Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Jun 122020

Now it’s time for a break from our Not-E3 coverage for news that isn’t from an E3 replacement… although if Nintendo had its usual Nintendo Direct this year, it very well could have been.

Today, Nintendo dropped an almost 6-minute overview trailer for Paper Mario: The Origami King.

After the initial trailer left people cautiously optimistic, we were all waiting for a better look at the game to answer the numerous questions the reveal left us with.

I figured a solid look at the game would help me make up my mind, but instead I’m more conflicted than ever.

The main questions after the reveal trailer were:

  1. Is Origami King an RPG?
  2. Are partners really back and will they fight in combat?
  3. Are attacks consumable items?
  4. Is “paper” still a major focus of the game?
  5. Will it have a good story?

So let’s take a look at the trailer and see which of these questions we can answer now.

It begins with a summary of the game’s premise, then gets into more specific details. Seeing Mario patch a hole with confetti right ahead of the narrator saying this game takes place in “the paper-crafted universe of the Paper Mario series” is a good sign that yep, they’re still obsessed with paper.

The environments look interesting, although I hope you can interact with NPCs in that oasis town.

About a minute and a half into the trailer, it gets into the question of Origami King’s partners. After Olivia, who appears to be the primary partner a la Tippi/Kersti/Huey, it introduces some others. The Bob-omb, who had everyone curious due to him appearing in multiple environments yet not having a name, is revealed to have amnesia. I suppose that’s why he introduces himself as Bob-omb. The trailer calls him Bobby.

Then there’s a Toad professor named, uh… Professor Toad. Really? They couldn’t give him a name?

And of course, Kamek, since Mario seems to be teaming up with some of Bowser’s allies.

So, will partners fight in combat? According to the trailer, “some of them” will.

The combat system itself looks like it could be okay. It’s not a traditional turn-based combat system, but instead has a puzzle component where you rotate rings to line enemies up. Unfortunately, we see the conclusion of a battle this time, and it shows Mario getting rewarded with coins, so I think there’s a very good chance Origami King does not have experience or leveling up.

Then… we have the bosses.

When I heard the words “Legion of Stationary,” I had a moment of excitement. Had they really introduced not only a new villain, but an entire cast of new villains? Then I saw that the colored pencils shown a moment ago were one of them, and my excitement plummeted into dismay.

Colored Pencils, Rubber Band, and Tape are our villains.

Yes, the bosses include a set of colored pencils and a tape dispenser.

I… I just don’t get it. They’re tripling down on the paper obsession! Remember when the paper aspect of Paper Mario was largely an aesthetic that only came into play from time to time? Now it’s like it’s the whole point! Why are we fighting tape?!

Ahem. Boss battles themselves sound interesting, since they seems to transform the battle into a mini board game puzzle where you have to get Mario close to the boss in order to fight.

Then the trailer shows how you’ll need to find lost, folded Toads and unfold them, because Toad-finding has become another obsession for some reason. Even the narrator lampshades it with the “This is a Toad” speech. Hopefully they’ll at least have funny personalities.

Some more gameplay elements are shown in a Japanese video, including Professor Toad using an ability in the environment and Olivia transforming into a giant turtle for a super attack.

The exploration, mini-games, and other gameplay elements seem like they could be fun, but there’s still so much about Origami King that has me shaking my head.

But wait, there’s more! In addition to the trailers, Nintendo UK’s website has been updated with more Origami King details.

It describes it as a “tear-able” comedic adventure, so I think we know what tone this game is going for.

Now, the story section introduces the main characters, with a paragraph devoted to Mario, Olivia, Olly, Peach, Bowser, Luigi, the Folded Soldiers, and the Toads. A second section talks about the partners, saying “they’ll join you for a time.” This probably means they aren’t permanent companions like in past Paper Mario games, although Bobby might be an exception to that since he’s been consistently shown in multiple areas.

The gameplay section introduces the confetti feature (which is basically a confetti version of painting stuff in Color Splash), mentions that Toad Town will gain new shops and features as you rescue more Toads (and that sounds cool; I like the idea of Toad Town as a hub area), the combat system and boss fights, and then… equipment.

So, are attacks consumable items or not? Judging by the website, it’s a mix.

Your basic Boots and Hammer sound like normal attacks you will always have. Special attacks such as Shiny Boots, however, are separate and must be equipped. They “break after a while,” so it doesn’t sound like they’re one-time consumable items so much as breakable weapons with durability.

You can also equip Accessories to “boost Mario’s skills both in battle and on the overworld.” Does this mean badges are back in Origami King?

That was my first thought when I saw them, but I’m not quite sure. It looks like accessories are split into multiple categories with different tiered accessories in each one, although the last group might be miscellaneous accessories. So I don’t think they’re badges, but a simpler version of that system.

Chances are good those health accessories are why Mario had different amounts of HP in different trailers, rather than any sort of leveling system.

And of course, there’s the “1000 Fold Arms” technique to interact with the paper world at special Magic Circles.

So to revisit our questions again…

  1. Origami King does not appear to be an RPG. There is no sign of experience or leveling.
  2. Partners are back, although most might be temporary, and at least some fight alongside you in battle.
  3. Basic attacks are not consumables, and special attacks are breakable weapons.
  4. The game is obsessed with paper and papercraft. The world is paper! Paper! Fight your nemesis, the mighty tape dispenser! (There’s gotta be a Scissors boss, right?)
  5. I don’t know if the story will be good, but it looks like it’ll be focused on humor and possibly character-focused stories like Bobby’s amnesia. I expect it to be closest to Color Splash when it comes to story progression.

These are my thoughts on the latest Origami King trailers and details, but what about you? What do you think of Paper Mario: The Origami King?

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  9 Responses to “Mixed Feelings on the New Origami King Trailer”

  1. One thing you didn’t mention, on the UK site it mentions that Luigi is “on the hunt” for keys to get into the castle. Does this mean potential side missions or vignettes starring Luigi…?

    I do like the idea of populating the town with Toads (or “fun guys” as the website calls them) based on rescuing them. I wonder if specific toads will unlock specific things or if it’s purely based on the number of toads rescued…

    I can’t decide if the idea of straight-up talking office supplies as bosses is audacious, stupid, hilarious, or all three at once!

    Overall, mixed feelings but it looks like it’s slowly moving back towards having more story and partners with personality. I’ve not entirely lost hope on it.

    • That’s right, I was going to include that, but by the time I got that far, there was so much that I forgot about it. XD My hope is short playable sections similar to the parts of the earlier games where you played as Peach.

      Color Splash has specific Toads for you to find in specific places, so maybe it would be based on the individual Toads, like rescuing a shopkeeper and then he goes and opens his shop.

      Right now, I’m leaning toward “stupid” on the office supplies, especially when I think about past Paper Mario villains. For that brief moment when I thought they’d made a cast of original villains, I was thinking about the Super Paper Mario scenes where Count Bleck and the others would be meeting.

  2. It’s not supposed to be an RPG. If you look at the Nintendo.com listing it’s yet another “Action, Adventure”.

    Right now I’m leaning towards all of the partners being temporary, and Bobby in battle will be akin to the Bob-Omb Enemy Card in Color Splash.

    • I still hoped for it to be an RPG that they were just classifying oddly. 🙁 The eShop classifies Super Paper Mario as action/adventure too, but I still consider it to be an RPG.

      Do you think Bobby will also be temporary, considering how many different locations he’s been shown at in the trailers and screenshots?

  3. I hope you eventually got around to playing it. I just finished it a few days ago and still feel touched by the characters. I share the sentiment that the combat isn’t on the same level as the earliest PM games (I have played all to date) but I consider it an improvement over Sticker Star and Colour Splash. I remember enjoying the story in Colour Splash, but the pointless combat disinclined me from having another play-through recently. I would happily replay Origami King along the original PM, TYD, and SPM.

    The ‘obsession’ with making everything paper-related may seem silly but I don’t mind it.

    • Thanks for offering your thoughts on it! I haven’t played it yet, but after I played Bug Fables, I felt much better about Paper Mario never being an RPG again (because Bug Fables filled that void for me), so that’s made me more inclined to play Origami King. I’ll pick it up eventually, once I’ve played some of my other Switch games.

      • It happened to be my first Switch game (only got one a few weeks ago) because that was the first to arrive in the post. Glad to know you plan to play eventually, I found your comments here simply by searching about Bobby and Olivia. To clarify some things in case you aren’t already aware:

        Yes, special attack items will break after lots of use but you get a clear indication (on the icon) of when it’s getting worn out so the break shouldn’t come as a surprise. Even for someone like me who tends to hoard consumable items in games, there’s no reason to because you’ll find plenty of them in the field (ie I didn’t have to buy any of them).
        There is some (small) progression in the form of HP growth and Mario’s base attack seems to be tied to that.
        Yes, there is a scissors boss. XD
        Yes, partners are (sort of) back and they do (sort of) participate in battle. Olivia is the permanent companion in the same way Kersti and Huey were for the previous two games. Other partners join on a per-chapter basis (from chapter 2 to the end) and have varying degrees of involvement in the story, and while you cannot directly control them they will assist you if you have enemies left after your first turn is completed (although their attacks can sometimes miss/fail as well).

        (Seems your site thinks my length reply is spam… TBC)

      • (Seems your site thinks YT links are spam. Video mentioned is youtube dot com slash watch ? v=EQrZX1lEKnc)

        I’m not one for watching videos all day, but I saw an interesting, albeit speculative, analysis of why the Paper Mario has not (yet?) gone back to its roots. If you’re short on time I suppose you can focus on just the PM bits in the first and last chapters (second and last segments). I agree mostly with what he says there regarding Origami King, but I seem to appreciate the effort put into changing the combat system more than he did.

        (I read your thoughts on Colour Splash and they seem to coincide with mine: story was way more fun than the combat. As someone who enjoys story-based games I will usually put up with mediocre combat if the story part holds up. If you enjoyed Colour Splash story, I think you’ll also enjoy Origami King’s.)

        • Hmm, I didn’t think the spam settings were set that way. I’ll need to take a look at the settings to figure out what’s causing that.

          Anyway, it’s good to hear that the consumable special items aren’t too annoying and that partners are back at least somewhat. I wasn’t too crazy about the story in Color Splash, but everything I’ve heard says Origami King’s story is much better.

          I’ll definitely check out that video. It sounds interesting!

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