I have finally completed playing through Paper Mario: Color Splash! I started playing it not too long after Christmas, which was when I got the game. I have to say that I was very excited when I finally beat it. It took me longer than I thought and while there were some frustrating parts, I enjoyed the game overall.
Title: Paper Mario: Color Splash
Release Date: October 2016
Console: Wii U
How I got the game: It was a gift
Color Splash played like most Paper Mario games. You have a hammer and are able to use it outside of battle, just like jumping. However, there was a slight twist to it. Seeing as how you need to restore the paint back to the world, your hammer acted as both a normal hammer and a paint brush when your paint can partner, Huey, was around. I thought this was pretty clever. The idea of the ink being sucked out of a paper world is cool and Mario can do a lot of things, so why not give his hammer a special power?
This isn’t a typical Paper Mario where you’re in one large world going from one place to another. There’s a map and you go from level to level. Some levels are completed in one go while others you have to go back to a couple of times in order to 100% it. Each level you complete adds a new road to a new or existing level. While I prefer the one world like in the original Paper Mario, I didn’t mind the levels. It reminded me of the classics games where you went from one world to the next.
There was a new feature called “Cut-out” by Huey. In order to reach certain places, you could go into cut-out mode if certain lines lined up together. From there, you would take scissors and cut out part of the scenery allowing Mario to get where he needed to be. I understand this concept with the “paper” theme, but it brought me out of the game and I felt like it was a cop-out. Instead of incorporating some sort of puzzle for us to figure out, we literally just take away some of the level and allow Mario to jump through space to get onto a high ledge. It didn’t seem right to me.
The major let down of this game was the battle mechanics. Mario can jump, hammer, and use items, but he needs a deck of cards in order to do so. Mario can hold 99 cards at a time from the beginning of the game to the very end (unless there’s a power-up somewhere that I missed, but I played through the whole game with a deck limit of 99). In the beginning of the game, I was impressed. 99 is a lot of cards! But, towards the end of the game as the battles were getting more difficult, I found myself running out of cards quickly. There is a Battle Spin where you can spend 10 coins to get an extra card, but it’s a roulette. You may get a helpful card, you may not. And you can only use the Battle Spin once per turn.
The cards varied from black and white to colored. The black and white cards you have to paint before playing. It used up your paint, but it wasn’t a big deal because I didn’t run out of paint very often. Plus, money is very easy to earn in this game (and you can hold 9,999 coins) so I always bought cards that were already painted. So I rarely had to paint my cards anyway.
It doesn’t sound too bad and it was an interesting concept, but the reason this was a let down for me was because I just wanted to hit the jump button and be done with it. You need to pick a card, select “ready,” then paint the card (if needed), then select “ready,” and then flick the cards forward on the Wii U gamepad to play the cards. It was a process.
As you play through the game, you can add more cards to play during your turn. By the end of the game, I could play four cards at once. This was great, but you had to strategize. Unlike the older games where you could choose who you wanted to attack, the game automatically attacks the enemies in the other they’re lined up. In other words, your first card would attack the first enemy. If that enemy is not defeated, the second card will still attack the second enemy. So you really need to plan out your cards. That was cool, to have to think about your battle tactics, but it also made you way over-powered. Attacking four times in a row is great for a boss battle, but I was able to win the battle before the enemies even had a chance to blink. Plus, there are many varied hammers and jumps. For example, there’s a hammer card that has three hammers on it, which means attacking three times with a hammer. If you had four of those cards, you’d be attacking 12 times in a row.
Then there are the Thing cards, which they brought over from Sticker Star… I can’t express how much I hate the Thing cards. They completely take you out of the game and break the whole “paper” theme. I think they’re a clever idea, but they just don’t work for me. They brought me out of the game every time I had to use them. You had to use them outside of battle using the “Cut-out” feature and also in the major boss battles. Which, I hated doing because you needed certain Thing cards in order to defeat the bosses. I just looked up which Thing cards I needed before getting into the battle because otherwise I would waste my cards and time. That was one thing I hated about Sticker Star. I just want to attack, I don’t want to have to use certain items or Things in order to win.
Despite how I didn’t entirely card for the battle mechanics, it still played smoothly.
The game was definitely vivid with colors and shapes of the levels and characters. Though, I will admit that I missed the 2D effects of the game. In the earlier Paper Mario games, everything was literally paper, flat. In Color Splash, the levels looked 3D since they were structured by cardboard boxes and the like. The design was most definitely clever, especially since things were crumpled up or taped down. They added new elements to the Paper Mario world. But, making it looked like a diorama just didn’t seem to do it for me. But that’s a minor complaint. The game was beautiful regardless.
What can I say about the music? It’s Nintendo, it’s Paper Mario, it’s fabulous. There were certainly some times when I thought to myself, “This isn’t Paper Mario music…” but I think part of me just wants a brand new Paper Mario game just like the original Nintendo 64 one. Is it just me, or do you sometimes listen to music and say, “This sounds like Paper Mario.” I do and there were some songs from Color Splash that didn’t seem they belonged in a Paper Mario game. But I loved all the music anyway. How could you not?
Despite how much I love the first two Paper Mario games, I have to say that Color Splash probably has the best story. The idea of having all the paint (ink) drain from the world is awesome. You still have to rescue six stars, know as the Paint Stars. There are, of course, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Purple. Bowser is covered in black paint, which is evil apparently, and caused him to steal the Paint Stars and suck the world dry of paint. The concept was great and even Bowser’s motives for it all was nicely done, as unbelievable as it was.
Then there are the characters. I really have to applaud the writers for this game. The snarky tones and breaking the fourth wall a lot really made this game. It was funny and entertaining, and gave me a brand new appreciation for the characters. Huey, Mario’s partner for this game, was awesome. He was the best and I didn’t even miss having multiple partners. That’s how wonderful he was.
I’m not trying to compare Color Splash to all the other Paper Mario games, even though I basically have already, but if I was to ever go play Paper Mario again my first go-to would be the first game or the second game. When I played Sticker Star, I vowed never to play it again (though I kind of want to because it’s been a while and I would love to talk about it on here). I was nervous for Color Splash to come out because I didn’t want it to be like Sticker Star. However, I can actually see myself playing Color Splash again.
The game was definitely annoying at times and it wasn’t my favorite Paper Mario game, but I can see myself getting the itch to play it again. Plus, I haven’t 100% completed it yet. I still have blank spots to fill in on some of the levels and I haven’t beaten the Roshambo Temples (a rock-paper-scissors side quest thing, which I didn’t get at first, but the more I did it, the more I enjoyed it). So, I think I will definitely go back to the game at some point, even though it won’t be a priority.
However, there is only one save file on the game… I wish it had multiple files, but what can you do?
Have you played this game? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!