I’ll just admit right here and now that I have an obsessive personality. Once I start something, I tend to spend countless hours working toward that 100% completion. Be that in school (achievement BS in Biz unlocked, magna cum laude!), perfecting a recipe (my beer bread is amazing), or finishing my DIY projects. The same goes for video games. But not just any video games! No, I tend to obsess over the silly ones.
For example, all of the LEGO games on the Wii. I played LEGO Harry Potter for, let’s be honest, over 100 hours in order to get all those damn character studs. I just couldn’t let it go! And now I’m playing Super Paper Mario and have 3 recipes to go. Now, I’ll probably never get 100% on catch cards but my REAL problem is completing the 100 Trials in Flopside.
How about I start from the beginning? Super Paper Mario is a lovely new take on old school Mario. Forget the intense new graphics and 3D game play in Mario Galaxy (another great game). The people at Nintendo decided to go a little retro with a 2D game that plays on the dimensions of good ol’ paper. Mario has the ability to flip between the X axis and the Z axis, turning sideways briefly to escape enemies, find hidden objects, and quite often just to beat the level by finding the door out. Now, I beat the game awhile ago. It’s designed for kids to be able to complete the main story line, so honestly, that was no problem.
However, there are a myriad of other gaming opportunities hidden in the home level of the game. You can buy maps from a secret dealer on one of the basement levels in order to find hidden objects with one of your pixl companions (I obsessed over that shiz first, 100% complete). Then, you can take the various life saving ingredients you pick up or purchase around the Marioverse to the two kitchens, one in Flipside, one in Flopside. There your polar opposite cooks can alter the ingredients into bigger and better (most the time) meals or drinks to help you in battle. This I obsessed over 2nd but have had a little trouble picking up a poison shroom, dayzee tear or getting the stupid mystery box to do anything! Blargh. I’m sure that’ll pan out eventually…
Which brings us to the Pit of 100 Trials. I thought this was going to be a cakewalk considering how highly leveled up I am. Turns out the trials ramp up the higher your HP and attack are so don’t bother. The first Pit of 100 Trials (henceforth to be known as 100) occurs in Flipside, the happy, easy, playful side of your hometown. The 100 are relatively easy, just a tedious grind, ending up in a relatively easy boss that you’ve pretty much seen before. The trick is to stock up a few Dyllis Deluxe meals (worth 90 HP) in your items list in order to replenish health when your enemies aren’t dropping enough cake mixes and keel mangos. Okay. 100 on Flipside down, let’s check out the Flopside….
Wait, WTF. Why are all the enemies in black shadows and so hard to kill!? CRAP. The first time I attempted this 100 I got to about lvl 20 and died. Then lvl 80 and quit because I wasn’t going to make it another 20 levels with only 5 HP. Oh, did I mention you can’t save anywhere between level 1 and 100 in either set? Ya, and when you die in the pit, you lose all progress… unless you take an early exit on one of the levels that are multiples of 10. Like I said, I bowed out early at lvl 80 when I realized it was hopeless. Well, after quite a few tries, I finally beat the Flopside 100… only to learn that once you beat the 100, you have to be the 100 again and then 4 enemy bosses that are reportedly more difficult than the big bad boss at the end of the main storyline. FRACK. At least Shadoo (the big bad) gives our hero a return pipe to Flopside where we can save before attempting the 100 again. Time to make a few more Dyllis Deluxe meals and start all over again. Ugh.
So here I am, 68 hours or so in and I’m stuck on 3 recipes, a boat load of catch cards, 100 trials and 4 bosses… And don’t even get me started on Door #6 in the main story line where we have to beat 100 tiny warriors in a row. I’ve only attempted that once, so I guess maybe I’ll obsess over that awhile before taking on the Flopside 100 AGAIN. You see, I can’t just quit and move on to another equally silly and fun game because I will always know that I never truly finished SPM. It’ll be a little twitching annoyance in the back of my mind until it’s finished. Just like the spot for that one last character stud for HP 5-7 and the multiple spots reserved for every single book I never finished. I can remember all of them, but the worst being My Louisiana Sky I put down in 4th grade. Hey, I warned you: Obsessive Personality!
Oh Super Paper Mario, why can’t I quit you?!
So as a review for this game that’s been out for quite awhile? I’d give it a 10/10 for escapism and nostalgia and an 8/10 for overall game play. It’s fun, silly, and PACKED with bonus material. If you are a casual gamer that just wants an easy escape, take Paper Mario for a spin.