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"Super Paper Mario is by far the funniest game I've ever played"

Super Paper Mario, like the Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess, was originally a Gamecube game that was moved on over to the Wii. Still, it's definitely a game we've been waiting for and definitely a game worth getting a hold of. Simply put, this is one of the games Wii owners ought to want. The storyline in Super Paper Mario isn't really anything special, but it's certainly one to honor for its fine script and clever writing. An evil magician named Count Bleck plans on taking over the world, and as Mario you'll need to stop him by finding the pieces of the purity heart that'll allow you to do so. In truth, the storyline is actually really crazy, but I'd rather not give too much away. It's actually a really enjoyable story Mario fans will love in the long run. The game is very dialogue heavy but you'll absolutely love the dialogue. It's clever, witty, and Super Paper Mario is by far the funniest game I've ever played. The characters do things like acknowledge they're in a video game, poke fun at pop culture (several times over), and internet message boards and the like. It's quite a take on popular culture actually. Again, however, the game is pretty dialogue heavy. At least you can enjoy it, but sometimes you really just want to get to the gameplay, which is nothing short of fantastic. Super Paper Mario is truly something remarkable in terms of its gameplay. For starters, the game does away with most of the RPG elements of the first two Paper Mario titles, and the gameplay is more platform based than RPG based. You've still got your RPG elements, such as Mario using items, having to gain experience to level up and he's got his stock of HP, but for the most part, this game is more of a platformer at heart. There are no random battles, there are no battle screens, and dispatching your enemies is done in the classic Mario style of jumping on their heads. It plays very similar to Super Mario Brothers on the NES. However, a slight problem with this kind of gameplay, is that those who were really addicted to side scrolling Mario games and were used to holding down a button to run will be surprised to learn there is no button to run! It's no big deal, but if you're feeling nostalgic (as you probably will playing this game) it's actually something long time Mario fans may have to get used to, especially because Mario doesn't move very fast. What really makes the gameplay interesting, however, is flipping between the 2D and 3D perspectives. During the game you can press the A button and flip the screen from the 2D world to the 3D world any time you want. Most of the time you'll be playing the game in the 2D realm, but flipping the environment is more than just a crazy gimmick here. It's a necessity to getting past some of the games ingenious puzzles. It's also used to get past environmental objects. If a pipe is too tall for Mario to jump over, for example, then you can switch the game to the 3D view and simply walk around it. The enemies will also change, as the enemies faced in 2D will disappear briefly while in the 3D perspective. You can't stay in the 3D perspective forever, though. There's a gauge in the corner, and if it runs out, Mario will sustain damage. Still, flipping between 2D and 3D environments on the fly is something that's never been done in games before, and here it actually works well, especially when you consider some of the games puzzles. Super Paper Mario has a rather simplistic level layout. Most of them seem pretty straight-forward, but the game is populated with some rather ingenious puzzles that aren't too frustrating to figure out, thank goodness. You'll be going between 2D and 3D a lot in your adventure, and it's a gameplay mechanic that actually works out really well for the game. The problem with the gameplay is that the game is far too easy. Most enemies are easily dispatched and don't do much damage to you anyway. Even boss battles are of little challenge. The boss fights are fun, at least, requiring you to fight them in interesting ways, but they're still on the easy side. If you're an expert gamer, I don't predict you'll die anytime soon throughout your adventure. Mario also isn't alone. He'll be joined by Peach, Luigi and Bowser throughout his travels, and each of them has an ability they can do. Peach can float, Luigi has a high jump and Bowser can spit fire. You can switch between them at any time, and there are moments when you'll actually need a certain character to do things. However, the game relies heavily on the mechanic of going from 2D to 3D and only Mario can actually do this. Despite that you've got other characters, you'll still play through most of the game as Mario. Throughout your adventures you'll also collect Pixls. Little fairy like creatures that give Mario and company other abilities he can use. For example, early on in the game he meets a pixl that allows him to grab enemies and other objects and throw them. There are several of them scattered throughout the game, and they add a lot to the gameplay itself, as well as adding a lot of secrets. You'll more than likely come across areas where it seems like you can do nothing. Come back with the right Pixl, however, and you'll be able to do something about it. The wii remote works well with this game. As noted you'll hold it like an NES controller and play the game in basically the same style you played the original Super Mario Brothers. It's easy for some gamers to dismiss the Wii Motion sensor controls as tacked on, being that this game was made for the Gamecube, but here I'd say they're put to pretty good use. If you come across an unfamiliar enemy, for example, you can point the wii remote at the screen and get some target info on him. You can also use the wii remote to uncover hidden doors and passages, which is required in some spots. It's not much, but these functions certainly don't feel "tacked on." Rather they feel quite natural to the flow of the game itself, and it's nice to be able to have a classic feel without having to shake the wii remote all the time. You can use the wii remote for other things as well. Shaking it when attacking your enemies makes you do a special move that'll grant you more experience,, there are some mini-games that require the wii remote, but nothing in terms of the main gameplay requires heavy use of its motion sensor controls. There's actually a pretty fine balance between the two. Visually, of course, the game looks like a late generation Gamecube game. However, the games unique style alone warrants its beauty. The 2D landscape is far better looking than the 3D landscape, though. The 2D backgrounds are beautiful, and the background environments really shower a lot of detail. The same can't be said for the 3D perspective. As it often looks bland and empty. Most of the level designs themselves are also pretty plain. As far as platforming goes, there's nothing too intuitively designed either. There's a lot of jumping, but not a lot of obstacles in your way. The focus of the gameplay seemed to be far more focused on the puzzles here than the actual levels themselves. The game also sounds really good. There's no voice acting to speak of, really. Which sucks for a game as text heavy as this, but most gamers who've been gaming for well over a decade probably won't care about this, anyway, and it's a small price to pay for the excitement you'll have with the gameplay, and the humor presented from the strong and ingenious dialogue. You'll also hear some Mario tunes you've heard a million times before, only they're remixed for this game. On the whole, Super Paper Mario is a must own title for the Wii. It's been ingeniously designed; it's full of humor and has been cleverly written. And to top it all off, it's just a lot of fun to play. Pros: +Well crafted dialogue +VERY humorous game +Strikingly original gameplay elements +Simple easy gameplay to get a hold of +Good music +Plenty of things to do in the game +Cleverly designed puzzles Cons: -The game is far too easy for experienced gamers -3D Environments lack detail -Very dialogue heavy; it's GOOD dialogue, but there are moments when you really just want to play the game

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