I was going to write a review on the gameplay for Mario and Luigi: Paper Jam. The mailman stole my game, so instead, let's just review the overall play.
No, no, it's okay. Am I disappointed that I'm not able to play the most asked for installment of the Mario and Luigi story? Yes. But that isn't going to stop me from reviewing what I've viewed of the game so far. I'll try to not be too judgmental.
Thanks to Super Mario RPG, the famous Nintendo franchise took on something its fans never expected, and made an amazing series of Mario RPGs. There are now ten RPGs under the Mario franchise's belt. As everyone knows the RPGs split off into two different series, Paper Mario and Mario&Luigi. This is the first time that the two universes have collided, and its been received in an extremely popular light. But the biggest question I have: Does it actually bring something new to the table?
SPOILERS. SPOILERS. THERE ARE ABOUT TO BE SPOILERS. IT'S YOUR FAULT IF YOU KEEP SCROLLING.
Thanks to Let's Play on Youtube, I was able to see the building story of the game. Paper Jam starts with a great view of Princess Peach's castle, almost similar to New Super Mario Bros. U. We go inside, and Toad comes in, looking all cute in 3-D. (Which is saying something, I've never been a huge fan of the 3-D feature of the Nintendo DS, but this game really shows off its positive side.) Luigi walks into the room, and they discover there is a hole in Peach's wall. In the midst of trying to fix it, Luigi accidentally opens a book that contains the world of Paper Mario. The castle basically explodes, and now there are 3-D characters and their paper clones spread all over Mushroom Kingdom.
Now of course, the inevitable happens. Bowser already has a huge ego, and thinks he can always try to take over the Mario Bros, despite constant defeat. So what happens when there are TWO Bowsers? You guessed it, they join forces.
Of course, Mario, Luigi, and their paper counterparts conveniently find each other, and join up as well to fight the new Bowser team. This story trope could repeat itself for the next 20 years of gaming, and I will personally never tire of it. The Mario world is always entertaining, and though the story doesn't normally deviate, the platform style of the game allows for it to be played over and over without losing entertainment.
I mean I hear what you're saying. We've been playing Mario before you were out of diapers Erin, we already know this, why are you telling us?
Well its because its very relevant to this game. There are absolutely no new characters added to this game. Instead, Paper Jam develops interactions between the 3-D characters and their doppelgangers. I had to say, I've seen a couple of them, and they're pretty cute and funny. I'm always afraid of new Nintendo games, because they seem to dumb themselves down for new audiences. (Those puzzles in Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword? I mean come on, they were basically handed to us.) I was pleased to see that Bowser was as rude and violent as ever.
What I found really clever was that this game broke the fourth wall, without being extremely annoying and obvious about it. Certain characters, like the Koopalings, were never part of the Paper Mario series, and they asked themselves in the game why they didn't have a paper doppelganger.
This game also addressed something that I've NEVER liked in the Mario&Luigi series. Forced backtracking.
All gamers hate it. You get all the way through a linear level. You think you've found the door you have to go through. And then you're throwing your controller on the floor, about to tear your hair out. The key you need is 5 rooms away, across a perilous bottomless floor that took you at least 6 times to get across without falling to your doom.
Paper Jam seemed to have heard the critiques of their fans, and included a lot less backtracking. Dream Team was biggest criminal in this, and fans seemed to enjoy Paper Jam because it included more new areas to explore and enjoy.
Several game reviews online talk about the gameplay features, the attack moves, and other cool button features. This includes the New Dash, the Triple Hammer, and other Trio Moves. However, I'm not going to review those. I don't feel comfortable talking about a feature of a game that I can't physically perform myself right now.
I'll be honest, I never necessarily liked the fighting format in Mario&Luigi games. It's the same reason I hated Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. I do not want to have to choose cards, that may or may not hit my opponent, when I can get more satisfaction out of actually hitting my opponent with combo moves. Paper Jam seems to play a lot like Mario&Luigi, including the fighting format. This seems like the only part of the game I may not actually enjoy.
Something I do want to try in Paper Jam: Paper Craft Battles.
Oh, my, goodness. Its like playing a glorified version of Chicken.
For anybody who really loved the Mario Party games, Paper Jam might also be a great buy for you. The game seems to be filled with a lot of mini games, including the Paper Craft battles. Each battle starts off with a rhythm mini game to charge up the Paper Craft, and its also used as a way to figure out how to best attack your opponent. Also something to note: They don't rely on the touch screen. I don't care for touchscreens myself, so I feel like this is a positive addition. There are also several other mini games centered around finding missing Toads or chasing Nabbit.
Overall from what I have viewed, the animations are adorable and hilarious, the graphics and worlds are aesthetically pleasing, and the conversations between the doppelgangers don't detract from the feel of the game. Yes, we still go through our basic desert, ice world, etc. However the addition of the Paper characters add a little something to the game, and helps unify the differences between the RPG series. Small details help this game stand out among its predecessors, and it held up against expectations.
So am I still disapointed that my mailman stole my game?
Yes. I'm livid. It's a Mario game, of course I'm upset. I'm going to send my dog after him next time.