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Thursday, May 14, 2020

First Thoughts on Paper Mario: The Origami King REVEAL!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Let's be clear on what's speculation and what's confirmed.

My very first thought was, “A new trailer for a Paper Mario game? Am I looking at the official Nintendo YouTube channel, or is this a fake look-alike?” Upon confirming it was real, I watched it, and here's what I saw:

Now, understand that Paper Mario is on a small list of videogame franchises made up of four or more games that I've bought every game for (others include Ace Attorney, Pok√©mon Mystery Dungeon—if you discount the remaster and those WiiWare things, and Super Smash Bros. ...That might be exhaustive, actually), which makes this a very important reveal.

I'm something of an expert in analysing the first trailers of Paper Mario games, and my findings are that people can be very easily fooled by trailers. In fact, there were a lot of contemporary positive responses (that I quoted in that article) to the first trailer of Paper Mario: Sticker Star, back when people were upset over Super Paper Mario's genre shift and people thought Sticker Star represented a return to form. Now everyone's priorities have also shifted since then, but the fact that first trailers are inherently untrustworthy remain true.

Ah, still, what did I think of it?

Paper Mario: The Origami King's visual aesthetic and humourous style are quite reminiscent of Sticker Star and Color Splash. And that's fine, since Color Splash has some of the best writing in the history of videogames.

The official website has a few more details on two sections: Story and Gameplay. The Story is...
“The kingdom has been ravaged by an origami menace! Join Mario and his new partner, Olivia, as they team up with unlikely allies like Bowser and the Toads to battle evil Folded Soldiers.
Try to free Princess Peach’s castle from the clutches of King Olly in this comedy-filled adventure, only on the Nintendo Switch system.”
I like that the Toads are officially considered unlikely allies, after all of the complaints that Toads are Mario's ONLY allies in the previous two Paper Mario titles. (Though, to be fair, they were pretty crappy allies at times. See Toad Trainworks.) Nintendo and/or Intelligent Systems are clearly having fun with this, and that's a good sign. As for King Bowser, this King Olly character has... done some strange folding to our patron, and has taken the Koopa minions, as well as Princess Peach's castle.

Paper Mario The Origami King Bowser Jr. hot spring how do I look
You look great, Bowser Jr. The same as usual, actually. ...Did you go into the hot spring WITH the Koopa Clown Car?
Also... what happened to King Bowser?

It's also a good sign that the Paper Mario series has moved from cardboard villains to origami (folded paper) villains. This is in accordance with KoopaTV's declared victory over cardboard. Stick to KoopaTV closer than a Paper Mario: Sticker Star item if you want to know what's going on right before (or long before) it happens.

Also a good sign: There's no giant Fan Thing at the end of the trailer. Instead, there's a Samus's helmet origami, a Donkey Kong head origami, a Goomba head origami, and something wriggling in the trash can.

There's a brand new battle system involving rotating a ring-based arena under a timer of variable length. If you align the enemies—which are standing on different rings—correctly, you can hit them more efficiently, I guess. I have no idea if that's fun or not. The attacks at least don't seem to require consumables this time. Here's a video embedded on the official Japanese site about it, but it's brief and doesn't give an impression other than, “Uh, well, okay.”

Mario also can interact with his environment with the “1000-Fold Arms”, which basically makes him an ARMS character. I presume this is the new Paint Hammer and Paperization. It can pull things. Whatever.

There is a lot of speculation about the existence of partners akin to Paper Mario and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. There is no evidence of that from this trailer. Partners existed for both overworld puzzling (which may be taken care of by the 1000-Fold Arms) and for giving Mario's team a second attack during a battle (which was resolved in previous games by giving Mario multiple attacks per turn... and Color Splash had those underrated enemy cards). We do see companion/follower/escort characters in the trailer, but we also had those in Sticker Star and Color Splash and no one calls those partners. The nature of that Bob-omb in this trailer is unclear. I don't think partners are REQUIRED for a Paper Mario game to be good, and it's bizarre that that is an unpopular opinion.  

Paper Mario: The Origami King could be bad, good, or great. Who knows? After the huge difference between the first trailer for Paper Mario: Color Splash (which genuinely upset me) versus the final product of Paper Mario: Color Splash (which pleased me), judging this by the first trailer is a sure way to look dumb later on.

Paper Mario: The Origami King is scheduled for release on July 17, 2020, for 60 USD. That's...quite soon! I suspect we'll hear a lot more about it over the next two months, and KoopaTV will dedicate quite a bit of coverage to it. I mean, we're the website that published a new article every time there was one of those Rescue V videos for Paper Mario: Color Splash, so, yeah, I'm totally going to do that again.

Reminder that, according to the anniversary article published two days ago, KoopaTV's very logo derives from Paper Mario. Don't underestimate this site's commitment to the franchise. Even if it espouses unpopular opinions. What do you think of the reveal of Paper Mario: The Origami King? Do you think Ludwig was weak by having his opinion be deference for more information?

It's time for a second, closer look, with a new trailer a month later.
Paper Mario: The Origami King is now out (since it's now past July 17!).
Ludwig's FINAL thoughts on Paper Mario: The Origami King are contained in this game review.
By the way, the fan appears in Paper Mario: The Origami King.


  1. I feel like the writing is gonna be good enough. The real question will be whether the battle system feels good, and I haven't seen enough to really be sure. So waiting and seeing seems to be the rational response.

    1. It's the rational response, but I suspect it's not the fun content people come to KoopaTV to appreciate!

  2. I agree that the story already seems more fleshed out, and that other than that the trailer simply didn't impart enough reliable data on anything else to judge yet. As for the Toads, I'm pretty sure them being crappy allies is the rule rather than the exception.

    The emphasis on the fandom's desire for a Paper Mario game with partners is something I noted on social media during initial reactions, as well. My theory is that between having them replaced with Pixls in Super Paper Mario, and getting completely starved for characters with actual depth in Sticker Star--and then getting tossed some bread and water in that regard in the form of the Koopalings in Color Splash--people are latching on to the idea of bringing back partners as an easy, previously established, and in their minds simple for the developers to implement way to restore that vibrancy of characters.

    Now, as for the battle system. I've heard conflicting information there--most seem to think Cards and Stickers have indeed been done away with but there was one guy who seemed to think Cards would still be a thing. Well, one thing that DOES seem to be done away with is, well, Things. Absolutely no indication of Things being a thing in the trailer whatsoever, which to me is a good sign. Because honestly, even if they still fail to incentivize players to not skip every battle they possibly can, I will be genuinely happy with PM: tOK's combat as long as they make their boss fights play like ACTUAL BOSS FIGHTS.

    Color Splash made some strides in that direction with the later Koopaling battles, particularly Larry and Lemmy's, but this is one road that needs to finish being travelled sooner rather than later. No more puzzle bosses in my Paper Mario, dangit! And that's my thoughts.

    1. The Rescue V Toads were great allies! They got stuff done. And the pirate ship captain Toad got that plumber to Fortune Island.

      I'll respond to the partners paragraph in Ms. Lienhard's comment.

      Here is a possible theory: There are non-consumable basic attacks, but if you want stronger, flashier things, there are Cards. ...And that would be in line with attack items from Paper Mario like the Shooting Star. But they might be less cool and be Shiny Boots.
      (It's entirely possible I might be a boss fight again... ;) )

      I think puzzle bosses are fine, as long as there's still fight after the puzzle is done. I mean, otherwise a boss battle is just a regular battle but with higher stat numbers and special music. And I, as a boss, would appreciate you needing some novel, clever way to beat me.

  3. "I don't think partners are REQUIRED for a Paper Mario game to be good, and it's bizarre that that is an unpopular opinion."

    Similar to what Lheticus says above, it's easy to draw a connection between the existence of partners and a cast of actual developed characters. It also ties into the fact that many fans want a game that feels like Paper Mario/Thousand-Year Door (which had partners) or Super Mario RPG (which had party members).

    Right now, my biggest concern is whether or not it will have actual RPG elements like leveling up.

    1. Screw SMRPG, nothing should be like that. >.>

      You COULD use "existence of individualised partners" as proxy for "cast of actual developed characters", though I would dispute that Paper Mario's partners, for the majority of them, don't get much in the way of being actually developed. They get some kind of story, somewhere, usually (I dunno what Flurrie's deal is, though), and then after they join you, it kinda stops for them. They never have any dialogue ever again, besides a Parakarry letter reaction or a "this is the final boss fight so we'll let the partner you have say a line."
      Vivian is an exception, not the rule.
      Meanwhile, the NPCs in Color Splash also tend to have tidy stories that are opened and closed within their world and never seen again.
      I'll be eagerly awaiting your impressions on Color Splash's concept of experience points.

    2. So far I feel I'd prefer traditional experience, but at least it's something to make combat feel worthwhile.

    3. Alright, that sounds like you agree it's "better than Sticker Star!"

    4. Yes, it's definitely better than Sticker Star.
      ...not that that's exactly a high bar to pass.

    5. ...Well...yeah.

      I mean, it broke the trend (established from the beginning) of each Paper Mario being of some degree of lower quality than the previous!

    6. I see we rank the original three Paper Mario games differently.

    7. PM64 > TTYD > Color Splash > SPM >>>>>>> Sticker Star

      I used to put TTYD above PM64 but I've changed my mind sometime in the past, uh, ten years I guess.

    8. To just throw in my own two cents here: SPM > TTYD (just barely) > PM64 > Color Splash > Sticker Star > Paper Jam.

    9. TTYD > SPM > PM64 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Sticker Star

      Color Splash will probably go somewhere between 64 and Sticker Star.

    10. I didn't rate Paper Jam because it's technically a different series, but it's below SPM and above Sticker Star.

      Seems like I gotta write some PM64 propaganda. <.<

    11. I didn't include Paper Jam either, but I'd put it above Sticker Star. Not sure where Color Splash will rank compared to it yet.

    12. Hot take, Paper Jam isn't even a Paper Mario game. I only included it because I view it as the only Mario game out of ANY subseries that's even worse than Sticker Star. As for why, three reasons. First, it largely dispensed with having the enemies telegraph attacks fairly, to the point where with most you have to get hit a few times to learn how to dodge even if you know how to figure which Mario or if Luigi is getting hit. They're just two darn fast!

      Second, with all the Toad finding, the other requests or w/e, so much of the game seems like padding to the point I'd say it has more padding than a mental institution. Third, the Papercraft battles annoy me to no end. This one's just personal preference, I don't really have a "why" for it. So there you go.

    13. (It's not a hot take if everyone else here agrees with that by default!)

      Out of ANY subseries? You're putting Mario Party: The Top 100 over it? >_> Mario Pinball Land doesn't even work!

      At least Paper Jam is pretty functional.

    14. ...Okay, out of every Mario game I'VE ever played, it's the only one worse than Sticker Star.

    15. Eh, guess you gotta play more bad plumber games.

      To your point about dodging, I often just press all of the dodge buttons at the same time. >_>

  4. I was considering picking up Color Splash at one point, but I ended up passing on it to save up for the Switch that would release a few months later. Now that I have nothing else to really look forward to for the foreseeable future, I am willing to give The Origami King a chance. Considering Color Splash had some of the most comedic writing in the series and this game appears to be darker in tone, I am hoping that The Origami King will be a return to form.

    1. I'll note what I wrote in the article, which is to not trust the first impressions from the trailer.

      Color Splash had a spooky second trailer too, with the ominous letter and the Toad paint-sucking!


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