3DS owners look out! Mario is back and Luigi’s seeing double. As the fifth installment in Alpha Dream’s Mario and Luigi series of Role-Playing Games, Mario and Luigi Paper Jam has big shoes to fill. But those shoes become bigger when the crossover game incorporates elements from the popular Paper Mario series. Fans of both will be drawn to the unique visual style and upbeat comical writing. But they may be slightly confused and even somewhat disappointed by the lackluster storyline.
Paper Jam begins with Luigi tipping over a book that unleashes the denizens of Paper Mario’s own Mushroom Kingdom, into the “real world.” Two Princess Peach’s, two Marios, and-you guessed it-two Bowsers. Now a trio of heroes with their Star Sprite guide must pursue and defeat this koopa alliance.
To be blunt, you don’t play a Mario game for its story. That’s simply a fact. But one would play this game for its vibrant worlds, and yes, it’s stellar combat. This simple and easy to grasp RPG system gets shaken up with even more quick time reflexive action. Using the A button to control Mario, the B button to control Luigi, and the Y button to control Paper Mario, there are numerous dynamic combinations. But the game avoids feeling too fast thanks to its turn based restrictions. You never lose the elements that make it a Mario game, but the RPG traits are woven in, in a way that feels authentic, effective, and most of all consistent.
As I previously mentioned, this game gains quite a bit from its beautiful environments. While it rehashes a lot of the themes of previous Mario games, each area has a good combination of paper and cardboard environment pieces, and rounded pieces to match the style of the game’s main setting. This is complemented by the comfortable overworld controls. Worried that controlling the jumps for three characters might feel clunky or weird? The X button serves as a simultaneous jump for the brothers, even giving a bit of a flutter.
Arguably this game’s greatest trait, is its humorous writing. From the Paper Toads that crowd the world to Bowser and his baddie crew, you’re never short of a few laughs. Even a real and paper princess bonding over the tedious nature of Bowser’s kidnapping tactics. When you see Bowser Jr. and Paper Bowser Jr. start hanging out, your heart will melt. It may be the cutest thing ever. The only character who allows their dialogue to fall flat is Starlow, but that may be my bias, as I’m team Luigi, and Starlow’s vocal disdain tends to irritate me.
To conclude, while elements of the Mario and Luigi series are lost in Paper Jam, new elements take their place, and make for a very powerful experience. More characters, more personalities, more clever writing. This is without a doubt one of the 3DS’s better experiences, recommended for anyone looking for a fun, light-hearted, simple role playing adventure.
If you haven’t gathered it by now, I’m a bit of a Nintendo fan. That will become more clear as time goes on. But I am still very much immersed in every aspect of the video game medium. Just because I like Nintendo doesn’t mean I will overlook crucial flaws in their game design either. I am here to objectively review games based on design principles.
Thank you all for reading this review of Mario and Luigi: Paper Jam, and come back soon for more from the GAME ROOM!!!