Well, this has been coming for a while. I've always wanted to talk about this game ever since it came out and its inception. As many of you or don't know, Super Paper Mario was originally going to be on the Nintendo Gamecube back in the day. But then, some complications arose and with the Nintendo Wii on the scene, they switched over and reworked the system there.
This is unlike Paper Mario 64 of The Thousand Year Door, obviously. But how does it hold up? Let's dive right in shall we?
WARNING: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS.
Our story begins with a narrator telling us the story of love, the end of all worlds and tragedy. Right off the bat, something isn't right. Bowser and Princess Peach are getting married by a mysterious individual named Count Bleck, along with his assistant Nastasia who has the ability to hypnotize and brainwash people. This will become important later.
With the vows exchanged, it was all a ruse for some corrupt ritual to summon the Chaos Heart. An instrument of destruction needed for a universal apocalypse. When a person of pure evil and one of pure good marry or fall in love, they create a Chaos Heart. This is exactly what Count Bleck needs, but Luigi arrives and see's the twisted marriage ceremony underway and tries to stop it, unknowingly bouncing on the Chaos Heart, a connection made.
But it amounted to nothing as we start the story proper with Mario and Luigi lazing around, wondering what they could do. I also like we see pictures of Mario's old partners in the background along with the magical map. Very nice. Suddenly, Toad, and only Toad, comes running and informs the Mario Bros. that Peach is kidnapped once again.
Luigi deduces that Bowser is behind and stormed the fortress... or rather, just walk in because some moron left it unlocked. However, much to their confusion, Bowser doesn't have her and was just starting a scheme when Count Bleck appears with Peach and sets up the prologue from earlier.
Mario tries to fight the evil count but is easily deflected by a protective barrier and knocked out. When he comes to, he finds a rainbow butterfly named Tippi, who is revealed to be a Pixl. Pixl's are ancient beings created by, well, The Ancients. She transports Mario from his home to another dimension called Flipside on a tall tower. We then meet Merlon who informs Mario that he's the chosen hero of the Light Prognosticus, a book that foresees the future to achieve a happy ending.
Count Bleck has the opposite, the Dark Prognostics that foresees the end of all worlds and unhappy endings that transpired before. From there, time is ticking as a void appears in the sky of all the worlds you go to. As time passes, it grows bigger and not even Merlon knows what size it is actually or how near or far it is.
Mario agrees to help but in order to stop Count Bleck from destroying all worlds, he needs to gather eight Pure Hearts, sacred heart's with the power of kindness and love. Yes, yes, it's cheesy I know. But it makes sense later. Merlon gives the first one and tells Mario to put in a Pure Heart Pillar which opens a door to another world to find the others.
We then meet our organization that Count Bleck is the leader of. We have a jester assassin named Dimentio who is always smiling and is calm and collected. He also spouts some weird similes when he tries to make a point or throw people off. We also have O'Chunks who is a Scottish warrior who relies on brute force and muscle. He's dumb, but he does have a kind heart deep inside.
Then we have Mimi who is revealed to be a shapeshifter. She's a spoiled girl who writes in her diary and is obsessed with rubies. It also seems to imply she has a crush on the Count, so does Nastasia. Once Count Bleck is informed of the First Hero, he sends O'Chunks to deal with him while Dimentio tags along to enjoy the show. Mario journeys through the plains and learns the power of THREEEEEE-DEEEE!!! ... *ahem* Yes.
You see, every world is on a 2D Plane and some things are hidden, but only Mario can do it, the special snowflake that he is. Anyways, they journey through Yold Town and make it the Yold Desert where a descendant of the Ancients is there along with a Pure Heart.
Mario also gets his first Pixl named Thoreau. ... Do you get it? It's... it's Throw. Yeah. So, they arrive and get ambushed by O'Chunks who get's beaten easily and flees for now, then they come upon a guardian named Fracktail, a cyber dragon made by the Ancients. Once he recognizes Mario as the chosen here, he allows passage. But Dimentio arrives and with a literal snap of his fingers, uses his magic to infect Fracktail with a malicious virus and fights Mario and Tippi.
With Fracktail defeated, he regrets that he was powerless and makes sure that Mario doesn't allow this sort of chaos to happen before he dies. They meet a descendent of the Ancients Merlumina and are given the Pure Heart. A new world opens up leading to Merlee's Mansion who has a Pure Heart for safekeeping, also as descendent. Are you seeing a pattern here?
This time Count Bleck sends Mimi to the mansion, and we also see Princess Peach surrounded by brainwashed minions of Bowser. But before she's captured by them and Nastasia, she's teleported away from Bleck's castle and back to Flipside. How peculiar...
Mario and Peach reunite and is revealed to be the Second Hero of the Light Prognosticus, they make their way and enter Merlee's Mansion and encounter Mimi under the guise of a maid. She tries every trick in the book. Fake prizes, a huge debt of 10,000 rubies, and even forces people in labor. Yeah, this shit get's dark really quickly! They eventually find out Merlee's trapped and Mimi was planted as a spy, and she's trapped in... the... bathroom. Hm.
We then have a pointless quiz show that amounts to nothing as regardless, Mimi reveals herself. What's disturbing about her is that she has a grotesque transformation. She snaps her neck, her head spins upside down and she grows spider legs from her head.
In fact, if you go 3D, she has gears inside her head. What the hell even is this girl? Not even the characters know. Anyways, with Mimi beaten, Merlee gives the heroes the Pure Heart and leave. Count Bleck is now slightly worried that Mario and Peach are getting close to their goal. But not as much, as he's confident his role will be successful. He orders Dimentio to stop the heroes again and actually fight them in the next world they go, much to the jester's delight.
We then cut to Luigi also trapped in the castle and joined by minions of Bowser who haven't been brainwashed. This is all rendered moot though as they're captured and Luigi's fate is unknown for now. Another side effect from the Pure Hearts is that Tippi has memories of a certain someone from the past.
But we don't have time for that as the Void slightly grows, much to Merlon and the heroes dismay. They journeyed to the third world as everything is pixilated like an NES game. But Tippi get's captured by a nerdy chameleon named Francis who's obsessed with butterflies and girls. Mario and Peach give chase as another Pixl in hiding informs them that he's going back to his home in a castle called Fort Francis. How original.
They eventually encounter Bowser and the rest of his minions who managed to escape somehow from Count Bleck. Mario and Bowser fight and they inform him that if Count Bleck succeeds, he won't have a world to rule and no Princess by his side. Angered and blackmailed, he joins up and is revealed to the Third Hero.
They make their way inside the fortress and a weird... Dating Sim happens between Peach and Francis. ... Yeah, I... I don't know. They fight and save Tippi, and through her kindness and happiness, creates a Pure Heart. Earlier, they also encounter Dimentio and fight him in a dimension he created called Dimension D.
He explains that he's more powerful here and that any attack is 256 times stronger. Unfortunately, in his gleeful moment and haste, he forgot that if he's strong here, so do the heroes. He realizes his mistake and covers it up as "Just as planned!" Yeah, sure it was. But then it's revealed he's testing them for something against Count Bleck. This will be explained further.
Apologies if this is a mouthful and a lot of text. There is a LOT of plot in this game. Anyways, they arrive back to Flipside and go through the next world only to wind up in... Outer space? Uh-oh. They can't breathe and immediately transported back. They need a helmet to survive space and the lack of air.
So they grab some kid's fishbowl, set the fishy free and use it as a space helmet. It even changes size for Bowser. Isn't that nice? I'm also sure that's not how that works, but we live in a Paper Universe so fuck it. Why not? They travel in the vastness of space and meet an alien named Squirps who knows about the heroes and where the Pure Heart is.
Squirps informs the heroes that they must reach the space graveyard known as the Whoa Zone, a labyrinth and place where fallen people and creatures are eventually put to rest. No, this isn't gonna turn into Resident Evil, relax. They are just one room away from where the Pure Heart is when they hear a voice that sounds strangely familiar.
They meet a man who's garbed in black and green, almost looking like a bandit with his face masked. He introduces himself as Mr.L. ... Okay, I know this is gonna be a HUGE spoiler, but... He's Luigi brainwashed by Nastasia. OH NOEZ! I ruined it all! ... It was rather fucking obvious, and yet, it doesn't occur to the heroes and Tippi that he has the same voice as Luigi, dresses in green and can jump higher than Mario? Nothing? No? Derp.
They beat him and reveals a machine he created called Brobot, a giant luigi head that shoots missiles and fire. And somehow we're in outer space again. Okay. Turns out, Luigi's a badass mechanic, who knew? They destroy the machine as Mr.L runs off. They go inside the room and see a golden statue of an older Squirps but female.
They then realize, that's his departed mother and she was the queen of Squirpia and that Squirps is a prince. He's been tasked by his mother and those from long ago to pass the Pure Heart to heroes when the end is near. It's very sad as Squirps sleeps next to the statue. Awww...
Another memory occurs as it's revealed that a man and woman from different tribes and lives fell in love after she saved the man after he fell from a cliff. From there, it was love at first sight as they were fascinated with each other and their cultures. Meanwhile, the minions and Count Bleck are introduced to Mr.L as O'Chunks is sent to the next world while Dimentio deals with his own secret plans.
They're told to place the Pure Heart in another pillar, but wait. All of them have been filled! But thanks to a Pixl they acquired named Fleep, he can uncover cracks in certain places and reveal pathways and items. There's another entrance to somehow and they come across... a dark Flipside? What the hell? Turns out, this is Flopside as certain characters have different fates and lives. Even the tower is different.
Whereas Flipside's was white, Flopside's tower is black. They even have another Merlon named Nolrem who has been informed by the heroes arrival and new Pure Heart pillars are located here. Turns out, there are actually two towns coexisting with each other. Who'd a thunk? They explore the world known as the Land of Cragnons which is basically the prehistoric age with stone radios, TV's and cameras and stuff. It's weird. Also they say crag about everything.
Dear God, it's like the Smurfs all over again... And they also say brah and stuff. Lovely. They encounter the Kolardo/Flavio of the game named Flint Cragley who's an explorer/daredevil who wants to bring excitement to the Cragnon's lives. However, Floro Sapiens have kidnapped and brainwashed Cragons into slaves and they meet O'Chunks and Dimentio again.
O'Chunks is beaten again and wishes to have his Game Ended. Yeah, that's just a safe and Nintendo way of saying to end his life because he brought shame. Dimentio tricks O'Chunks into using the brainwashing method that the Floro Sapiens have and make him stronger. But the heroes still beat him as the jester remarks on how they've grown strong in such a short amount of time.
They encounter the ruler of the Floro Sapiens named King Croacus the IV, who has grown insane and seemed to be crazy about making things clean, shiny and beautiful. They fight and as the King wilts, the Floro Sapiens reveal that he wasn't like this nor are the Floro Sapiens are evil. They're pissed off because the Cragnons have polluted the water with the trash they threw away and caused him to be insane.
Flint Cragley hearing this and recording the events inform the people to not do this again or else this nightmare will repeat. And it works. As an apology, the Floro Sapiens told Mario and the heroes that just like Squirps, Croacus was waiting for the heroes to take the Pure Heart when the worlds are ending.
By now, Count Bleck is slightly panicking as the heroes are growing closer and the Prophecy of Destruction is going off coarse a bit. He takes matters into his own hands and goes to the next world as the minions are ordered to man the fort. Bored and disappointed, Dimentio appears and manipulates Mimi and Mr.L to leave as he starts his next scheme.
They arrive back and go to the sixth world called Sammer's Kingdom. The most annoying place to ever visit. I'll get to this much later. Basically it's Feudal Japan and its ruled by King Sammer. In order to get the Pure Heart, they must battle 100 Sammer Guys, warriors chosen by the King himself for a tournament. Yes. Really.
However, Tippi and the others noticed that the Void is way bigger compared to other worlds which is strange. We then encounter King Sammer at Sammer Guy 22 who just... wants to give us the Pure Heart. Wait, what? Nope. Turns out it's Mimi of course. Really should have learned from Merlee's Mansion.
They fight and it was revealed to be a distraction as the world grows unstable as earthquakes start and the Void grows bigger. As it's nearing the end, Count Bleck appears and tells them that Sammer Kingdom was doomed from the very beginning and says that all worlds needs to have their happiness and light away.
Tippi responds back at how he can be so cruel and leave the worlds to ruin. Count Bleck suddenly grows quiet and lowers his hat, mumbling about a woman he searched and searched but never found her. A woman he loved long ago named Timpani. Thinking she was dead, he donned the mantle of Count Bleck and became the Destroyer of Worlds. He then leaves as Mario, Peach and Bowser escape.
Merlon, worried, asks the party about what happened and where the Pure Heart is. They go back inside and to their horror. It's all wiped out. Bits and pieces of Sammer's Kingdom are strewn about and it's all a white void. No sound, no air, nothing. The world had been erased and shows that Count Bleck was serious.
After a long walk, they see Mr.L steal the Pure Heart now turned to stone and fight again. Defeated, he uses an upgraded model of Brobot called Brobot L Type. It's just a head with hands and shoes now. But Mr.L is beaten again and remarks why he was beaten twice despite his machines and skills? Tippi puts it best, he's weak and relies on others and machines to help him and never get better.
Frustrated, he tosses the stone Pure Heart aside, seeing it's useless and runs off. Stuck, they return back to Flipside to inform Merlon about what happened, meanwhile, Dimentio arrives and chastises Mr.L about getting his ass kicked twice in a row in such a short time. However, he tries to kill Mr.L much to his surprise.
The jester coolly and responds that if he went missing or fell in combat, nobody would search or care about him. He then traps the betrayed minion in a box and blows him up, killing him. Back at Merlon's house, even he's stumped as to how to revive an ancient device back to life. Dimentio arrives and traps the heroes and kills them as well, save for Tippi and Merlon of course.
So you mean to tell me that Count Bleck and the minions could just teleport here then? Okay then. Dimentio explains that he sent Mario, Peach and Bowser to the next world along with the stone Pure Heart in Mario's possession. And apparently throughout the game, he and Tippi have a history for some reason, but never explained or eleborated.
Insert Game Theory Here
Mario wakes and is in this spooky dark place called the Underwhere, a place where people have Ended their Games. Basically Hell. He's then informed by fallen spirits called Shaydes that he must seek an audience with the ruler named Queen Jaydes. Mario arrives and has been judge pure of heart (heh) and presents the stone Pure Heart to her, much to the Queen's surprise.
She revives it and then brings Mario back to life and reunites with Tippi and Merlon. But what a second, where are Peach and Bowser? It seems they were separated when Dimentio killed them. Mario places the Pure Heart which takes them back to... the Underwhere. ... What was the point in sending us back? I guess to put the Pure Heart in place, but, eh.
Mario arrives back and also encounters Luigi who's free from being brainwashed and doesn't remember about what happened. Turns out, he's our Fourth Hero. They're back with Queen Jaydes who's surprise to see them come back and makes a realization, they're the heroes of the Light Prognosticus.
The Pure Heart is located in the Overthere, basically Heaven, governed by Grambi. He and Jaydes have grown close and are also entrusted to escort a Nimbi named Luvbi back to the Overthere and also warned that an evil demon has broken loose in the depths of the Underwhere.
They climb out of the Underwhere... They really couldn't come up with another name? Seriously? Anyways, and meet up with Bowser and beat him up for being an angry dumbass. If Bowser was here, then that meant that Peach was in the Overthere, and she was! However, she ate one of the sacred apples and fell into a deep sleep. By using a forbidden apple, she wakes up and now they have four heroes, yay!
They make it further into the Overthere and hell literally breaks loose. A bunch of skull demons are on the loose and Grambi is powerless before a creature known as Bonechill, an ice demon dragon that Jaydes warned about. He seeks the Pure Heart to use it for his evil purposes and to conquer to living realm.
It's then revealed that Luvbi was a Pure Heart turned into a Nimbi for protection and given sentience by Grambi and Jaydes. Mario and the others fight Bonechill as he's defeated and sent back to where he belongs and trapped again. Grambi and Jaydes confess that what the demon said is all true, but they loved and treated her as the daughter they never had.
Luvbi loves them both and transforms into a Pure Heart, and with a bittersweet conclusion, takes the final Pure Heart which leads to Count Bleck's castle. From there, Tippi regains all of her memories and remembers a man he cared for named Blumiere. Back at Castle Bleck, Count Bleck is now stuck when the heroes are reunited and are approaching quickly.
The minions take their places but before Dimentio leaves, he tells Count Bleck's real name who grow horrified and angered. He demands to know where the jester learned of this and responds by saying he heard it from Tippi and leaves, leaving Count Bleck confused over what he should do now.
Mario and the others arrive at the castle as one by one, they sacrifice themselves to battle against the minions. Bowser with O'Chunks in holding up a ceiling trap, and Peach and Mimi as the floor gives way and holding onto dear life. Leaving with just the Pixl's, Tippi and Mario and Luigi, they encounter Dimentio and leads them back through the worlds they've been to in a game of Tag.
The chase ends as Dimentio finally reveals his true intentions. He wants to betray Count Bleck after he overheard the Count rambling to himself about leaving all the worlds in ruin after it's destroyed. They joined because they wanted a perfect world to be happy. Tippi is even more horrified hearing Count Bleck's real plan and wonders why the jester is telling them all of this.
Dimentio wants to betray Count Bleck so he could create HIS perfect world. He's also the one who freed Peach and Bowser from Count Bleck and Nastasia, killed Mr.L so Luigi can be back to normal, and killed the heroes so the Pure Heart can be revived and journey into the Overthere. Dimentio had been secretly testing and helping the heroes from behind the scenes.
But he's not a good person, oh no. He wants to enslave the Mario Bros. as his puppets while Count Bleck is taken care of. They refused and goads Luigi to battle as Mario goes on ahead, with the jester defeated after a lengthy battle, he traps himself and Luigi inside a magic box and blows themself up, laughing insanely all the while.
With just Mario and Tippi alone, they make it to Count Bleck and here's the reveal with all the memories and who Blumiere is. Count Bleck and Blumiere are the same person, and Tippi is Lady Timpani who got cursed into becoming a Pixl.
Long ago, Timpani and Blumiere fell in love after Timpani healed him after he fell off a cliff. They've eventually grew close and bonded and realized they wanted to be away from stuffy traditions and just be happy and normal. However, Blumiere's father wouldn't allow it and banished Timpani from their dimension and told his son to move on and take his responsibilities seriously as a member of Tribe of Darkness.
Angry and heartbroken, he opens the Dark Prognosticus and goes insane. He discards the name Blumiere and addresses himself as Count Bleck, killing his father and destroying his old world. He never thought that his love had survived until Dimentio confirmed it, Tippi tells him to stop and reform, but Count Bleck has gone too far and must obey what's written down.
They fight and are immediately powerless, however, Peach, Bowser and Luigi are revealed to be alive and with their combined might, the Pure Hearts are activated and dispel his barrier. After a long battle, Count Bleck is defeated and explains after he lost Timpani, nothing mattered in the world and has given up. He wanted to die. Nastasia who stayed behind shielded the Count from a magical attack that's revealed to be Dimentio, also alive!
Wait, what? All of it was a ruse from the very beginning, it's then revealed that HE was the prophesised person who destroys all the worlds. And Luigi has been the chosen sacrifice for the Chaos Heart after he jumped on it. With it, he becomes Super Dimentio and with just this monster's presence, more worlds have begun to get erased. They attempt to fight the evil jester when none of their attacks work. Count Bleck, Tippi and the surviving minions give Count Bleck hope that they would stay behind him and make Dimentio pay for using them.
The Pure Hearts are revived and used their newfound power to dispel Super Dimentio's barrier. Mario and the others defeated him as Dimentio reveals he left a shadow of his power in case he ever fell, that the Chaos Heart will do the work when he dies. And this is the last time we'll see this insane jester ever again and Luigi is freed. Count Bleck has a plan and takes the group back where it all began, the chapel from the beginning when he organized the fake wedding.
Count Bleck and Tippi exchange their vows and explain that true love counteracts the Chaos Heart's power and influence. They say their vows and love each other, activating the Pure Hearts once more and destroy the Chaos Heart, but Count Bleck and Tippi are nowhere to be found.
With the Chaos Heart destroyed, the Void disappears and the worlds have been brought back. Mario and the group head back to Flipside and encounter Merlon, who then explain what happened. Saddened by Count Bleck's and Tippi's sacrifice, Peach then says that they're still out there, in their own perfect world. Happy and free.
And from there, they celebrate with a feast before heading back to their home dimension. And the tale ends and the Dark Prognosticus was never heard from ever again. We then see at the end silhouettes of Count Bleck and Timpani as a human on a grassy hill, showing that they are alive and happy.
Phew... that took a while to explain the plot. But there you go. Is it perfect? Eh... not really. There are some flaws of course. But let's get to the gameplay first, it plays exactly like Super Mario Bros. Everything is 2D and thanks to Mario's flipping powers, you can switch from 2D to a 3D view. But it's on a time limit and once the meter goes down, Mario takes 1 damage and the meter refills.
Tippi can examine poeple, locales and objects when you point the Wii Remote on the screen, also uncovering secret doors and platforms that are invisible. Peach can jump and float using her parasol over large gaps. Bowser can breathe fire and rake in the damage. Luigi's high jump can get over hard to reach places and deal damage. And that's it.
By getting stronger, you earn points. These points are your experience. It levels up in order. HP and then attack. What brings this down, is that you have four characters to work with, which involves constantly switching them. As for the Pixls? They bring you different abilities. One to grab and throw things, one that is a bomb, one that can platform across spikes, etc.
When you meet them, they have their unique personality and characteristics. Afterwards, they're silent and never comment what's happening which is strange. Another thing, after the end of the game, you're brought back to Flipside for some reason. Also, Luvbi comes back to life with zero explanation. So yeah, that sad moment is rendered pointless because: "Oh, hey guys! She didn't really die and turn into a Pure Heart permanently, she's all fine now!"
Plus, there are many times the game will annoy you. You have the Land of Cragnons with the Cragnons themselves and doing stupid shit just to uncover where the Pure Heart is, and then there's Sammer's Kingdom. You have to go through 100 Sammer Guys to get the ultimate reward of... Cards. Just... just character cards of your partners from Paper Mario 64 and The Thousand Year Door. Do they do something? Nope! Just for collection. It wasn't worth it.
Then you have Flipside and Flopside's Pit of 100 Trials. Yes, we have three of the fucking things! What's worse, one of the Pit's has to be gone through TWICE. Because the boss won't show themselves unless you go through it again. Mmmgh! That's-a-good game design. So, what's the rewards here? One is a Pixl named Dashell which allows you to run fast. Cool. And the other are character cards of the main cast that do something!
Mario's is an infinite flip meter. Peach is increased durability, Bowser's attacks increased by two times, and Luigi's jump attack deals more damage. And that's it. Also, the game is really easy as far as "combat" goes. I.E, just jump on things and make them dead. That's the game. There really is nothing else to talk about, but the writing and mature theme is good. ... At some places.
For some bizarre reason, they decide textbox sound as loud as possible. I'm not sure why. But as far as the sounds and quality is concerned, it's great.
This is where it really excels. The music is a mix of synth and some orchestral pieces. It shows the quirky weirdness that Paper Mario's known for, but also the tragedy and love that it has in the story. The music's great.
It can be fun at certain points in the game, but will I ever go back and do all the stuff like Sammer's Kingdom and the Pits? Not really, no. It's absolutely maddening and ultimately, pointless unless you're a completionist in which case, you poor, poor bastards. Good luck.
FINAL THOUGHTS AND SCORE
This is certainly a change from Paper Mario 64 and The Thousand Year Door. But it still retains some RPG elements like the plot and the point system. Is it a good game? Yes and no. Just like The Thousand Year Door, it has some problems and flaws. Too much backtracking, the game annoys you at certain points, and plotholes arise. But all in all, it's not a bad game. Just different.
My final score is...
A good rating? Shocking, I know. This is a decent entry in the series and the last we'll ever see creativity ever again because after this we have Sticker Star which I already reviewed. And with that, I shall conclude this review like a student finishing their thesis. Until then... farewell.