Paper Mario: The Origami King – A parent’s review

Nintendo /
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Does Paper Mario: The Origami King succeed as a game for children?

I’m going to start this off by letting you know I’m a Mario fan. But I’m a bizarre Mario fan. New Super Mario Bros. and Mario Odyssey were fun and all but I love the spinoffs. I absolutely depleted Mario Tennis of all it’s content including the stuff you could only win via online tournaments. I thought the Mario x Rabbids game was incredibly clever and an excellent casual tactical game. But the Paper Mario series has always held a special place in my heart.

It was Mario’s second attempt at making RPGs after Super Mario RPG: The Legend of the Seven Stars for the Super Nintendo.  Paper Mario was a lot more forgiving of an RPG and, thanks to its adorable aesthetic of making everyone look like moving paper, it opened a lot of avenues for cool visual effects and ideas. Not only did the characters of this universe look like paper, but they WERE also paper and absolutely self-aware of this fact.

Case in point, this Toad that was folded in half that decided it wanted to make my four-year-old scream.

This lead to a lot of cool, creative ideas. A character could be hiding between wood beams merely by turning sideways. A construct as simple as a paper fan could send a community blowing away like flower petals.

In one game, Mario could actually fold himself into a paper airplane, allowing him to glide across large gaps. It’s brilliant and charming. And with modern graphics, they bring this to a new level. You really don’t realize how good the graphics are until the jarring moment where you see an actual rock in contrast to everything. I stared at this moment for like five minutes.

When Paper Mario: The Origami King came out, I was excited for a new reason. This is the first console Paper Mario game to drop since I had kids. Now, as a parent, I could introduce Mario to my two kids, including my six-year-old who is obsessed with origami and can create elaborate shapes that make my brain pretzel trying to understand.

So, on the 17th, when the game dropped I sat down with my kids next to me and popped it in. Here’s how that went.