In the wake of COVID-19, the videogame industry has had to shift in how it delivers content. This includes how they announce their content along with games development, with teams having to shift to remote work.
Rumour going around at the moment is that this has been a significant adjustment for Nintendo, and is the primary reason behind the lack of Nintendo Direct presentations lately. Instead, they’ve opted to announce games once they’re certain they can deliver them on time. With that being said, a few weeks ago Nintendo unveiled Paper Mario: The Origami King and it’s releasing soon – July 17.
Paper Mario: The Origami King is the latest in a series highly regarded by its fans thanks to earlier entries like Paper Mario and Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door. Unfortunately, these avid players have also been critical of the latest entries in the series, with Paper Mario: Sticker Star and Paper Mario: Colour Splash both being criticised for the changes made to the gameplay and battle systems.
The Origami King looks to return the series to the heights it once achieved by introducing new characters, mechanics and a new threat. The Origami King himself; King Olly has invaded and taken control of The Mushroom Kingdom. With the help of his folden soldiers, King Olly has turned Princess Peach and the rest of the kingdom’s residents into origami figures and it’s up to Mario to save them. It’s about what you’d expect from a Mario game, but much like its predecessors, I’m sure the game will be packed with enough charm and humour to keep players engaged.
The introduction of the origami elements to the game brings some notable additions, the most obvious of which will be from an aesthetical standpoint. From a gameplay perspective, Mario has extendable origami arms summoned by Olivia, a new ally. With these arms Mario is able to interact with the environment, uncovering hidden secrets across the kingdom.
Combat has also seen some significant changes, with players now being able to shift the locations of enemies around, opening up new opportunities for attack. There are limitations in place for this feature, with players only having a select amount of time available and a small number of moves that can be used or made. From the footage we’ve seen of this, I’m worried that this could make the game a little too easy, but let’s hope the measures to balance this works out.
Fans of the series will be pleased to see the return of partners, a mechanic that originally appeared in the first three games. Mario will have a number of allies at his disposal that can help him in combat, with Luigi, Toad, and Olivia being some of the few that are available. Bowser and his Koopa Troop can also lend a hand. Based on the one trailer that we’ve seen for the game, it isn’t clear on how we’ll get access to these support characters. Whether it occurs through natural story progression, by completing objectives, or a combination of both remains to be seen.
With the brief look that we’ve had of the game, it feels like Nintendo are making an effort to right the wrongs of previous entries. The adjustments to combat and the return of old features make it look like a clear attempt at capturing the hearts of die-hard fans of the series. I’ve never had the chance to play a Paper Mario game in the past, but The Origami King is certainly shaping up nicely. Let’s hope that this is the title that brings the series back to form.
Paper Mario: The Origami King will be available for Nintendo Switch on July 17.