Paper Mario: Color Splash is the next installment in a long line of action-RPGs. While fans received the first three installments well, the fourth known as Paper Mario: Sticker Star was thought to have changed the game formula far too much for the tastes of the original series fans.
Paper Mario: Sticker Star was lacking in the deep RPG characters and cute yet thorough world building that the series was known for. Instead it stuck to some of the conventions more commonly associated with traditional Super Mario titles. This approach does work for these games as they’re usually not very narrative heavy, but with the style of content that RPGs strive to create, it does create a divide between fans and developers.
Paper Mario: Color Splash appears to be heading in a similar direction, and one that is negative for the future of the series. The lack of EXP makes battles unrewarding and almost pointless, and the consumable attacks doesn’t leave room for people to get comfortable with their approach to battle. But the world’s stale, lifeless feeling is arguably the most negative thing about this new breed of action adventure. Paper Mario appealed to fans because it gave us a unique look inside Super Mario’s own world. But these games are glorified platformers with unnecessary puzzles and surprisingly stale combat.
Hopefully Paper Mario: Color Splash can achieve the level of greatness that the series was known for up to this point, but if not, players may be better off considering The Thousand-Year Door a rarity, and appreciating it for what it was.
Paper Mario: Color Splash is set to launch this October, with the presence of the Koopalings in their paper forms for the first time ever. Stay tuned for more news as it becomes available on this RPG title.