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Paper Mario: Color Splash Review-in-progress Part 2

In Part 1 of our Paper Mario: Color Splash Review-in-progress, we examined the writing and graphics of Color Splash. In today’s part 2, I want to look at the game’s battle system. Color Splash uses cards instead of stickers and while the battle system is turn-based, it is also very different from Sticker Star or any of the other Paper Mario battle systems. The most important question is: is the battle system any good?


In Paper Mario: Color Splash, a turn-based battle system is in effect, but instead of a menu based system of attack, players use cards and paint to attack the enemy. I’ll talk about both of these elements, how they work, and if they are any good.

Pick A Card, Not Any Card

As you travel throughout the world of Paper Mario: Color Splash, you’ll collect cards from enemies, question mark blocks, and other places. These cards can then be used in battle (and sometimes elsewhere). During battle, the cards appear on the Wii U gamepad, you move a card up to the attack placement, and when you’re ready, you flick the card up and it appears on the TV screen for the attack. You can’t just choose any card to use for an attack though. You will have to really think about what cards you are using.

There is a strategy when it comes to using the cards. You will have figure out what card to use when. Not all enemies can be stepped on or hit with a hammer and of course the special attacks should be saved up for when you desperately need them, which is usually boss battles or battles against tough enemies.

Adding Color to the Situation, The Roulette Wheel, and “Grinding”

To get the most out of your cards, you have to paint them. Its up to you whether you want to paint them a little or a lot. You have to remember though that you only have a limited amount of paint, although there is a card you can get that’ll bring your paint up later on. So just like using cards, you have to be strategic about using paint. There is, however, an a fantastic option that will help you out in battle if you get stuck!

If you need an extra hand now and again, there is a roulette wheel option during battle that you can use to get a card. You will have to spend coins to use the wheel. This option helps a lot, especially in tough battles, but if you over use it, you will pay the price. What is the price? Well, you can easily run out of money after a tough battle of using the wheel a lot and then you’ll have to go around and collect more coins. Even if you don’t use the wheel, you can run out of cards fast in battles.

Color Splash’s grinding isn’t about going around and fighting random enemies for experience points. Instead, you may find yourself “grinding” for money and cards. The card system can be hard at times, but overall, I found it delightful. The battles in this game can go as fast or slow as you want. You can take your time figuring out to do in this game. Thank goodness that its still a turn-based battle system!

A Fun Challenging Game

The battles in this game get harder and harder as you go. The boss battles, especially, will make you think and make you be creative. In my opinion, Color Splash has the best battle system of any Paper Mario game. The battles make great use of the Wii U gamepad, while being challenging and fun too. Paper Mario: Color Splash keeps you involved its battles. You’ll have think on your feet. Occasionally, you’ll find that you don’t have the right card for a boss battle too and you’ll have to go and find that card. Once you come back and beat the boss, its always extremely satisfying. Paper Mario: Color Splash is just full of surprising battle cards, especially the special ones, and the enemies in this game are full of personality, even the easy ones.

The card system is a ton of better than the sticker system of Sticker Star too because there is so more strategy to this system and yet it is also will give you a helping hand be providing cards in battle if you have the coins and getting more cards as a reward for beating battles and exploring your environment. If you think this battle system is just Sticker Star 2, you are so wrong. Nintendo has gone to a lot of effort here to create a battle system that challenges you, but also lets you be creative and have fun while you’re doing it. I hope Nintendo never goes back to Paper Mario’s old boring (compared to this game) battle system.

And that’s my look at Color Splash’s battle system! Its unique, its fun, and you are doing yourself a large disservice if you are shrugging it off as Sticker Star 2. In fact, the entire game is so much better than that game or any other Paper Mario game!

I’ll be back with Part 3 of my review-in-progress on Thursday. I’ll talk about Paper Mario Color Splash’s massive level of exploration and the wonderful music of the game!


Article By

blank Daniel Fugate has wanted to be a writer since he was seven years old. He has a bachelor's degree in English and he's a huge Animal Crossing fan. The Wii U and 3DS are currently his favorite video game systems!

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