As you likely know, Paper Mario: The Origami King is being released on Switch next week. This means that various critics and reviewers now have review copies of the game, and are allowed to talk about more of it due to Nintendo slowly lifting embargoes on the game and what parts of it can be revealed online.
It also means that every man and their dog has now posted a preview video, complete with hours of footage showing pretty much the entirety of the intro, parts of the first area and even more parts of the game on top of that.
So in this post we’re gonna look at all of them, see what neat details are being revealed this time around, and give our thoughts on the changes and additions.
Ready? Let’s do this!
Starting with a 15 minute video posted on MSN. Yes, MSN. The Microsoft owned news site that basically no one remembers exists at this point, and which AOL gets some of its own news from for whatever reason.
Either way, they’ve got a preview for Paper Mario: The Origami King, as seen here:
Which features mostly footage from the first major area in the game. You can see Mario repairing holes in the floor with confetti, making Toads appear by hitting objects with a hammer, and fighting some of his first ever Folded Soldier/Origami enemies.
This confirms that the origami enemies are attacking the standard paper ones, and that the paper Goombas Mario teams up with early on were being threatened by these enemies just outside of Toad Town.
It also then confirms that the first part of the game involves Mario trekking back to Toad Town, since this early game leads right into it. From there, Mario encounters a ‘Paper Macho’ Goomba, and things get a bit weird.
Why? Because as it turns out, these giant cardboard enemies are not fought in turn based battles.
Instead, they’re fought in real time on the overworld, with Mario having to hit Olly seals with hammers to take them out. They’re an interesting setup for mini bosses to be honest, and feel like something straight out of Super Paper Mario too.
And it makes us wonder… would the rest of the combat system have worked better this way?
Cause to be honest, modern Paper Mario games don’t really do a whole lot with the old RPG formula right now. They don’t have EXP, you don’t get too much time to strategise in battle, and (in previous games), battling was basically pointless given how many resources you ended up wasting in the process.
So part of us thinks it may have been better if all enemies were fought in real time instead. Or at least, all enemies outside of bosses got this treatment, to take away some of the tedium.
Regardless, we get done with that, and the video cuts over to a forest with sentient trees. We’ve seen these guys before, but we get to see them in action now, and it’s an… experience to say the least.
Since the minute you give the elder tree the Soul Seed, all the trees start singing and dancing, complete with Mario and Olivia dancing to the music off to the side. It’s an unexpected musical number for a game like this, and presumably one included due to someone at Nintendo drawing a connection between a Soul Seed and soul music.
Either way, that ends the first preview. Onto the next one!
Or in this case, some of GameXplain’s various videos on the game. First, 5 things they learnt about Paper Mario: The Origami King:
With said 5 things being:
- A giant, interconnected world
- There’s no experience points
- Partners are back, but not controllable
- Battles are more puzzle based
- Luigi has his own journey
The first one is pretty obvious. The world map from Sticker Star and Color Splash is gone, and in its place is a fully connected world closer in feel to the other Mario RPGs. It also comes with a quick travel hub utilising warp pipes, which let players easily reach new areas, like the sewers in the first two Paper Mario games.
It’s not Breath of the Wild style open world though, so don’t expect anything too crazy like that. Just traditional Mario RPG/old school Zelda style world exploration.
They also confirm the game doesn’t have EXP either. This is something that’s clearly going to disappoint many fans, since it means the traditional level up system is gone, just like in the last two games.
You can increase your HP through heart containers found throughout the world though, as well as get more room for confetti in your bag for finding upgrades to that.
So it’s basically less of an RPG, more of a Zelda like experience.
What does return from the older games though are partners, and as shown in previous previews and videos, they can help out in battle too.
However, you can’t control them, which makes them kinda unreliable in battle, and nowhere near as fleshed out gameplay wise as their counterparts in the first two titles.
Speaking of battles, those are apparently more puzzle based here too. No big surprise to be honest, the ring system was always going to lead things down that route. And hey, we saw the whole arrow laying out thing with bosses in a few trailers too, so it’s very much about outthinking your foes and taking them down quickly rather than traditional combat tactics.
Finally, while they don’t go into much detail, they do explain that Luigi has made it his goal to ‘stay ahead of Luigi through his entire journey’, and that we can ‘guess how that goes’. So it seems Luigi has his own journey/side story here, and does at least something throughout the adventure in Paper Mario: The Origami King.
Next up, GameXplain also has the intro for the game on their channel too:
As you can see, it pretty much plays out like this:
- You and Luigi travel to Toad Town on his kart
- Upon arriving, you find the place deserted
- They head into Peach’s Castle in search of some answers
- Find that Peach has turned into Origami, and has betrayed them
Before the video ends.
However, despite what GameXplain says, that’s actually not all of it.
No, that’s just the start, and various other YouTubers and gaming outlets show far more than this.
Like Gamespot, who show what happens after Mario falls through the trapdoor in Peach’s Castle, among other things:
Apparently this is the moment when Mario meets those paper minions about to be converted into origami by King Olly’s Folder Soldier army, since they get surprised by Mario’s presence, then tricked into being ‘folded’ (or ‘upgraded’) by the fake Shy Guys.
It’s quite a dark setup, especially given they’re all characters you’ve grown somewhat fond of in the 2 minutes before their transformation.
Regardless, since the next part of the intro isn’t shown in that one, so we’ll head off to this footage instead, courtesy of Nintendo Insider:
Where most of the intro from there is revealed. You meet Bowser, who’s been folded into a sign, then escape up to the top of the tower with him. From here, you meet Origami Peach and a disguised King Olly, then battle some Folded Soldiers in a ‘wave battle’ before the evil king hijacks the whole castle and takes it off to a distant mountain.
It’s quite the intro, and really sets up a spooky tone for the game as a whole.
Nonetheless, let’s look at some of the other footage in those videos? Like the Gamespot one, where we see Mario and Olivia meet Bobby for the first time.
He seems like a pretty snarky character in addition to a laid back one, and has a nifty little theme tune to go with his appearance too. That’s not a. lot, but it gives him some extra personality however you look at it.
And while many of us know about his amnesia, it also turns out we can turn down his offer to join Mario’s party a ton of times too, in a long chain of yes/no prompts very remniscient of those in earlier games. There’s not much of an effect if say no here (presumably he’ll join you eventually regardless of it, or Olivia will railroad you into the decision), but it’s amusing either way, and makes us wonder how many other wacky things we can turn down later on. Like how we could refuse to save the world in Super Paper Mario.
Finally, the trailer ends with a scene in the cafe, as a Goomba and a Shy Guy argue which of Bowser’s minions is the favourite. Can’t fault the Goomba’s optimism with this one, what with him acting like being the first enemy in the game means he’s on the frontlines, and hence Bowser’s favourite overall:
Eurogamer Spain also posted a detailed video preview of the game as well:
This one is fairly standard at first, but does have a few interesting notes to see later on nonetheless. For instance, it confirms (again) that Bowser’s minions are friendly NPCs you encounter throughout each area, with scenes involving a Sombrero Guy, Spike and Monty Mole showing them helping you on your quest.
And then there’s Birdo. We already saw her in the background of an earlier video, but it seems like she returns as part of a stage play in this one, complete with a story that (seemingly) takes cues from stuff like Grease or Westside Story:
Interestingly, you can also see what appear to be friendly origami enemies here, including a Koopa with sunglasses, plus a theatre/stage director esque Toad standing off to the side.
So it’s no rushed production this one.
From there we see part of a spooky water temple like area:
As well as a slide puzzle setup found within it. Presumably you have to lay out the tiles so the water can travel from one part of the room to the other.
The trailer also showcases the item and weapon systems, including the shops for each. On the item front, it appears you’re able to buy defence, HP and time boosts that you can use in battle:
Whereas for weapons, you can buy boots and hammers to improve your attack power in battle. These ones do have durability though, so like in Breath of the Wild you’ll need to keep replacing them whenever they break.
Outside of that, we also get a glimpse at various other overworld mechanics shown in previous trailers. Like the setup for the boat ride you can collect coins and hearts on:
Or some NPCs found in the Shogun Studios area, plus a shop in the same place:
There’s also a tutorial for a Toad detector, some fights against tiny Goombas in the overworld…
As well as a mysterious wifi like symbol you can see in the background of a certain area:
It’s unknown what this one stands for, but it might have something to do with a lab like area seen in one of the game’s trailers.
And that’s it for this preview. We’re sure there’s likely some other cool details to find in the background, and it’s possible GameXplain will end up making a three hour analysis video on those things sometime in the future, but that’s all we found ourselves.
Onto the final preview!
Which in this case, showcases one of the game’s major boss battles, with Mario facing off against the Coloured Pencils boss. Here’s the video from Video Chums:
As you can see, there are a few interesting points to note here.
For one thing, despite having the least threatening design in Paper Mario history, the boss has a surprising amount of personality to it overall, making constant threats and jokes throughout the battle in a multicoloured font. Who’d have ever expected a box of pencils to blame others for its mistakes?
THey ALL missed?! No… my missiles are flawless! It’s the TARGET that’s all wrong!
Secondly, it appears the ring battle mechanics get gradually more complicated over time, since in this case, Mario has to use a switch to enable the thousand fold arms attack to be able to use his special attacks altogether. It’s an interesting bit of extra complexity really, and makes us wonder how later boss battles are going to play around with these puzzle mechanics even more.
Finally, as it turns out, the Coloured Pencils boss not only has a name, but also a Zelda style boss subtitle too:
So those are all the previews we’ve seen for the game, everything interesting we found in them, and our thoughts on how it all works compared to previous games. Hope you found the rundown an interesting read, and we hope to hear your thoughts on the game and everything in it in the comments below, on the Gaming Latest forums, or on our not so new Discord server today!