Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door (2024) – Game Review


Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door  

(available for Nintendo Switch only)

Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door is a remake on Switch for one of the most popular games on the GameCube- and is considered one of the best games of the spin-off series. Thousand Year Door is what several fans have wanted the games to go back to, ever since its release. Granted, Super Paper Mario on the Wii has its fans, but if you compare it with other games in this series, it’s not had as good of a response; Colour Splash on the Wii U and Paper Mario Sticker Star are both in the ‘not very good’ category for most people.

I reviewed Paper Mario: The Origami King when I first started doing game reviews during the pandemic, and at that time I said it was a return to form for the series, though I will say in hindsight I agree with more commentators at the time that while the gameplay, visuals, and the story are kind of getting there, they haven’t quite reached the peak of The Thousand Year Door. To be honest, despite the fact that I’ve owned a GameCube and played a lot of first-party Nintendo games on it, I’ve never played the original Thousand Year Door. I even got a GameCube and a HDMI adapter during the move of Axia offices so that I had a classic system to play, because there were a lot of GameCube games I wanted to play, but I still never got around to playing that one. If you look at the prices on places like eBay for the GameCube version, you’ll see why. So, it’s safe to say I was hyped for this remake!

One of my co-reviewers does have experience with the original, but this review is coming from the experience of someone who hasn’t played the original. To put it bluntly, this game is EXCELLENT! I’m really struggling to find errors in this game. I completely see why everyone loves this one.

The remake has to deal with several factors to begin with, it has to up the resolution, change it to widescreen, as well as of course modernising the gameplay. It does a few of these things very well. This is a full-on remake down to the engines used – and while it’s not a COMPLETE remake like Final Fantasy 7 or Resident Evil 2, 3, and 4, where the game was made completely differently, you can certainly tell in side-by-side comparisons with this game where changes were made. I would say it’s even more colourful, for a start, and the models certainly look like they’re slightly better off this time around. They’re small things, but you can certainly tell it’s a remake made in a more powerful system.

I did manage to get all three sections of this game filled out in the end, but it took me a while and then I realised there was an aspect of the game that I barely touched – but we’ll get to that.

PROS

  • Battle System

I’m going to talk a lot about the game from the perspective of a first-time player, but I’m also going to add a bunch of aspects where I’ll compare it to other games in the series, and any information I’m getting about the original comes from second-hand sources.

The battle system is something that I heard a lot about, and if you haven’t played the game before, it’s set up very interestingly. The battle systems are sort of like a play, and there’s aspects of the environment that interact with the battle; you can get environmental damage by destroying the set or from some of the equipment going wrong, audience members might chuck items at you that you have to dodge, but overall it contains the typical Paper Mario thing of timing commands. For example, if you hit the A button at the time you perform a jump, you’ll gain bonus damage.

The one thing that I really like about the battles is that they have meaning. Not only are they really good interpretations of Mario in a traditional RPG and they make good use of companions, but it’s also really excellent that the battles I’ve seen mean something. To compare it to the Origami King, you weren’t gaming experience points so you weren’t really building a character- with this one, you gain skill points and it makes those battles feel worthwhile, because you can build up and increase health points, Flower Points (which allow you to do special abilities) or Badge Points which allow you to equip more badges, which are a big part of customising your characters.

The badges have done an excellent job giving you moves like the Power Slam for Mario’s hammer, or a MultiBounce which allows you to jump on multiple enemies, as well as badges like Happy Flower and Happy Heart which increase your health or increase your Flower Points mid-battle, which comes in very handy during Boss Battles.

With all of that in place, it made fights more interesting – to the point where the chapters where there was a bigger emphasis on puzzles felt longer because I wanted to go back to combat!

You might be a bit annoyed that you have to use Goombella’s ability Tattle to gain health bars, (if there was a way to do this without using it I didn’t come across it), but that’s all I can really say against the combat system.

  • Visuals

I’ve already mentioned that this game has received a bump in resolution, but this game looks really good! It looked particularly good in handheld mode when I took my Switch OLED on some train journeys, and they did a very good job just recreating the game for the Switch. It looks completely modernised, there’s nothing about this that makes me think it’s a game from 20 years ago.

  • Story

Origami King has a very good story for the most part, but I was listening to ScottTheWoz’s video on his second channel where he brings up an interesting point that after Super Mario Brothers came out it kind of meant that many of the spin-off series had to become a bit more homogenised and weren’t able to take more risks in designing characters. With Thousand Year Door I really got the sense of that, because the characters are excellent.

I loved Koop’s story about wanting to be braver for his home village, the Yoshi you hatch and name is one of the coolest aspects of the game, and Vivian will go down as one of my favourite characters in the Mario series!

The story gives excellent variety. I loved the train sequence that was a play on Murder on the Orient Express, and since I’m a wrestling fan I really enjoyed fighting in the Gladiator Arena against Rawk Hawk, who is basically the Mario universe equivalent of Hulk Hogan.

What I found interesting is that each of the chapters feel fresh each time! The locations are very well varied, and I don’t want to spoil it too much for people who haven’t played it, but going back to the story now makes me realise how much character the original had and has been missing from the more recent series.

If I had to highlight one of the best bits of the stories, it was Peach’s subplot. She gets one of the best character stories with her forming a bond with the villain’s Hal 9000 computer. I also kind of enjoyed the Bowser sections, even though they were kind of ridiculous.

  • Soundtrack

The soundtrack is excellent, and I really liked it. I really recommend listening to the original soundtrack, and you can buy a badge early on in Rogue Port’s badge shop that gives you the original GameCube soundtrack if you want that back, but I personally think you should stick with the remake’s versions.

MIXED

  • Frame Rate

One of the biggest controversies surrounding this game was that unlike the original game that runs at 60 frames per second, this remake runs at 30. Granted, for us Brits, that’s less of a drop since we didn’t get 60 FPS games until the Xbox360 generation, so the British version of the original game ran at about 50.

I’ve stated that if a game is built around a framerate of 30FPS, then it’s not much of a problem – but when I compare this game with footage of the GameCube version (that I may or may not have been using to help me with some puzzles) I didn’t notice it being as bad. It’s an obvious visual difference, but it didn’t impact the game too negatively.

As for combat, while it didn’t do too badly for me, I do think that there were a couple of times where I missed some button prompts because of the lower framerate. This was mainly around Mario’s jump, where I was relying more on the button input prompt rather than Mario’s actual positioning, which definitely made me want to use the hammer a lot more.

  • Post-Game

The post-game was fine, but I certainly didn’t think that it was amazing. They haven’t added too much this time around, you’re mainly doing the same things from the GameCube version – mainly the 100-Floor Trial, which I wasn’t a fan of. Not only is it not very challenging until you get very far in, but you also don’t really get a way to save your progress without having to start again.

There’s also apparently a new Super Boss, but I didn’t come across it in my playthrough, I’ve just become aware of it.

I didn’t really enjoy the post-game, but I can’t really say there’s anything bad about it.

CONS

  • Side Quests

I have to be honest, I didn’t really like these. You only get them when you get access to a certain building on the East Side of Rogue Port, and while they’re not too cryptic, they can be at some times. The stupidest thing is that you can only take on one at a time. So you have to go to the message board, pick a side quest, do it, then go back, and pick another one. I only really did these when I was short for cash on a main mission, and I was never really too short for change for most of the game. You can definitely avoid these if you want to.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I am really stretching for criticism, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door is excellent. It’s a great remake that makes me want to try out the original GameCube game for comparison (as soon as I see one for a decent price). The gameplay is excellent, the storyline and the humour is excellent, and I just really enjoyed my time playing it. Highly recommend it if you love the original, and I highly recommend it even if you haven’t played it. I would say this is an absolute must buy for Switch owners.

FINAL SCORE: 9.5/10

Calvin
Director of Axia ASD Ltd.
Self-proclaimed Nerd Consultant
and Head of Axia’s Film Society.

Next we have Reece’s review

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (2024) is the remake of the original that released in 2004 on the Nintendo GameCube but now on the Nintendo Switch allowing players to play portably.

Paper Mario: TTYD is a Role Playing Game that sees the player travel across a vast world in 8 chapters, collecting a large party on their quest to rescue Princess Peach and collect the legendary Crystal Stars to stop the villains from conquering the world using a hidden treasure below Rogueport.

Pro:

Redesigned textures.

The most obvious improvement in the remake is that the graphics have been completely remade from the ground up, whereas textures are now in full crisp HD and fit in a lot better with the paper aesthetic. Even the sprites have been redesigned as now they have full back sprites when facing away from the camera, compared to the original that had sprites always facing the camera no matter where the player moves to.

Lighting and Shadows.

In addition to the improved textures the lighting engine has received a big improvement to the environments, where now most flooring are reflective especially with polished wooden flooring and cobbles. The game also had all its shadows reworked and in comparison to the original it is night and day since now almost all environments features realistic shadows that properly align to objects. Whereas in the original game a lot of these did not have any shadows, this is most easily seen in the underground of Rogueport.

Pipe room.

The biggest quality of life upgrade in the remake is the new Pipe room available in Rogueport that allows players to fast travel back to every major hub via warp pipe. This cuts down a lot on the backtracking especially in chapters 4 and 7 where the player has to repeatedly jump around the map. This also extends to the trouble side quests since the player can only accept one at a time and there are over 30 of them meaning that it would have taken a much longer time to finish them all.

Partner Ring.

A very useful feature in the remake is the Partner Ring, whereas in the original game to switch out the current partner the player had to pause the game and go into the menu to manually select a new partner, which was always slow and clunky. Now in the remake players only need to hold down the L button to make this ring appear and cycle through available partners. This helps speed up the field skill sections of gameplay and access hidden areas faster compared to the original.

Censored dialogue.

The remake finally undoes the censoring that the original game had when it released in the West. So now we have the proper translation from Japanese to English where it confirms that Vivian is indeed a Trans woman, making an important part of LGBT+ representation that was in the game for 20 years but censored in the English version.

New superbosses.

The game features 2 new superbosses and both are challenging and require the player to master the superguard ability, otherwise the player will take too much damage to make a comeback.

The first superboss is available after chapter 3 in the arena at Glitz Pit when the player completes the prerequisite trouble at Rogueport. This superboss is the more difficult of the 2 in my opinion that requires an inventory of Life Mushrooms and a lot of superguarding as otherwise the boss will dodge the majority of the player’s attacks.

The other new superboss is only available in the post-game and when the Pit of 100 Trials has been cleared at least once and encountered in the overworld to get them to move to the Pit then receiving a follow-up email to when they move.

Locked framerate.

While the remake is reduced to 30fps it was extremely stable and I never noticed any drops from that 30fps. A more stable frame rate is always preferable to an unstable frame rate that wildly swings from high to low.

Music remixes.

The game’s soundtrack has been completely overhauled and remixed and for the most part they are improvements across the board. If the player is still feeling nostalgic for the original soundtrack there is a new badge added to the game that can be picked up from the badge shop for 1 coin that when equipped switches the soundtrack back to the originals.

New character noises.

Characters now have new voice lines when talking through speech bubbles. So now every character sounds more like they came out of Banjo & Kazooie with the style of voice clips they decided to use. This adds a lot more personality to each of the characters and helps them stand out among the sea of NPCs and other side characters.

Art and sound galleries.

New to the remake are new concept art and sound gallery to reward players for collecting all the Star Pieces and Shine Sprites in each chapter.

Con:

Frame rate.

To compensate for the graphical overhaul Nintendo had to halve the frame rate from 60fps in the original to now 30fpd in the remake. While the drop isn’t as noticeable when traveling across the various maps it does become an issue when in combat since the combat requires Quick Time Events (QTEs). So when the frame rate is halved that means players only have 50% of the time they did in the original to hit the button perfectly to deal extra damage.

Troubles.

Returning from the original are the side quests called “Troubles” unfortunately for some reason you are still only allowed to do one at a time instead of selecting multiple like every other RPG.

They also have not had their rewards increased from the original game, as the majority of the troubles only reward the player with 30 coins which just isn’t worth the time it takes to do them with backtracking especially mid to late game troubles.

Load times.

While still pretty fast the remake has noticeable longer loading times than the original had back on the GameCube.

Slow text speed.

For some reason, unlike many other RPGs there is no option to increase the text speed in speech bubbles. So players have to wait for the text to automatically scroll across the speech

bubbles, which adds a minor annoyance with the text heavy sections of the game.

No bulk buying.

An annoying minor issue I had was the fact that players can only buy items one at a time in the shop. So if the player wants to buy multiple of the same item they have to manually buy each one separately, which just takes too long when it has such an easy solution.

Conclusion:

A faithful remake that improves upon parts of the original while not changing other issues. Definitely worth picking up if the player has never played the original and was always curious about the game. Fans of the original will enjoy the extra challenge of the two new superbosses along with the streamlining of the backtracking issue that plagued the original.

Score: 9.0

Reece Imiolek
Anime Amigo and Nerd Consultant

And finally Elliot’s review

The Paper Mario franchise is something of an odd one. The series started off being very well received, with its first two games becoming classics in their own right and Super Paper Mario establishing its own fanbase as time went on. Though the series has become a lot more mixed with recent releases; Colour Splash and Origami King do have their fans but are still quite disliked and I’ve seen no one rushing to defend Sticker Star. Fans have been calling for the series to have a return to form for years, pointing out Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door as the primary example of what they want. Well, it seems like Nintendo have in some way listened, because in their September 2023 Nintendo Direct they announced a remake of Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door. This was my first time playing this game, and after hearing the legacy the original game has I went in with very high expectations. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door was released on 23rd May 2024 as a Nintendo Switch Exclusive. 

Story

The game starts off in a seaside town called Rogueport, where we see Princess Peach on vacation. She encounters a hooded woman selling wares and comes across a box containing a map. We then cut to Mario, chilling at home, when he receives a letter from Peach informing him that she’s found a mysterious map that leads to treasure, which she sent to him as well, with this, Mario immediately sets off to Rogueport. Not long after arriving, he comes into contact with a pink Goomba called Goombella who’s getting interrogated by a small band of X-nauts. After defeating them Goombella takes Mario to another Goomba called Professor Frankly who tells him of the legend of the Thousand Year Door, how there’s treasure behind it and that it requires seven Crystal Stars to unlock. After the map reveals the location of the first Crystal Star, Mario and his new friend venture off to find it along with the other six, find out what’s behind the Thousand Year Door and potentially find what happened to Princess Peach. 

This story is a lot of fun. It mostly contains Mario along with his new friends going to different places to find a Crystal Star and solve whatever problems may have befallen on their new location. This could easily get stale – I think of the story in Sea of Stars which is mostly just multiple find the mcguffin quests – but it really doesn’t as each place is unique and the adventure in each feels very distinct to one another. The joy of the story all comes from the characters you encounter, they are all their own breed of quirky and fun, even the villains are very likeable (well most of them are, screw Beldam). In between each chapter you also get a small segment with Peach who’s been kidnapped by the X-nauts (because it’s not really a Mario game if it doesn’t involve the Princess getting kidnapped), doing requests for a machine called TEC, these are pretty sweet moments and fleshes out Peach’s character a bit more. If there’s one complaint that I have, it’s the segments with Bowser, yes the King of the Koopa’s is in the game and, honestly I don’t really understand why. He’s also hunting down the Crystal Stars, arriving a little later than Mario does so he doesn’t get them, and that’s about it, he doesn’t really interact with the main cast until the very end and that encounter felt very inconsequential. They honestly feel somewhat pointless and, I don’t know if this is an unpopular opinion but, I would probably prefer it if they weren’t there at all. 

Presentation

Now it’s to be expected that this game will look a lot better than the original, and it most certainly does. To start off, the backgrounds and environments are greatly enhanced, improved textures and objects looking more like they’re made of cardboard or paper, a better usage of colours, either sharper or softer than the original, and vastly better lighting, having more shadows in environments than before. Character models don’t look that much different than they did before, they are a lot less pixelated and have sharper colours, but aside from that are essentially unchanged. 

One thing that has been surprisingly downgraded since last time is the framerate. The GameCube version ran at a consistent 60fps, meanwhile the remake only seems to run at 30. While this isn’t too much of a downgrade, as framerate isn’t essential for this game, it’s still very noticeable when you put the games side by side. 

The soundtrack is what you’d probably expect from a Mario game, it’s very upbeat and sometimes goofy. Most characters have their own theme and there isn’t a single one that doesn’t match, from Professor Frankly’s goofy melody that would fit a character like E. Gadd from Luigi’s Mansion, or The Three Shadow’s song having a mischievous sound to it. The exception to the goofiness are the boss themes, which are definitely more threatening and can even be quite menacing at times, though still don’t feel out of place with the rest of the soundtrack. When compared to the original’s soundtrack, while the songs are essentially the same, you can tell there is a difference, the instruments and sounds used in the remake are sharper, giving the songs more of an effect in my opinion. Though if you do prefer the original’s sound, you can purchase and equip a badge that will swap out the new soundtrack with the GameCube one. 

World Design and Exploration

In the centre of everything is the town of Rogueport, which acts as your main hub and the key location of the game. Every new chapter starts from Rogueport and the path to each new location can be found in the seaside town. Rogueport is split into two levels, there’s the town on the surface, which is where you’ll be able to talk to key NPCs that will help you on your journey, be able to access shops and other facilities, and ultimately just relax as this is the only place where you won’t get into any fights. Then there are the sewers, a maze of tunnels swarming with enemies that will often connect you to new locations; in fact it’s down here that you’ll find the titular Thousand Year Door. 

Every other location is very unique to one another requiring you to do different things to move through them. Some chapters will have you visiting and revisiting multiple different places while others will have one set area and have you doing very little exploring to move forward. Every new place will have a set location that will act as a temporary hub, normally a town that contains residents for you to talk to as well as an item shop and inn. When moving from one place to another you’ll go down a very linear path, the game temporarily turns into a side scroller in other words. Your main obstacle will be enemies halting progress and sometimes a bit of debris that will require a specific power, you to complete a puzzle, or to just talk to a couple of NPCs  to move forward. 

One thing that a lot of these chapters will contain are Dungeons, castles and caverns that will often contain the crystal star or at least a boss for you to overcome. These places really aren’t linear, and will involve a series of puzzles for you to complete to be able to move to the next section. Some of these puzzles can be real brain teasers as well, demanding a decent amount of exploring, timing and platforming for you to figure out how to get to the next room. 

To aid with exploration or just moving forward in general, you have a series of field abilities, both from you and your partners. Mario will unlock a number of these abilities as you continue through the game – these are given to you by sentient chests that will declare these as curses, leading to some pretty humorous moments – and they really take advantage of your papery form. These will include being able to origami yourself into a paper aeroplane or boat, rolling yourself up into a tube to roll through small crevices or letting you turn sideways to squeeze through gaps, they are very useful and I love them just for their creativity. Your partners will also have their own abilities, like being about to fire Koops in his shell at something, or Madame Flurrie being able to blow away sheets of paper obscuring the environment. Again a lot of these are creative and what I like about them is that each partner ability is used throughout the game, you’ll find yourself using skills from characters you picked up in the early game in the final section, which I really like. 

Combat

Now let’s get to without a doubt the best part of this game. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door is a turn-based RPG, specialising in timing to get the best results. Every attack from every character has a quick time event, forcing you to hold down a button for a certain amount of time, press a button at the right time or just press the right button in a sequence, amongst others. Thankfully, you don’t get punished too much if you mess up, all that really happens is your attack isn’t quite as effective, dealing less damage or cutting off a sequence of attacks early. It’s the same when your opponent’s attack, if you hit the A button while the enemy is launching themselves at you you’ll reduce the damage you would otherwise take. Alternatively you can press the B button during certain attacks and it’ll negate all damage and will even hit them for a tiny bit of damage, though it does require more precise timing. This mechanic is what makes battles all the more fun. It really makes you concentrate on the battles and will likely be the deciding factor on what partner you’ll regularly go for. They also aren’t so complicated that you’ll really struggle with them, but also aren’t so easy that you’ll be nailing them every time. 

There are two primary types of attack, jumping and close up. Mario is able to do both types of attack though some of your allies will only be able to do one of them (I’m not counting skills that require FP here). The type of attack you’ll do will depend on the enemy you’re attacking, not in the sense of weakness and resistances, it’s a lot more simple than that. For example, if your opponents are flying in the air, clearly you’re going to be using a jump attack on them, equally if your foe has spikes on their head, you’re definitely going to want to avoid jumping. Some attacks will be completely ineffective against certain enemies, either due to them needing their weak spot exposed via a different attack type, or needing a specific attack to be able to damage them all together, really making you consider which partner you want on the field with you. It’s very simple to learn and is a much more subtle way of showing the best strategy to go with, and I really like it for that. 

Mario and his friends don’t just have standard attacks however, each of them also have their own set of skills that require FP to use. One of the main differences compared to other RPGs is that no one has their own FP, meaning that everyone is sharing the same source, making you really consider if it’s worth using the super expensive moves. These abilities feel very unique to one another, will require different quick time events and have very different effects. For example, Bobbery’s Bomb Squad letting him throw a series of bombs onto the enemy’s side to explode on a later turn, or Yoshi’s Gulp ability sucking up an enemy and spitting them into another one, dealing damage to both, or Koops’ Shell Shield preventing Mario from taking any damage for an attack. These skills are super fun to pull off and can be really satisfying when you get them done perfectly. 

By collecting the Crystal Stars, you’ll gain access to abilities called Star Power. Star Power are special skills that require SP, which is represented by orbs that need to be filled up to be used. You only start off with one SP orb but you’ll gain more simply by gathering the Crystal Stars. These abilities are more powerful than most at the time you obtain them, and have different effects, an AoE attack, the ability to heal your party or to inflict your opponents with status ailments or increase your own stats. These abilities come along with their own quick time events to make them more effective. My one problem is that the early abilities, while being super useful when you get them, won’t be nearly as useful during the later portions of the game, meaning that I rarely found myself using them after a while. 

One of the first things you’ll notice when you enter a battle is that it takes place on a stage in front of the audience. Believe it or not, this isn’t just for aesthetics, these actually affect the battle in multiple ways. For one of the primary examples, the audience is how you charge up your SP; whenever you use an ability the audience will throw you some stars, which will fill up your Star Power orbs. The more packed the crowd is, the more SP you’ll charge. The audience will also throw things at the stage, sometimes items that you can use, sometimes rocks or garbage to damage you. Before they throw, you’ll get a button prompt to attack them, making them flee the crowd. The stage itself also impacts the fight, hitting an enemy hard enough and spotlights or buckets will fall onto either you or the enemy – possibly inflicting a status ailment as well – or the cardboard cutouts of hills or walls in the background will fall over, dealing a small amount of damage, again to either you or your opponent. I would have been perfectly happy with the stage just being there for presentation, but the fact that it actually impacts the combat is really awesome, it adds another layer to battles and it’s executed perfectly. 

One thing I was not expecting was how challenging this game was. While I wasn’t expecting this game to be super easy, I did go into it thinking that it wouldn’t be a significant challenge, especially with how games like Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl went – those games having the difficulty dialled down significantly compared to their original. Surprisingly though, I often found myself struggling quite often, at times barely managing to scrape through the battle and have had my fair share of close calls. Though there were a decent number of deaths, either by getting stuck in a status ailment I couldn’t get out of or going into a battle very ill equipped. It’s nothing like Shin Megami Tensei levels of challenge, but you’d be surprised how much this will push you.

Upgrades and Badges

Of course, there are multiple ways to upgrade your characters and gain new skills. To start off with Mario, the main way to power him up outside of levelling and learn new skills, is with badges. Mario is able to equip a number of badges onto him, these will give him a number of benefits like a slight increase to damage, gives him a chance to heal damage at the start of the turn, some will just give Mario new attacks. There are of course some that will make him slightly weaker as well as a benefit, like decreasing damage but increasing defence, increasing damage for one attack type but not letting Mario use the other, there’s even one that just doubles the damage that Mario takes without any benefit. While there aren’t as many, you do also get badges that make your partners a bit more powerful as well. Badges require Badge Points to be able to equip them, but you do get the option to increase your BP when you level up. 

One thing you’ll notice is that only Mario seems to level up and while everyone shares FP and BP, only Mario is able to increase his health. This is where the Shines come in, these are difficult to find and obtain items that can be used to upgrade each of your allies. Each of your partners can be upgraded twice, not only increasing their health but even giving them new abilities as well. I don’t mind this, I like the fact that, while they don’t level up naturally as you play the game, you are still able to upgrade them, though I will admit I do have a couple of issues with this. For starters, you’re never told that you can upgrade your characters or who to talk to to even do it, meaning that I ended up not upgrading anyone until Chapter 3, hell I wouldn’t be surprised if some people went through the entire game without upgrading once. I’m not asking for much to be added, just a cutscene would have been fine enough. The second one is that you’re once again, not told that a character can be upgraded twice or if the item needed to do so. I will admit, I didn’t even know you could upgrade a character twice until I did research for this review.

Additional Changes

Before we close out this review, let’s just talk about what other changes have occurred. I’m only going to discuss the big ones here, as there are too many for me to even mention. First of all, you now have a partner wheel. In the original game, if you wanted to swap to a different partner, you had to go into the Partner Menu and select who you wanted out. This time around all you have to do is hold down a single button, swap to a different character icon and select them. Even someone like me who’s never played the GameCube version can acknowledge how much more convenient that is as it takes away a number of steps required to do something so simple… 

Second of all, the Rogueport Sewers has had an extension. Now containing a warp room that will send you to one of the locations you visited while hunting for the Crystal Stars. Each pipe will spawn once you’ve completed the chapter based within said location. While you probably won’t be revisiting these places until one of the later chapters, these are still really convenient. No longer do you have to try and remember the entrance to each location nor do you have to go through a string of enemies, just jump into the pipe and boom you’re there. 

Finally, in my opinion the most useful one, the game has a hint system. If you haven’t played the game for a while, or just need more of an idea on where exactly you need to go, now you can just push a button and Goombella will give you a nudge in the right direction. I cannot stress how much this helped me, I will admit that there were times where I wasn’t entirely sure on where to go, and was infinitely grateful for the hint system whenever I needed it. 

Conclusion

So, did this game live up to the hype I had? Unsurprisingly, yes. This game was an absolute delight from start to finish. The characters and story were so much fun, I never got tired of the combat, and I now fully understand why Paper Mario enthusiasts want another game like this. If you’re a Switch owner and still have not played this, or haven’t been able to play the original because of its ludicrous price, then I cannot recommend this game enough. It’s Super Mario at its finest, albeit in a more flimsy and less waterproof form.

9.4/10

Elliot Chapman
Anime Amigo and Nerd Consultant

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The Next Axia21st August 2024
12:00 pm to 2:00 pm

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