Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door

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Reviewer: yingmin Date: Nov 25, 2018
Mario needs no introduction.

Graphics: 9
Nintendo has always been great at turning the limitations of their hardware into features, and this is no exception. The paper premise allowed them to focus on making colorful and expressive 2D sprites and backgrounds, so the game looks phenomenal. There are only a few rough edges, a few textures that don't entirely work, that prevent this from being visually perfect.

Sound: 10
The music is, as usual, fantastic. I especially like how the main theme is a reworking of the original Super Mario Bros theme. The sound effects are great, the limited voice acting really suits the mood of the's all wonderful.

Gameplay: 7
This, in my opinion, is where the game really suffers. The basic gameplay is fun, even for people who don't normally play RPGs. The battle system is highly interactive, so you're never just sitting back watching things happen. The crowd interaction and the scenery falling down offer more ways to keep you on your toes. However, in my opinion, most of the ways this game deviates from the typical RPG format are for the worse:
  • I understand the reason for only having one ally active outside the battle sequences, since each ally does something different, but having only one ally during battles is terrible, especially since it costs you a move to switch one out. This results in as many as five enemies at a time versus you and one ally, and since you can't always predict what kind of enemies you're going to face, you don't always have the luxury of choosing the right ally before the battle starts.

  • The leveling system only allows you to upgrade one of three attributes each level, and your attack and defense don't increase with levels. You have to manually level your allies up, and that requires special items you have to find, and can only be done in one location. Each of your allies can be leveled up once, with a second level up only available after you find another item late in the game.

  • The only way to increase your attack power is through specific items, and those are only available when they're required to progress through the game. There's no equipment system like in other games.

  • The badge system is similar in concept to equipment, but more frustrating. Any new attacks you gain require flower points to use, and you're limited by the number of badge points you have, which you can only increase by leveling up your badge points at the cost of HP or flower points. Badges that give you more HP or FP require the same number of badge points as you get from leveling up, if not more, so the only difference between, say, leveling up your FP or leveling up your badge points so you can equip a badge that boosts your FP is that the badge points give you a little more flexibility.

As a side note, your inventory is WAY too small. You can double the size of your inventory, which still isn't very much, and it doesn't come until so late in the game that it almost doesn't even matter any more.

All that aside, little touches like the brief sections where you're playing as Princess Peach and Bowser are fun little diversions that add variety.

Overall: 9
If this game weren't so fun to play on a fundamental level, there's no way I would have kept playing it. I'm not saying that I wish this game were more like other RPGs; I just wish it were more like Super Mario RPG.

Not much more to say except that it's another great Mario game. It's familiar, yet different. It's approachable, yet challenging.