Paper Mario Color Splash for the Wii U is now in stores and this title pairs old and new elements that come together to bring an enjoyable experience, for both newcomers and fans of the franchise.
In Paper Mario Color Splash, we return to the Mushroom Kingdom and find out that Toad has had the colour sucked out of him (literally). A scared Princess Peach goes to Mario for help and later discovers that the culprit is on Prism Island. Upon arriving on the island they notice Toad wasn’t the only one drained of colour, as the environment and residents are all blank pieces of paper. In order to save the princess’ sidekick and the rest of the world, Mario teams up with familiar and new friends to reclaim the Big Paint Stars that are the keys to restoring colour back to their world.
Paper Mario Color Splash brings the familiarity of the first Paper Mario, by using 2D animation that shines on the Wii U. This game looks beautiful on the Wii U continues to use its unique paper inspired animation style to attract gamers. In addition to the style, we also see the return of the classic Mario humour that sometimes is cheesy but never disappoints to grab a few laughs from players. The dialogue works well in combination with the battle system, since it allows for characters’ quirks to play-out during battle. Having these elements make a return to this title brings back the nostalgia and some of the magic of the previous titles.
One of the most interesting new features of the game is the way that Nintendo uses the idea of colour and incorporates into how you play the game. This time around Mario meets Huey, who’s a paint can and a new ally, that acts as a guardian of Prism Island’s colour supply. Mario uses him to attack enemies and restore colour to the world but like any paint can, paint eventually runs out. To refill Huey, Mario uses his hammer and hits objects that haven’t had their colour drained. From there, paintballs appear around the objects you hit and Mario collects them to refill Huey. With this it forces players to keep an eye on their paint meter, which tracks the amount of paint Huey has, and makes it a bit challenging when you’re fighting bosses. This helps add more depth to the game and you’ll have a ton of fun running around hammer crazed hitting everything.
Color Splash’s battle system also carries an element of painting. The battle system is based on action cards that you can use to attack, but some cards are missing their colour and therefore have less attack damage. The game allows players to restore these cards’ colour in the midst of battle. On the gamepad you pick the card you’re playing then it prompts you to paint the card, by moving your finger back and forth over the card until colour restores. Although it’s a bit unnecessary this is a unique way the game tries to incorporate the gamepad.
The downside is the game doesn’t do a great job creating an in-depth story like that the first Paper Mario. Instead it defaults to the typical Mario story of Bowser being the main villain. Even though previous titles did have Bowser as an enemy he usually wasn’t the main boss. Introducing new villains gave the franchise the ability to dive deep into newer characters back stories. It’s unfortunate that doesn’t happen in Color Splash because it really brought something refreshing to Paper Mario that stood out from other Mario titles.
Overall Paper Mario: Color Splash doesn’t exactly quite live up to the success of the first installment; however it’s an enjoyable game that is fun to play. Fans of the franchise looking to get that return to the original RPG elements that Paper Mario for the N64 had will not get that. Instead they will get typical Mario story that has the humour, animation style and familiar action RPG gameplay that stood out in earlier titles. This in itself is still a good time.
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