Thursday, July 5, 2007
Super Paper Mario Wii
SUPER PAPER MARIO
Developer: Intelligent Systems
Released: April 2007
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Genre: Adventure/Platform with RPG elements
Platform Reviewed on: Wii
Official Website: A small interactive website with gameplay videos. It's pretty neat because they've incorporated the 3D aspect of the game into the website.
Hours played: About 7 hours (On the 5th heart)
Synopsis: At first it seems like a typical Mario adventure where the Princess is kidnapped by Bowser, but as Mario and Luigi are ready to thwart Bowsers scheme they find out that Bowser didn't do it this time! Just as Mario and Luigi reach Bowsers lair a new character named Count Blech admits to taking the Princess then kidnaps Bowser AND Luigi, leaving Mario face down in Bowsers castle! What a jerk! Tippi, a butterfly looking fairy called a "Pixl", comes to help Mario and they make their way to the town of Flipside in the hopes of rescuing their friends and find out what Count Blech is up to.
Tutorial: The instructions of the game feel more integrated into the game, I think I feel that way because I'm used to the "stop and learn" tutorials like Yggdra Union. Anyway, the instructions are pretty easy and are built upon when you progress in the game. For example, Mario has friends called "Pixls" which each have different abilities associated with them. The first Pixl he meets, named Tippi, helps Mario identify important objects or characters in the game. The player must point the Wiimote at the screen and "point" at the object which will then highlight or appear red, which means it can be accessed or given more information. When Mario finds more Pixls to join him, he gains more abilities (Tippi is actually the only Pixl that is with you on the screen the majority of the time) like throwing objects, blowing stuff up, pounding the floor, etc. So it's up to the player to find out which one to use at what time, which is nice because it will go back and forth between Pixls.
Story/Characters: The main characters are already pretty established, the new characters are pretty funny, the brainless muscleman O'Chunks, the Shapeshifting Mimi, a jester named Dimentio, Natasia the secretary or assistant to Count Blech, and Count Blech himself who is bent on destroying the universe (of course!). The characters are built upon as the story progresses, and there is a second story that follows parallel to the main story, which gradually reveals itself. Neato.
Graphics/Cinematics: 2D with 3D aspects when you press the A button. This makes the game very entertaining, when you're stuck in the game, the answer is usually to "flip" into the 3D dimension. This aspect of the game not only moves the game along, but also provides a different perspective to the game, especially the remade levels from previous Mario games. The cinematics are pretty much the same as the gameplay, nothing too fancy, and it works.
Interface: Pretty good, straightforward, I like the option of the quick menu because if anyone had to move their right thumb to the middle everytime they changed Pixls they would probably get a bad cramp. The menus weren't cluttered and were clean and organized. The layout of the text was good too, nothing was cut off and the boxes/bubbles were filled well. There were some times where the dialogue boxes didn't fit quite right, because of the Japanese to English translation (like in manga translations) but they didn't hinder the gameplay or enjoyment.
Sound/Audio/Voice Acting: I actually like the music for the game, it's not annoying, and there are also some remixes of the older Mario songs. The audio is alright, the thing that irritated me the most was the constant beeping when you're down in HP, I found myself using whatever heals just to get out of hearing that sound. Ugh. Voice acting was just done in snippets, Mario doing the little "Oh yeah" like the other Mario games, but no talking, just text. That's not always a bad thing, they emphasize different parts in the dialogue through the spelling of words and the size of the text.
Gameplay/Controls: The game is normally played with the Wiimote turned horizontal, like a classic controller. When you want to use Tippi you can point the Wiimote to the screen, select objects that highlight in red and she can give you hints or information on them. The A button is to flip to the 3D world, button 1 is to use your selected Pixl, 2 is to jump and 1 & 2 together opens a quick menu (which I love as you change Pixls a lot). The + symbol opens the regular menu and the - symbol shows the button configuration. Oh and be careful about staying in the 3D world too long, you have a bar that gows down with all the time you spend in there, when it goes down you lose HP.
I really enjoy being able to use the Wiimote in a different way, I'm glad they didn't try to use the pointer too much. I also like the Pixls and how you gain a different abilities with each one that befriends you. However, it's a little strange about the RPG elements in this game, sometimes I forget you can level up as the enemies don't really take a lot of HP off when they hit you. This is overlooked though with all the other great qualties of the game, mainly the 3D aspect. There is also an option to gain points by shaking the Wiimote as you're jumping on enemies. This increases your score and is good for leveling up.
Replay value: Low to Medium, there are some things you can go back to in the passed levels, and you can collect cards or get the town cook to make you different things, but so far I don't know if I'll pick it up again any time soon.
Learning Curve: Easy
+ Varied gameplay (Different Pixls)
+ Constant surprises (There were so many moments where I was caught off gaurd with the gameplay and just smiled)
- Sound of low HP is like nails on a chalkboard
- Low storage space to hold things
Summary: I really enjoyed this game, the story the characters, the interactivity and switching between Pixls. The cons about this game are pretty minimal, and if anything are just me being picky, but they're more of a FYI for those who wanted to know.
Pictures from Amazon.ca