Super Paper Mario, like the Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess, was originally a Gamecube game that was moved on over to the Wii. Still, it's definitely a game we've been waiting for and definitely a game worth getting a hold of. Simply put, this is one of the games Wii owners ought to want.
The storyline in Super Paper Mario isn't really anything special, but it's certainly one to honor for its humor. An evil magician named Count Bleck plans on taking over the world, and as Mario you'll need to stop him by finding the pieces of the purity heart that'll allow you to do so. In truth, the storyline is actually really crazy, but I'd rather not give too much away. It's actually a really enjoyable story Mario fans will love in the long run. It's not your typical, "Peach has been kidnapped by Bowser and Mario has to save her," type story.
The game is very dialogue heavy but at least its creative. Much of it is very humorous and will have you laughing quite a bit. But when I say dialog heavy, I'm not kidding. You'll be mashing on the 2 button a lot. It wouldn't be so bad if characters didn't go on to explain such things that were useless. It's also hard to deny that some of the dialog is just all around stupid. Clearly it's supposed to be. Much of the writing is pretty good, because the jokes are good, but when they don't bode well... they really don't bode well. When I say dialog, heavy, though, I do mean your patience will be tested. To give you an idea of the dialog, you could be sitting for nearly twenty minutes (more if you don't read fast) just to watch the intro alone before you even get to the playing. Much of the dialog isn't really all that bad, but for such a simple story, you'll wonder why you have to sit through so much exposition for the simplest of things. There's a level by level design at play here, and between each foray into every level you'll have to sit through a ton of dialog in between. It's annoying as all hell and detracts from an otherwise fun game. I'd give it a five, but the density of the dialog is absurd.
Super Paper Mario is truly something remarkable in terms of its gameplay. It mixes Platforming and RPG elements. There's still a need to level up and Mario has his set of HP but all the way, this is a platformer. It plays very similar to Super Mario Brothers on the NES. However, a slight problem with this kind of gameplay, is that those who were really addicted to side scrolling Mario games and were used to holding down a button to run will be surprised to learn there is no button to run! It's no big deal, but if you're feeling nostalgic (as you probably will playing this game) it's actually something long time Mario fans may have to get used to, especially because Mario doesn't move very fast.
During the game you can press the A button and flip the screen from the 2D world to the 3D world any time you want. Most of the time you'll be playing the game in the 2D realm, but there's plenty to be done in 3D too. It's a necessity to getting past some of the games puzzles. If you're ever stuck on puzzle just try flipping. It's also used to get past environmental objects. If a pipe is too tall for Mario to jump over, for example, then you can switch the game to the 3D view and simply walk around it. You can't stay in 3D forever. If you stay in 3D for too long Mario will take damage.
The problem with the gameplay is that the game is far too easy. Most enemies are easily dispatched and don't do much damage to you anyway. Even boss battles are of little challenge. The boss fights are fun, at least, requiring you to fight them in interesting ways, but they're still on the easy side. If you're an expert gamer, I don't predict you'll die anytime soon throughout your adventure.
Mario also isn't alone. He'll be joined by Peach, Luigi and Bowser throughout his travels, and each of them has an ability they can do. Peach can float, Luigi has a high jump and Bowser can spit fire. You can switch between them at any time, and there are moments when you'll actually need a certain character to do things. However, the game relies heavily on the mechanic of going from 2D to 3D and only Mario can actually do this. Despite that you've got other characters, you'll still play through most of the game as Mario.
Throughout your adventures you'll also collect Pixls, little fairy like creatures that give Mario and company other abilities they can use. For example, early on in the game he meets a pixl that allows him to grab enemies and other objects and throw them. There are plenty of other powers. Needless to say, Super Paper Mario is filled with secrets.
The wii remote works well with this game. As noted you'll hold it like an NES controller and play the game in basically the same style you played the original Super Mario Brothers. The Wii controls, however, feel a little tacked on. You can point the remote to search for hidden doors or scan enemies. You can also shake when you jump off an enemy to get more points. The wii remote doesn't have a big impact on the gameplay, though. It might feel less tacked on... if the game forced you to use these controls more.
Visually, of course, the game looks like a late generation Gamecube game. However, the games unique style alone warrants its beauty. The 2D landscape is far better looking than the 3D landscape, though. The 2D backgrounds are beautiful, and the background environments really shower a lot of detail. 3D doesn't look as good, though because it's just not as pretty and filled with life. Most of the level designs themselves are also pretty plain. As far as platforming goes, there's nothing too intuitively designed either. The levels also aren't filled to the brim with enemies. There's a lot of jumping, but not a lot of obstacles in your way. The game also sounds really good. There's no voice acting to speak of, really. Which sucks for a game as text heavy as this, but most gamers who've been gaming for well over a decade probably won't care about this, anyway.
On the whole, Super Paper Mario is a must own title for the Wii. It's been ingeniously designed; it's full of humor and has been cleverly written. And to top it all off, it's just a lot of fun to play.