Nintendo's Paper Mario series occupies a strange and polarising place on their games roster. The game started life as a turn based RPG and then morphed into a sort of action-platformer. Both gameplay iterations have their hardcore - and vocal - fans.
With Paper Mario: The Origami King, the latest entry in the 20 year old series, Nintendo has almost attempted to please both factions by folding the gameplay into a sort of hybrid between the two.
The story once again tasks Mario with saving the day. This time around it's a maniacal chap known as The Origami King who has taken over the Mushroom Kingdom by getting his goons to fold the paper inhabitants up into Origami figures.
You'll navigate various zone, exploring and rescuing, as you battle your way to the heart of the castle. While the story is nothing particularly groundbreaking it is a lot of fun with an abundance of zingers and absurdly comedic moments.
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While the story is frequently laugh out loud funny, the combat on other hand is groan inducing. The battles whisk you off the colourful land and into a ring arena that's divided into segments and that you have to manipulate. You have a set amount of time to move around the segments to queue up or bunch together your foes. Once they're lined up or positioned Mario can then take them out.
The boss battles are slightly different in that they see you lining up arrows and power-ups within the circular ring to guide Mario to attack the enemy's weak spot. I found neither particularly enjoyable and came to loathe being pulled out of the story to battle.
The result, for this gamer at least, is that The Origami King represents a rare thing from Nintendo; a swing and a miss. That's not to say its a poor game. It's not. The story and exploration aspects are positively bursting with charm and offbeat humour. They kept me coming back longer than my apathy towards the battles would suggest. But, it has to be said, not long enough to save the day.
Sorry, Mushroom Kingdom but you gotta know when to fold 'em.