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My thoughts on Paper Mario: The Origami King covered by Nintendo Treehouse

This past week, Nintendo covered the upcoming Paper Mario: The Origami King for Nintendo Switch. Featuring Mario's latest paper adventure, it starts with Princess Peach being kidnapped by the Origami King, Ollie. In the midst, Mario is sent into a dungeon while Peach's castle gets taken over by this new villain.

When Mario befriends Olivia, an origami craft creation, along with bumping into a folded-up Bowser, they attempt to escape Peach's Castle before massive streamers cover the castle. With Ollie's intent to turn Paper Mario's world into origami, Mario must set out to rescue Peach and put the Origami King's intentions to an end.

Right off the bat, Nintendo proves once again that they do not understand the approach to Paper Mario. The unique character designs, the RPG elements, and the use of badges make up as much of Paper Mario as the paper aesthetics and the witty dialogue. Even though Origami King looks seamless and beautiful, I already know that this will follow in the footsteps of Sticker Star and Color Splash.

As I just mentioned, Origami King looks nothing short of pretty. The papercraft and paper aesthetics seamlessly blend to create a world of its own. Using a technique similar to Yoshi's Woolly World (Wii U/3DS) and Yoshi's Crafted World (Switch), Nintendo creates a literal slice of life by blending realistic materials into the game world.

Unfortunately, the only bonus you gain from battles is coins. You will not level up, equip badges, and you currently don't seem to have a partner. Besides Olivia, who serves as an assistant, this Treehouse demo only seems to show everything we've seen from the last two games. This includes the abundance of finding random Toads in the process. 

Any hope?
If there is any hope for Paper Mario: The Origami King, it comes from Nintendo not making terrible decisions with the design choices. For instance, Paper Mario: Sticker Star, even after abandoning the formula of the original titles, could have been a good game. Sadly, you gained no EXP from battles, making fights pointless. Additionally, you constantly got lost due to a poor sense of direction and you need to use special items to clear a path including the same items more than once.

One of the nice things that come from this game is the aesthetic appeal. Not only are you living in an origami-themed world, but you can even fling up confetti. You can use this to affect parts of the landscape such as revealing coins from a flap in the ground.

Nintendo seems to have woefully abandoned the formula that made Paper Mario (N64) and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (GC) such beloved games. Even though it could be a fun Action pseudo-RPG in its own right, perhaps we need Ryota Kawade to return to the series direction. Maybe then we will get to fight incredible bosses again, like Tubba Blubba and Hooktail, instead of a case of colored pencils.