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Ranking Paper Mario Games (Kevin’s Version)

The Paper Mario series takes us on a whimsical journey through a world crafted from paper. Each game offers a unique twist, blending RPG mechanics with charming visuals and quirky humor. But how do these adventures stack up? Let’s flip the page and explore the Paper Mario games, ranking them from those with a rougher texture to the ones that truly shine…keep in mind this is merely my opinion as a 40-something year old gamer who has been playing mario games since the NES was released in the US:


  • 6. Paper Mario: Sticker Star (3DS): Sticker Star introduced a controversial sticker-based battle system. While the papercraft environments retain their charm, the lack of experience points and a traditional leveling system leaves players feeling underpowered. Battles rely on using consumable stickers with limited uses, which can feel restrictive compared to the badge system and partner abilities of previous games.


  • 5. Paper Mario: Color Splash (Wii U): Building on Sticker Star, Color Splash refines the paint-based mechanics. Players replenish the world’s color palette by splattering paint with a special hammer. While the vibrant visuals and slapstick humor remain strong points, the reliance on a single gimmick – collecting and using paint – can feel repetitive.


  • 4. Paper Mario: The Origami King (Switch): The Origami King reintroduces some RPG elements like experience points and partner interactions, but focuses on puzzle-solving and exploration. The unique ring-based battle system adds a strategic twist, with players manipulating rings to line up enemies for attacks. The world unfolds like a giant origami diorama, brimming with visual creativity. However, some may miss the depth and customization options of previous titles with traditional turn-based battles and badge systems.


  • 3. Super Paper Mario (Wii): A genre-bending experiment, Super Paper Mario ditches the traditional turn-based battles for a side-scrolling platformer format with RPG elements. While the shift may not appeal to all fans, the inventive level design keeps things fresh. Players can flip between 2D and 3D perspectives to solve puzzles and access hidden areas. The story remains engaging, with memorable moments like Luigi’s hilarious transformation.

  • 2. Paper Mario (N64): The original that launched a legendary series, Paper Mario offers a delightful introduction to the papercraft world. The charming visuals, where enemies literally fold into different forms, set the standard for the series’ aesthetics. The badge system lets you customize Mario’s abilities, while the focus on exploration with cleverly hidden secrets encourages you to revisit familiar areas.


  • 1. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (GCN): Considered the pinnacle of the series, TTYD boasts a vast and vibrant world filled with memorable characters. The story is a captivating blend of humor and heart, keeping you engaged from start to finish. The turn-based combat system is the most refined, offering strategic depth with partner abilities and audience participation. Uncovering hidden lore and secret locations adds immense replay value, making TTYD a true treasure trove for dedicated players. The undisputed GOAT, and I cannot wait for the remaster to drop!!!!

The Paper Mario series is a testament to creative risk-taking. Each title offers a unique twist on the franchise, appealing to different player preferences. Whether you crave a deep and strategic turn-based RPG experience (TTYD, Paper Mario), a genre-bending platformer adventure (Super Paper Mario), or a focus on exploration and puzzle-solving with a fresh combat system (Origami King), there’s a Paper Mario waiting to unfold a world of quirky charm for you. So grab your favorite partner, and prepare to be whisked away on an unforgettable adventure!


Article By

blank Kevin Austin has been in gaming journalism in one way or another since the launch of the Nintendo Gamecube. Married and father of 3 children he has been gaming since the ripe age of 6 when he got his first NES system and over 30 years later he is still gaming almost daily. Kevin is also co-founder of the Play Some Video Games (PSVG) Podcast network which was founded over five years ago and is still going strong. Some of his favorite gaming series includes Fallout and Far Cry, he is a sucker for single player adventure games (hence his big reviews for Playstation), and can frequently be found getting down in one battle royale or another. If it's an oddball game, odds are he's all about it.

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Twitter: @PSVGKevin