Super Paper Mario
|Super Paper Mario|
North American and Australian packaging artwork
|Genre(s)||Action role-playing, platform|
Super Paper Mario (Japanese: スーパーペーパーマリオ, Hepburn: Sūpā Pēpā Mario) is a 2007 side-scrolling platform Action role-playing video game developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo for the Wii home video game console. It is the third game in the Paper Mario series. The game follows the 2004 Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door and was followed by Paper Mario: Sticker Star in 2012.
The game departs from the gameplay featured in earlier Paper Mario titles, primarily featuring side-scrolling platforming gameplay with role-playing elements. The player controls Mario and later Princess Peach, Bowser and Luigi, who each possess different abilities. Most of the gameplay revolves around Mario's ability to "flip" between dimensions, allowing him to switch between 3D and 2D perspectives in each level and maneuver around normally impassable obstacles. The plot follows the four characters' quest to collect eight Pure Hearts in order to prevent Count Bleck from destroying the universe.
The game was well-received, accumulating aggregate critical scores of 85.16% and 85% on GameRankings and Metacritic with many critics praising the game's unique plot and writing. As of March 2008, it has sold 2.28 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling games on the Wii. In 2011, the game was re-released as part of the Nintendo Selects program in North America, and in Europe the following year in 2012. The game was released on the North American Wii U Virtual Console on June 16, 2016.
Super Paper Mario was described by GameSpot as blending RPG gameplay with platforming gameplay. The player moves through a series of levels, exploring various landscapes, fighting enemies, and solving puzzles. The game is divided into 32 levels within eight chapters (or worlds), each of which takes place in a unique location, or "dimension".
Premise and setting
The main objective is to collect eight Pure Hearts, one in each chapter, which is used to gain access to the next. Each area is joined to a central hub, a town called Flipside.
The majority of gameplay is in 2D. Early in the game, Mario is given the ability to "flip" into 3D. By doing so, the perspective shifts and the 2D level rotates to reveal a hidden z-axis, placing Mario in a 3D environment. Flipping allows the player to maneuver around obstacles impassable in the 2D perspective, or find items, enemies or varying landscapes only visible along the z-axis. Staying in the 3D perspective for too long depletes Mario's health.
The game uses a scoring system where points are accumulated through defeating enemies and using items. It also acts like the player's experience points system; points allow the player to level up in order to deal more damage and take more attacks. If the player's heart points (HP) reach zero, they will have to reload from a save point.
The player gains control of Princess Peach, Bowser, and Luigi as the game progresses and can switch between them at almost any point in the game. Princess Peach can float over long distances and block attacks with her parasol, Bowser can breathe fire, and Luigi can perform a super jump, but Mario is the only one who can flip between dimensions.
The game is controlled by holding the Wii Remote sideways, akin to the Nintendo Entertainment System control scheme, though little motion sensing is implemented. During gameplay, the Pixl Tippi allows the player to use the Wii Remote pointer like a spotlight to highlight and read the descriptions of items and enemies, or spot any hidden objects. The 1 button on the Wii Remote allows the player to use the ability of digital fairylike creatures called Pixls, and the 2 button allows the player to jump. Pixls grant the player abilities such as throwing or destroying obstacles, becoming tiny, or defending against enemies. Wii Remote motion controls are used primarily for activating items by tilting or shaking the remote. Shaking the remote after attacking an enemy causes the player to pull a "Stylish move", earning more points.
Luigi, Bowser, and Princess Peach are kidnapped by Count Bleck, the game's main villain, who controls a book of power called the "Dark Prognosticus". He arranges a wedding between Peach and Bowser and uses the hypnotic powers of his ally Nastasia to force them into marriage. As foretold in the Dark Prognosticus, their marriage summons the Chaos Heart, which Count Bleck uses to open a black hole known as "The Void" which will eventually grow large enough to destroy the universe. Mario meets Tippi, a butterfly-like Pixl, who transports him to the interdimensional town of Flipside. There, Mario meets Merlon, who tells him that he matches the description of the Hero described in the "Light Prognosticus," another prophetical tome. According to the Light Prognosticus, the Hero will travel to various dimensions to collect eight Pure Hearts, which can banish the Chaos Heart and reverse the destruction. The tome also mentions that the Hero will ally with three other Heroes. Mario and Tippi set off to collect the Pure Hearts and stop Count Bleck's plan. To stop Mario, Count Bleck periodically sends out his minions: O'Chunks, a Scottish warrior; Mimi, an immature shapeshifter; and Dimentio, a mysterious dimension-traveling jester.
After Peach, Bowser, and Luigi escape, they team up with Mario and Tippi to find the Pure Hearts.
A series of flashbacks tell the story of a romantic relationship between two individuals, Blumiere and Timpani, who hail from rival clans. Blumiere's disdainful father forcibly ended their relationship and banished Timpani to wander between dimensions and eventually die. It is gradually revealed that Tippi is Timpani and Count Bleck is Blumiere, who, not knowing that Merlon transformed Timpani into a Pixl, was driven insane by her loss. Blumiere sought to bring existence to ruin and turned to the Dark Prognosticus. Throughout the game, Blumiere and Timpani begin to realize the other's true identities, and Blumiere begins to regret his actions, but continues with his plans, knowing that he has gone too far to stop.
After collecting all the Pure Hearts, the group enters Castle Bleck and defeat O'Chunks and Mimi, but lose contact with Bowser and Peach in the process. Mario, Luigi and Timpani confront Dimentio, who intends on betraying Blumiere. Dimentio also reveals that he anonymously helped the group during their journey, which includes helping Peach and Bowser escape. When Mario refuses to ally with Dimentio, Luigi fights and defeats Dimentio, who seemingly kills himself, bringing Luigi with him. Mario and Timpani continue their journey through Castle Bleck.
They confront Blumiere but are unable to attack due to the Chaos Heart granting him invincibility. Peach, Bowser and Luigi reappear, and use the Pure Hearts to destroy Blumiere's defenses and defeat him, but fail to halt The Void's destruction. Dimentio appears and takes control of the Chaos Heart, revealing that he has studied the Dark Prognosticus extensively and wishes to use the Chaos Heart and the Void to create a new universe in his own image. Dimentio fuses the Chaos Heart, a brainwashed Luigi, and himself into one entity called Super Dimentio, who shatters the Pure Hearts and begins making his new universe. However, Blumiere and Timpani's renewed love and the loyalty of Blumiere's remaining minions restore the Pure Hearts. Mario defeats Super Dimentio and Dimentio dies, but leaves behind a fragment of his power to control the Chaos Heart and complete the destruction of all worlds. As such, Blumiere leads everyone to the chapel where Bowser and Peach were originally married. There, he and Timpani use their renewed love to summon the Pure Hearts, destroy the Chaos Heart, and seal The Void.
Afterward, Mario and his party reawaken in Flipside. Timpani and Blumiere have vanished; Merlon suggests they died when the Chaos Heart was destroyed, but Nastasia states her firm belief that the two are still alive. A post-credits photo implies that Timpani and Blumiere have regained their original forms and are alive elsewhere.
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. Chief director Ryota Kawade was riding a train, while 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. When producer Kensuke Tanabe was told about the idea, he decided to make the sequel an action-adventure game, but retained some role-playing elements to establish the game in the Paper Mario franchise. Kawade and Tanabe also 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. The team played side-scrolling Mario titles for inspiration, envisioning how the levels would look in 3D.
Super Paper Mario was announced by Nintendo on May 11, 2006, at E3 for the Nintendo GameCube. On May 30, 2006, Nintendo set a release date of October 9, 2006. That summer, the game was "silently moved" to the Wii along with Donkey Kong Barrel Blast.
Early PAL copies of the game contained a bug if the language is set to English, German, or Spanish. In Chapter 2-2, the game would freeze if Mario speaks to the character Mimi without first picking up a key. Nintendo of Europe had offered to replace any affected game discs with patched ones at no charge. Nintendo of Europe announced details of the replacement on their website in November 2007.
Reviews for Super Paper Mario were generally positive. The game was the 3rd highest-selling software release of April 2007 according to the NPD Group, selling 352,000 copies. As of March 31, 2008, the game has sold 2.28 million copies worldwide, with 500,000 copies sold in Japan. It received a "Gold" sales award from the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA), indicating sales of at least 200,000 copies in the United Kingdom.
Super Paper Mario's plot has been praised by most critics. GameSpot said that its plot's history has a "great sense of humor", while GameSpy called it "funny". However, X-Play criticized the plot as a "con" of the game, stating that it is "cutesy". The graphics were also well received. GameSpy praised its "clean visuals" and IGN, giving the graphics a score of 7.5 out of 10, said "A beautiful 2D platformer and an uninspired 3D one. The worlds Mario explores look fantastic when they're flat, but the moment they gain depth they become barren landscapes". X-Play said that "everyone should rejoice that the long suffering 2D platform genre has gotten a much needed makeover courtesy of the mustachioed man that helped create it in the first place." In 2010, IGN named the game the 9th best game on the Wii, on their "The Top 25 Wii Games".
There were also some complaints about the game. Game Informer criticized the after-end of the game and the side-quests (such as recipes), as said "There also isn’t much impetus to collect enemy cards, bake things, or do anything extra since the game never gets hard enough to warrant it. And after beating the game (it takes a little over 20 hours), there isn't any significant additional content to keep players coming back." GameSpot criticized the audio, saying "The weakest element is the game's audio, which is a little too retro. Although the soundtrack is solid, there are no standout tracks. The sound effects are effective, albeit a bit too familiar. Voice is used too sparingly, though what's there fits the archetype set by the previous games." Though IGN praised the plot, they said "The writing is well-crafted and humorous, but there is so much to read that it actually interrupts the flow of the game."
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