Super Paper Mario

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Super Paper Mario
North American box art
North American and Australian packaging artwork
Developer(s)Intelligent Systems
Publisher(s)Nintendo
Director(s)Ryota Kawade
Producer(s)Kensuke Tanabe
Ryoichi Kitanishi
Programmer(s)Tadao Nakayama
Artist(s)Chie Kawabe
Composer(s)Naoko Mitome
Chika Sekigawa
Yasuhisa Baba
SeriesPaper Mario
Platform(s)Wii
Release
  • NA: April 9, 2007
  • JP: April 19, 2007
  • EU: September 14, 2007
  • AU: September 20, 2007
Genre(s)Action role-playing, platform
Mode(s)Single-player

Super Paper Mario[nb 1] is a 2007 action role-playing platform video game developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo for the Wii. It is the third installment in the Paper Mario series. The game follows Mario, Peach, Bowser, and Luigi as they attempt to collect Pure Hearts, which are needed to stop the villainous Count Bleck and his minions from destroying the universe.

In contrast to the earlier Paper Mario games, which fell firmly into the turn-based role-playing game genre, Super Paper Mario adopts a gameplay style that incorporates elements from both RPGs and side-scrolling platformers; some critics described it as a hybrid of the two genres. The game's main feature is Mario's ability to flip between 2D and 3D perspectives. Most of the game is played in a 2D perspective, with the 3D perspective being used to solve puzzles and access previously unreachable areas. Peach, Bowser, and Luigi also have unique abilities, and additional abilities can be gained through acquiring partner characters known as Pixls.

Super Paper Mario received generally positive reviews and was one of the best-reviewed Wii games of the year. Critics praised its writing, creativity, dimension-flipping mechanic, and story, although the large amount of text received some criticism. It was nominated for and won several awards, including the award for Outstanding Role Playing Game at the 12th Satellite Awards; critics have since regarded as one of the best games on the Wii. It has sold over 4.23 million copies as of 2014, making it the best–selling game in the Paper Mario series and one of the best–selling games on the Wii. In 2016, the game was re–released digitally on the Wii U eShop.

Gameplay[edit]

The gameplay of Super Paper Mario differs substantially from its predecessors.[1] The game has been described as an action role-playing game,[2][3][4] "platform RPG"[5] and a "hybrid" RPG/platformer;[6][7] Nintendo has identified it as an action-adventure game.[8][9]

Although Super Paper Mario maintains the "framework" of a more traditional RPG (the player is tasked with collecting eight Pure Hearts and can talk with non-playable characters, go on side-quests, and purchase items), the gameplay style is that of a platformer.[6] The game primarily adopts a 2D perceptive, with Mario able to temporality move the game into a 3D perspective.[6] The camera is shifted 90 degrees while in the 3D perspective, revealing hidden stage elements that are unavailable in the 2D perspective.[10] Experience points, kept track of in the game's "score" counter, are gained after defeating enemies and allow the player to level up to increase their stats.[6][10] The game is controlled with the Wii Remote tilted in the sideways position, although the pointer functionality of the Wii Remote is used occasionally to identify things with Tippi, use items, or play minigames.[11] The motion controls of the Wii Remote are used as well; shaking the remote after jumping on an enemy causes Mario to perform a "stylish" that awards additional experience points upon its defeat[3] and the same gesture is used to dispel any debuffs that Mario incurs.

Synopsis[edit]

Setting and characters[edit]

The game's hub world is the fictional town of Flipside, described as being located "between dimensions".[12] A second half of the hub world, Flopside, can later be unlocked; this town represents a mirror image of Flipside.[13] Flipside and Flopside are overseen by the wizards Merlon and Nolrem, respectively.[citation needed] Dimensional doors in Flipside and Flopside enable transport to other locations, each of which represents a chapter in the game.[6] The various dimensions in the game's world face the threat of The Void, a dimensional anomaly that grows to absorb worlds and ultimately all of existence.[14]

The game's main antagonist is the nihilistic Count Bleck.[citation needed] Bleck, along with his minions O'Chunks, Mimi, Dimentio, and Nastasia, aim to destroy all worlds so that a new, perfect one can be created in their place;[15] secretly, however, Dimentio plans to usurp Bleck.[citation needed] Bleck wields the Dark Prognosticus, a book of dark prophecies and secrets.[citation needed] The game's main protagonist is Mario, one of the four heroes prophesied by the Light Prognosticus, which was written to counter the Dark Prognosticus.[citation needed] The other three heroes are Peach, the princess of the Mushroom Kingdom; Bowser, Mario's rival and the main villain in most other Mario games; and Luigi, Mario's younger brother.[citation needed] The heroes are accompanied in their journey by the Pixls, partner characters that have unique abilities.[citation needed]. The primary Pixl is Tippi, and 11 other Pixls can be found in the game.[citation needed]

Plot[edit]

Years before the start of the game's story, a prophetic book known as the Dark Prognosticus was written. Many sought to learn their futures from the book, and it was later sealed away as its dark secrets were not meant to be known.[citation needed] The book was stolen for unknown reasons by a group known as the Tribe of Darkness; they hid from the world and forbid marriage into other groups.[citation needed] A member of the tribe, Count Blumiere, fell in love with a human girl named Timpani, but Blumiere's father banished Timpani, wiping her memories and cursing her to wander between dimensions forever. Enraged, Blumiere murdered his father and the entire tribe, stealing the Dark Prognosticus for himself and renaming himself Count Bleck; Timpani would be found by the wizard Merlon, who saved her life by transforming her into the Pixl Tippi.[citation needed]

To enact the book's prophecy of the end of all worlds, Bleck recruits four minions: Dimentio, Mimi, Nastasia, and O'Chunks. Bleck abducts Mario, Luigi, and Peach, along with Bowser and his army. He forces Bowser and Peach to marry, which unleashes the Chaos Heart and creates the Void. Mario is teleported to Flipside and is tasked by Merlon with collecting eight Pure Hearts, which are necessary to defeat Bleck and save all worlds. Peach is teleported from Castle Bleck to Flipside, where she joins Mario on his quest. At Castle Bleck, Luigi is captured and hypnotized into serving Bleck as “Mr. L”. Mario and Peach later encounter Bowser, who joins them.

In Sammer's Kingdom, the heroes are unable to retrieve its Pure Heart before the world's destruction; they return to the ruined world to find that the Pure Heart has been drained of its power. Dimentio appears to kill Mr. L; in Flipside, he does the same to the heroes. In the Underwhere, where the "game-overed" reside, Mario finds Luigi and visits Queen Jaydes, who restores the Pure Heart and informs them their game was not actually over, returning them to Flipside. The two return to the Underwhere to find the final Pure Heart and are sent to the Overthere, where the good "game-overed" are sent; the two find Bowser and Peach, who rejoin the party.

With all eight Pure Hearts, the heroes travel to Castle Bleck. Inside the castle, Bowser and O’Chunks are seemingly crushed, Peach and Mimi fall into a pit, and Dimentio appears to kill both himself and Luigi. Mario and Tippi confront Bleck alone; Tippi reveals herself to be Timpani, but Bleck refuses to end his plan. The other heroes return and defeat Bleck by using up the power of the Pure Hearts. Bleck, returning to his Blumiere identity, urges the heroes to kill him to destroy the Chaos Heart and avert the apocalypse; however, it is seized by Dimentio, who seemingly kills Nastasia and brainwashes Luigi into serving as the host of the Chaos Heart. Blumiere and Tippi are teleported away, and the remaining heroes appear overmatched without the power of the Pure Hearts; however, the love between Blumiere, O’Chunks, and Mimi restores their power.

Dimentio is destroyed but leaves behind a shadow of his power to ensure the Chaos Heart can finish its task. Blumiere and Timpani return to the wedding altar and marry, which causes the destruction of the Chaos Heart and the restoration of the worlds that had been destroyed. The heroes, along with O’Chunks, Mimi, and a revived Nastasia, return to Flipside, but Blumiere and Timpani are nowhere to be found; O’Chunks, Mimi, and Nastasia pledge to create the perfect world Blumiere promised to make. In a post-credits scene, Blumiere and Timpani, now its her human form, spend time on a grassy hill.

Development and release[edit]

Super Paper Mario was created out of a desire to combine the familiar look of the Paper Mario series with a new style of gameplay.[16] While riding a train, chief director Ryota Kawade was thinking about ways to adapt a mini-game from The Thousand-Year Door in which the player controls a large Bowser in a short side-scrolling stage; he noticed that the other end of the train looked like a stage in a Mario game and envisioned switching between 2D and 3D perspectives.[17] When producer Kensuke Tanabe was told about the idea, he decided to make the sequel an action-adventure game[16] but retained some role-playing elements to establish the game in the Paper Mario franchise.[18] Kawade and Tanabe felt that these elements, as well as the ability to switch between 2D and 3D, would make the game more accessible to players unaccustomed to action games.[19] The team played side-scrolling Mario titles for inspiration, envisioning how the levels would look in 3D.[18]

Super Paper Mario was announced on May 11, 2006 through an official trailer at E3 2006 as a GameCube title with a release date in the fourth quarter of 2006.[20] The game was not available in playable form at the event because Nintendo opted not to have a GameCube on the show floor;[21] despite this, GameSpot listed it as a finalist for their E3 Editor's Choice awards off the strength of the trailer.[22] Nintendo confirmed a release date of October 9, 2006 later in May.[23] Super Paper Mario was set to be one of the last first-party titles for the GameCube,[24] but it was "silently moved" to Nintendo's newer Wii platform in the middle of 2006, with a release date of April 2007 eventually being confirmed;[24] the planned GameCube release never materialized but was never officially cancelled.[25]

Technical issue[edit]

Early PAL copies of the game contained a bug if the language is set to English, German, or Spanish. According to Nintendo of Europe, the bug would occur in Chapter 2-2 if Mario speaks to the character Mimi without first picking up a key; this would cause the game to freeze, requiring the player to restart from their last save. Nintendo of Europe offered to replace any affected game discs with patched ones at no charge.[26]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
Metacritic85/100
(56 reviews)[27]
Review scores
PublicationScore
EGMB+[28]
Eurogamer8/10[29]
Famitsu35/40[30]
Game Informer9.5/10[31]
GameSpot8.8/10[6]
GameSpy8/10[32]
GamesRadar+4/5[33]
GameTrailers8.7/10[34]
IGN8.9/10[35]
Nintendo World Report9/10[37]
RPGamer4.12/5[38]

The review aggregator website Metacritic reported that Super Paper Mario received "generally favorable reviews", with a score of 85 out of 100 based on 57 critics; it received the sixth-highest score among Wii games released in 2007.[27] Following its release, Gamasutra described the game as a "landmark Wii release" and a "hit with critics".[39] The website noted that the game's dimension-flipping mechanic, puzzles, creativity, and writing received praise from critics and that most criticism was directed at its inability to please those looking for a pure RPG or platforming title.[39] Its story also received praise,[32][34] although some criticism was directed at the large amount of text.[35][34]

Game Informer reviewer Bryan Vore appreciated the inclusion of more platforming elements as well as the dimension flipping mechanic while praising the writing as "arguably the best" in any Mario RPG.[31] Reviewers at Famitsu lauded its dimension-flipping mechanic, balance, and control scheme.[40]

Matt Casamassina of IGN called the game a "must buy" and complimented its blend of platforming and RPG styles, controls, and writing but was critical of the "ridiculous" amount of text and the "barren" appearance of the 3D segments.[35] GameTrailers were also critical of the reliance on text but praised the story as well as the "robust" and "addictive" gameplay.[34] Bryn Williams of GameSpy praised the "highly bizarre and amusing story line" as well as its level design and controls but felt it was too easy and lacked in replay value.[32] GamesRadar+ reviewer Brett Elston praised the game for its graphics, dialogue, and controls but felt that it started to "peter out close to the end".[33]

Shane Bettenhausen of Electronic Gaming Monthly called Super Paper Mario a "must-play for any Wii owner" and praised its creatively, gameplay, puzzles, and script but criticized the "undercooked" RPG elements.[28] Eurogamer reviewer John Walker also expressed criticism towards elements of the gameplay, calling it "slightly weaker" than most Mario platformers, but lauded its writing as "consistently hilarious, and toward the end, even impressively touching".[29] Ricardo Torres of GameSpot said the game was "not quite on par with some of the other entries in the series" but praised its gameplay, writing, length, and side quests;[6] despite criticism of some "tedious puzzles" and backtracking, Michael Cole of Nintendo World Report praised the writing, visuals, and gameplay and called it a "peculiar, unexpected love-letter to Nintendo fans".[37]

At RPGamer, Super Paper Mario received four editorial reviews averaging to a score of 4.12 out of 5, with two editors awarding it a score of five out five and two others giving it scores of 3.5 and 3, respectively.[38]

Sales[edit]

Super Paper Mario sold 144,000 copies in its first week of release in Japan, a similar total to previous Paper Mario games. It ranked as the best-selling game of the week.[41] According to the NPD Group, it sold 352,000 copies in the United States in April 2007, ranking as the third-best selling console game of April 2007 in the United States behind Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl.[42] By March 2008, Nintendo reported the game had sold 2.28 million copies worldwide, with 500,000 copies sold in Japan and 1.78 million copies sold overseas.[43] According to Kotaku, it has sold over 4.23 million copies worldwide, making it the best-selling entry in the Paper Mario series.[44]

Awards and accolades[edit]

Super Paper Mario was nominated for Best RPG and Best Wii Game in GameSpot and IGN's Best of 2007 awards, winning the award for Best RPG from IGN.[45][46][47][48] 1UP.com nominated it for Best Adventure Game and Game of the Year.[49] The game received six award nominations from Nintendo Power, including Wii Game of the Year and Game of the Year, and it won the Reader's Choice award in the Best Story/Writing category.[citation needed] It was ranked as the second-best Wii game of the year in RPGamer's Editor's Choice awards[50] and three of RPGFan's nine editors ranked it among their top five RPGs of the year.[51] CNET, IGN, Game Informer, GameSpot, and GamesRadar+ have since listed it as one of the best games for the Wii.[52][53][54][55][56]

Award Date of ceremony Category Result Ref.
4th British Academy Games Awards October 23, 2007 Innovation Nominated [57]
Spike Video Game Awards 2007 December 9, 2007 Best Wii Game Nominated [58]
12th Satellite Awards December 16, 2007 Outstanding Role Playing Game Won [59]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Japanese: スーパーペーパーマリオ Hepburn: Sūpā Pēpā Mario

References[edit]

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  13. ^ Nintendo. Super Paper Mario. Nolrem: This place may seem like Flipside, but do not be mistaken! You were in Flipside, but then you flip–flopped sides... Friends, you are in Flopside!
  14. ^ Nintendo. Super Paper Mario. Merlon: Do you see the gathering darkness in the sky? It is a hole in the very dimensional fabric of space! Such a strange phenomenon... Is it near or far? None know. It may appear small now, but it will only grow. And in the end, it will swallow all existence... All worlds, all dimensions...
  15. ^ Nintendo. Super Paper Mario. Mimi: Yeah, first you'll erase all these naughty worlds... And then you’re gonna build a perfect world without war and all that other icky stuff!
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  • Thomason, Steve (April 2007). "A Matter of Perspective". Nintendo Power. 214: 44–48. ISSN 1041-9551.
  • Williams, Drew (May 2007). "Super Paper Mario: The Interview". Nintendo Power. 215: 76–78. ISSN 1041-9551.

External links[edit]