Sad how good the game looks overall, since it’s all being wasted on a bland idea with uninspired recycled characters.
Artwork of the game. There was more, but who cares about flowers and trees?
So that’s Paper Mario Color Splash. It’s looking a tiny bit better than it did before, but to be honest, still not a game I recommend people to buy in the future. Wait until a real Paper Mario game is announced instead, with new characters, ideas, storyline and RPG mechanics.