Already in running for most clever name of 2016, Mario & Luigi Paper Jam is scheduled to release for the Nintendo 3DS on January 22 in North America. The rest of the world gets it next month, but I’ll have my hands full with Xenoblade Chronicles X for the Wii U so I can’t say I’m too disappointed.
Mario is no stranger to RPGs, having started out on the Super NES with the Square and Nintendo collaboration Super Mario RPG. After the falling out between the two companies during the transition from 16-bit to 32/64-bit, Nintendo took it upon itself to reinvent the fledgling series with Paper Mario on the N64. The idea was to embrace the colorful and imaginative world of the Mushroom Kingdom, but in paper form. It was (and still is) a great game. Throughout the years two separate RPGs would take shape: the Paper Mario series and the Mario & Luigi saga. Both have their strong points, but I’ve usually enjoyed the Paper ones more. However, Bowser’s Inside Story still remains one of my favorites across both series, so it’s almost a toss-up at this point. That’s why I’m so excited to see what comes from the merging of the two.
The premise of the game is as crazy as always. Somehow the worlds of Mario & Luigi and Paper Mario have collided and it’s up to the group to save the day by unraveling the secrets holding the two universes together. While the game takes place in the Mario & Luigi series, it’s filled with characters and enemies from the Paper Mario side. There will be plenty of puzzles to solve by using Paper Mario’s skills to fold himself up into a paper airplane, or slip through cracks, and even making copies of himself.
During battles, many of the attacks return from prior games, but this time there’s a new mechanic with Battle Cards. These can be obtained in the game or by touching one of the Super Mario series amiibo to the New 3DS’s bottom screen. The various cards have different attacks and stat boosts to help out on the adventure. With three people in the group, the battles are sure to be more intense than ever. In fact, Paper Mario helps the Mario & Luigi out by making copies of himself to deal extra damage to the baddies. All three can charge up and perform a Trio Attack for super damage.
Prior games in both franchises have been packed with jokes and fun puzzles to solve and this one looks no different. With a new and improved battle system and an intriguing story, I’m looking forward to seeing how this one unfolds.