Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door Review: A triumphant return on the Nintendo Switch

The greatest game in the Paper Mario series returns in this faithful remaster that not only cleans the game up but adds some incredibly convenient features.
Paper Mario Thousand Year Door Header.jpg
Paper Mario Thousand Year Door Header.jpg /

The Paper Mario franchise has been around for almost 25 years at the time of this writing and is a incredibly well respected line of Mario games that has grown into its own universe. And while they've done some amazing games, the quality has dipped over time. Especially when you look at things like Sticker Star and Color Jam which, you really don't need to.

Even Paper Mario: The Origami King for the Switch was gorgeous and showed a ton of potential but then also features an overly complicated turntable based battle system that got old so quickly that it made the rest of the game an absolute slog despite having an incredible story.

Luckily, Nintendo is giving into its roots with the remaster of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door.

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door was a game that not only featured a ridiculously diverse cast of characters but had some of the most clever writing I've ever seen in a Nintendo game. While most of the game is spent as Mario trying to do his traditional quest of collecting the several doodads needed to get the final part and rescue the princess whilst meeting strange individuals that help him on his quest, you also spend part of the game playing as Princess Peach in a truly unique area of the game that requires stealth and has some amazing dialogue as she finds herself prisoner under the watchful eye of a computerized system that is learning to come to grips with it's slowly budding humanity for an experience both masterfully told and wonderfully bizarre.

Paper Mario Thousand Year Door Love AI.jpg
Paper Mario Thousand Year Door Love AI.jpg /

The remaster is more than just a clean up of the game's graphics, however. They take a near perfect Paper Mario game and fix the few things that the original struggled with.

Firstly, they righted a big ol' wrong from the original US release. Vivian, the ghost companion you get on your journey was a trans character in the original Japanese release but when the game came to the states they felt it necessary to write that out of the character, presenting them as a cis female. The remaster fixes this and restores Vivian as one of gaming's first playable trans characters.

Gameplay wise, there's also a slew of new features that fixes what little there was to fix with this game. For example, a new fast travel system eliminates the common complaint with this game that there was a LOT of time spent back tracking to previous locations. Now the journey is done in a flash.

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Paper Mario Thousand Year Door Partner Ring.jpg /

Another addition is the new "partner ring", which I assure you, is not as romantic as it sounds. The partner ring works like a Mass Effect wheelhouse allowing you to open up a quick wheel of all your sidekicks and switch on the fly. In a game that requires constant sidekick changing to find all the secrets and do all the things it's awesome to not have to go through a series of menus. I found myself switching partners all the time just for aesthetics and changes of pace to the battles just because I could do it in a second.

My only complaint with this game is that in the far off future world of 2024 this game absolutely needs to have voice acting. Nintendo needs to get over themselves and start getting voice actors because while the game is beautiful and fun, there are so many parts that drop so much text on you that you may as well be playing a visual novel. The writing is often fun and engaging but at the same time there are just some parts I would kill to just be able to hear whilst still doing things instead of having to world come to a complete halt every time a character has an idea that needs to take up seven to ten screens of dialogue to convey to me.

But all in all, Nintendo has taken a near perfect title and somehow made it better. If you've never played a Paper Mario game before, this is the perfect one. And if it isn't for you, I'm sure someone in the game might recommend you other titles...

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Paper Mario Thousand Year Door Fire Emblem.jpg /

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (Nintendo Switch) Score: 9.5/10

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is a faithful and beautifully done remaster of the greatest entry in the Paper Mario series. From fixing the ancient wrong of the US release to the addition of new and incredibly convenient features like fast travel and the ability to switch partners on the fly, Nintendo has somehow taken something made of pure gold and added a pure gold plating.

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.