|Release: January 22, 2016|
|Screen Resolution: N/A||Mild Cartoon Violence|
There are two times when Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam falters. The first is in its papercraft battles. After every major boss fight, players will be tossed into a beat 'em up where their cardboard Mario or Luigi fights cardboard versions of classic enemies. It's reminiscent of the Abe Lincoln mech battles in Code Name: Steam. There's no real strategy to it, only tedium. Go through the rhythm mini-game to hype the Toads carrying the papercraft up. Once their energy is maxed out, fight the camera to get an enemy in your sights. Look at it to lock on, then throw the papercraft at it. Repeat until you reach the boss, then repeat until the mess is done. It isn't bad, but it takes away from the rest of the experience.
Especially since the other mini-games are handled rather well. These primarily appear as Paper Toad rescue missions, but the aforementioned Trio Attacks also act as such. Stopping by the Lakitu's offices offers opportunities to rescue the displaced citizens in mini-games that involve skill, timing, strategy, and dexterity. Sometimes, it feels as though you spend a little too much time saving these extra Toads, but the encounters are varied enough to keep them interesting. The Attackathon lets you play through the Trio Attacks outside of battle for points that can be used for items in shops. None of these feel cheap or extraneous, like the papercraft battles, instead offering a breather from Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam's main adventure.
But I digress. There's one other area where Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam needs improvement, and it's the amiibo implementation. You can get character cards if you happen to have question mark cards and a corresponding amiibo from the Super Mario series. The problem is, the cards are saved to the amiibo itself. Unless you plan to have that figure with you all the time, it's rather useless. The game is easy enough without their bonus effects, so there's really no point to them. It felt as though they existed so Nintendo could point to another game as offering amiibo support, rather than using it to enhance gameplay.
Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam has personality. There's a little bit of extraneous filler here, in the form of papercraft battles and optional amiibo cards, but people who chose to focus on the delightful story, fantastic battle system, and assortment of mini-games will be more than happy to join Mario, Luigi, and Paper Mario on their adventure.
Date: January 20, 2016