What Is The Best Paper Mario Game?

Which Is The Best?

  • Paper Mario 64

    Votes: 6 18.2%
  • Paper Mario TTYD

    Votes: 16 48.5%
  • Super Paper Mario

    Votes: 6 18.2%
  • Paper Mario Sticker Star

    Votes: 3 9.1%
  • Paper Mario Color Splash

    Votes: 2 6.1%

  • Total voters
    33

Adult Sweetie Belle

You can't tell me no, there's no place I can't go
personally, super paper mario is my favourite, but i do not think i can recommend it universally quite like i can ttyd. that being said, i would say spm overall is more liked than hated contemporarily, and both games i would say are really good nonpersonally, so if youre going to play one of these games, id really recommend both (although ttyd is rather difficult to acquire by legit means these days.)

spm vs ttyd is a very difficult judgement to make personally or nonpersonally, because i love both those games so much, but im going to make a head to head review of them in my review thread sometime

additionally i havent played sticker star or colour splash, and i havent finished paper mario 64

for now i will vote super paper mario for being my personal favourite
 

Koops

Koops, King of Cowards.
I have not played TTYD yet but from what I've seen TG play of it I don't think I'll quite like it as much as say, the first Paper Mario. First one is definitely already miles better than Super imo. Really hate that you have to play the whole prologue to unlock action commands but otherwise, it's good.

SPM is a more accessible game, tho, not only it's on the Wii of all consoles but it's also a genre that doesn't require much "strategy" or whatever the first two games require. It has severe flaws as a game but if you're a chill and easy-going person like me you'll still get something out of the experience.
 

Goombuigi

Shine Sprite
Poll Committee
I haven't played the first two games, just SPM and PM:CS. I've heard the TTYD is the best but I can't judge personally.
 

Kersti

YoshiFlutterJump
Awards Committee
Maybe Paper Mario 1 and 2 are the most well made installments. But they just didn't feel very special when I'd already seen it all done before and done better in Mario & Luigi. Partners are overrated, the item restrictions are ridiculous, and PM2 in particular suffers from poor level design and bad audience mechanics. It's all basically Mario & Luigi but more heavily flawed. Between the two I do prefer PM2 nonetheless, but to call it my favorite wouldn't be right. That just isn't the direction I want Paper Mario to go in.

Then there's SPM. I cannot begin to describe how overrated that game is. It's the pinnacle of fanservice, going over-the-top with original characters and story, while neglecting to have actually good gameplay. I moderately enjoyed this game the first time through, but the moment I went back to PM2 I just thought "man, this is so much better than SPM". SPM had good points but the negatives far outweigh the positives. It's my least favorite Paper Mario for sure; Paper Mario needed something different and I appreciate this game for trying, but it simply didn't work out.

Then Sticker Star came around in 2012, and became even more controversial than SPM. The most hated change by far was the removal of story elements and original characters (save for Kersti and some bosses), and that alone is 80% of this game's criticism. And I'm going to be blunt. I don't care about that stuff. I never have. That's not why I got into Mario RPGs in the first place. All that matters to me is the gameplay. ...And Sticker Star maybe didn't excel there either, as it still had some major flaws, but to me, it was a lot of fun. More fun than I'd had in any earlier installment. It succeeded where SPM failed, and the sequel, Color Splash, managed to improve on it even more. The sticker limits were lightened so that every card was the same size for a limit of 99, paint added an extra level of strategy, and it just overall improved on a game that I feel was already great. As controversial as this may be, this is my preferred series direction and I want to see what more can be done with it. Add original characters and story if you want, won't make a difference to me. It's the only time the series ever stepped out of the shadow of Mario & Luigi.

So overall, I'd rank them CS > SS > TTYD > 64 > SPM. I don't care what people say about the newer Paper Marios, I will defend them to the death.
 

Moldo With a Background

(Mole-dome-ray). Emphasis on "dome" despite the é.
TTYD and Super Paper Mario are on the same level for me. At the top.
I like Color Splash a ton, and I honestly have no idea why. It's above the OG Paper Mario for me, but only by a little bit.
Then Sticker Star at the bottom where it belongs.
 

Koops

Koops, King of Cowards.
Maybe Paper Mario 1 and 2 are the most well made installments. But they just didn't feel very special when I'd already seen it all done before and done better in Mario & Luigi. Partners are overrated, the item restrictions are ridiculous, and PM2 in particular suffers from poor level design and bad audience mechanics. It's all basically Mario & Luigi but more heavily flawed. Between the two I do prefer PM2 nonetheless, but to call it my favorite wouldn't be right. That just isn't the direction I want Paper Mario to go in.

Then there's SPM. I cannot begin to describe how overrated that game is. It's the pinnacle of fanservice, going over-the-top with original characters and story, while neglecting to have actually good gameplay. I moderately enjoyed this game the first time through, but the moment I went back to PM2 I just thought "man, this is so much better than SPM". SPM had good points but the negatives far outweigh the positives. It's my least favorite Paper Mario for sure; Paper Mario needed something different and I appreciate this game for trying, but it simply didn't work out.

Then Sticker Star came around in 2012, and became even more controversial than SPM. The most hated change by far was the removal of story elements and original characters (save for Kersti and some bosses), and that alone is 80% of this game's criticism. And I'm going to be blunt. I don't care about that stuff. I never have. That's not why I got into Mario RPGs in the first place. All that matters to me is the gameplay. ...And Sticker Star maybe didn't excel there either, as it still had some major flaws, but to me, it was a lot of fun. More fun than I'd had in any earlier installment. It succeeded where SPM failed, and the sequel, Color Splash, managed to improve on it even more. The sticker limits were lightened so that every card was the same size for a limit of 99, paint added an extra level of strategy, and it just overall improved on a game that I feel was already great. As controversial as this may be, this is my preferred series direction and I want to see what more can be done with it. Add original characters and story if you want, won't make a difference to me. It's the only time the series ever stepped out of the shadow of Mario & Luigi.

So overall, I'd rank them CS > SS > TTYD > 64 > SPM. I don't care what people say about the newer Paper Marios, I will defend them to the death.

THANK YOU!

Someone who does not cling to story, finally! Someone who actually values gameplay 100%!

Although I find that SPM is not as overrated as you make it sound. It's a verydivisive game where I feel that those who bash it are morevocal than those who defend it, although it does get praise for its story which is, not what I think it should get praise for, if any. 11 year old me would do all in his power to defend it but yeah, I'm a bew man now.

I would like to side with CS myself because I think it's a really charming game but it doesn't feel right since I haven't even played it, and I don't even have any means to do it yet so, sad.

I personally have seen many games pull way better stories than Paper Mario can ever hold a candle to, and even then, it should not be taken as a big factor in the game's overall quality. The only thing I really want in a story is for it to make sense or in some cases tell me what I should do, and that's about it, how deep it gets and all that is just a bonus and does not in anyway impact one's enjoyment. If you play only for the story you might as well watch videos of the game on YouTube, requires you no effort to get there too. Criticizing the last two games because they don't have OCs just does a disservice to them as games. You play games, you don't watch them play themselves. I'm ok with people hating these games, but I'm not ok with them solely hating them because it's a "shit story". Same thing with FE, I hate it when someone hates the series because there's too many of its characters in Smash, but am ok with people who actually provide valid criticism on why they don't like the games, especially from those who have actually tried a game or two (coincidentally, it's also made by IS, that AND although it's story-heavy, the story hardly ever matters).

Paper Mario is currently my favorite even though I have yet to beat is simply because I have not played anything in the series other than SPM.
 

Tressa Colzione

You got more than you bargained for!
Forum Moderator
Chat Operator
Core 'Shroom Staff
Awards Committee
Poll Committee
ttyd

even setting aside my enjoyment of story in a video game and disagreement with "if you like story you should just watch a video" which i don't want to get into a long debate about, i had a lot of fun playing the game

sticker star's gameplay was a big turnoff for me due to making the bosses instant-win puzzles regarding the thing stickers and heavily restricting random battles, who on earth thought it was a good idea to not let you choose your target

though i can respect it if you like it

spm and paper mario are in the middle for me, i liked both of them but not as much as ttyd

never played color splash, someone port that off the wii u why don't you
 
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Ray Trace

Hаppy бirтhдаy то...wаiт...iт's noт мy бirтhдаy?
Paper Mario is my favorite title of the Paper Mario series.

Simple and sweet is a perfect way to describe the entire game. The elegance is what makes Paper Mario stand out from the other titles. It has a no frills turn-based RPG battle system with a serviceable story. It has no random BS audience mechanic that randomly decides to screw you over when it feels like it that you have to look out for (the stage mechanic is the most major reason I prefer Paper Mario over TTYD, I don't like the fog, I don't like watching out for rocks, I don't like being frozen, I don't like randomly being hit by background scenery and buckets, and what more). It has no pointless action commands when you use some items (like the star power and the tattle) Its levels feel more open and lively than the corridors that Thousand-Year Door has. Its upgrade system for the partners? Hit a block, and upgrade your partners on the spot.

The story? Also simple and sweet. Bowser kidnaps Peach and lifts her to the sky. Go rescue her. Yet, the simple premise allows the game to explore some parts of the Mario story that I find intriguing, such as Peach defying Bowser in her own arcs (I don't give a crap about Sir Grodus and the X-Naughts compared to the Koopa Troop), Mario finding members of the enemy species who happen to be friendly variants of them and join him, a town populated with Toads and various Mario characters. I like how inherently Mario the game feels, and truly feels like it belongs in a Mario universe. On the other hand, TTYD introduced its own set of unique characters that had no relation to Mario and I don't really care about their likes to be really honest. I prefer being in a mansion filled with Boos scared of a giant Spike than some...dudes in Twilight Town getting scared of some stupid ghost thing and getting turned into pigs. I prefer being in an island reminiscent of Yoshi's Island complete with ravens and many Yoshis and fighting a fiery Navel Piranha than stuck with some...dudes yet again battling some weird conquistador skeleton.

Super Paper Mario is an especially bad offender. I've never played the game itself, but I have little interest in it. Its story is one of the most cliched JRPG stories you can ever find, and people sing praises about it being "deep"...sorry if I sound elitist, but really, play more games before you call it that, particularly the Squeenix RPGs that it heavily draws much of its elements from (Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest specifically). Its prophecy plot has its own set of problems with prophecy plots in general which is a cliche onto itself with no hint of parody whatsoever, its story is pretty much just Romeo and Juliet except a lot edgier and a lot less likable, selfish Romeo, its main villain is just a diet Kefka who wants to destroy the universe because lol, its four heroes of light story is just a regurgitation Final Fantasy's story. And I'm sorry, if people like this because...well "Mario is involved", he and the other guys are barely involved in the main plot, they sever as side character vessels for teh prophecy and they have no real motivations on their own, they were only drawn into the plot because teh prophecy said so, and they ultimately take a backseat to the OC characters, especially to Bleck, who can defeat the main villain of the Mario series with little effort on his own, which is pretty much just self-insert OC fanfiction bad. I can't get to gameplay that much but I've seen people say that it's not a good platformer RPG; I've watched a video where someone called Super Paper Mario "BORING", because only two characters matter in the game, and most of the puzzles in that game is just "see a dead end, flip". That's someone else's word, not mine.

Not to mention, both TTYD and SPM love wasting the player's time. TTYD, again, had the pointless collecting of Shine Sprites that you had to return to Merlon, while 64 has you upgrading right on the spot. While 64 does have you required to collect seeds to access a new chapter which does require backtracking iirc, and that the whole Flower Fields schtick of going back and forth to get items is annoying, TTYD and SPM did retain those flaws and up some up the eleven (TTYD had General White, the I love you joke which was dreadful, and the Doopliss chapter, while SPM had the block puzzle in the Cragnon chapter, the Sammer Kingdom chapter being extremely repetitive and they royally messed up a destroyed civilization scene and the entirety of the godawful Mimi chapter with the hamster wheel and unfunny dialogue "lol so quirky" moments you just want the character to just shut up.).

I've never played Sticker Star and Color Splash but I never had the interest to. The moment it removed partners, that's when my interest in the game dropped. I liked the partners because they're Mario enemies (though not as good as Mario & Luigi party members of course) dressed up and there's an appeal to having a mailman Paratroopa or a sailor Bob-omb. I do agree that at points, they're overrated and are talking tools, being a bit bland on the personality side and become irrelevant the moment their small arc ends (Bobbery's story could have been much more! Think about the potential, rather than have his story arc over in 5 minutes; at least his love story is so much more compelling than Count Bleck's ever will), that's why I wish there's another game in that system, one that could potentially improve partners even further, make them dynamic characters and very fluid rather than just serve as mouthpieces for Mario or tools not to unsimiliar to how the Flintstones use animals as tools.

I personally have seen many games pull way better stories than Paper Mario can ever hold a candle to, and even then, it should not be taken as a big factor in the game's overall quality. The only thing I really want in a story is for it to make sense or in some cases tell me what I should do, and that's about it, how deep it gets and all that is just a bonus and does not in anyway impact one's enjoyment. If you play only for the story you might as well watch videos of the game on YouTube, requires you no effort to get there too. Criticizing the last two games because they don't have OCs just does a disservice to them as games. You play games, you don't watch them play themselves. I'm ok with people hating these games, but I'm not ok with them solely hating them because it's a "shit story". Same thing with FE, I hate it when someone hates the series because there's too many of its characters in Smash, but am ok with people who actually provide valid criticism on why they don't like the games, especially from those who have actually tried a game or two (coincidentally, it's also made by IS, that AND although it's story-heavy, the story hardly ever matters).
I strongly disagree with you. Story is not developed in a vacuum completely independent of the gameplay. It's part of the game as much as the number crunching, pushing buttons, and watching characters perform actions is. Having a horrendous story can detract from the overall quality of the experience, especially in more story-heavy genres like the RPGs where it's one of the reasons you're in it and one of the reasons it can be very beloved. It's one of the reasons Mass Effect 3's ending is extremely reviled, because one of the main gameplay points of the overall series, the choices you can make that influence how the game turns out, are completely undermined by that ending; in other games, you also have controversial scenes such as GTA V's torture scene, where it condemns torture, but it forces players to go through it anyway. Oh, and there's Metroid: The Other M, which I can bet people who have played through the game can explain it better than I ever could. Sure, you can argue that you can just "ignore" it, but for others, it's important for them, and bad, insufferable writing is not a fun experience to go through and should be called out on.
 
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Koops

Koops, King of Cowards.
Don't get me wrong, I love a good story but I will still be like "oh well let's just get into it" if it's bad.

Although I can imagine that there are stories out there that are so bad that make even me not want to play the game, even I have standards. Most of the time tho I just think that story is there because it's self-sufficient in an RPG, you need a story for the game itself, not necessarily one that you will enjoy but like it has to be there to give the gameplay some sort of meaning. I never said rating a game should be based on gameplay alone, I'm just saying that a bad story usually (I repeat, USUALLY) doesn't warrant skipping out on an otherwise good game, but I understand the people who still do prioritize things the other way around and I respect them for knowing what they want out of a game.

My two cents on the matter, politely deposited on the table.
 

Zakomander

SPM Trash
Forum Moderator
Personally my philosophy, at least for the Mario RPGs, is that I can tolerate the gameplay at its worst if it gives me a story to push through that I enjoy (as in, i really don't think any of the games play terribly. They all have that Nintendo polish). That way I don't have to be playing the game at any given moment to enjoy it, as the characters & worlds have more to them than a gameplay mechanic.

Someone I follow on Twitter posted a very well-said thread about why she loves Super Paper Mario, and while her circumstances don't 100% match mine, it's a great read and explains what we find appealing about the game better than I could. And complements it with her absolutely stunning fan art! https://twitter.com/altermentality/status/1248322636167307264
 

Ray Trace

Hаppy бirтhдаy то...wаiт...iт's noт мy бirтhдаy?

I strongly disagree with the statement that Super Paper Mario is about fighting nihilism with love. I'd argue that, the cause of Bleck's nihilism was because of his devotion and love and his complete inability to handle such a loss in a healthy manner. And because he didn't deal with it in a healthy manner, everyone else suffers for it. Oh, and he only reverses the destruction he caused onto innocent people is only because he figured out Timpani was alive again, not because he did any self-reflection on what he is actually doing. That's not a compelling character. His personality trait literally only is "he loves Tippi", that's what he lives and dies by, and that's incredibly shallow.

The game's plot doesn't deal with the loss of a loved one all that well. I think it would have been better if Timpani was lost permanently and Count Bleck learns how to cope with it, from being nihilistic and sociopaths because of the loss (not to the point of literally ending everyone's life like a serial killer), to time eventually healing him and finding new and better ways to cope with his loss by making connections with others.

What's even sadder is that the developers did write Bobbery's tale about retribution of combating nihilism with love is told in an infinitely better way in 5 minutes than this entire plot arc about love ever will.
 

Sailor Mario

Mushroom Kingdom's most out-there sailor
I haven't played a single one except for Dream Team.
 

Mcmadness

The idiot who puts things in the wrong board.
Hey, you want to know a game that's about combating nihilism and involves an evil psychopath clown?

It's called Final Fantasy 6.
 

Sailor Mario

Mushroom Kingdom's most out-there sailor
But that doesn't have the Mario branding or the platformer gameplay.
 

Mcmadness

The idiot who puts things in the wrong board.
Yeah, which makes it more tonally appropriate and more satisfying to play.

Anyway, on topic, the first game. To me it's not even a contest.
 

Koops

Koops, King of Cowards.
I guess I should elaborate on why I think 64 is the best one for me so far and why I feel it will stay that way for a while.

Like it was said before, the story is simple and sweet. Unlike its two predecessors, it didn't try to write itself an overly "deep" plot to have a good story. It's a typical Mario story adapted into an RPG, that's it, all it really did was just implement the stuff you normally find in RPGs. Party Members, towns of NPCs, Dungeons at the end of every chapter, turn-based battles. Ok, yeah, I'm with you, it's cool to see Mario take to these heights but a game does not automatically become good when Mario's the one on the boxart of a genre he hasn't tried yet (Paper Mario also wasn't even the first MaRPG, so yeah, here's something). Novelty is nice and all but in no way will it keep the game alive, although it may drive many to actually try it.

Paper Mario has a pretty nice and smooth battle system and it feels nice to control. The action commands aren't too demanding of your attention unless it's one of those SPAM A moves, pulling it off is also really satisfying, as well as successfully pulling off a guard that negates the damage entirely (that sound effect, I swear it's the same feeling than in FE, I love it).

The levels are actually surprisingly expansive. The game makes good use of the N64's 3D graphics, and it even looks way less choppy than SM64. The levels also usually have many items that are worth the investigation, although next to none are probably necessary to beat the game. You don't have to go out of your way to get off the beaten path, but you will be handsomely rewarded for it. Sometimes, in RPGs, if I see an opportunity to win and end a chapter I go for it, but Paper Mario is one of those exceptions where I know that I will find something of value if I go around every corner.

One gripe I have with the game is that it throws way too many good badges at you, which in on itself, that isn't the problem, but your base BP is way too limited so you will constantly want to level that stat up the most. Thankfully the HP and FP Plus badges do let your other stats catch up at the cost of more BP of course (which is weird come to think of it, but if you level up BP to equip a FP Plus while you could simply just level FP, I just think that the badge is simply easy to take off so you can trade that FP anytime for something else when you don't need it). So far I am deeply into chapter 5 right before Lava Piranha I believe? And yeah I so far have only levelled HP once, FP thrice. All the other level-ups were spent on BP. It is the most important stat so it is nice to have a lot of it but it doesn't mean that all players are comfortably choosing it constantly, myself included. I think they either should've given you a higher base stat, or they should've let you level-up higher increments of BP, like say, 6 BP per level-up, not 3.

Other than that, level design hasn't been an issue for me so far. There is very little backtracking in this game, and when there is backtracking, it usually is really mild. The worst backtracking I had to do so far was during chapter 4, but that chapter is easy to navigate and thank god you can skip these train traveling mini-cutscenes. That and the game has a really nice little move called "Le Spin Dash". It's a handy tool that helps you go faster that was REMOVED FROM EVERY OTHER GAME FOR SOME REASON.

Paper Mario is just a game that lets you tackle it at your own pace, and your characters don't even have to have this much might behind them to do decently well in battle so you never feel underleveled, all in all it's first and foremost, a nicely-crafted game made with nothing but the most important ideas, plus some sprinkles. It's story is self-sufficient, the battle system feels nice, and world navigation is about what you'd expect in a typical RPG.

This is what I call a good game.
 

Sailor Mario

Mushroom Kingdom's most out-there sailor
It's a handy tool that helps you go faster that was REMOVED FROM EVERY OTHER GAME FOR SOME REASON.
Yeah yeah, removing that has always been baffling unless they really like the sound of characters walking....
 
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