Editor’s Note – Our Nintendo corespondent is out of town on her honeymoon, so Ryan will be stepping in to review Paper Mario. Ryan has never played a Paper Mario game before, so his thoughts will be based solely on his gaming experience with this game only. When Allie returns from her honeymoon, she will add her thoughts to the review. A review code was provided for this review.
I don’t know why I never had the chance to play the Paper Mario series. The series started in 2001 and a Paper Mario game has appeared on the Nintendo 64, GameCube, Wii, 3DS, and now the Wii U. Because of my lack of experience with the series, I was really excited to go into the newest installment in the series with an open mind. I have no idea how it relates to the previous installments of the series. Is it a continuation of a story told throughout the previous installments? Or is it a brand new adventure? How has combat changed or evolved? I will let our resident Nintendo expert add her thoughts when she is back from her honeymoon. However, as first experiences go, I really enjoyed my time with this charming and colorful game.
Paper Mario Color Splash is a cute adventure/platforming/turn based combat game. Our hero is tasked with solving a really strange mystery. The color on Prism Island has vanished! You job is to find Paint Stars that have been stolen and bring color back to Prism Island. Of course, there are a slew of baddies to deal with who want the color all to themselves. As far as the story goes, it does it’s job. It isn’t a huge long epic saga told over the many hours of gameplay. In fact, it feels pretty straight forward. But despite the simple story, it is extremely entertaining. The writing on Color Splash is top notch and extremely funny. Characters both good and bad are so well written that I had a great time reading their text boxes and laughing at the great things they said.
So how will Mario save the day? The key is to bring the color back to the island. His overarching task is to find Paint Stars. By finding these stars, new areas of the game are opened to you. Small and large Stars are necessary to unlock all the stages in the game. Paint can be a precious commodity. You start off with a relatively small amount. However, the amount of paint you can hold grows as you progress in the game. By using your Paint Hammer, you can repaint an area that lacks color or give the Toads their color back. I knew how to conserve paint and only use it for solving puzzles. After I played the game, I had my 7 year old try it out. He eventually got the hang of using the paint appropriately. He found out the hard way that paint is not only for levels, but also for the combat system.
I really enjoyed the combat system. It is turned based and uses paint in a unique way. Your action cards can become more powerful depending on the amount of paint that is applied. Again, conserving paint is key to this game. After you pick your combat card and paint it, you use it against your enemy. Pressing A at the right time will inflict the most amount of damage. You can also block attacks with a perfectly timed press of the A button. Cards can be found in blocks and purchased at the port, so look around as you explore and solve puzzles. Not only can you find basic combat cards, but you can also find special Thing cards. You earn these cards by finding specific items in the world and squeezing the color out of them. When this happens, it turns into a card that can be used to solve future puzzles. My 7 year old had to learn the hard way about what happens if you run out of combat cards. Luckily, there is an option to flee a battle if you run out of cards or if you are close to running out of hit points.
We all know that the Wii U’s graphics won’t blow your mind like a high end PC. However, I really enjoyed the art design in Color Splash. The 2D paper effects are really well done and look really good in the colorful world. There are some nice effects when you hit your paint hammer and paint a colorless area. Even the cutout effects look really nice. I will take unique and colorful art design any day of the week.
Despite all the many game releases this fall, I would encourage you to give Color Splash a chance. The story is pretty simple and the gameplay is a little challenging for younger players. However, the humor, art design, and combat system are really well done and create a wonderful gaming experience. As a first time gamer in the world of Paper Mario, I would highly recommend Color Splash. Now I need to play the other games to see how they compare.
Paper Mario Color Splash is available now for $59.99.
Did you pick up Color Splash? How does it compare to the previous games in the series? Let us know in the comments below!!
Great Combat System
Charming Art Design
Entertaining and Very Funny
A Little Too Challenging for Young Gamers