Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door is a bolder game than anything Nintendo could make right now

Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door is a bolder game than anything Nintendo could make right now

What if the famous gaming champion was also world famous in his own games? It’s the idea behind the Paper Mario games. The plumber became an icon in his own world, after saving a princess from destruction dozens of times.

Where traditional Mario titles revolve around jumping back in time, Paper Mario focuses on thinking and writing. They are role-playing games in which Mario explores the world, fights, and, above all, talks a lot. Chapter One Thousand Years It was originally released in 2004, but has been remastered for the Nintendo Switch.

It’s a game with a surprisingly clever and funny script. The entire world is made of paper, something that comes into its own during gameplay and in dialogues. For example, Mario learns to turn his piece of paper a quarter turn so that it fits into narrow slots. Gaining these new powers is always accompanied by some pun and wink to the audience. Paper Mario isn’t afraid to break the fourth wall and occasionally asserts itself as a game in its own right.

2001: Space Odyssey, Monty Python and The Simpsons

The game is full of references to other media. For example, this time kidnapped Princess Peach is being held by an AI, which with its single red eye looks exactly like the AI ​​of… 2001: A space journey. Soon the same computer falls in love with Peach, as seen in the classic sci-fi film Electric dreams. Further references go back, for example, to Monty Python, The Simpsons and Pirates of the Caribbean.

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The game doesn’t rely on all of these references, so it’s perfectly playable for younger players, but slightly older players will get more out of it. It’s also clear that this is the target group: it’s a Mario game for those who grew up with the plumber. Anyone who plays the game in Dutch will be surprised by one of the best Dutch translations in a game in recent years. Creative language was chosen, not simple.

Gameplay-wise, The Thousand Year Door is a traditional role-playing game. Mario sets out to find treasure buried beneath the pirate village. While he also has to find out who kidnapped Peach. He talks with characters, solves puzzles in dungeons, and above all, fights a lot against all kinds of opponents.

In these battles, you and the enemies take turns exchanging attacks. With well-timed button combinations, you can boost the damage of some attacks or dodge incoming hits, so the game still requires some reflex work.

Twenty years later, The Thousand Year Door is still a surprisingly fresh game, one that holds up better than the more recent Paper Mario games. Nintendo at that time seems a bit bolder than the company in 2024. This scenario might seem a bit too risky to produce a new game, because the company is now focusing on the broadest possible target group. However, it makes The Thousand Year Door an easy game to recommend.

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