Super Paper Mario
|Super Paper Mario|
North American box art
|Genre(s)||Action role-playing, platform, puzzle|
Super Paper Mario (Japanese: スーパーペーパーマリオ Hepburn: Sūpā Pēpā Mario?) is a 2007 side-scrolling platforming action role-playing video game developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo for the Wii video game console. It is the third game in the Paper Mario series of Mario role-playing games.
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. The majority of the gameplay revolves around Mario's learned ability to "flip" between dimensions, which consists of switching between 3D and 2D perspectives in each level, allowing the player to maneuver around obstacles impassable in different views. The plot follows the four characters' quest to collect the eight Pure Hearts in order to prevent Count Bleck, the main antagonist, 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 humorous plot and writing. 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, each of which takes place in a unique location, or "dimension".
Premise and setting
The main objective is to collect the 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 therefore 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 too long depletes Mario's health one point at a time.
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 and gain stronger attacks and higher resistance to damage from enemies or hazards. If the player's heart points (HP) reaches 0 from excess damage, the game will be over and they will have to reload from a save point. Some recovery items, like mushrooms, restore HP.
As well as Mario, 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. Only Mario can flip between dimensions.
Additionally, enemies are no longer fought in a turn-based battle mode as with the previous Paper Mario titles, but rather directly upon encounter.
The game is controlled by holding the Wii Remote sideways, akin to the Nintendo Entertainment System control scheme, though very little of the controller's 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 and 2 buttons on the Wii Remote allow the player to use the ability of a Pixl (a digital fairy-like character) and jump, respectively. 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 through tilting the remote or shaking it. Also, shaking the remote after attacking an enemy causes the player to pull a "Stylish move" and earn extra points, and consecutive Stylish moves accumulate even more. This also can allow more damage to be done.
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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 by using the hypnotic powers of his ally Nastasia, forces the two to marry. 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 entire universe. Mario is found and greeted by Tippi, a butterfly-like Pixl, who transports him to the inter-dimensional 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 the eight Pure Hearts, which together can be used to banish the Chaos Heart and reverse the destruction. The tome also mentions that the Hero will ally with three other Heroes. Shortly after Mario and Tippi set off to collect the Pure Hearts and stop Count Bleck's plan, Mario is bestowed with the power to "flip" between dimensions as a means of easier travel. Count Bleck periodically sends out his minions: O'Chunks, a Scottish warrior; Mimi, an immature shapeshifter; and Dimentio, a mysterious dimension traveling jester who oppose Mario as he progresses.
Mario and Tippi reunite with both Peach and Bowser, who agree to help Mario find the Pure Hearts. Nastasia brainwashes Luigi into an evil alter ego named Mr. L, (who has similarities with a gentleman thief in personality) who also antagonizes Mario and company as they progress. At this point, The Void has grown large enough that it has already consumed one inter-dimensional world. Luigi eventually regains his memories after being seemingly destroyed by Dimentio along with the other three heroes, and also accompanies Mario. The group manages to collect all eight Pure Hearts.
A series of flashbacks dispersed throughout the game tell the story of a romantic relationship between two people, Blumiere and Timpani, that was ended by Blumiere's disdainful father, who banished Timpani to wander between dimensions and left to die. The identity of these characters and their relationship to the story are both gradually revealed that Tippi is Timpani and Count Bleck is the villainous pseudonym of Blumiere, who—unknowing of Timpani's rescue and transformation into a Pixl by Merlon—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. Nevertheless, he continues with his plans, knowing that he has gone too far to stop.
Mario, Timpani and company open a door of the final dimension to Castle Bleck. They fight and defeat O'Chunks and Mimi, losing contact with Bowser and Peach in the process. Mario, Luigi and Timpani confront Dimentio, who reveals his true intentions to betray Blumiere and anonymously helped the group along the whole time, including rescuing Peach and Bowser from Castle Bleck. When Mario refuses to ally with Dimentio, Luigi fights and defeats Dimentio, who seems to commit suicide, bringing Luigi with him. Mario and Timpani continue their journey through Castle Bleck.
They confront Blumiere but are unable to attack due to the power of the Chaos Heart granting him invincibility. Peach, Bowser, and Luigi reappear and use the Pure Hearts to destroy Blumiere's defenses, before they defeat Blumiere, but fail to halt The Void's destruction. Dimentio (now the game's real villain) appears and takes the Chaos Heart from Blumiere's possession and tries to kill Blumiere, but Nastasia takes the blow instead. He reveals that he has studied the Dark Prognosticus extensively and that he wishes to use the Chaos Heart and the Void in conjunction to create an entirely new universe in his own image. Dimentio takes control of Luigi once more, saying that the Dark Prognosticus revealed him as the ideal host for the Chaos Heart and fuses it, Luigi, and himself into one entity called Super Dimentio, who has complete control over The Void, uses this power to shatter the Pure Hearts and begins making his new universe. However, Blumiere and Timpani's renewed love for one another, as well as the feelings of loyalty felt towards Blumiere by his remaining minions, restore the Pure Hearts. Mario uses their power to battle Super Dimentio, who upon defeat splits back into Luigi, the Chaos Heart, and Dimentio, who dies before his lasting influence on the Chaos Heart causes The Void to expand uncontrollably.
Blumiere and Timpani enter the wedding chapel that was used to wed Bowser and Peach, where they exchange their vows. The Pure Hearts then unify and banish the Chaos Heart, sealing The Void and restoring order in the universe, effectively nullifying the prediction in the Dark Prognosticus. Mario, Peach, Bowser, Luigi, and Blumiere's minions awaken in Flipside, but Timpani and Blumiere have disappeared. Nastasia tells Merlon that they are alive and likely in a better place and everyone leaves to celebrate their victory with a meal. Blumiere and a human Timpani are then shown together in a paradise.
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 contain a bug if the language is set to English, German, or Spanish. In Chapter 2-2, the game will freeze if Mario speaks to the character Mimi without first picking up the key. Nintendo of Europe has offered to replace the game disc for no charge with a fixed version. Nintendo of Europe announced details of the replacement on their website in November 2007.
Reviews for Super Paper Mario were generally positive. As of March 31, 2008, the game has sold 2.28 million copies worldwide, with 500,000 copies sold in Japan.
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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