Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam

Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam successfully shows that these universes can exist together, but never reaches the same acclaim as past Mario RPG games

By Grayshadow, Posted 03 Feb 2016

The Mario & Luigi RPG and Paper Mario series have always existed in separate universe, now in Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam these two distinct franchises have now combined into one game. Both Paper Mario and the Mario & Luigi signature styles are present here, everything from the insanely over the top attacks to the strange paper mechanics. They blend so well together despite coming from distinct worlds, it’s a shame that the game is heavily padded with boring mini-games. However despite this Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam successfully shows that these universes can exist together, but never reaches the same acclaim as past Mario RPG games.

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The story of Paper Jam is simply. Luigi accidentally opens a portal between the two worlds and now it’s up to Mario, Luigi, and Paper Mario to restore order. One major addition to the formula is the ability to speed-up certain cutscenes, allowing you to get back into the action quickly. This new mechanic should be a new norm for future games.

One major issue of Mario & Luigi: Dream Team was the soundtrack. Most of the tracks in Dream Team were dry and boring, unlike Inside Bowser Story or SuperStar Saga. Paper Jam has a terrific original score, each promoting a surge of intensity when a boss battle ensues or traveling throughout the landscape.

Speaking of landscape, most of Paper Jam’s location are diverse but not teeming with a lot to explore. Outside from the occasional hidden command block the environments seem lacking when compared to other Mario RPG titles. At times I found myself vexingly explore empty spaces for just extra coins.

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The classic components that make up the Mario and Luigi dialogue is still here. Mario and Luigi speak in stereotypical Italian, Toads shout in their iconic yells and Paper Mario uses body language to convey most of his statements. However the comedic value of Paper Jam is seldom, with the two Bowsers stealing most of the show. Seeing the two attempt to maintain their fragile alliance when the highlight of the entire game. Many of the interactions that didn’t include the two Koopa Kings were average at best.

The interaction between the two worlds is excellently done, especially in combat. Most of the challenges comes from during battles. Successful fights require rhythmic timing of attacks to land critical hits and studying the enemies animations to know when to dodge and counterattack. Special attacks are tailored between the two worlds, allowing for some creative special abilities that require the same precise button commands. This time however you have to control Mario, Luigi and Paper Mario. While Mario and Luigi control the same as other Mario RPG games Paper Mario can copy himself. With each copy Paper Mario’s basic attacks grow stronger, and he loses one copy when damaged.

New additions to the combat system enhance the experience. Gone are badges, instead a new card system has taken its place. With it players can build their own decks, which are randomly selected during combat, and activating cards using stars that are earned during fights. Cards can increase speed, attack power and offer many other advantages. It’s a upgrade from the badge system, giving players more options of which upgrade to take.

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Giant Paper Mech battles are the biggest addition to Paper Jam. Unlike Inside Bowser’s Story or Dream Team these battles thankfully don’t take advantage of the touch-screen controls. Instead players must use their giant paper warrior to destroy the enemies paper mechs. It’s a fun diversion that effectively breaks up the gameplay. Especially from all the Toad Hunting.

One of the biggest issues with Paper Jam is the upsetting amount of padding, specially locating Paper Toads. During certain parts of the game players must locate missing Paper Toads in order to progress. At first these missions are fun distractions but eventually the frequent nature of these missions begin to weigh in. These are too many and not space out well enough, at times I would hope that I wasn’t going to have to engage in another one of these annoying missions.

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Incredible combat and occasional funny dialogue elevates Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam to new heights but the issues prevent the game from reaching greatness. Toad Hunts, average story and bland environments ensures that Paper Mario’s first experience within the 3D realm is a forgettable one.

Adam Siddiqui, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): 3DS
Publisher(s): Nintendo
Developer(s): Nintendo
Genres: RPG, Action-Adventure,
Themes: RPG
Release Date:

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