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Paper Mario: The Origami King Review Roundup — What Critics Think Of Nintendo's New RPG

Paper Mario: The Origami King is coming to Nintendo Switch, and critics’ reviews have started to appear ahead of the game’s July 17 release. While Mario has had several RPG spin-offs, the reception to the last few Paper Mario games has been mixed. So, is this one paper-thin or sharp as a paper-cut? And how does it build on the series’ established formula while breaking new ground?

The critical consensus on The Origami King is generally positive, with many praising its irreverent humor, revised RPG mechanics, and inventive grid-based battle system. While critics appear to agree it doesn’t quite reach the series high-point of The Thousand-Year Door, it is a return to form. In GameSpot’s Paper Mario: The Origami King review, Suriel Vazquez wrote that “[its] most clever trick is how its overhauled combat complements its sharp wit, turning the series’ Achilles’ heel into one of its biggest strengths.” He found this worked well in boss battles as well as standard encounters.

We’ve selected a handful of critic reviews from around the industry below. For an even broader overview, check out GameSpot sister site Metacritic.

  • Game: Paper Mario: The Origami King
  • Platforms: Nintendo Switch
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Release date: July 17
  • Price: $60 / £50 / $80 AUD

GameSpot — 8/10

“With a newfound combat system that steals the show and offers a novel take on turn-based combat, its winking, nodding, and adventuring shine all the brighter. Its world and characters might not be the series’ best, but it’s still able to consistently throw left turns, good gags, and smart surprises at you. Each piece of The Origami King elegantly fits into its whole, taking its irreverent flair to new heights. The Paper Mario series has recently shown that being clever and being smart are two different things, but thankfully, it’s once again managed to be both.” – Suriel Vazquez [Full Review]

Comic Book — 5/5

“While The Origami King can feel formulaic at times, the entry does more to reimagine the franchise than not. It won’t impress fans who were hoping for a larger RPG focus, but its charming characters and story will keep fans hooked. Paper Mario has never felt so fun than with The Origami King, and its lighthearted feel is the perfect thing for gamers to sit with this summer.” – Megan Peters [Full Review]

GamesRadar — 4.5/5

“An excellent story, charming characters, and the ability to team up with your oldest foes makes The Origami King a triumph. Yes, it may not be the new Thousand-Year Door RPG, but it’s something special that should be celebrated.” – Sam Loveridge [Full Review]

Screen Rant — 4.5/5

“Paper Mario: The Origami King is pound-for-pound the best version of the series yet. An endlessly enjoyable story, a unique take on combat that fuses puzzle-solving with RPG traditions, and a beautiful world full of adventure makes Paper Mario: The Origami King yet another must-play Nintendo Switch experience.” – Cody Gravelle [Full Review]

VentureBeat — 85/100

“By the end, I had largely forgotten about standard combat. I think this is the rare game that improves as you continue playing. And that culminates in a thrilling finale that comes as a huge payoff for the story. So don’t sit this one out. Pick it up, play through it, complain about it with me, but then stick around for all of its joys.” – Jeff Grubb [Full Review]

US Gamer — 4/5

“Paper Mario: The Origami King is an action-adventure game, not an RPG, which is sure to disappoint Paper Mario fans waiting for The Thousand Year Door’s second coming. If you refuse to touch a Paper Mario game that’s not an RPG, The Origami King will leave you dry and irritated, like the hands of a paper-folding master. But if you’re OK with Paper Mario’s turn to action, you’ll find an enjoyable game packed with humor, secrets, and unique boss battles. The Paper Mario team is clearly learning how to make these distinct Mario games more appealing.” – Nadia Oxford [Full Review]

VG247 — 4/5

“That simplicity is overridden by originality and vigor, then – but I also know all too well that some fans of the older Paper Mario games will once again walk away a little disappointed. This is still undoubtedly no Thousand Year Door. Perhaps the next outing can bring back a little of that RPG depth – but regardless of that, this is still the best Paper Mario game in years.” – Alex Donaldson [Full Review]

Game Informer — 7.75/10

“As a series, Paper Mario constantly explores new concepts and mechanics, which is exciting, but that comes with plenty of risks. Origami King’s biggest chances don’t pay off in a satisfying way. I enjoyed Mario’s hijinks and all the misfits he encounters, but the new ring-based action needs refinement. I hope Paper Mario’s next twist on combat can rise to the same level as its humor.” – Ben Reeves [Full Review]

IGN — 7/10

“The Origami King is a truly likeable game despite the shallowness of its new spin on gameplay. Its characters are winsome, its visual design is gorgeous, its world is fun to explore, and its storytelling is outside the box and playful. At the same time, however, it could be so much more. Combat is largely unfulfilling, and your journey as a whole lacks meaningful choices. For a series with RPG roots, that’s a real shame.” – Cam Shea [Full Review]

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