In honor of the recent release of Paper Mario: The Origami King for Nintendo Switch, I am going to take the entire series, well, all the ones I’ve played anyway, and rank them from worst to best.
I don’t like saying worst to best, because I think every single one of these games is a grand slam. It’s easily one of my favorite series, out there, (it actually came in fourth in my top 10 video game series).
Aside from them being all great, diverse, unique, creative, and charming, it’s the story-telling and humor that really gets me. I can’t explain it, but there’s a certain feeling I get when playing these games that basically says, “yeah, I’m playing Paper Mario, and I’m ecstatic.”
This series doesn’t have a lot of games, which makes it all the more special.
So here we go!
Super Paper Mario
The first to stray from the original formula, this takes the classic Mario platforming and combines it with RPG elements and showers the bizarre Paper Mario creativity all over it. Despite being last on the list, it’s still a wonderful game.
Paper Mario: Sticker Star
Times Beaten- 1
This one returns to turn-based combat, but requires you to have stickers to attack. You have a sticker book to hold all your stickers, but it has limited space. Weak attacks are small, and stronger ones are huge, so you’ve got to balance them out and use what’s necessary during battles. This adds a fun strategical element to the game. The game also takes the whole paper theme to a new level.
The game uses a world map like in Super Mario World, dividing the game into stages for the first time. It also involves a lot of back-tracking and puzzle solving, which is impossible to figure out. I needed to use a guide the whole game, because it was so confusing.
Paper Mario: Color Splash
Wii U, 2016
Times Beaten- 1
This one is more like Sticker Star, but instead of stickers you use cards to attack, and have to paint them during battle to make them more powerful. You can play three cards at once, and it is rather fun to set up attack trains to fit the situation. The only trouble is, killing enemies grants you items that when enough are gathered, your paint supply grows. Eventually, when it’s big enough to suit your needs, there is no point in fighting enemies. That’s right, there is no experience and level-ups in this game.
Nintendo 64, 2001
Times Beaten- 2
The one that started it all, and still one of the most bizarre and brilliant ideas of all time. This is a classic JRPG, but with massively unique elements, though it does borrow from Super Mario RPG. Awesome characters, a variety of partners to help you fight, silly story, it’s all awesome.
Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door
Times Beaten- 2, maybe 3??
The gameplay in this one is just like the first one. Every area in this level is fantastic and imaginative, and is one of the few games I’ve ever played that I got sad when I beat it. This may be my favorite game of all time, as a matter of fact. Or at least second-favorite.
All these games are hilarious, have fun worlds to explore, characters with quirky personalities, addicting gameplay, and a whole lot of frickin’ awesome.
The world is very divided on this series. Many people complain that they changed the formula and wish the series returned to the the style of the first two.
There’s no denying (in my book) the first two are by far the greatest, but that is no reason to hate on the others, for they are all solid, unbelievably fun and witty games.
Would I like to see a return to the originals? Absolutely, but I am also excited for new ideas, and am anxious to see what other creative, unique, WTF things they can come up with. Which is why I can not wait to play Origami King!