While most gamers expect the latest and greatest games to be in 3-D, Nintendo have come up with an interesting new concept, 2-D. Well, not totally 2-D. Super Paper Mario is a 2-D platformer, 3-D adventure game, and an RPG! Featuring fantastic game play, hilarious dialogue and everyone’s favourite plumber, Super Paper Mario is sure to be an instant classic.
The story centres on Mario and his attempt to stop Count Bleck, a new villain for Mario fans, who wants to destroy all worlds. Princess Peach has married Bowser, arranged by the Count, which has created a “chaos heart” used by the Count as a method of destruction. To counter this, Mario must collect eight “pure hearts” to form the purity heart and stop the evil Count’s plans.
To gather the hearts Mario must venture through different worlds and dimensions. Each level is structured into 4 main chapters, ending with a boss fight for one of the pure hearts. Throughout you’ll interact with a number of friendly characters, some old and some new. Featuring are Bowser, Luigi and Princess Peach. Through out the story Mario will gain the ability to “flip” the 2-D world around him to 3-D. This allows Mario to avoid certain enemies, find hidden objects and access new areas. Be careful though because Mario’s flip time is limited and works like being underwater in some games, spend too much time in flip and that health bar is going to take a pounding. The story is told primarily through text and despite the amount, is genuinely funny and entertaining.
As previously said, Super Paper Mario has an RPG element to it. Though combat takes place in real time, experience is gained and allows Mario to level up. Each time a specific bonus is attained whether it be health or attack power. A fantastic aspect of the story is the boss battles mentioned previously. Each has a different style of game play including classic final fantasy turn based action and even a take on a Japanese dating game. The quick switches between 2-D and 3-D are also superb and add a new dimension of fun-literally!
Presentation wise Super Paper Mario is solid. The audio is simple but effective and entertaining. A pleasant soundtrack features throughout, the only criticism that can be made of the sound it the lack of voice acting. The graphics are similarly great, extremely detailed yet remarkably simple. The retro fell of the 2-D contrasted with the modern 3-D works fantastically, creating something previously unseen in games.
Super Paper Mario easily surpasses previous entries in the series. The combination of 2-D and 3-D gameplay with an RPG element and entertaining storyline makes for a solid Wii game. With 20+ hours of gameplay this is one title anybody with a Wii must pick up!