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

Nintendo /
3 of 5

A fun and emotional story

The story involves The Origami King, naturally. He’s a creepy little guy who has converted Princess Peach into origami and is slowly doing the same with the rest of the Mushroom Kingdom. When this happens, a citizen is lifted into the air with magic and then painfully folded into origami before a large thing presses and creases them into shape. They are then a warped and cold version of their former selves.

This horrified my kids when they first revealed it. Mostly because of one Goomba. It is pretty much customary to have to fight a Goomba as your first enemy in a Mario game and I saw this dude’s fate coming a mile away. My kids, however, did not.

When you are first thrown into a dungeon you meet up with a bunch of Bowser’s minions who super excited to meet you. You all become fast friends and a particularly plucky Goomba tells you about how happy he is to be in the Castle because he’s always wanted to meet a Toad. Then the minions are taken away.

You then later meet the Origami King and he explains to you that being turned into origami is permanent. Even your companion in the game lets you know that while it sucks that you have to fight them, it’s the only way.

This information suddenly weighs about three tons when they bring out a Goomba to attack you and, as the origami Goomba stumbles slowly towards you it says, “I… Never… Got… To… Meet… A… Toad.” At that moment my kids realized exactly who that Goomba was and it was like they got to witness a child-like version of a Japanese Horror Story.

But this also speaks to how much personality the game gives these normally lifeless characters. Everyone has dialogue and personality. Like this cult of Koopas that worship a giant turtle deity while also displaying their strange Brooklyn accents.

Or this Toad whose joke took me a solid couple of minutes to explain to my kid.

Even your companion, Olivia, is constantly funny. She’s the sister of the Origami King and while she wants to stop him, she has very little stake in doing so. Thus she treats the entire adventure as a fun vacation.

She’s fairly oblivious and watching her react to things that she just noticed is very charming.