Metaphorically speaking, Super Paper Mario has been an easygoing, cute, and fluffy bunny who showed up at our house to play. Chapters 1, 2, and 3 of the game have been fun and challenging (in a good way) and hooked us completely. Continuing with the metaphor motif, Chapter 4 of the game is where you notice something odd on the cute bunny's fur, and, upon further investigation, see the fur fall off to reveal a T-1000 robot of doom come to take your lunch money and blow up your house. What happened you ask? Four words: Pit of 100 Trials.
When last we wrote, Mario and company were on a roll, coping with kidnapping and socially awkward chameleons and making new pixl friends. All seemed right with the world. After the now-standard check-in with Merlon in Flipside and a visit to the local fortune teller for some advice on where to head next, Team Mario seemed poised for another successful run to get a pure heart. Then we got sidetracked. We did some housekeeping and went back for a new pixl, Barry. This spiky dude lets you form a temporary shield around your playable character that damages anything it hits.
On the way out of town, we took some time to explore the different floors that make up the town of Flipside, which is laid out in MC Escher-esque fashion, and you must ride assorted elevators to get to them all. By using our new pixl posse, we were able to access new parts of town and came across a rather interesting warp pipe that sent us to the Pit of 100 Trials. The pit is a serious kick in the pants that offers a sharp contrast to the modest challenge of the game thus far. The pit channels the unholy challenge of older Mega Man games and tasks you to go through 100 rooms with no save points in between room 1 and 100. Your goal in each room is to get a key off an enemy and open up the door to the next room. Every 10 rooms, you'll get a chest with an item and also occasionally come across a shop to pick up items. Once you get past room 50 or so, get ready to work. The game gets old-school hard and throws an increasingly difficult assortment of foes at you. You'll need to be smart about which characters, pixls, and items you use to get through. We've been fairly successful so far, but acts of god and poorly timed exclamations from coworkers have led to some disappointing setbacks we intend to overcome shortly.
We'll be checking back in soon with an update on the rest of Chapter 4 later this week. We understand that there's a world to be saved, along with Luigi and the other hapless folk Bleck kidnapped, but this whole trial-pit thing is personal. We'll be back on mission later this week, but until then, we've got rooms to clear. Look for more on Super Paper Mario in the days leading up to its launch next month.