Review: PAPER MARIO: THE ORIGAMI KING (2020)

Categories video games

Mario’s latest journey makes its way to the Nintendo Switch in Paper Mario: The Origami King. When the evil King Olly ventures to turn the world into an Origami Masterpiece, it is up to our favorite thinly-sliced plumber and Plumber Olivia to save it from the Origami King’s sinister plans.

Paper Mario is a franchise that has suffered an identity crisis throughout the years, especially when it comes to its gameplay. Starting out as a simplistic turn-based JRPG reminiscent of SNES’ Super Mario RPG, it has gone all the way to an experimental quagmire that lacks definition and clarity of function. 

The meat of The Origami King lies within its puzzle-style battle system. Instead of the traditional turn-based fare, the game guides you into a platform that operates like a circled-shaped Rubik’s Cube. The player is expected to learn the secrets of this platform of circles in order to gain the cutting edge in Mario’s fight against all the different foes that you find during your journey. It does not get any easier when the game only allows you a certain amount of moves and time for each turn. It’s a battle system with quite a learning curve, but if you master it, you will triumph.

Throughout Mario’s journey, you’ll find holes around the world. To fill these voids, you will need to collect confetti and you’ll need a lot of. It’s a silly gimmick, but it works within the within the game’s world.  

However, where the game truly shines is in its writing. Though simplistic in its “bad guy wants to take over the world” approach, the game is filled with brilliant fourth-wall breaking puns, references and jokes that are wonderful if you have enjoyed the franchise’s previous titles. Even if the battle system comes across as overwhelming, it’s worth enduring just so that you can interact with all the lively NPCs along the way. Like any other Intelligent System game, The Origami King’s soundtrack is fantastic. It nurtures the game’s worldbuilding and adds to its charm and presentation.

Your companion in this new entry, Olivia, is one of the most charming characters that Intelligent System has introduced to this series in a long time. She adds a lot of heart and soul to your adventure while being innocent, funny, hardworking, and brave throughout. It is a blast having her around.

Even though Paper Mario: The Origami King might not be a true The Thousand-Year Door sequel, like many hardcore fans have wished for since the release of that entry on the Wii, it’s an installment that is worth your time. It has the charm, wonders, and presentation that the series is known for in spades. I would recommend giving this title a chance, in spite of its unorthodox battle style.

Paper Mario: The Origami King is currently available for $59.99 on the Nintendo E-shop.  

Co-host of the Amateur Otaku Podcast. A writer of many things. Loves everything nerdy from anime/manga to comics and video games. Fire Emblem is the greatest of all time.