Game Review - Paper Mario: The Origami King on Nintendo Switch

Written by MrPapillon on December 20, 2020 @ 6:56 pm

In short:

++ Beautiful game, art and level design
++ Great adventure
+ Olivia best sidekick
+/- Battle gameplay at least a bit improved from the last two entries
+/- The collectathon have great puzzles to solve, but some hidden collectibles are way too random
- Main antagonist motivations fall flat, missed potential
- Half of bosses' designs are "meh"

Paper Mario: The Origami King is the next entry in the Paper Mario series and follow the last two very controversial Sticker Star and Color Splash. There were a lot of expectations on this game from die-hard fans to once again hold the olympic flame of the Paper Mario series.

To begin with, Origami King is a very beautiful game. The graphics are polished, the look-and-feel of the whole game is well constructed, immersive and the paper/origami theme is skillfully exploited. In addition, your adventure takes you to great landscapes, to goofy characters and to puzzling secrets while your methods of transportation and exploration diversify in each new land.

Moreover, you don't get to live this adventure. Your main sidekick in this adventure, Olivia, is a wacky sweetheart and gives taste to everything you experience.

The battle gameplay is probably what everyone was waiting to judge on. Sticker Star and Color Splash made both very daring choices in their fights and character progression designs and were heavily criticized on it. Once again here, Origami King made a new bet with its gameplay. But that choice was this time a bit more successful than the two previous ones. The ring scrambling offers a challenging puzzle to every fight. However, you still receive only money to reward your battles, so character progression is a bit moot ; how, then, can you give sense to a progression of some sort if your stats and items doesn't matter that much and your reward is only money ? Is there any rewarding experience felt by the player ? Answers to those two questions remain a bit negative, but in this game, money is often used as a wall in front of good upgrades such as good accessories, hints or collectibles.

Origami King, as its predecessor, follows the collectathon route and gives you collectibles to find in every piece of the world. Some of them offer you challenging puzzles, but a few of them are sometimes unfairly hidden : you're still able to detect them with the right accessory, but it's a bit of a fun-killer.

The main negative point on this entry is the way antagonists are designed and developed. The big bad guy remains a mystery during most of the game, and when you discover his origin and his motivations, everything falls a bit flat (pun intended). There is a lot of wasted potential on his character developement and his origin while inverse-mirroring Olivia's character. Half of bosses (minions of the bad guy) are also underwhelmingly designed. They are everyday's objects with the added aspect of their usabilities in this world of papers and origamis and with wacky personalities as well. While it's clever, it follows this world's theme and the personalities are enjoyable, they still lack the very specific charms of bosses.

Mostly, this game probably didn't answer the main focus of old time fans, but when you're able to get your view out of this series fanbase's expectations, you will be able to look at a very magical and entertaining adventure that you shouldn't miss. Play it for Olivia, at least.

Gameplay Rating: 7
Story Rating: 9
Graphics & Visuals Rating: 9
Sound Rating: 8
Overall Rating: 8

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Game Information

Platform
Nintendo Switch
Developer(s)
Intelligent Systems
Publisher(s)
Nintendo
Genre(s)
Action, Adventure
NA Release Date
July 17, 2020
JP Release Date
July 17, 2020
EUR Release Date
July 17, 2020
AUS Release Date
July 17, 2020
ESRB Rating
E
MVGL User Score
7.4
Official Website
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