Infendo Reader Reviews: McClain on Super Paper Mario

Super Paper Mario ReviewWelcome the first in an occasional (read: when we feel like it) series of Infendo reader reviews. From time to time, we’ll take a few well-written, intelligent and objective reviews from the Infendo Forums and throw them up on the main page for the whole world to enjoy.

Super Paper Mario is the mostly successful sandwiching of traditional Mario platformer with the whimsical RPG style of the previous Paper Mario titles. While it never really lives up to either legacy, it’s still a fun little game and a perfect distraction until meatier titles come out for the Wii later this year.

The biggest problem Super Paper Mario has is that it’s not as deep as an RPG should be (not even the lighter fair of Paper Mario) and it doesn’t control as tight as a platformer should. The control is never really bad, but for anyone who grew up on Super Mario Bros., it leaves you wanting more.

As far as the RPG elements go, SPM falls short. The writing is wonderful and often hilarious, but feels a bit dense at times. And the item management is very lacking. The Badge system from Paper Mario is gone. In its place you are given cards, which are really pretty pointless. Sure, if you get an enemy’s card, you double damage on it. But the method for getting these cards are frustrating. There are several scattered through the game, and you can “catch” enemies with an item. But I found myself ditching the catch cards as they took up too much space in my already anemic items menu. Bottom line, you don’t get anywhere near the depth of customization as you did with the badges. Bring them back for the next game.

Back to the control, the Mario moves you know and love are divided up into strange meta-characters called Pixils. These give you the ability to shrink, ground pound, hammer and even run fast. Oh, that’s right, you need help to run fast. You can’t just hold B (on in this case, 1) to sprint like you can in every other Mario game. And to make matters worse, you can only have one Pixil at a time, making it a chore to switch from a sprint to hammering a bad guy. I have a theory that all this needless menu switching is a product of this game being ported from the end of the Gamecube’s run to the Wii. While it’s charming to play with the remote sideways, reminding us of the original NES controller with it’s limited buttons, I would have preferred to have a few extra commands at my disposal.

As for the Wii-specific tag on, they feel woefully unremarkable. As much fun at it was to swing the remote like a sword in Zelda, it was just as un-fun to shake the remote to make Mario & Co. show off while jumping on baddies. And the act of pointing the remote at the screen to look up information seemed to always get me hurt while Mario sat there dumbly waiting for the pointer to register.

This is a game that would have been better served coming out on the Gamecube last fall than playing short on the Wii.

And despite all of these gripes, Super Paper Mario has the gall to still be really freaking fun to play. Its worst problems are mostly a victim of Mario’s past successes, and as a 20+ hour gaiden of sorts, it’s a perfectly good first generation game for the Wii.

VERDICT: Thumbs up.

6 Responses to Infendo Reader Reviews: McClain on Super Paper Mario

  1. Bri says:

    Nice review. Great game.

    “Super Paper Mario is the mostly successfully”

    Needs checking though, I am not sure if that’s good english, but then again, this is the internet :).

    Awsome concept for reader reviews too

  2. raindog469 says:

    I enjoy Paper Mario precisely BECAUSE it’s not an RPG. Words can’t express how disappointed I was when I preordered Paper Mario for the Gamecube off of an “upcoming games” list, based only on a screenshot, and got it home to discover it was turn-based. At least they could have called it “Paper Mario RPG”.

    One annoying thing not mentioned in the review is that the earliest you can get the sprinting Pixl is just before the last world. (Or maybe it’s second-to-last…. not sure yet.) And it’s a LOT of work to get it. I haven’t actually gotten it yet.

    But overall, it’s a really nice game. Not very long (I’m 21 hours in, and I’m one of those obsessive gamers who runs through every level in both 2d and 3d trying to find hidden things) but it was a good break before I finish the last third or so of Zelda, in which I have something like 60 hours in already.

  3. Luigifan14 says:

    uh…you get the sprinting pixl from the Pit of 100 trials.

    I’ve spent 50 + hours in SPM getting extra stuff and doing the side missions, and only 4 hours in zelda which I never played for longer.

  4. raindog469 says:

    Yeah, I didn’t want to post spoilers. You get the sprinting pixl from the Pit of 100 Trials…. which can only be completed once you’ve got Luigi, which only happens after you get the seventh out of eight Chaos Hearts.

    That’s where I am right now, but I haven’t had the 2-3 hours it reportedly takes to do the Pit. I really want to be able to run for the rest of the game.

  5. McClain142 says:

    I really wanted to be able to run, but I also really wanted to be able to hammer people. I think the pixl interface was lame.

    Oh, and how cool that I made the front! I kind of wish I had written it better now 🙂

  6. Sharp says:

    Erm, I managed to get into the pit before I got bowser. And I could beat it as soon as I got him.

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