Just how well do the worlds of Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi mesh together?
When it comes to Mario and RPGS, we have two series to choose from. Paper Mario, aside from a 3DS title a few years ago, has mostly been on consoles with a paper aesthetic. Mario and Luigi has a more traditional art style and has solely been on handhelds since its inception. But now these two universes have combined into one as Mario and Luigi: Paper Jam sees Paper Mario and their counterparts meet their Mario and Luigi counterparts in a story of parallel universes meeting each other in a bizarre twist of fate. I spent time with the game, and I’m happy to report that if you have been disappointed with recent Mario role playing games, Mario and Luigi: Paper Jam has a ton of potential with its new ideas.
The first mode that I played was quest mode. Here, I was tasked with finding seven Toads in a field area. This features traditional Mario and Luigi gameplay - A controls Mario, B controls Luigi, and Y controls Paper Mario. I traversed through a small field on the lookout for these missing Toads. The first three toads were relatively easy to find, but It took me a while to find the next three. Eventually they popped out, disguising themselves as a wooden gate to shield themselves from Bowser. I learned a dash mode from these Toads that was able to help me catch a Toad that was freaking out, running around rapidly. The final Toad was found through a hidden pathway, where I used Paper Mario as he slid past some rocks to find the last Toad. This all was traditional Mario and Luigi gameplay with action commands and moves on the field that spiced things up thanks to Paper Mario’s abilities, which will open up new ways to solve puzzles.
Next up was Boss mode. A magikoopa set upon me Petey Piranha, who was not going to make my day very fun. There are a couple of new additions when it comes to gameplay. One involved using cards during battle. I collected stars every time I hit an attack successfully that enabled me to spend points on cards that helped the gang in a number of ways, such as increasing defense for a number of turns. At one point in the battle, Petey Piranha chased Mario and Luigi. Paper Mario saved the day, however. He became a paper airplane that would help lift the dynamic duo as Petey flung mud balls at them. Once he was stopped Paper Mario returned to his current form and smashed him for more damage.
Paper Mario also seems to have his own different set of battle commands than Mario and Luigi. While the latter duo have their usual moves, such as jump and hammer attacks, Paper Mario has copies. As he is hit, more copies disappear. But the more copies he has, the more damage he can dish out with his jumping attack. Eventually, the trio was eventually able to take out Petey and the threat was over. With the addition of Paper Mario's abilities, this turned into a fun boss battle that was really fun to play, especially when Petey was chasing since you could see him chase the duo in full 3D.
The last feature I played was Papercraft Mode. In this, Mario, Luigi and Paper Mario controlled a paper mecha that they moved around to attack giant, paper-shaped Goombas that were on the field. To charge up the mecha’s power there were pads strewn about that initiate a rhythm-based game where you press Y each time a wave reaches the end of a circle. The better you’re at it, the quicker the meter will charge. Once ready, I was able to wipe out the Goombas by charging at them with the B button. Once the enemy was down, the Mario mecha was able to spring out of its pad and unleash a devastating pounce that often destroyed the enemy before me. The boss of this mode, a Mecha King Goomba, pounced at me. But when I dodged, he left open an opportunity to attack. I was able to take him down pretty easily soon after. The controls were a bit tricky at first, but once I got the hang of things it turned into a pretty fun battle that I'm interested in seeing how it's implemented in the full game.
There’s a lot of potential for Mario and Luigi: Paper Jam. The time I played with it was fun, and there’s plenty of new ideas and concepts that are being brought forth both in battle and on the field. One has to wonder just what kind of moves Paper Mario will possess that will help Mario and Luigi during their quest. I’d also love to see more of Paper Mario in battle and what else he may do that’s different from the usual arsenal of moves Mario and Luigi have. There’s a ton of fun and interesting ideas that can be thought up of thanks to the worlds of both Mario and Luigi and Paper Mario combining into one that we may soon see come to fruition when the game comes out next spring.