One of the rumors about new Mario games for Switch turned out to be true. Nintendo casually revealed Paper Mario: The Origami King in a surprise trailer last month. There’s only been that one Paper Mario: The Origami King trailer so far, but we can still glean plenty of information about what the new Paper Mario game has to offer. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide of everything we know about Paper Mario Origami King so far, including combat, characters, world, and more.
Paper Mario: The Origami King story
The trailer makes it pretty plain what Paper Mario: The Origami King’s story is all about. The Origami King, aka King Olly, arrives in the Mushroom Kingdom. Somehow, he manages to ensnare it, Princess Peach, and even Bowser in his papery tendrils. Olly’s is apparently a quiet revolution, though. According to the game’s official description from Nintendo, Mario and Luigi don’t even find out something’s amiss until later, after receiving an invitation from Princess Peach (a la Paper Mario for the Nintendo 64) and realizing something’s gone rather wrong in Toad Town.
And it’s even worse in the castle. Apparently, King Olly is exerting some kind of power over Princess Peach. She’s acting like some kind of creepy recruiter for Olly’s paper cult and trying to turn Mario into origami. How that unfolds (ha…) remains to be seen of course. But it’s got us wondering whether we’ll see Origami King include a separate Peach side story like the first three games did.
What happens after the Toad Town visit is still something of a mystery as well. Mario gets chucked in the dungeon with postcard Bowser but manages to escape somehow with Olly’s sister, Olivia. It looks like she takes on a role similar to Kersti from Sticker Star and Huey in Color Splash. Whether she’s also like the Pixls in Super Paper Mario — offering up some kind of extra powers Mario has to use during the story — is possible, but there’s still no confirmation of how the Paper Mario: The Origami King partner system might work.
Paper Mario: The Origami King courses
One thing we do know is the story looks like it takes place across a pretty varied array of levels — or stages or courses, depending on how Nintendo categorizes them this time. There’s at least six main areas, judging from the brief shot of a Warp Pipe room at 1:30 in the trailer, and that’s in keeping with the number of main areas in the past two Paper Mario games. There could always be supplementary areas as well, like Surfshine Harbor in Sticker Star.
Even if not, it looks like Paper Mario: The Origami King’s worlds go all out with variety. There’s the desert area complete with ancient Toad ruins and a Shy Guy town. Origami King also has at least one or two additional temples — the one with the Indiana Jones-style wheel chasing Mario and then the one with fire spouts.
Promo material suggests Toad Town is explorable at some point too. The trailer shows a possibly Resident Evil-inspired scene with a Goomba eating a house; there are also shots of Mario using his special power (more on that later) to investigate a house. We also see one, maybe two, alpine or mountain-themed areas, where Mario heads up a mountain both on foot and in the ski lift and then rafts down a fast-moving stream with red foliage on either side.
From there, it’s a bit difficult to tell how areas may be divided. The forest and jungle area where Kamek, Mario, and Bowser Jr. relax in a hot spring might be connected. But there’s a number of other locations that could be anywhere or have any number of sub-areas attached to them: the underground spot, the giant lake/river with the big Cheep Cheep, wherever Mario’s going in the boat. Basically, while we don’t know how long it’ll take to beat Paper Mario: The Origami King, it looks like Origami King will be a big game.
Paper Mario: The Origami King gameplay
Map and story are great and all, but whether the final product ends up being fun largely depends on gameplay. The one trailer we have is pretty heavy on story, which is typically a consequence of being a story trailer. But it does show off some of what we can expect from Origami King’s gameplay.
Origami King partners
Most important for a lot of people is the Origami King partner system. It seems safe to say Origami King will bring partners back in some form — characters traveling with Mario who aren’t Olivia and Bowser. The trailer presents a Toad who seems to stick around quite a bit, along with a Koopa Troopa and a Bob-omb called… Bob-omb. Then in new screenshots that appeared on the game’s official website, we catch a glimpse of a Magikoopa partner, possibly even Kamek himself. The Bob-omb also seems to stick around for a while, and another image shows a crowd of characters around Mario. Do they stay around forever? Are they just there during key moments in specific areas? Hopefully, we’ll find out soon.
Whether they take part in battle is also not totally clear yet. Some segments show the Toad explorer character hiding behind Mario during combat. But as yet, we don’t have any actual evidence that the partner characters’ presence in battle is more than just a visual thing. The latter seems pretty doubtful, since Huey and Kersti didn’t appear alongside Mario during battle in the previous two games.
Origami King combat
Paper Mario: The Origami King’s combat looks like a mixture of styles so far — and yes, Origami King is turn-based. There’s nary a consumable item in sight, unlike Sticker Star’s stickers and Color Splash’s reliance on paint and item cards. But there’s also no sign of special attacks, at least not yet. Mario uses the traditional hammer and jump attacks instead. While we highly doubt that’ll be the extent of his combat repertoire, it does seem the big focus is on Origami King’s special combat mechanic: the ring stage.
Combat in Origami King literally revolves around the stage. You’ll have a short period of time before your turn to rotate the stage and try to line up enemies. Succeeding means you deal extra damage to a row of enemies, indicated by a small multiplier over Mario. Based on the “Excellent” description for each of Mario’s jumps, it’s safe to say timely button presses make a return too. The ring arena is a concept that could imbue combat with a good deal more strategy than we’ve yet seen with Paper Mario, and the official site likens combat to puzzle-solving as well.
Finally for combat, it looks like we can wave “Things” goodbye. There’s no Thing shown off in the trailer or any of the additional screenshots at all. Of course, they might be present anyway, but Sticker Star and Color Splash included Thing items in their promo trailers as a major feature.
Origami King combat unknowns
There are a few unknowns floating about here as well. The short gameplay video on the Origami King website shows two Goombas with little red angry clouds over their heads. That might point to some kind of aggro system, where certain actions or enemy placements determine attack order. Or maybe enemies can only attack based on where they’re placed in the ring.
Speaking of enemies, we can likely expect a good variety of boss types in Origami King. Where Color Splash only gave us Koopalings, Origami King has a giant paper Blooper, and we’d be surprised if that noodle thing from 1:43 in the trailer wasn’t a boss as well. Still, it’s not certain what sort of bosses there are and how many we can look forward to.
Paper Mario: The Origami King’s other gameplay elements
Outside combat, Paper Mario: The Origami King returns to Paper Mario and The Thousand-Year Door’s roots by giving Mario a special power that affects the environment: the Thousand-Fold Arms ability. The name suggests multiple powers wrapped into one. So far, however, we’ve only seen Mario use Thousand-Fold Arms to peel back paper surfaces.
There may be some sort of mini-game mode wrapped up in Origami King as well, if the teaser segment at the end of the trailer with the Samus helmet is anything to go by. We dearly hope it is foreshadowing Metroid on Switch. Alternatively, it could be a VR-style mini-game that uses different helmets — like that Donkey Kong one sitting on the shelf. Or, since the Goomba helmet looks the same as the one eating the house in Toad Town, these helmets might just be related to specific scenarios. The Metroid reference might just be there for fun.
Paper Mario: The Origami King graphics
It might seem odd to point out Paper Mario: The Origami King uses the paper aesthetic to brilliant effect (so far at least). It’s kinda got “paper” in the title after all. But remember — Color Splash was basically Cardboard Mario, even though it looked fantastic. So far, it looks like Origami King is making very good use of lighting (that gilded shine in Peach’s Castle!) and a number of paper-themed textures to help make Origami King stand out both from its predecessors and as a Switch game.
There’s no telling what else Nintendo has in store for Paper Mario: The Origami King, but we won’t have too long to find out. Origami King launches July 17, so hopefully there will be some more news before long. Either way, stick with Nintendo Enthusiast for more Paper Mario: The Origami King news as it unfolds.