Paper Mario

Cool factor 5/5
Usability 3/5
Value for money 4/5

Nintendo’s new lockdown delight comes in the form of Paper Mario: The Origami King for the Nintendo Switch, the sixth game in its ongoing series.

Our review copy of the game came with sheets of origami, which you’re meant to use to fold the characters in the game.

The story starts with Mario and Luigi on their way to Princess Peach’s castle to attend the Origami festival. Soon, they figure out that something isn’t right: the town is deserted, and Princess Peach has been brainwashed and turned into origami by King Olly. Bowser has been folded into a square; his minions have been turned into the Folded Soldiers, and the toads have suffered the same fate.

Mario rescues Bowser and Olivia, King Olly’s sister. But they all get separated after Olly rips the castle, wraps it in multicoloured paper streamers and transports it to a volcano. You really get into the adventure when Mario and Olivia end up in a forest and begin the journey to make things right.

As a player, I loved collecting confetti by hammering trees and plants — it felt strangely therapeutic. In this game, the confetti is used to repair holes and tears in your environment, and it’s a valuable resource which earns you coins throughout the game.

The origami characters fit in with the surroundings. The overall graphics and dialogue are done well, which is probably why I took an unnecessary number of screenshots along the way.

You get to use Mario’s "1,000-fold arms" during gameplay, which has you tilting and moving the Switch console around to grab things, even though it seems silly. There are new tools and tricks to help you along the way.

The game also features new ring-based battles that have enemies lined up, but you have to strategise in a way that ensures you inflict maximum damage. You need to solve puzzles quickly, and attack at the right moment.

The storyline may not be too inventive, but it’s centred on a beloved character that recently turned 35 years old. This comedy-filled adventure is witty, entertaining, challenging and therapeutic. It offers the perfect bit of escapism, pandemic or not.

The game costs R1,199 on the Nintendo eShop.

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