Paper Mario: Color Splash Review
If you’ve read my Paper Mario: Color Splash review-in-progress articles, then you know I like the game a lot. But if you haven’t read those articles or if you just want my complete opinion on the game in one handy space, then please read my full review of Color Splash. Why do I like this game so much? Why do I think it’s the best Paper Mario game so far?
Paper Mario: Color Splash has an absolutely wonderful story. The overall plot is fairly simple but what elevates the whole game is the amazing dialogue and how each level has its own story while still supporting the big picture. Some of the levels are To Be Continued to another level, sure, but each level itself introduces a new plot twist, cool characters, and out of this world dialogue. The writing in this game is so sharp!
You need to play this game to find out how truly awesome this game’s plot gets! But this is a video game and a video game needs more than just a cool story. It has to have great gameplay too and Paper Mario: Color Splash has the best gameplay from any Paper Mario game!
The battle system in Paper Mario: Color Splash is a ton of fun, while still offering a lot of challenge. One of the reasons the card system in this game is a lot better than the previous games’ sticker system is because cards are easier to get from battles, a store, blocks, and other places. That doesn’t mean that you won’t have to be careful with the cards though. You can easily use up your best cards thanks to the boss battles! There are a lot of hard battles in this game, especially those bosses.
Color Splash’s battle system will make you think and consider what the best move going forward is. You don’t gain experience in this game, but the battle system is turn-based and there is a lot of strategy to it. And much like previous Paper Mario games, if you press the A button at the right time, you will cause extra damage with an attack. I really like this feature and was glad it was brought back, even though I suck at pressing the button at the time! As I said previously though, the battle system is fun too. The Thing cards, especially, give you a healthy dose of humor and strangeness in the battles.
Speaking of humor and strangeness, you’ll find both of those all around you as you travel from level to level. You’ll want to explore these levels from top to bottom: paint every white spot you can, talk to every toad, enemy, and examine walls and floors for secrets. You will be making good use of Mario’s famous jumping ability in this game! With each level you go to, via the game’s wonderful and rather large Super Mario Bros style world map, you’ll find tons of things to do and you can easily miss something if you don’t spend a lot of time looking around.
And here’s where I tease one specific level. This level is so great that I consider it to be one of the best levels I’ve ever played in any video game. If you are a Mario fan, you will absolutely love this level! I found the level to be creative, fun, and nostalgic. Thats all I’ll say about the level. When you play the game, you’ll know what level I’m talking about! That said, not every level of Paper Mario: Color Splash will be a complete joy.
Some of the levels in Color Splash can be a bit frustrating, while still being very unique and creative. The levels I’m specially talking about involve the player having perfect button timing. These levels will frustrate some players, although the game does sense when you are having trouble and tries to lend you a hand.
Don’t let these levels discourage you from beating this game. Paper Mario: Color Splash is worth the frustrating levels and these frustrating experiences are still worth playing because of how just plain strange they are. And when you beat these hard parts of the game, you will feel like you really accomplished something, even if you get a helping hand from the game! Paper Mario: Color Splash is not an easy game but thankfully, its controls are not one of the reasons why the game is so difficult.
The controls in Paper Mario: Color Splash are the best I’ve seen on the Wii U yet. The normal controls, such as the analog stick and the buttons, work really well. The jumping in this game is exactly what you expect out of a Mario game! Walking around, examining things, and talking to NPCs works just like previous Paper Mario games and thats great. The in-game camera in this game is pretty good too. The best thing about the controls though? Well, it has to be how Paper Mario: Color Splash makes use of the Wii U gamepad!
During battles, you’ll easily pick cards via the touch screen, paint them, and then flick them up to the TV screen. The gamepad use goes beyond just battles though. There is a Cut Out ability in this game that lets you cut out certain sections of the environment to reveal secrets such as a quick way to get to a background, a place to add a Card, or a hidden Luigi. Using the touch screen to Cut Out stuff to find secrets works really well and feels satisfying.
And while its recommended to play this game with the TV and gamepad, you can play this game Off-TV via the gamepad if you want. The game does work great with just the gamepad too. I like how the battle screen will quickly transition to the card selection, but also give you a little window to see what your enemy is doing. The Cut Out feature and transferring to the game’s menu also work well on the touch screen.
Oh speaking of the game’s menu, Color Splash has a really good menu layout. Also: you should not miss this game’s electronic manual. You can access this manual anytime during gameplay and its just a wonderful addition to the game. I especially enjoy how at certain parts of the game, you will be cued to press on the manual button. When you do so, you will be taken to a section of the manual that gives you behind the scenes info on various parts of the game. I am a huge fan of “making of” info so I enjoyed this a lot. In fact, I enjoyed Paper Mario: Color Splash a lot as a whole. The gameplay here is the best you’ll find in any Paper Mario game! But the gameplay is not the only thing that surpasses the others games. The graphics in this game are better too!
Paper Mario: Color Splash has the best graphics we’ve ever seen on a Paper Mario game and some of the best graphics we’ve seen on the Wii U. The details in every level are amazing and the game looks fantastic in HD. Every level is jaw dropping because of how it all looks like its made of extremely detailed paper drawings and/or well made cardboard art. Even the world map is wonderful and really detailed. I also love how bright and colorful this game is!
And while you do see a lot of the same non-playable characters repeated over and over in this game, you never get tired of that because each Toad/shy guy/etc has its own personality and every encounter is memorable. Not even this repetition ruins the graphics on this game. Color Splash is an amazing looking game!
Then there’s the game’s soundtrack, which is just as great as its graphics. There is some classic Mario music to be found in this game, but most of the music is original to this game. And all of the music is really wonderful. Color Splash also has great sound effects: everything from hammers to color splashing to enemies attacking is fantastic. And it should be noted that the sound effects don’t just happen on your TV screen.
If you have the gamepad sound on, you’ll hear some great effects, such as the roulette wheel, coming from the pad. The sound on the TV will still be there, but be lowered just a bit until your done with the gamepad. Then the sound from the TV will come back in full force. Although, if you have the gamepad sound off, you will still hear the gamepad sounds but they’ll be coming out of the TV. I highly recommend having your gamepad sound on though. The duo audio in this game is just perfect!
If you are a Paper Mario fan at all, you should definitely play this game!
Paper Mario: Color Splash is the best game in the Paper Mario franchise. Everything about it combines to give players the best experience they’ll find in the franchise. If you didn’t like Sticker Star and you are worried that this game is just another Sticker Star, don’t be. Color Splash is a truly wonderful game that shouldn’t be missed! Why are you even reading this review?! You should be playing Paper Mario: Color Splash right now!
Color Splash is the best game in the Paper Mario series and it is one of the best games on the Wii U.
Some video thoughts from me on Color Splash: