Nintendo presents a new paper Mario adventure for the Wii that combines all the magic of the Mushroom Kingdom with the functionality of the motion sensitive controller. Mario is even venturing into another dimension taking on 3D. This is one paper project that won’t be going to the shredder.

If creativity is king then Super Paper Mario deserves a crown, however the crown shouldn't be made out of gold, its should be recycled paper. Super Paper Mario might not the crown jewel for the Nintendo Wii, but so far it’s our first taste of next-gen Mario and the most solid game besides Zelda. Developer Intelligent Systems have made the most out of bringing the dynamics of the Paper Mario franchise over to the Wii and then added the 3-D concept into the mix while keeping its patented 2-D paper popup look. Like the Paper Mario’s before, Super Paper Mario returns to blend action platforming with role-playing elements in the typical Nintendo fashion. Both aspects of SPM (Super Paper Mario) seem a little thin, but together with the storyline its enough to capture your heart and return that classic good Mario feeling.

Intelligent Systems had already treated gamers to this originality and creativity during the last Paper Mario game, The Thousand Year Door (2004), but they have improved on the cleaver aspects of 2-D and brought it to the next level in Super Paper Mario. The main idea behind Super Paper Mario is emphasized by the 2-D and 3-D aspects of the game rather then a more paper feeling from the last one. In Super Paper Mario you will constantly be flipping back and forth between these two realms to find hidden items, or to find new ways of solving puzzles. In this regard Super Paper Mario is ingenious and very inventive.

The story is a given, Peach has been kidnapped once again and its Mario to the rescue; this girl should really learn to lock her doors. This time it’s not King Bowser as Mario suspected, it’s the new villain Count Bleck. Along with Peach, Count Bleck has also kidnapped Bowser and Luigi to start a void of destruction that will eat up all of existence. Count Bleck is a shifty character that lives is inter-dimensional which means Mario must also get into the matrix to stop Blecks diabolical plot. Mario is transported to the Flipside where he starts on the mission along side a cast of interesting supporting characters and some cute Pixl friends.

Your adventure in Paper Mario starts out in Fliptown and takes you through some basic Mario-esq landscapes complete with some classic bad guys, and a whole list of new and creative enemies. The game is divided into chapters, and sub chapters like 1, 1-2, 1-3 in standard Mario tradition. In total you have eight chapters with four sub-levels in each. Super Paper Mario also has boss fights that are filled with the lovable cast of Blecks minions. The first boss battle is the Donkey Kong styled brute, O’Chunks... yes, that’s his name, after Chunks SPM progresses through the other main villains like Dimentio and Mimi, along with other interesting Bosses like the giant Dragon robot Fracktail at the end of level one. Like all Mario games the difficulty ramps up nicely giving gamers a good feeling of accomplishment and challenge.

Super Paper Mario isn’t only about Mario, besides the moustached hero you will gain the chance to switch on the fly to Princess Peach, Luigi, and King of the Koopas, Bowser, as they are unlock during the game. Each character has their own advantages, Princess Peach uses her umbrella to gliding extra long or block incoming attacks, Bowser has burning hot fire breath, and Luigi has his springy feet that lets him perform super jumps. Bringing in other playable character is very welcomed and helps keep the game fresh, as Intelligent is keen on you rotating heroes to clear certain levels. Besides the four staple characters you can also collect new Pixl friends during your adventure. Your first acquainted with Tippi which resembles a pointed winged butterfly. Tippi allows you to find new items in the game world. You control Tippi by pointing the Wiimote at the screen and moving her around freehand. Tippi is a great asset mainly because Tippi can make invisible items visible, but Tippi can also help you by providing clues, and diagnose enemies which include the bosses.

The other Pixls also host their own special abilities that help Mario traverse the land. Briefly, here is a run down on a few Pixls that you find. The first fella you come across is Thoreau; this pixl gives you ability to pick up items that are out of arms reach, with including enemies. Boomer is another Pixl that is basically a moving bomb. Slim lets Mario go super thin. Thudley gives Mario the ability to do his crashing thud jump. There are many other Pixls in Super Paper Mario all that are useful some more than others. I won’t go on with any more particulars because it would ruin the fun of finding these lovable little guys in game. I found picking them up to be one of the most rewarding aspects of Super Paper Mario.

One more cool aspect I should touch on is the plentuful power ups. This time around you’ll need a keen eye because sometimes the power ups can be against you like the zombie mushroom that looks life I health regenerator. It starts off all good, and like a bad trip it turns purple and starts munching away. One that caught my eye and always put a smile on my face is the enlarged power up that makes Mario, or whichever character huge like in New Super Mario Bros.which marches through koopa’s and blocks with ease.

The controls haven’t been messed around with too much with Super Paper Mario’s translation over to the Wii console. Besides Tippi using the remote like a pointer the majority of the game will have you sitting with the remote sideways. The controls work quite well on the Wii-mote and the little aspects they added when you need to shake the remote, or move it around. All these controls where fun and not overbearing. I’m glad to see that SPM didn’t fall into being a gimmick to showcase the motion sensitive controls.

Super Paper Mario isn’t without its flaws, the major one being that the linear nature of the story. Super Paper Mario moves in on direction and although you can back track and replay levels, it doesn’t offer up to keep the player thinking. Besides the puzzles, Mario is basically a platforming game with light role-playing aspects thrown in. This also tends to make some segments in the game a little drawn out; thankfully the games humour helps get you through the dull parts. Mario might be linear, but Mario is all creative and handles the straight and narrow path with a number of interesting twists and turns.

Super Paper Mario is an outstanding hybrid of platforming gaming and light role-playing aspects. In that special Mario-esq fashion, Intelligent Systems have created another monumental adventure crossing Mario between two dimensions, 2-D and 3-D. The storyline might be a little cliché, and the path is laid out for you, but as you find unveil the secrets of this dynamic world you will be captivated for as long as it lasts. Miyamoto should be proud; this is the first Mario game for the new Nintendo platform and it's a smashing hit. If you own a Wii, I suggest you follow Mario one more time as he climbs down another green pipe full of mystery and adventure.

Gameplay: 8.5, Graphics/Sound: 8.5, Innovation: 9, Mojo:10. Final: 9 / 10

The Good Unique Graphical and Gameplay Approach, Fun Storyline, Creative Characters
The BadNo Voice Overs, Light RPG Aspects, Linear Path

Reviewed by Jimmy | 04.25.07


  • 2-D...AND 3-D! Run through vibrant 2-D worlds, stomping on enemies and breaking blocks....then, with the press of a button, flip into 3-D! In the 3rd dimension, you'll find hidden paths, battle foes, and uncover secrets as you explore the previously invisible depth of the 2-D landscapes!
  • Unique Wii controls! Hold the Wii Remote sideways and control the game in classic Super Mario Bros. style! You can shake the Wii Remote to pull off stylish moves and break out of frigid ice and even point directly at the screen to get helpful hints from your sidekick. Not only that, but you'll also play as Peach and Bowser, both with their own sets of essential skills.
  • Hilarious adventure! When a mysterious villain kidnaps Peach and Bowser and forces them to get married, their union creates a rift of dark energy that threatens to tear the universe apart! Hilarious characters, laugh-out-loud plot twists, and unforgettable dimensions await as Mario makes his way through eight worlds, each more memorable than the last!


Super Paper Mario

April 2007