Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam Review
By Allie W, Editor/Collaborator – May 17, 2016
Being a big fan of both the Mario & Luigi and Paper Mario games, I was eager to get my hands on Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam. Months later when I finally have some time (sort of) to play a lot of the game, I feel just a little let down. Not much, but enough that I don’t foresee myself getting the game out to replay it anytime soon.
Let me start off by saying that this game is actually pretty fun to play. Much like previous games in the Mario & Luigi series, there is a lot of teamwork and special attacks. The addition of Paper Mario is one that I definitely enjoyed. There are all sorts of cool abilities that he brings to the table, and the big cardboard and paper battles throughout the game are really fun. And you even get an opportunity to practice all the new abilities, so that you can get used to the sometimes-complex controls.
The battles in this game, for the most part, are turn-based. The system is similar to what we get from the Paper Mario games; as the player attacks, if you press a certain button at a certain time, the attack becomes more powerful. Personally, I am a huge fan of this mechanic; it keeps me a lot more involved in the battle, and brings an amount of skill to the mix. I say that battles are turn-based “for the most part” because there are some bigger boss battles that are set up quite differently. For these battles, the Toads have prepared a giant cardboard Mario that they carry around and use to attack large foes. It’s actually really adorable and fun, I was surprised at how much I really enjoyed these battles.
The battles in Paper Jam are a blast, but it’s the stuff in between the battles that tends to be lacking. The story is alright, but it doesn’t flow very well. All the gameplay and story are broken up and over-explained by extensive, boring dialogue. Luckily you can hold a button to “fast-forward” through those scenes, but I found myself wanting to skip them altogether. The general impression I got from every scene of dialogue is “this game is for kids.” I’ve always felt like Mario games were timeless and for any player willing to pick up the controller. I understand that many games are marketed towards children, but I felt sort of left out as an adult playing this Mario game on my 3DS. Adults like handheld games too!!
The childish dialogue is not the only contributor to the poor flow of the game. There were also numerous “toad hunts”, where frightened paper toads had gone missing, and it was up to Mario and Gang to find them all. At first I thought it was kind of cute, there were a lot of creative hiding places and then they fold up and jump into Mario’s pocket after they’re spotted. The cuteness factor wore off pretty quickly, however, and soon the toad hunts were more of a chore than they were a delight.
Overall, I did enjoy this game. I did feel like it was worth my time and money. But in the end, this is probably a game that I will loan to my brother and not be terribly concerned about whether or not I’ll be getting it back any time soon. But if I’m being honest, if Nintendo brought out another Mario & Luigi + Paper Mario game, especially if it was on WiiU, I would probably buy it.
Fun battle mechanics
Cute paper characters
Fun "bros" moves
Practice mode for difficult maneuvers
Variety in battle modes
Slow, childish dialogue
Story moves slowly
Game doesn't flow well