Paper Mario: Color Splash Review

Painting the Town Red
Developer:Intelligent Systems Publisher:NintendoPlatform: Wii U

Is this a colourful entry into the series, or is it like watching paint dry?

Good evening, and welcome to Make Gaming Great Again! Building a wall, one bricked Wii at a time! Tonight, we have an illustrious guest joining us on the kerbside couch…we’re public access, okay? Anyway, Mr. Paper Mario joins us tonight: Mr. Paper, thank you for joining us tonight.

[obnoxious accent has been edited out of this transcript for the purpose of sanity]

Good evening, host man. And please, call me Mario.

It’s Aza. So, we understand that you have a new game out! The Paper Mario name carries quite a bit of weight amongst RPG fans, so tell us a little bit about this new title.

Color Splash is my newest game, and we’ve made some major changes! I take on an evil entity that’s sapping Prism Island of all colour! How horrible, right? We had our loyal writers, who—

The same writers that sent this note: “Please help us oh god please help us”

Loyal. Writers.


Anyway, our writers have really spun a yarn this time! The writing’s hilarious, if I do say so myself.

Yeah, the writing’s very good indeed. I expected nothing less from the series. Shame about the gameplay.

And the visuals! Mama mia, it’s a spicy meatball! Crisp and bright colours line your screen, animation is smooth, and even the sound is great!

You’re not wrong there. I really really enjoyed the game’s presentation. Shame about the gameplay.

The gamepad is used very well, too! What’s better than having my combat fluff on one screen and all the pretty visuals on the TV?

Now, now, let’s not get hasty with the compliments here.

Oh boy, here comes the whining. *laughs*

It’s a shame—

Of course, you’ll love our game anyway. It’s Nintendo, after all.

It’s a shame about the ga—

You sure love us. Star Fox Zero? A positive score? Ha.

Sticker Star wasn’t very good.

I know all about your body pillow.

*audience laughter*

Peach is a precious flower and must be protected.

Sure, buddy. Say, do you remember that Newgrounds fla—


*audience gasping*

Haha, here we go.

You really should give Luigi more credit.

Why? He’s a sub. He loves it.

…I don’t wanna know.

Hey, look, it’s the poster for your game!

Who put that there!? Was it you, Bob?


Why would you keep the battle system from Sticker Star, when everybody despised it? Was there no discussion amongst designers?

It’s a good system, man. You’re just salty you got stuck.

Besides the point. Sticker Star’s card-based system proved unpopular, yet Color Splash reused it…and somehow made it worse. There’s no default attack, so powerful cards have to be used on near-dead enemies and waste the attack power. Got a jump-resistant enemy but don’t have any hammer cards? “Tough”, you say. A Magikoopa flies down in the middle of the fight and forces you to choose random cards. World-killer cards are often wasted this way, and are needed to beat bosses! What’s with having to go back to the hubworld every half hour to get more, man?

Alright, fine! Sure, we blew the budget on paper coke and paper hookers…but that just makes us paper human!



You’re literally the only paper-based life form on the development team.

But I’m the star. They’re nothing without me.

But isn’t cannibalising your franchise so you can party down kind of…counter-productive?

You never know what you want, do you?

What I wanted was a new Paper Mario game like The Thousand Year Door.

you expected that? In this day and age?

I can dream!

You can, but it means nothing. Your nostalgia betrays you.

I’m not sure I like where you’re going.

Gamers today don’t want what you do. We don’t have to cater to you anymore. Face it, you’re getting older. You despair at recycled mechanics in modern games, but do you see the kids complaining? They’ve never used those mechanics before, why would they complain? Sure, you older folks have more money. But since when do you have spare cash for video games? The industry’s leaving you behind, and there’s nothing you can do.

*audience applause*

Whose side are you all on, anyway!? *heavy sigh* …gamepad. Let’s talk about the gamepad.

It’s great. Implemented well. I should know, I threatened the team with paper cuts if they did it wrong.

They did it wrong.


Even the hookers are toads! What’s your obsession with toads?

You just want even for the body pillow thing.

Maybe I do.

Those Shy Guys all seem eye to eye on the whole discipline thing.

Hush hush, eye to eye.

Are you even listening?


First, you have to scroll through the deck. With the stylus. Then, you have to put the cards on the top of the screen. With the stylus. Confirm. Then, the paint gimmick—

The paint stuff is great. It lets you raise the power of an attack.

*stare* …the paint gimmick is poured onto the card. Using the stylus. Confirm again. Then you get to attack! But what’s this? Oh, yeah, IT’S THE STYLUS AGAIN. FLICK THE CARDS WITH THE STYLUS.

Buy me a drink first!

I…what? Look, what’s the game’s obsession with the stylus?

You’d rather use your fingers?

I very much enjoy fingering, thank you.

Great. A sex joke. You’re so clever.

Do you have a show? Oh, yeah. You did.

Low blow.

Why would I want to fight in random encounters if I use cards to win and get rewarded with coins to buy more cards with?

Because it’s fun!

let’s try something else. Now, I did like some gameplay elements. The color-sucked bits of the map were genuinely fun to hunt down and finish—

See? Fun!

but I didn’t catch the Shy Bandit who sucks harder than Mega Maid. He sucked all the colour out of the level. I had to do it again. I wasted an hour, Mario.

The Puzzles were fun!

Yes. Yes they were.


But they’re few and far between. My favourite level had bugger all combat in it! Does that say anything about your game, Mario?

I’m sorry, do you want more toads?

NO. NO MORE TOADS. EVERYTHING’S A GODDAMN TOAD. What happened to the character variety?

Hookers and blow.

good point. But, if I’m being honest…I don’t know how to feel about your game.


Look, the presentation was fantastic and the writing was superb! But the combat was just so garbage that it dragged the whole game down.

Well, think about it like this. You could always buy Thousand Year Door.

That’s true. Look, I feel terrible about how cranky I’ve been despite you being a massive wanker. How about I give the game a 5 for effort and we call it even?

I like that idea.

Well, thank you very much for coming on the show today. For those at home, buy this game if you’re forgiving of poor combat and want to read some genuinely funny dialogue. Thank you, Mario.

It’s Mr. Mario to you, pal.

Right. Well, join us next time as we invite Kyle Katarn on the show to discuss life after Disney. Until then, take care and oh god I’m 25 where did the time goooooooo

*jazz music played by racially diverse on-stage band, audience applause starts and doesn’t stop*


  • Writing is great
  • Visuals and sound are gorgeous
  • Puzzles are fun...


  • ...but combat isn't
  • Rewards aren't rewarding
  • Combat REALLY sucks

Glass Half Full

Aza blames his stunted social skills and general uselessness on a lifetime of video games. Between his ears is a comprehensive Team Fortress 2 encyclopedia. His brain, on the other hand, remains at large.
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