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Paper Mario: The Origami King review – a hilarious postmodern delight

Nintendo Switch; Nintendo
A sharp script and self-aware humour makes this papercraft game a joy, give or take tricky battle mechanics

In the long, indoorsy days of late-stage lockdown, a summer Paper Mario release promises – and delivers – a bright technicolour escape. Paper Mario is a playful, RPG-alike branch off the main Super Mario tree, and from the jump, Origami King is charmingly self-aware, full of self-referential pastiche. The writing is almost millennial in tone: sharp, knowing and flirting with self-deprecation. In combination with tight scripting, this humour makes it a scream from start to finish.

The simple Princess-Peach-Has-Been-Kidnapped-Again story is just a frame that allows the game to play with you as you’re playing it, tongue firmly in cheek. Every crumpled-up Toad hidden in a bush knows it is a Toad, knows it is made of paper and has something scathing to say about being hidden in a bush in the first place. (It also probably knows that you preferred Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door and didn’t like Sticker Star.)

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