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5 Ways You’ll Get Wrapped Up In Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam

Last year’s Nintendo Direct at E3 came with lot of announcements for the Wii U and 3DS, and one of the tastiest reveals was a brand-new Mario & Luigi title fused with the minimalist charms of Paper Mario. We had to wait a handful of weeks longer than Japan and the UK, but Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam has now paper-planed its way to North American 3DS screens.

Don’t worry, you’re not seeing double. After Luigi clumsily knocks over a dusty old book, it expels the two-dimensional Paper Mario world into the three-dimensional Mario & Luigi world. It’s not long before a Paper Bowser and his minions team up with their fatter doubles to kidnap two Princess Peaches. On the plus side, that also means you get to save the day as two Marios.

Fans of Mario’s previous RPG outings should feel right at home with Paper Jam’s tried-and-true gameplay and quirky narrative that features the usual Mushroom Kingdom suspects and surroundings. The game eschews the more inventive (for better and worse) mechanics of the last Paper Mario game—2012’s Sticker Star—in favour of the traditional turn-based Mario & Luigi formula. That’s not to say Paper Jam doesn’t have a few trailblazing tricks up its sleeve, all of which pay off quite nicely for newcomers and seasoned vets who’ve been into the franchise since the heyday of Super Mario RPG on the Super Nintendo. Here are five reasons to get in on this jam session.

1. That Mario & Luigi charm


As we’ve come to expect from past iterations in the Mario & Luigi series, Paper Jam is crammed with self-reflexive humour and witty banter. While the game gives you the ability to fast-forward cut-scenes, one of the most appealing qualities of Paper Jam is its colourful characters and clever dialogue. Exploring the game’s seemingly familiar overworld (we get the usual assortment of leafy, sandy, and snowy backdrops) rarely feels like a drag, and each area is distinctive from the last. Also, like previous Mario & Luigis, the challenge is always fair, with a generous learning curve that eases players into a surprisingly deep adventure.

2. With a two-dimensional twist


With every Mario & Luigi game comes fresh ingredients, and Paper Jam is no exception. The biggest draw is the merging of two disparate aesthetics that play quite nicely together. Since both series share a similarly smart aleck-y tone, their union makes for a refreshing yet suitable match. But it’s the combined, 3D-enhanced action and puzzle elements that add exciting new layers to your quest.

3. 3D-afied action


For the most part, Paper Jam’s battles don’t stray too far from the past. However, new items, moves, and enemies make fantastic use of the 3DS’ three-dimensional capabilities. So don’t expect to just sit back and take your time when you encounter a new foe. In an early encounter with Petey Piranha, your reflexes will be put to the test when he charges towards the screen as you attempt to jump in the air and grab hold of a paper plane Mario to dodge real-time attacks.

4. Papercraft Battles


At certain points in the game, you’ll take control of massive, mech-like (except, um, paper) versions of your Mushroom Kingdom pals in order to knock over your similarly hulking opponents in a vast arena. While this addition could’ve felt like a gimmick, it actually does a terrific job of mixing up the action. Just make sure you’ve got the volume cranked up, because you’ll need to hop to the beat on special Toad platforms to charge your attacks.

5. Battle Cards


As you make your way through the Mushroom Kingdom, keep track of your expanding Battle Card collection, which can be used to improve stats for those extra hard skirmishes. amiibo owners with a New Nintendo 3DS or NFC Reader should take note of cards with a question mark, because you can tap compatible amiibo like Mario, Luigi, Bowser, Peach, and Toad for Character Cards that not only feature new and retro Nintendo artwork, but also a boost in battle.

Mario & Luigi: Paper Jams is available exclusively on the Nintendo 3DS this Friday, January 22. Check out the trailer below, paisanos.