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Paper Mario 3DS preview

Will Mario's latest adventure fall flat, or be pulp fiction?

Paper Mario 3DS review Mario's RPG outings rarely fall short of excellence. They are indisputably, universally brilliant, funny and clever, half sarcastic nonsense and the rest intelligent turn-based (mostly) RPG combat and adventuring.

They're like those heartening, wry university professors off the telly, all maturity and tweed with decades of experience behind them, but simultaneously light-hearted enough to mock themselves. Except, instead of a silly tie and maths jokes, we get a protagonist who speaks as though he's been badly translated and relentless Luigi-satirising stick for being the lesser-known brother.

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Humour, then, is close to Paper Mario's heart, and while Mario RPGs have appeared on Game Boy Advance and DS before (in the guise of the Mario & Luigi games), Paper Mario on 3DS marks the first time the paper-facing series has properly appeared on handheld.

It uses the format to incredible effect too, presenting the Mushroom Kingdom as a sort of colourful pop-up book world and its inhabitants as paper-thin, breeze-fearing cut-outs.

Stickers must be unstuck, or collected as a means of filling in scenery later on - collect a bridge sticker, for example, and it will later allow you to cross a river.

It's A Stick-Up

Stickers are also used in combat to unleash special moves - everything from screen-slicing, enemy-destroying scissors to basic head stomps and hammer strikes, with Mario consulting his handy sticker book before each attack.

Additional stickers can be purchased in shops, while a handful of powerfully destructive attacks have been revealed, such as the giant, screen-dominating desk fan that rises from behind the horizon, whipping enemies into the sky in a blustery maelstrom of pulp and papercuts.

We're guessing it's not a sticker you'll be whipping out very often, but when you do it's guaranteed to be quite the spectacle.

Combat itself is a return to classic, encounter-style fights. Come into contact with an enemy in a level and you'll be thrown into a battle arena with them, taking turns to dish out as much damage as possible.

It's here that some of the rare stickers come in handy, such as the Frog Suit, which allows you to bounce along the noggins of multiple enemies in a single attack. Some enemies can be avoided while others will do their utmost to force you into a scrap, but pre-emptively stomp on an enemy while in the level and you'll get a few bonus digs in at the start of the battle as a reward.

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A slot machine-style Battle Chance minigame will sometimes cough up preliminary prizes before a fight, gracing you with various different potential advantages.

With a release date of 2012, much of Mario's flatland adventure remains under wraps. We're still in the dark as to exactly what the plot entails - a few hints point towards an thoroughly unsurprising Bowser-based threat.

We're also unsure whether or not some of the systems of previous games will make their way to Paper Mario 3DS, such as the popular partners, who'd fight alongside you in battle and offer up unique special moves and plot-progressing abilities.

With an art style that arguably fits the 3DS better than any other game we could mention, Paper Mario 3DS could stand to be the format's most visually enticing game yet. But whether or not it can recapture the sideways absurdity of previous Mario RPGs is pivotal to its success.

If there's not at least one gag about Luigi being a useless lanky sod we'll be very disappointed.


26 comments so far...
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  1. taximadish Tuesday 22nd Nov 2011 at 09:37

    Words cannot come close to describing how much I want this game. The best I can do is Very, Very Much.

  2. ledreppe Tuesday 22nd Nov 2011 at 09:38

    Really looking forward to this next year. After seeing the 3D videos on my 3DS I really appreciate what has been said about it's enticing visuals, they are a treat for the eyes. Hopefully the rest of the game will hold up equally well, for what should be a return to classic Mario RPG shenanigans.

  3. Pokemon Luke Tuesday 22nd Nov 2011 at 10:04

    I dont know what will be better! Kid icarus or this :D

  4. LBDNytetrayn Tuesday 22nd Nov 2011 at 10:26

    I sure hope sidekicks return. I wouldn't even mind some familiar faces, like Goombella or Koops.

    Still, it's a shame that we never got a proper Wii Paper Mario title... the special attacks were made for the Wii Remote.

  5. MarioSwordDS Tuesday 22nd Nov 2011 at 12:31

    Paper Mario in 3D? Isn't that an oxymoron? Ha! This looks incredible, I must get this when it comes out, the Paper Mario battle style has always been extremely fun for me! That huge fan power-up is my favorite, and it's obviously a One Hit KO, I mean, why else would it get awesome theme music as it stealthily emerges from the horizon? :wink:

  6. bennyt Tuesday 22nd Nov 2011 at 14:57

    The game i'm most looking forward to, well like ever...followed by Luigi's Manision 2

    2012 is going to be a great year for the 3ds with:
    Paper Mario
    Animal Crossing
    Monster Hunter
    Pokemon 3d?

    This game has just got epic written all over it. Does anyone know when in 2012 it's being released?

  7. MartinIsAwesome Tuesday 22nd Nov 2011 at 15:12

    I really hope that the partners haven't been removed in this installment. I loved the early images that showed Mario with a Chain Chomp in tow.

  8. Ai64 Tuesday 22nd Nov 2011 at 15:46

    Not too long for the game's release. I hope partners make a return too.

  9. shadowlugia101 Tuesday 22nd Nov 2011 at 16:01

    i'm looking forward to this game but if it doesnt have partners in it then i'm afraid i wont buy this game :(

  10. gmundy Tuesday 22nd Nov 2011 at 16:41

    As soon as I know the release date for this I am booking that day off work, if I can't I'll be "ill"

  11. olrodlegacy Tuesday 22nd Nov 2011 at 16:56

    I never quite managed to get into Paper Mario Wii. May still get this though - the graphical styles seems perfectly suited to 3D.

  12. zelda97 Tuesday 22nd Nov 2011 at 18:49

    looks alright but i never played a paper mario so i do not know if it can beat the 'best game ever' (Skyward Sword)

  13. DomkeyKong Tuesday 22nd Nov 2011 at 22:59

    I've always loved Mario And Luigi: Partners In Time ever since it came out years ago, and I've never wanted to try anything too similar to take the special-ness (if that's even a word) away from it, so I've never tried a Paper Mario game before, but this looks like it's wrapping up to be a good one! (Get it, wrapping? Ah, never mind)

  14. Kirby8 Tuesday 22nd Nov 2011 at 23:50

    REALLLYYY looking forward to this game! There are so many games coming out in the next few months that I'm worried about the state of my finances after as well as if I'll even have time to play them all!

  15. AR master Wednesday 23rd Nov 2011 at 21:43

    this is a must buy.

  16. mk120 Sunday 4th Dec 2011 at 19:40

    I enjoyed this game so much for the Gamecube, I don't think it will flop at all. This whole idea of "paper mario" will work great with the effects of the 3DS. Nintendo's Christmas line ups seem very promising!

  17. LBDNytetrayn Monday 5th Dec 2011 at 15:39

    I never quite managed to get into Paper Mario Wii. May still get this though - the graphical styles seems perfectly suited to 3D.

    Super Paper Mario is like another thing entirely.

  18. Mario-fun Saturday 31st Dec 2011 at 22:09

    I enjoy a lot Paper Mario N64 so i'm looking forward to buy it.

  19. PickleHB Monday 2nd Jan 2012 at 20:47

    In many ways and totally contraversial but I kind of prefer the n64 paper mario and partners in time/bowsers inside story, if only for the build of the story and character development/interaction. The platform games are great and are generally received with a host of oooohs and aaaaahs which are all well deserved. Galaxy 1 and 2 both made me think how clever the design was but paper mario had me smiling al the way through as did the two other aforementioned rpgs. Fawful is far and away one of the most hilarious characters and I can only hope he is not hung out to dry. Paper Mario 3DS will be bought and my sons 3ds will be borrowed for an extensive period of time 8)

  20. NemesisEG Wednesday 4th Jan 2012 at 23:35

    Playing through Paper Mario N64; always great stories, characters and laughs whatever the platform. This is a day 1 purchase for me.

  21. NemesisEG Wednesday 4th Jan 2012 at 23:44

    I never quite managed to get into Paper Mario Wii. May still get this though - the graphical styles seems perfectly suited to 3D.

    Super Paper Mario is like another thing entirely.

    I've got it on the shelf; it's a bit of an odd one. Thousand Year Door (GC) is excellent, but you're looking at about 30-50 quid on ebay or thereabouts.

    VC seems a smarter choice. Although it's only the N64 version out for now, I'd be surprised if Superstar Saga didn't pop up at some point. You could just jump right in at Partners in Time, as I did, and still have a good time.

  22. Parane Thursday 12th Jan 2012 at 09:15

    I didn't particularly like Paper Mario on my Wii but this is a day 1 purchase. I can't believe I am actually saying that. Not many PC games I've bought over the years have had day 1 status and Nintendo has at least 3-5 of them in just one year!

  23. KNintendo Friday 13th Jan 2012 at 21:57

    I can't wait.....

  24. sarah1103 Sunday 13th May 2012 at 20:51

    Sounds absolutely epic. Pleasssse hurry up and release this!

  25. Gamer 1 Wednesday 22nd Aug 2012 at 13:57


  26. cthesupergenius Tuesday 2nd Oct 2012 at 14:48

    Are you trying to get people to start sticker collections? You've got this review and Pokemon stickers in the same magazine. By the way, if you are, it's working.

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