Paper Mario Color Splash is the entry in the Paper Mario Franchise. The game involves Mario using a paint hammer in order to color in the colorless characters and level elements to progress through the story. This coloring feature is also implemented into battles.

Gameplay

The games main mechanic is the paint hammer that you use to put color back in Port Prisma which is the game’s main location. As soon as you enter Port Prisma, you’ll find Huey who is a paint can. Huey is the new character who will help, but mostly annoy you throughout the game as you journey to find the big paint stars. Before doing this, you will have to find mini paints first, which will lead you to the big paint stars. Paint seems to be theme for this game.

You’ll traverse through forest, deserts and oceans as you add color back to the world. When you get the big paint stars back, they will fill in big areas such as giant coins and sinkholes and contain flashbacks that will show you what happened before you arrived at Port Prisma. And if you get really stuck, you can always ask the toad in the trash can for help.

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Paper Mario series has a long tradition of outstanding soundtracks, and Color Splash is absolutely no different in that regard. Like many other titles in the Wii U era, Nintendo has seen fit to get live instrumentation for many of the tracks here, and the result is absolutely stunning. The bouncing, joyous whimsy of the levels is perfectly captured in each composition. It’s more traditionally Mario than the truly bizarre OSTs in TTYD and SPM. I can’t deny that this is among the strongest music ever to make its way to any of the plumber’s adventures.

The same goes for the visuals too. I’d go as far as to suggest this is Mario’s most gorgeous outing in HD, and that’s among stiff competition from the likes of Mario Kart 8 and Super Mario 3D World. The difference here is really the paper aesthetic, which is pleasing enough on its own, but now boasts crisp 60 FPS animation and striking clarity in all the details.

Combat

The combat in this game is similar to Paper Mario: Sticker Star. You have to use battle cards that you will get from defeated enemies or you can buy them from the shop. You can make your cards stronger by painting them and when an enemy is defeated, you have a chance of them being turned into a card that you can use in battle. The Koopa will go into the shell and go into the enemies while the Shy guy will just hit them. Painting the cards will make them be more powerful and last longer and defeated enemies will drop hammers that you collect to upgrade the amount of paint it can hold.

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Campaign

Paper Mario Color Splash opens up with Peach and toad going to Mario’s house with a letter from Prism island that invites them to the island. When they get to the island, they find a fountain that has a paint can called Huey inside. Huey will tell you about the big paint stars and what they do. As you rescue each big paint star, they will show you their memories of what happened before you got to the island and unlock different ways for you to go and will also increase your health. And it would not be a Mario without having to save Peach from Bowser. Again.

What is does differently

Paper Mario Color Splash follows what Sticker Star did. It does not go back to the RPG elements other games in the series was, but instead focuses more on puzzle-solving and using cards to attack. With many fans not liking Sticker Star because it did not stick with the RPG elements on the previous games, it seemed like a strange decision for Nintendo to not go back to the RPG, but Color Splash takes the idea of what Sticker Star is and improves on it.

The Paper Mario series has got a lot of great games and some not so great ones (looking at you Sticker Star). But even with the of an RPG element that the previous ones had, it still makes for a great game to play. It’s a vibrant, humorous and fun experience. Even though this is a great game for the Paper Mario series, it is evident that Nintendo need to bring back the RPG element to the series overall.

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