Mario receives a shocking bit of mail hinting at something dark and mysterious going on at Prism Island. Mario, Princess Peach and Toad then head there to figure out what’s happening. Immediately upon arrival the area is empty with no signs of paper life and Mario discovers that the paint has been sucked out of almost everything! Mario then meets a mystical paint can and starts a quest to bring some paint and color back into this island.
Moving along in a typical Mario fashion you jot to each area attempting to collect a special paint star in order to continue. In turn these stars open up new areas and you continue the adventure. Each area is somewhat open world in approach though still quite linear in design to make sure you're always headed in some purposeful direction. The areas typically have a main quest to them whether that's the collection of particular items or tackling a puzzle. None of these are too difficult to do as it's a game that's aimed for all ages though some do provide a challenge.
There are also many side things to collect and enemies waiting everywhere. This is where I had a bit of an issue with the game is that if you go back to base in order to heal as it's a battle based game, when you return you need to basically attack defeated enemies all over again which can be annoying. I also found the core area of the game's turn based fight systems which is turn based to be rather boring.
Using the gamepad you select from a series of cards, paint them and attack. It's a bit random on whether they'll do things properly or fail and it was just an awkward way of tackling turn based combat. Not to say it doesn't work and bring in some interesting attacks, it was just difficult to attack enemies easily to the point of seeing the younger audiences possibly struggling at some of the harder enemies or bosses. I felt there should have been more balance here as any combat scenario could easily finish you off where instead it should scale based on the number of enemies or the type of enemies in the battle.
The world of Paper Mario is paper based in some of the most creative and beautiful ways I could imagine. Characters are somewhat sticker based I'd say so they get crumpled up when you hit them and pop alive with a splash of paint. You can also cut into the world at certain points which was neat though I wish this wasn't just shown on the gamepad.
I also absolutely loved the bright colors that pop-up and the use of cardboard structures. It's just a lovely game in terms of design and that's accompanied well by the alluring music playing throughout. The game also had some quality dialogue that was fun and delightful though a bit too heavy with text. I wish it was somewhat more to the point at times as you'd sit there scrolling bubble after bubble and then get a friendly reminder from your bucket pal.
Paper Mario Color Splash was a solid game that's great for all ages packing not only a vibrant world, but a charming story as well. It's just that the game doesn't quite hold up in all areas with text dialogue that's far too heavy and a mostly boring combat system.
The real moments that defined this game were the great action sequences or just generally walking around in this lovely and colorful world. It does feel quite magical and the story had some well written bits of comedy, it's just that there was too much text around it at times. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed playing Color Splash and the whole paper aspects of the game were wonderfully done.
Paper Mario: Color Splash Review on Wii U
Review Code Provided by Nintendo