I have to admit that it’s nice–downright nice!–to be able to play a Wii game that doesn’t rack my arms or shoulder all to ruination, and I got my chance with one such game today, Super Paper Mario. And while I’d set out to play this one with little more than a hope of rest, what I found instead was a surprisingly decent RPG built around action elements and a whole searing load of nostalgia. Big N seems to love to pound my nostalgia button and usually to good effect.
Super Paper Mario may be the most surprising epic I’ve ever found, featuring Mario and Luigi hanging around their house and wishing that something would for crying out loud happen already. Naturally, they get their wish and Princess Peach has been kidnapped once again. Suspecting Bowser, King of the Koopa, the brothers rush to his palace only to discover that, for once, he had absolutely nothing to do with it and the plumbers had landed on him while he was planning to do what had already been done. The discovery is made that a new evil, in the form of Count Bleck, was the one behind the kidnapping. Count Bleck has a plan that easily trumps anything Bowser ever came up with for terms of sheer catastrophic evil, namely, the summoning of a massive void that will destroy all reality everywhere as the inhabitants know it. It’s up to Mario to go forth and tangle with Bleck and his numerous minions to rescue the princess and save all reality.
While the game itself controls much like the original Super Mario Brothers, with the Wiimote held like an original two button NES controller, you’ll occasionally use the Wiimote in its newest form to analyze monsters and locations for added effect. This is a fairly interesting new twist on an old classic, which lends a note of credibility to the proceedings. But the new twists don’t stop there–early on, Mario is given the ability to “flip” between dimensions, allowing him to go from 2-D to 3-D and back again. But spending too much time in 3-D is clearly taxing on the normally flat plumber, as spending too long “flipped” causes Mario to take damage. You’ll be able to collect and use a whole host of items for attack and defense, and you’ll also run into different fairies called Pixls that give Mario various special abilities.
It’s downright surprising to see Mario adapted into RPG status, though it’s happened before with the Paper Mario series, and even farther back with Super Mario RPG. This time, Super Paper Mario gives us an entire large and sprawling storyline to go with your standard action elements. Even many of the stages you’ll troop through bear a striking resemblance to those from the original Super Mario Brothers. I found bonus level pipes in Super Paper Mario through vague half-remembrances of the original game, and this was a development that made me doubly happy. Sure, the graphics are Wii-standard and lag way behind the next gen, but this is a truly minor point as there are so many good points to this game. It’s a lot of fun and the control schemes are pretty nicely adapted to the Wii. I have to admit, I liked this game, and there’s plenty of reason to believe that you’ll like it too.