VG Review: "Super Paper Mario"
“SUPER PAPER MARIO”
Nintendo, for the Wii
rated E for Everyone (comic mischief, mild cartoon violence), $49.99.
”Super Paper Mario” isn’t supposed to be an “official” Mario title, but a spin-off; a role-playing-styled variation that uses flat, two-dimensional artwork to give off a storybooklike atmosphere.
The thing is, the game is rich and engaging enough to be allowed into the canonical Mario pantheon. It falls a hairbreadth shy of being called a classic, but it’s certainly a game that Wii owners will want to pick up.
Rather than save the princess for the umpteenth time, Mario is instead called upon to save the universe. This time the villain is the mysterious Count Bleck, who is attempting to destroy, well, everything, possibly due to a bad case of heartbreak. (He’s very emo.)
The only way everyone’s favorite red-hatted plumber and his friends can defeat the evil count is by traveling to strange and sometimes surreal worlds and collecting “pure hearts.”
So far, so good. What makes “Super Paper Mario” interesting, however, is its ability to literally alter your perspective. By pressing the A button, you can flip the world 90 degrees, turning the game from 2-D into 3-D. The developers make good use of this conceit, allowing you to discover hidden paths and items.
You’ll also have help in the form of little floating abstract-shaped creatures called Pixls that give you various abilities. Boomer, for example, can lay explosive bombs on the ground while Thoreau will let you grab objects and enemies and toss them aside.
Unlike past “Paper Mario” titles, “Super Paper Mario” relies less on rpg conventions and more on traditional Mario platforming and exploration.
Despite all this novelty, the game still doesn’t reach the high-water mark of the last Paper Mario game, “The Thousand Year Door,” which I still consider one of the finest Mario games in recent years. There’s a bit too much backtracking and too many pedestrian side quests here for me to slap on an “instant classic” label.
That said, “Super Paper Mario” makes good use of the Wii, with puzzles that are clever without being frustrating. It’s inventive and cute and should slake fans’ thirsts well enough until the next “official” game comes out.
Copyright The Patriot-News, 2007