Super Paper Mario is a platforming game bearing the name of the otherwise entirely unrelated Paper Mario franchise. Super Paper Mario began development as a Nintendo GameCube game, but was later released on the Nintendo Wii. The game was developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo on April 9, 2007 in North America, April 19, 2007 in Japan, September 14, 2007 in Europe, and September 20, 2007 in Australia.
Princess Peach has been kidnapped again. Assuming Bowser is to blame, Mario heads over to his castle only to discover that for once the Koopa King has also been kidnapped, and his army has been brainwashed by a new character, the evil Count Bleck. His plan is to brainwash and marry Bowser to Peach, an act foretold in a tome known as the Dark Prognosticus, which will bring forth a dark power known as the Chaos Heart. With this, Bleck will open an inter-dimensional rift called "the Void" and consume the universe. Of course, it is up to Mario to put a stop to all of this bad business.
Super Paper Mario represents a drastic departure for the Paper Mario series in its style. The adventure game elements have been mostly done away with in favor of faster pacing and more involved action.
Turn-based combat has been replaced with platforming reminiscent of the original NES Mario games, earning experience points as he progresses and defeats enemies. Depending on the enemy, Mario can jump on enemies or clobber them with any number of abilities granted by the Pixls (more on them in a minute). Enemies drop coins and hearts when defeated in addition to points which go towards his level. Defeating enemies in combos, such as jumping on several Goombas in sequence without touching the ground, will reward Mario with an additional point bonus in a manner similar to the original Mario platformers.
Instead of having partners of various origins join his crew along the trip as in the original games, Mario is accompanied in his journey by Pixls, mysterious fairies who can provide Mario with different abilities, such as running or planting bombs. New Pixls are discovered as the story progresses and can be switched at almost any time. Each has a personality that mimics their ability (Cudge is hardheaded, Fleep is whimsical, Boomer is temperamental).
There are four playable characters in Super Paper Mario-- Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Bowser--and each has their own unique abilities. Luigi has a powerful charged jump; Peach can glide with her parasol and use it as a shield; and Bowser does double damage and breathes fire. Mario's special ability is integral to the game as a whole, as he can rotate the world from 2D to 3D, showing items hidden behind objects, and new paths that would be otherwise invisible.
The ? Blocks in Super Paper Mario are home to more than just the standard fare of a Mario game. Several items are even unique to the game in functionality if not unique in appearance.
- Happy Flower: Picking up a Happy Flower makes coins rain from the sky for the next ten seconds.
- Mushroom: Restores HP.
- Slow Flower/Speed Flower: Blue and red respectively, picking one of these up will either speed everything up or slow everything down for a limited time, including the music. Enemies drop triple coins during this time and killing enemies is worth triple points.
- Pal Pills: When the player grabs Mario's 8-bit head from a ? Block, a circle of little 8-bit figures will suddenly appear and follow him around. These Pal Pills will mimic the player's actions and protect from on-comers. They can jump and damage enemies but if they touch a foe, they will die.
- Mega Star: The Invincibility Star's awesome cousin. Touching the Mega Star will transform the currently selected into 50-foot tall 8-bit version of themselves that is then free to trample everything in their path for a limited time.
Pixls are spirits created by the ancients to help make things. Players find them throughout the game. There are 13 Pixls in all; Tippi, Thoreau, Boomer, Slim, Thudley, Carrie, Fleep, Cudge, Dottie, Barry, Dashell, Piccolo, and Tiptron. Each of them have different abilities that help Mario. Their abilities are:
- Tippi shows hidden doors and gives tips.
- Thoreau allows Mario to grab & throw enemies and objects.
- Boomer is used as a bomb with a boom.
- Slim allows Mario to go paper thin to fit through bars.
- Thudley allows Mario to pound the ground and hit switches.
- Carrie turns into a platform to carry people over obstacles.
- Fleep can be used to flip objects from one dimension into another.
- Cudge allows Mario to use him as a hammer.
- Dottie has the ability to shrink Mario to the size of a dot.
- Barry creates a barrier, that does damage, around Mario & friends.
- Dashell makes characters dash faster.
- Piccolo plays music from old Mario games that can cure status ailments.
- Tiptron is only available after beating the game, and is a robotic copy of Tippi. Costs 999 G.