Sunday, April 8, 2007

Super Paper Mario impressions

I just got through the level 2-3, and feel it's about time to post my initial impressions of this game. right off the bat, let me say that it has waaaay too much story. endless text does move the story along, but sheesh...... in between levels, it's about 8-10 minutes before you're allowed to continue to the next level. ( i.e. from 1-4 to 2-1) that being said, the gameplay is a real treat, with references to other Mario and Nintendo games sprinked everwhere. to play, you hold the wiimote sideways, and use the d pad to move, and the 1 and 2 buttons to use pixls and jump, respectively. pixls are creatures you rescue that give you abilities like picking things up, throwing bombs, etc. the gameplay sticks primarily to 2-d sidescrolling, but also to 3-d, which is the biggest change. hitting the a button (after a tutorial) flips the perspective sideways, making new enemies appear and skewering the layout of the level. you can see what i mean with these screenshots....

it's a great way to squeeze more gameplay from the small levels, because there is a fair amount of backtracking and all of the levels are broken up into sections that last 3-5 minutes. it's not a huge problem, but the stuttering experience brings back memories of last gen's loading screens, something i thought was gone.....
one of the things that i can't get used to is the fact that the 1 button is used for using pixls, and not running. almost every sidesrolling Mario game evar has used the traditional nes layout, which is 2 (or a) is used to jump, and b (or 1) is used for running. holding b down and occasionally jumping was the norm for me, and getting that taken away is strange. pointing the wiimote at the screen brings up a pointer, used to highlight things onscreen, and pressing a will give an explanation about the enemy, hit points, attack points, and sometimes it reveals hidden blocks and doors.....

there are 3 playable characters, Mario, Princess Peach, and Bowser. Peach has a jump-float mechanic as her primary power, and i haven't reached bowser yet, so i don't know what he does.

i do know that peach can't flip perspectives like Mario, but you can switch either character on the fly, so it's not a problem. the story and writing is just good, funny but not hilarious. what I'm really disappointed in is the music. most Mario games have memorable music and sound effects, but Super Paper Mario really fails in this regard. the music is forgettable, and considering how much the switch to 2-d to 3-d is used, the sound effect should be pleasant, or at least tolerable. sadly, this is the most annoying sound in the history of Mario games. even beating out the yoshi-eating-enemies sound. i almost considered turning off the sound altogether. maybe I'm being too hard, but the rest of the game is so good, that the lack of polish on the audio end is sad. fuck it, this game is still a buy for any Wii owner, since it's the best release since Wario Ware: Smooth Moves......
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