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

Nintendo /
4 of 5

Complex gameplay

Speaking of Olivia and her constant chatter, she also constantly helps you understand the game’s surprisingly complex battle set up.

First off, you don’t have stats anymore. Well, you do, but they’re not visible and something you worry about. And this is mostly because Olivia doesn’t like mental math which… same, girl.

She also explains the battle system and how to fight, which is nice because it definitely takes some explaining. I was happy I was playing with my kids because this is a surprisingly complex set up and a little punishing if you’re not on the ball with your puzzle solving.

Standard fights take place on a circular grid and moving parts of the grid line of the characters. Putting four in a row lets you jump on them all in a chain. Setting them up 2×2 lets you hit them all with a swing of the hammer.

Luckily, it’s still really pretty with papercraft effects everywhere when you attack. Look how much is going on with just this one moment I jumped on an enemy.

It becomes impossibly helpful when you start encountering bosses. Bosses use the same grid except they’re in the middle with you on the outer edge. Each of your turns you have a couple of seconds to set up this board game-like grid and make your way to the boss. Tell me you’d be comfy with seeing this with no explanation in the game. My kids had it explained to them and they still were horribly confused by it.

She also helps you in the main world. One of my favorite things is the benches. She explains to you that you can sit on a bench and calm down a moment to get your health back. It’s an impossibly valuable thing for kids to learn. But she not only shows you how to do it and what it does but she also, while you’re both sitting, points out something she appreciates about the scenery. It’s very positive.