Super Paper Mario

Pros & Cons:
Pertaining to My short list below.

Full Pros & cons re-review coming soon...

This is a great, unique game, and in some ways rivals the older 2D Super Mario Bros. It has a sharp and colorful graphic style; excellent, deep gameplay; takes a long time to complete; and the story has a fantastic sense of humor. The only downside is that it can be on the easy side for older gamers, but not enough to spoil it—if you're a fan of previous Paper Mario games (or Super Mario RPG), it's definitely worth playing.

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Content review for this game:
Pertaining to the ESRB rating and My age rating.

Content-wise: This is perfectly suitable for kids 6- to watch, and in some parts even play. The main problem for this age is that the game's entire story is told exclusively in text, and this goes for explanation on control and gameplay too. However, button setup is pretty simple to master, and many of the early levels are fun and not too challenging. So, I could see kids 6- play early parts of the game with some help—the entire thing while

Difficulty-wise: The controls are very simple, and although gameplay is deeper and more complex than the older 2D Super Mario platformers, it is also more accessible and far easier; the early level design and enemies are forgiving; and levels have no time limit. It does start to get tricky about half-way through, but I could see kids 7+ completing at least half of this with little problems (if they get stuck, you could always go to gamefaqs and use a Walkthrough).

Fun for: Although this is on the easy side, and its graphic style looks kiddie, the gameplay is very deep, and it takes over 15 hours to beat (not counting extras). The script is also very clever, with a light sarcastic tone, often using big words. So although kids will like the colorful and zany characters, only adults are fully going to comprehend the scripts well-done and subtle humor.

Full content re-review coming soon...

Gameplay sum up: You start out in the city of Flipside, which acts as the main hub and leads off to the game's levels. Flipside has many useful facilities, like a shop where you can buy health/items; an inn where you can pay to sleep and regain your health; and a fortune teller's, who gives you hints on where to go and what to do next. The main objective is to collect the game's 8 Pure Hearts (8 chapters split into 8 levels, each with 4 stages)—by doing so, you'll stop Count Bleck from destroying all worlds.

Unlike the previous Paper Mario games (which were full RPGs), this game is more focused on platforming. A hint of the original Paper Mario RPG system is still present, and whenever Mario (and friends) destroy an enemy, they'll gain experience points, which eventually leads to a level up, and in turn, allows you to increase your health and skills—in addition, you'll come across badges, and if equipped, they'll make certain enemies weaker to your attacks.

The base gameplay consists of Mario (and later on, Peach, Bowser and Luigi) running, jumping, bouncing on enemies, acquiring power-ups (like mini bodyguards, an invincibility mushroom, etc), and collecting items (like health, etc.) through side-scrolling levels that play out like updated versions of the old Super Mario games. When you reach the end, you move on through three more levels, go to Flipside and turn in a pure heart, stock up on items, heal up, and then move on to the next world.

To successfully traverse these levels, you'll have to use Mario's, Peach's, Bowser's, Luigi's and the Pixl's specific abilities. Mario can use his 3D power to flip between the 2D and 3D perspectives, opening new paths and revealing hidden items; Peach can hover across long distances with her umbrella; Bowser is the slowest, but can spurt flame from his mouth; and Luigi can jump higher than anyone, allowing him to reach otherwise unreachable places.

The Pixls are small characters that accompany Mario (and friends), and the first you receive is named Tippi—she reveals hidden items/doors on screen, and gives you hints on what to do next. You'll gradually receive more of these Pixls, each with their own abilities, which imbue you with powers like blowing up walls, picking up and throwing objects/enemies, etc.—you'll often be switching between them to use their specific abilities and solve the game's puzzles.

Comic mischief: All characters are paper cartoons, so many of the situations they're put through could be considered comic mischief along the lines of Looney Toons, but it's no worse than aforementioned cartoon. The overall tone of the story is sarcastic, but only lightly so; the worst dialog consists of "idiot," and it's all done in text.

Mild cartoon violence: When Mario and Luigi receive news that Princess Peach has been kidnapped and her castle ransacked, Bowser immediately comes to mind. As they reach Bowser's residence and confront him, Bowser surprisingly informs them he was only just about to kidnap her when they arrived, but hadn't yet set the plans in motion. Stunned, Mario and Luigi stand with puzzled looks and mouths agape, waiting for a more logically satisfying answer. Instead, the true perpetrator appears (with Princess Peach bound by him) and introduces himself as Count Bleck. Mario tries to free the princess, but Count Bleck stops him with strange powers, sucks Bowser and his minions into a black hole, and disappears. What's going on? Time to find out...

Concerning the violent tone—as the name implies—the characters are made of paper, so the worst it gets is when Paper Mario jumps on paper mushrooms' heads, resulting in them disappearing in a puff of white, stylized pixel smoke—concerning content, I think this game is perfectly suitable for all ages (unless your child thinks everyone around him/her is a mushroom made of paper—then you have a problem ;P).

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