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Paper Mario

マリオストーリー

Developer: Intelligent Systems Publisher: Nintendo
11 August 2000
Paper Mario [マリオストーリー] - cover art
Glitchwave rating
4.08 / 5.0
0.5
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1,165 Ratings / 4 Reviews
#132 All-time
#6 for 2000
Bowser steals the powerful Star Rod and uses it to defeat Mario and kidnap Princess Peach. In an effort to get revenge on the seemingly unstoppable Koopa, Mario and his allies try to track down the 7 imprisoned Star Spirits who can negate the Star Rod's power.
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JP 4 902370 504835 NUS-NMQJ-JPN
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BR 7 896273 606444
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XNA 0 45496 87078 2 NUS-NMQE-USA
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Title
This was one of my favorite games as a kid, and I recently replayed it. It still rules! It's so charming! It feels like that classic Nintendo creativity, where they were still doing stuff that felt a little weird and a little experimental rather than sticking to a formula that probably sells better.

To illustrate this, consider Whacka, the friendly mole-like creature who you can hit with a hammer to get a powerful healing item. First of all, re-read that sentence and consider how bonkers (pun intended) it is. Whacka is a fun little guy who serves a great function and who just... doesn't really exist anymore in Mario games. This game is filled with these weird little one-off characters that make the world feel so vibrant and lived-in.

One thing that stuck out to me in this playthrough was how short the chapters were. I remember them being much longer! This is less a critique of the game (since, honestly, there's a lot of bloat in modern games), and more of just an interesting observation on how things have changed and how my perception has changed after many, many years since I played this game for the first time.

Another interesting thing I discovered in this playthrough was how much I could pump up Mario's attack stat: if I wanted, I could equip badges and one-shot most enemies! I somehow never realized this as a kid. I eventually had to unequip all the attack-bosting badges since it was making the game a little too easy, but it was fun to experiment with.

It's hard to look at a game like this critically! I loved it as a kid and I still love it as an adult. Very much looking forward to playing through TTYD again when it comes out soon.
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teriyaki_dreams 2024-05-15T07:22:58Z
2024-05-15T07:22:58Z
5.0
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Title
Actually one of the most charming games Nintendo's ever made, Paper Mario takes place in a kooky fantasy world which feels much truer to the series' cartoon absurdism than the more Square-ish stylings of Super Mario RPG. Everything from the paper-cutout presentation (and in-world physics) to the diorama-style combat system is enchanting in silly little ways. Most notably, it's one of the best-paced JRPGs ever, never falling into a lull or a lengthy backtracking session, wisely ending within twenty hours or so, but still featuring enough extra content to warrant a completionist run. It's obviously quite easy, but even this leaves a bit of room for customizable challenge runs if you feel so inclined. It may be a game of modest ambitions, but at least it does everything wonderfully.
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screechdreams 2021-10-10T05:51:50Z
2021-10-10T05:51:50Z
3.5
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Paper Mario was the next project of the Nintendo-affiliated prolific developer Intelligent Systems, that expanded on the idea inaugurated by Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars.

They began with Paper Mario, a concoction of JRPG, platformer, puzzle, and Zelda-like elements accompanied by a charming, distinct artstyle. Much like its Japanese name suggests, it feels like SMRPG designed (both mechanically and aesthetically) with Yoshi's Story in mind. Unfortunately, almost every aspect disappoints - combat is slow and lacks challenge, non-combat gameplay is predictable and sometimes tedious (especially near the end) and outside the few clever moments, the puzzles are largely derivative. The plot has the depth of a Mario platformer game, which would be fine if it didn't contain as much exposition as a typical JRPG. The whole comes across as a mere sketch of ideas - varied and undeveloped.
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Blah_Blee 2021-06-28T13:49:35Z
2021-06-28T13:49:35Z
5.5 /10
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Brimming With Personality
Paper Mario was an RPG I always wanted to try. I decided to play it with my girlfriend and just wow.

Paper Mario is one of my favorite Mario games of all time now. The game's pleasing aesthetic, and diverse and colorful cast of characters is what really drives this game for me.

The game is much like every Mario game... Peach gets kidnapped by Bowser and Mario has to save her. However, the Paper art style never got me bored and the story was quite a blast to go through.

Paper Mario is a simple Turn-Based RPG. It's a lot shorter than most RPG's and a lot more accessible. The game still provides a challenge for even seasoned gamers though

Paper Mario is a surprisingly funny game that had me laughing at certain scenes for longer than I expected.

The cast of characters are excellently written and provide a lot of fun to the game.

The only flaw is that it does have very frustrating menu navigation and the occasional difficulty spikes.

Paper Mario is an imaginative, colorful, beautiful game with so much personality and charm. A great game for people wanting to get into RPG's and a great Mario game
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It's interesting what a difference in context can make in the reception of a game. Although I wouldn't necessarily call it a favorite, one game that I feel is unfairly maligned is Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, which has often been derided for its simplified turn-based RPG mechanics and inclusion of action mechanics. While Paper Mario is a much better game, it builds off some similar components and has a sterling reputation, and one wouldn't be out of line to question if the game really has so much merit, or if it's just the "Mario" pedigree that has lead to this game's ongoing acclaim.

For myself, it's very hard to separate this from the first time I played it in the waning days of the N64. I have vivid memories of renting the game at the tender age of 13 and playing through it with the aid of Nintendo Power's guide. This game not only marked the end of the 64, but also the beginning of my transition from childhood to adulthood. While I enjoyed several of the later "Mario" themed RPGs, none of them have stuck with me as this one has, and it's just one of those pieces of media that seemed to enter my life at just the right time.

The aspect of Paper Mario that stands out the most is, of course, its visual style, which eschews conventional 3D graphics for a lat paperlike quality, full of bright colors and limited animations. While this was a controversial change at the time, the game looks simply outstanding even by today's standards. Super Mario RPG: The Legend of the Seven Stars [スーパーマリオRPG] may have pushed the SNES to its limits, but as polygon graphics became more the norm, it quickly looked outdated, while Paper Mario's art style is simply timeless. Not to be outdone, the game also features an outstanding soundtrack by Yuka Tsujiyoko, which goes through many different styles, but always complements the action on the screen and visuals.

The events of Paper Mario play out like a storybook with a prologue and 8 chapters. The plot is a typical "Mario" story, involving a quest to yet again rescue Peach from Bowser's clutches. This time around, Bowser has also imprisoned 8 "star spirits," from whom he has stolen a magic rod that grants him invincibility. Of course, it's up to Mario to save them, as well, and their power is necessary to neutralize Bowser's new powers. Although the story was clichéd even for its time, it is told in a whimsical manner with many moments of levity. It won't necessarily make you laugh out loud too often, but it's hard to play the game without at least smiling. You also have to give Intelligent Systems credit for understanding the "Mario" universe well. While some of the key players were from previous games, the majority are entirely new creations, and none of them feel out of place. This is yet another improvement over the game's predecessor, which at times felt like a generic RPG with the "Mario" license slapped on.

The attempts to make the game family friendly did not stop with its audio visual presentation or story. RPGs are known for being stat heavy, but like the aforementioned Mystic Quest, Paper Mario strips things down to their absolute basics. As the game begins Mario and his enemies do a mere 1 damage to each other, and the stats are limited to HP, FP (stand-in for MP), Attack, and Defense. Despite this, there is a certain amount of strategy involved. Mario's primary attacks are his jump and his hammer, and while some enemies can be damaged by either, some are only susceptible to one attack, and some are simply immune to Mario's standard attacks. Besides his basic attacks, Mario can use certain items to damage enemies and also can call on the power of star spirits that he has rescued. Over the course of the game, Mario will also pick-up various badges, and some of these grant special hammer and jump attacks that Mario can use, including some that allow him to damage enemies that would otherwise be out of reach. Moreover, many of them will boost Mario's stats, allowing him to go beyond the base damage of his weapons, to better defend himself, or even to grant certain types of interactions in the world. Much of the strategy comes from deciding which badges to use.

As mentioned earlier, not all enemies can be attacked directly by Mario, and this is where Mario's partner characters become relevant. Not too far into the game, Mario will begin recruiting partner characters, 8 in total, that assist him in his quest. Each character has a helpful move that will aid Mario in solving puzzles in the world, as well as a distinct move set with each character having their own strengths and weaknesses in battle. Initially, it may seem like the partner just amounts to some extra damage, but as the roster grows, using the appropriate partner for the situation can be crucial to Mario's success or failure. Between Mario's abilities and his partner's, there is a great deal of strategy. The game presents things in a simpler manner, obviously intending to be easily understood by any audience, but the game is not always easy, and the various types of attacks essentially stand-in for having different attack types, making for a satisfying experience for players of any skill level.

The last component of play that warrants mentioning is the various action aspects of Paper Mario. While it was not the first game to include timed action commands, Paper Mario goes all in on the concept, and quick reflexes are a necessity, especially for defense. RPG stalwarts may find this annoying, but as a child with limited RPG experience, it made the experience more engaging, and I find that my preferences haven't changed much. Turned-based RPGs often bore me, and I sometimes find that I just push the command button over and over and over again. The necessity of timing the attacks ensures that the player has to pay attention. Finally, as mentioned earlier, Mario and his partners also have to perform actions in the real world to advance the story and complete side quests. This wouldn't have been a game breaking or making feature, but it goes a long way towards helping it to feel like other Mario games. When you consider how rare it is for an RPG today to be purely turn-based, it sort of feels like Paper Mario helped to lead the way, and it's a great example of how to balance between action and turn-based elements.

There are a few small gripes with the game. Although the game features a sort of hub in Toad Town, there is no way to quickly return to it, and this results in a great deal of backtracking. Sometimes, events will occur on the way back to Toad Town that justify the trip, but other times, it just seems to pad out the length of the game. The other aspect of the game that can be frustrating is its implementation of items. While useful in the early goings of the game, as Mario gains badges and rescues star spirits, the items begin to feel superfluous, and moreover, the limited inventory means that you will quickly run out of space. The game does allow you to store extra items with the various merchants in the game, which helps, but simply increasing the size of the inventory or making the items more useful would have been even better.

Overall, Paper Mario is a game that I've returned to more times than I can count, and while nostalgia for simpler times may play some role in that, it really is an outstanding game that stands up to the test of time. Love for the "Mario" property may benefit the game, but it is unique in its implementation of action elements, and it has enough traditional RPG elements to scratch that itch, as well. When you factor in the fantastic presentation of the game, it really starts to feel like nitpicking to point out its few flaws. Of the various "Mario" RPGs, this one remains my favorite, and it ranks among the best titles the N64 and 32/64-bit generation offered.
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One of the disappointing aspects of the N64 was its lack of RPG, and especially seeing the PlayStation get a new one almost a monthly basis. We had to wait until Ogre Battle 64 to get a proper one, and that was amazing one. A little later we got Paper Mario, and since I wasn't a fan of Super Mario RPG at all, I actually skipped it on release.

Now 20 years later it was finally time to give it a chance, and it was to my surprise that Glitchwave users consider it one of the greatest games of all-time. As a massive RPG fan, I definitely feel that it was a must that I play to see if it really held up that way. And do put it short: It does not. While I do think it improves a lot over its predecessor Super Mario RPG, it's still keeping many of the flaws from that game. One of my main issues here is that everything is dumbed down. The battles are typical turn-based RPG, but when you start you do 1 dmg and you receive 1 dmg. There isn't much strategy to that. As you progress timed actions are introduced which allows you to do more damage if you hit the button at the right time, and the same thing for defending which will make you receive less damage. So instead of having great tactics in your battles to succeed, you are reliant on your dexterity to succeed or not. So it doesn't help that the battles are ultra repetitive, you will face the same enemies over and over again and your battle strategy remains mind-numbing and really all about hitting those timed actions. I can sort of understand why some people would like that (mostly non-RPG fans), but as my favorite genre it's taking away the best aspect of it and replacing with something that I don't like.

The story itself is about as exciting as a Saturday morning cartoon. I think they did well intro transferring the Mario story into a RPG setting, but let's face it that saving Peach from Bowser isn't the most emotionally or engaging story there is. You will encounter all the familiar enemies from the classic Mario games, and sometimes as NPCs. There game is split into 8 chapters, and on each of them you will have to save a star in order to face Bowser in the last one. As you advance you will get partners that help you in your fight, for a total of 8 in total. Each have their own ability outside of battles that will help you solve the little puzzles, some of which are a little reminiscent of Zelda games but feel a lot less exciting. In battle you are allowed to bring one of them with you, which makes you a party 2. This also very much limits the battle options as you will always only have 2 actions per turn, and your decisions are usually just juggling between AoE attacks or killing the enemies one by one (and trying to hit those damn timed actions!)

While I feel the games systems are rather dumbed down compared to most RPGs, the game isn't all that easy. The enemies hit hard and a lot of the times you might have to backtrack to get your health back. But I feel this completely breaks the flow of the game, as you will have to face the same respawning enemies all over again and they get pretty boring with a variance of only 2-3 enemies per chapter. The decision making is in 2 areas only: leveling up where you have to choose between HP, Flower Points (pretty much MP) and Badge points. The Badge points allow you to equip badges where they will aid you in various types of boosts (you can buy the badges or find them while exploring). This is one of the bigger improvements over Super Mario RPG, you have a little bit more of choices to do, but it's not quite enough to call it a great RPG.

Overall this game could have been worse. I mean compared to Super Mario RPG, I enjoyed it quite more. It does feel more like an actual quest and doesn't abruptly end too early when you are just starting to get somewhere. Intelligent Systems did a good job at taking over the series from Square and managed to make it move forward. At its core it's not something that I love, so it's not really for me, but at least they added some more interesting aspects. I found the game a little long to get through, like most RPGs it struggles in the 2nd half to keep things interesting with no new game systems introduced. On the whole this is definitely overrated, and not even comparing to todays RPGs, the RPGs released 5-6 years prior to this were far more advanced and didn't have so many bad design spots, I cannot really sing its praise like other people do but I've also played worse games than this.
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diction 2020-05-09T16:40:35Z
2020-05-09T16:40:35Z
3.0
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Loudj42 マリオストーリー 2024-05-30T14:51:32Z
2024-05-30T14:51:32Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
MaestroOak マリオストーリー 2024-05-29T05:02:42Z
2024-05-29T05:02:42Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
TheChomper マリオストーリー 2024-05-26T21:14:01Z
2024-05-26T21:14:01Z
4.0
2
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
thatmusicguy マリオストーリー 2024-05-24T16:34:08Z
2024-05-24T16:34:08Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
lefelz マリオストーリー 2024-05-23T21:01:31Z
2024-05-23T21:01:31Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
sadgirl2023 Paper Mario 2024-05-23T18:17:05Z
Switch
2024-05-23T18:17:05Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
sadgirl2023 マリオストーリー 2024-05-23T18:16:54Z
2024-05-23T18:16:54Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
CEPHALOPOX Paper Mario 2024-05-23T07:29:00Z
Wii U
2024-05-23T07:29:00Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
avoidbeing マリオストーリー 2024-05-21T22:21:15Z
2024-05-21T22:21:15Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
AnonyMatt マリオストーリー 2024-05-21T02:20:13Z
2024-05-21T02:20:13Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
tempest06 マリオストーリー 2024-05-20T21:20:48Z
2024-05-20T21:20:48Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
niallquinn マリオストーリー 2024-05-20T19:45:56Z
2024-05-20T19:45:56Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Player modes
Single-player
Media
1x Cartridge
Franchises
Also known as
  • Paper Mario
  • Mario Story
  • View all [2] Hide

Comments

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  • Previous comments (23) Loading...
  • Jambee 2023-10-13 07:09:24.863192+00
    aged super well, started playing it like two weeks ago and it doesn't feel like a 23 year old N64 game in the slightest
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  • Whoa 2023-10-24 16:40:34.063874+00
    Cool mod

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  • HardBloodNelza 2023-11-22 08:12:47.212497+00
    100% completed today. Fantastic game. wish there was a post credit sequence because it feels very lonely for it to end like it does.
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    • HardBloodNelza 2023-11-22 08:13:47.02215+00
      Maybe it's the sheer amount of time I've spent on this game. But yeah. That was great.
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  • NibiruShiranui 2023-12-29 06:47:38.694174+00
    Just Finished this, yeah this is awesome
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  • pwnclub 2024-02-25 21:00:10.11265+00
    Played until the beginning of the second chapter and I'm finding it boring. I wasn't a huge fan of Mario RPG, but the simplified combat and worse pacing makes this feel even worse. Does the game change substantially and should I push through? Was looking forward to TTYD remake too but now I'm not as sure if it doesn't deviate too much from this. Maybe I made a mistake playing Paper Mario right after Chrono Trigger, but they're surprisingly ranked not that far apart on this site given the huge gap in enjoyment I'm personally feeling.
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  • Surskit 2024-03-13 21:28:46.626704+00
    Sounds like these games are just not your thing. I never had issues with the pacing, and the sharp writing, humor, and charm kept me hooked at all times. Maybe play Super if you find the gameplay boring but enjoy the characters and writing.
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  • duncedoof 2024-05-25 00:47:43.653388+00
    One of those perfect games. A rarity. A warmth in your chest
    reply
    • duncedoof 2024-05-25 00:48:03.852004+00
      Love TTYD. But it doesn't quite reach the heights of this storybook fairytale
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