Earlier this year, Nintendo revealed Paper Mario: The Origami King for the Nintendo Switch. In that reveal, they showed off all manner of returning elements, including partners accompanying Mario on his journey, a seemingly non resource based battle system and some intriguing new locations and characters, including the first new antagonist the series had seen in decades.
It was a fantastic reveal all round, and one that alleviated many of the worries fans had about the series going forward.
Problem is, it also left as many new questions as answers. How would those partners work in battle? What interesting foes did King Olly have on his side in his conquest of the Mushroom Kingdom?
And more importantly, how would combat work at all, given how little of it we got to see?
All those questions and more were left unanswered, and provided room for thousands of internet posts, videos and theories in the process.
Yet now that’s all changed. Now Nintendo has posted a new, even more detailed trailer for the game, and showed off answers to all those questions and more.
Here it is if you haven’t seen it already:
So check it out, then join us as we analyse the video piece by piece, seeing what interesting things we can learn about the game in the process!
Starting with the characters. Like the new partners, who Nintendo outright confirms as such in this very trailer!
Yep after being absent for two games and heavily requested for years, partners return in Paper Mario The Origami King. This time you’ve got a Bob-omb called Bobby, Bowser’s trust caretaker Kamek and a Toad professor aptly named Professor Toad as some of your travelling companions in this game.
And they’re not just background characters either. Oh no, while they do indeed comment on in game events like Kersti and Huey did in previous entries, they also help with overworld exploration and battles too, making them almost exactly like the ones from the first two games as a result.
It’s a nice throwback to the classic games, and something we’re very happy to see appear in this one as well.
But partners aren’t everything. They’re nice to have sure, but they’re really only a symptom of what went wrong in the last two games, not a direct cause.
No, the big problem there was in character variety. Sticker Star and Color Splash only had generic looking Toads and enemies as NPCs.
That’s what really hurt those games overall, and what really made them fail to measure up to their more successful predecessors.
Fortunately, Origami King seems to be a bit better in that regard. Why? Because unlike those games, this one actually features unique members of the various species found throughout the Mushroom World, as well as new enemies and bosses to face along your way.
Like this Samurai esque Goomba you can see in the Japanese village style area:
The jacket wearing Toad found here:
Or the game’s interesting assortment of unique bosses that you encounter throughout the adventure.
With the word ‘interesting’ being the key word here. Why is that?
Well, it’s because the main bosses in Origami King come from an organisation called the League of Stationery, and are entirely made up of sentient office supplies.
Yep, we’re not making that up. In this game, you literally fight a sentient pencil case, a roll of tape and a creature made of rubber bands.
Here are some pictures showing them in action:
They’re a pretty unique bunch, and characters we have mixed feelings about overall.
With said feelings come from the fact that their uniqueness arguably marks out how little Nintendo knows about the appeal of the Paper Mario series. Cause you see, here’s the thing there.
Paper Mario was not all about paper.
It had a paper aesthetic sure, but it was a story based series first and foremost, with the paper thing being more of a unique art style rather than something that factored too heavily into the plot or game world.
As a result, it was more like Maus than it was Yoshi’s Crafted World. In Maus, the whole ‘funny animals’ thing was really just a unique way to represent the different factions in World War 2, and didn’t play much of a role in the story itself. It was more for thematic appeal than for in story purposes.
Same goes for Paper Mario. The paper style rarely factored into the main plot, and most of the characters and settings were paper like in design only. The Shadow Queen and Dimentio weren’t evil because they wanted to turn paper into cardboard or origami, but because they were murderous sociopaths that wanted to rule the world, regardless of who got hurt along the way.
Paper Mario since Sticker Star hasn’t been like this. It’s been more about ‘paper’, less about ‘Mario’. Everything is based around paper and crafting puns, everything is designed to feel like a diorama and every plot line involves things related to paper overall, like stickers, paint and origami.
So the use of office supplies as bosses just kinda cements that even more, and leaves us with mixed feelings about how well this game fits into the rest of the series because of it.
Of course, that isn’t to say they’re bad, nor that they don’t have characterisation. They do, it’s just weirdly presented.
However, the League of Stationary aren’t the only bosses in the game.
Nope, there are others here too. Like another league of bosses you face with an entirely different aesthetics.
These guys are apparently called the ‘Paper Machos’, with the idea behind them being that they’re papier-mâché like creatures which look even more different from the world around them. Like the Koopa boss we saw in the previous trailer:
The Pokey here:
Or these interesting dragon like creatures shown on the official site:
These guys are their only group, and seemingly play roles as both mini bosses and summons.
And it’s that last part which is kinda interesting here. Cause you see, once you defeat them in battle, you get the ability to use them in the overword and in battles too.
With their effects in the latter acting almost like the Thing items from the previous games, or the special abilities from the first two Paper Mario titles.
It’s a neat idea, and a creative way to give you new abilities and special attacks without relying on things like level ups or plot tokens.
So as far as character variety, it’s at least a little better than past games, and things are slowly heading back in a more fan friendly direction in that regard.
Either way, enough about bosses for now. What about the enemies? How do those fare in this game?
Surprisingly well to be honest. On the one hand, there are certainly a few too many generic foes here and there. And the variety in monsters isn’t exactly as high as in the first two titles.
But the developers do seem to pulling from a wider assortment of Mario games none the less. For instance, Sidesteppers make a sudden reappearance here, after years of mostly being relegated to background appearances and cameos:
And the Galoombas from Super Mario World seem to be fought here as well:
Add this to the Chargin’ Chucks King Olly has turned into Folded Soldiers, the Bone Goombas seen in caves and the Crowbers hanging around this skull like island, and there’s definitely a bit more originality in the monsters you face this around.
It’s nice to see, even if we’d personally rather have seen them try and create some of their own enemy designs and variations as well.
Especially given the sheer amount of ideas included in this game’s overworld gameplay. Indeed, almost every moment you explore the map seems to have something new to see.
Such as the boat section shown in the last trailer:
Or brand new ones where you pilot planes and submarines and shoot enemies out of the sky/water. That’s something we’d certainly never have expected in a Paper Mario game, let alone this one.
Then there’s the confetti. Aka the ‘main’ overworld mechanic Origami King introduces.
And it’s basically paint 2.0. You use confetti to patch up holes in the floor and repair walls. That’s it.
It’s an okay inclusion, but not one that’s all that exciting compared to past ones, nor particularly needed this time around. It really does feel like something Nintendo added just so they could have a sticker or paint equivalent in this game too.
Another major overworld mechanic seems to be Toad collecting, ala Mario & Luigi Paper Jam. Like in that game, you’ll find Toads hidden or disguised throughout the environment, and you have to your abilities to free them and return them to normal.
It’s an okay concept, and one which will probably work better than in Paper Jam given it’s not limited to those annoying mini games, but not one that’s hugely exciting overall. I mean, dimension flipping in Super Paper Mario set up the whole game, as did paint in Color Splash.
Saving Toads and throwing confetti? Eh, not that big of a deal really.
And nor is the use of the 1,000-Fold Arms mechanic either. As per the last trailer, this ability lets Mario uses his springy arms to tear down walls and alter parts of the environment, solving puzzles along the way.
Problem is, those random environmental puzzles are all it’s good for. You find a spot on the ground marked with a symbol (or which the arms are ‘allowed’ to interact with), and you solve it.
It’s just a slow, tedious seeming setup that again mostly seems to exist for the sake of providing a new overworld move to play around with.
Ah well, at least it can be used in boss battles to fight the League of Stationery. That’s kinda cool, right?
Yeah, kinda. It adds a little more strategy to the boss battles anyway.
And speaking of battles, it’s probably time to discuss those too. Since as you’d have expected, they’re a weird, half step forward from Sticker Star and Color Splash, yet don’t really seem to go all the way here.
On the one hand, there’s a lot of customisation available here. You can now equip badge like accessories to change how battle systems play out, like in the older games:
Yet the core of the battle system doesn’t really give you much of a reward for beating it overall. There’s no EXP system from what we can see, just coins at the end.
Similarly, while the main resource management issues from the last games were fixed (your basic attacks are infinite use, and Things seem to be non existent), the majority of attack items are still limited use, with a durability system akin to that in Animal Crossing or Breath of the Wild:
It’s a strange setup, and one which makes us feel like Nintendo is stuck between the classic Paper Mario style and the Sticker Star onward one, with neither side gelling together all that well as a result.
Regardless, the game looks like it’s shaping up to be interesting none the less, and we’re still really excited to see what else Nintendo will reveal for it in future.
So check out our full gallery of screenshots and artwork here:
Paper Mario: The Origami King Gallery
As well as some footage we compiled over on our YouTube channel below:
Then tell us your thoughts on Paper Mario: The Origami King in the comments below or on the Gaming Latest forums today!