I have been in love with the Paper Mario series right from the beginning. The 10,000 year door was a masterpiece of a game. I have replayed it countless times just waiting for Nintendo to open the door to another Paper Mario game of the same caliber. Here’s hoping they’ve finally managed to pull that off!
Up ahead are a ton of spoilers to the game. Being a playthrough journal it is neither a guide or a review necessarily. It also won’t be as well crafted as either of those are in the long run. It’s just showcasing my thoughts of the game in the moment as I play it. Therefore spoilers are kind of inevitable. Continue reading at your own risk.
1. Getting started.
I didn't get to put too much time into my start up of Paper Mario: The Origami King as I would have hoped too. In fact it was very little time at all. I learnt about the basic story behind what has happened to the Mushroom Kingdom and princess Peach. Enough to keep me wanting to jump back into it.
Right from the get go you (Mario) and Luigi are on your way to some celebration at the castle. The whole place is set up yet deserted. Strange right? so you go off to see the princess at the castle. Peach comes out to greet you sounding strange and, from the players point of view, obviously folded up. I can't help but imagine that it would be the equivalent of seeing someone who is suddenly 4D in our 3d world. Mario hasn't always been the best at figuring out the obvious though.
Getting trapped in the prison cell and meeting a couple of the other prisoners quickly leads to feeling bad for them after they've been turned into origami versions of themselves. Apparently once they've been turned there is no hope for them. At least that's what your new friend Olivia tells you.
You also quickly get introduced to the way battles work. They are very different from battles in the past. There's this weird dial that the enemies are lined up on. You get to spin them in order to get the best line up for your attacks (if you're lucky). It almost feels like a way that they are trying to build a 3D battle into a 2D world. It really changes up the dynamics of battles and I'm really interested in seeing how they evolve moving forward.
Getting past all that the main takeaways I got from my first session with Mario Party: The Origami King was that;
Bowser is a folded piece of paper now. He's also still not the greatest guy, having left Mario to fall to the ground during the getaway.
The castle has been taken to the top of some mountain somewhere and I'm guessing that my goal will be to work my way to the top of it.
I'm really looking forward to finding more out about this game.
2. Learning to play the game.
Started this session with Mario being stuck in a tree. It wasn't tough to get him out of course but I did find out really quickly that it seems like everything is filled with confetti! Seemed weird at first but pretty quickly it made sense. When I fell into a hole or a tear in the paper that creates the world around you. I was given a bag that collects the confetti that falls around me. You can spread the confetti around filling the torn holes in the world creating new areas for you to be able to explore safely.
Exploring the world I've landed in I came across my new friend Olivia again. The sister of the Origami King. She is against what he is doing and wants to help stop him.
Following you into the forest you start hearing voices around you. Figuring out that those voices belong to the trees around you when you find an old tree that has been cut down. After some bargaining he agrees to allow you to continue on your way as long as you'll bring him an ancient seed that can restore his power.
That leads you to another battle to help reinforce the new battle mechanics. Mechanics which I am still not decided on. They might be fun but it's going to take a little while longer to make that decision. They've also added another detail that makes it a little more confusing. Rather than just being able to adjust the four rings in circular motions to line everyone up, you can also move the enemies forwards and backwards to line them up as well. Right now it's not a lot to deal with but in the long run I could see it becoming annoying. I hope that I'm wrong.
Recuing a few flat paper Goombas from the origami variety ended up showcasing that the real enemy in this game is actually going to be truly different for a change. Bowser's minions are more interested in working with the other paper folk to fight against the origami minions because they are taking all flat fold and creasing them!
When I finally made it to the grounds outside the castle I came across some weird giant Goomba that was eating the paper off things. It's what must have been creating all the tears that I have repairs so far. For the first time that I can remember in a Paper Mario game it was something that I had to battle outside of the battle area format. Completely caught me off guard in that and landed a bit hit on me before I was able to strike it. It was easy enough to take out but it does make me wonder what the world has in store moving forward!
3. Taking out a Boss!
I feel like I have a really hard time playing large games specifically because I want to collect and complete everything. Because of that I spent a ton of time exploring every nook and cranny of the town outside the castle trying to find any little secret that I could.
Aside from some random things that aren't going to change the game long run (I'm guessing at least), I did find one area of real interest.
Most of the town is closed (the toads who run the shops aren't around). Inside the museum though there is a pipe that I warped through. It took me to a room that had a ton of other pipes as a form of fast travel I'm guessing. I went through the hassle of checking every single one and they are all apparently blocked on the other side. I cleared one up a little later in this session but it was a neat find!
Now there isn't really a lot for me to talk about in town but it looks like it'll build into something big in the long run.
Eventually Olivia and I made our way into the sewer system to get past the broken bridge and to the castle grounds. The enemies were easy enough to get through and the battle system is getting to be more entertaining. I believe they've set it up so that every single battle you are able to line up all the enemies perfectly if you can think it through. They also allow you to trade in coins to extend the timer you have during that puzzle portion of the game.
Speaking of coins, you seem to get a massive amount of them in this game. Like I am carrying such a large sum that spending them on things is really of no concern. It's nice that there are other ways to spend it like calling your crowd out to help in the battle too. it's enough of a bank roll that you don't really hesitate to do it but you could burn through all your coins quickly if you got in the habit of doing it every time.
Arriving at the castle, or at least where it used to be, Luigi's hat is evident. You do see it fall as the castle is taken away but it doesn't take long to find the skinny green guy himself. I was really expecting for him to be trapped in the castle but apparently he wasn't. Instead he races off to "save the day" by finding the castle key while we do the rest of the work.
To free the castle you have to deal with all the ribbons across the land. The first one takes you through Picnic road. A lovely area with a lot of trouble going on. Torn up paper, stolen gems from the temple, and enemies abundant.
After going through the land and getting the Gems back from fish, enemies and "soccer players" I was able to get into the temple and work my way towards the Earth Elemental!
The "temple" is obviously a money grab. You have to pay coins to activate each little area learning a little bit about the "god" that they are referring to.
Behind the false wall there is a lot more to the area than you would initially expect. Enemies and traps that almost killed me multiple times. I used up a lot more mushrooms than I expected to use. I did manage to make it to the boss for my first real boss battle.
Boss battles are a lot different than regular ones. Instead of working from the center with all the enemies around you, you're the one on the outside.
Still spinning the battlefield disks but instead of lining up your enemies, your creating your path the the center. If you line up everything well you can even manage to pick up some extra stuff along the way. Extra attacks, health, powerups, there's a lot that you can line up to benefit you.
In the end defeating them grants Oliva the power to turn into a giant turtle that can alter the earth around them, assuming your standing on the power emblem.
After getting that power it was a fairly simple shot to the main boss. Just up the tower, save a restaurant from a mini Goomba invasion, patch up a bunch of areas, avoid death by giant colored pencils and get to the boss at the top of the tower.
This boss was the first time that any special abilities have played a part in the battle. The folded arms Mario can sometimes use around the world could also be used to slam shut the lid on C.P. making them hurt themselves, assuming you were able to line up all the tiles correctly on your path.
It took a little bit to get into the swing of this battle but I would say it was the perfect challenge level to keep it interesting. A few boss mechanic change ups and a few good hammer swings and it was bye bye Colored Pencils. Thanks to that it was also bye bye ribbon soon after.
One down, many more to go.
4. The Blue Ribbon
Well the path to the blue ribbon was long and difficult. Long enough that it took several different play sessions to get through it and rather than bog down this article with a million little sections, I decided to condense the whole Blue Ribbon playthrough into one.
The area is beautiful to go through and has a lot of enemies that are tougher than the last area (as it should be).
It only took a little bit of running around before I starting figuring out the story to the area. Knowing that we had to follow the blue ribbon is an easy idea to stick to. Unless the riverbed has dried up and the way is blocked of course. Good old Bobby (a bomb-omb we met on the tram up who decided to join us) are happy to help figure out what to do though. Not that Bobby turns out to be the best help, but he does get the story moving forward.
After dealing with finding Bobby, recuing him from the situation he's got himself in, finding him again, repeat. We finally find him sleeping on a stump. Frustratingly we needed him to help open the gate to the temple but after that he refuses to go inside. Apparently the friends that you find along the way in this Paper Mario aren't going to assist in battle like they were able to in previous iterations.
The temple itself wasn't too difficult. More puzzles than enemies but it didn't take too long to get the water flowing in all the right places. From there it was just a matter of defeating the Water Vellumental so that Olivia could gain its power too.
This was the first enemy that I had come across that was able to remove things from the fighting surface making your planned route a little tougher to organize. Their little hurricanes would shoot out after you've decided on your path taking out everything in their way. It's easy enough to tell where they're going and plan around it, but I still messed it up more than once.
Going from there to the empty lake allowed your first use of the water Vellumental's power in the game.
Now with the lake full and the river running we can get going right? nope. Mario, Olivia, and Bobby all lack any ability in steering a boat. It's honestly a bit of a pain figuring out how to find the boat captain and bringing him back to normality to help with your river trip.
The river trip itself is a fun ride through rapids that for some reason I just kept steering the wrong way for. We did survive the run but just barely.
Shogun Studios Park
After your "deadly" adventure down the river you make it to Shogun Studios Park. Apparently a theme park that, even though you have to spend a pretty penny to get into, is largely deserted.
Of course this is because of the origami warriors having taken over the park either capturing everyone or sending them into hiding. Putting in your steps to find everyone, and solving the slow trading puzzle, will get you to the ninja training Dojo.
Working your way through you'll eventually come across someone we haven't seen in a while, Luigi! Stuck in the gears that operate the whole facility, he's managed to find the key that will unlock the doors blocking you from reaching the Blue Ribbon. Of course he thinks it's the key to Peach's Castle, but it's helpful none the less.
Making your way to the boss was done in a really enjoyable way for the Blue ribbon. It's a play! With four floors in the building there are four acts to the play. The whole audience area is moved from floor to floor on a giant elevator as you join into each section of the play.
Talk about a "captive Audience"
The sections of the play that you have to battle through are actually fairly easy but very enjoyable. They had me smiling the whole time as I became the "star" of the performance.
After everything you've finally able to meet the one pulling all the strings, or bands as it turns out.
It took a little bit of time to figure out how to deal with this boss. My first attack had me thinking that the battle would be over quickly. I did massive amounts of damage to it (nearly half) in my first attack! Apparently they thought of this as "the elastic entertainer" pulls all the rubber bands back into themselves to nearly heal back to full health again.
Eventually I managed to defeat them and in turn destroy the blue ribbon. I'm pretty sure I now need to hop back onto the boat and follow the river further to get to the next ribbon. I vaguely remember seeing something about that as I was going through Shogun Studios.
5. more Ribbons
This game is massive. While in the middle of completing renovations at home it is difficult to find the time to play. That's not to say that this game isn't great but the opposite. I don't want to play for 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there. When I'm playing I can easily get sucked into it for an hour without realizing that so much time has passed.
That being said I managed to put a bunch of time in over the last little bit while out of town. This update will be more of a slideshow than a wordy text document this time. To sum it up quickly though: Two more Velementals (fire and ice), Two more ribbons (Yellow and Purple), some time in the desert, some time at sea, and a trip to the spa.
The desert town where not only do you find Luigi once again, but is the central location to moving forward. Here you'll find the help you need to unlock a Sea captain with a submarine. You'll also find the Fire Vellumental and gain their power.
The Fire Vellumental. I'm sure you figured that one out on your own though. While not super difficult he did pose enough of a threat that I ended up need a few mushrooms to get past him.
This boss was entertaining. Not super difficult but the lead up with a bunch of faceless toads was borderline creepy. After destroying the yellow ribbon you get to return to town and make your way out into the great big Sea!
The ocean provides a lot of exploration and things to do. Not everything out there will help with the mission. Some things are totally unrelated but are just a fun experience. The island where you battle increasingly difficult giant enemies is a perfect example of that. After an incredible amount of work, and defeating the Ice Vellumental, you can make your way to the boss.
A well deserved break is in order after defeating this boss and clearing the ribbon from the area. Using your 4 Vellumental abilities you are able to summon a portal to "paradise". In other words, You're off to the Spa!!
Of course nothing ever seems to work out right for poor old Mario.
Bowsers castle has crashed into the floating spa in the sky. His minions are working off the damage by helping to take care of the place. Not only that but there is an enemy in the sky stopping you from even getting into the castle at all. Thankfully with a dip in every different spa they have you're able to help young bowser recover and get to the enemy in the sky. Not too difficult to defeat, you can finally enter.
With a host of folded enemies, the tower is clearly overrun. What chance does Mario have? What can be done to clean up the place and move forward?
Well find out next time!
6. The End, and Everything Else
You know, this game ended up lasting a lot longer than I expected it to. I don't know why I thought it would be a shorter game seeing as the other ones were long as well. At no point did I find myself annoyed by how long the game was. Instead they did a wonderful job of creating a story that keeps you interested the whole way through. With that out of the way, let's wrap this up.
Getting into Bowser's floating castle, albeit crashed into the spa, was time consuming at worst. Working with those that would normally have been my enemies was a nice change of pace for the game as well. Unfortunately for many of Bowser's minions, a happy outcome just wasn't in the cards.
While it was... disappointing to not be able to save everyone. I wasn't too broken up about it. I mean they were Bowser's minions after.
Getting through the now paper scraps littering the castle and making it too the boss for the round was easy enough. The boss for this level was also less challenging than I expected them to be.
It didn't take long to dismantle the scissors and release the banner from it's tether. from there we were finally on our way to Peach's castle for real.
Wouldn't you know it, Luigi finally pulled through with the right key! Although he was actually unaware that he had it, he still helped!
I gotta say the fact that they have made Luigi into a complete dunce in this game is disappointing to me. Mainly because he is always the character that I choose to play as. This really doesn't effect the game at all, just a personal note.
As many castles tend to have, this one was also full of puzzles to solve. Particularly because Peach's nice paper castle had been warped into a origami mega structure with the powers of the Origami Prince.
Bowser became particularly helpful after relieving him of his folded state. With Olivia's help he was able to become a super powered origami Bowser. With a little of our assistance he managed to push the prince off the edge creating what felt like a super anti-climactic end to the game.
But it wasn't done yet.
I died more times than I would like to admit attempting to take down this form. I actually game up at one point and had to come back to it another day since I just couldn't seem to get past him. Timing dodges perfectly and causing enough damage to take him down felt really difficult. Exactly the type of final battle that I was hoping to have in this game after spending so much time working my way through it.
In the end, again with Olivia's help, we managed to finish him off.
Leaving behind everything that he had worked on for Olivia to have. 999 folded paper cranes. The legend goes that someone who takes the time to create 1000 perfectly folded paper cranes is granted a wish. As olivia used the paper creating her brothers body for the final crane (kinda unnecessary) she used her wish to reverse every origami creation that her brother had created. This included herself.
A somewhat sad and also avoidable end to the situation. As sad as it was to have Olivia disappear after all her help, the game must go on.
With the castle back in its original location the origami festival that was supposed to start the game was back on! As you find the origami crafting toad that created the prince in the first place you can finally see his completed origami castle that was meant for the Origami Prince and Princess.