First Impressions: Paper Mario Color Splash (Wii-U)

There is nothing worse than being attacked by a enemy with a straw…..

In the fifth official game in the Paper Mario series, Paper Mario Color Splash, Mario once again sets out on a wild adventure with Princess Peach and Toad in tow  to save the day again.

Mario receives a letter posted from Prism Island, but quickly discovers that this is no ordinary letter, but actually a Toad who has been drained of his color ink. Seeing this as a sign of distress, Mario sets off to Prism Island to discover what is the cause of this.

When Mario arrives, he finds the harbour and main city to be practically deserted, with many spots of color missing throughout. Even the world renowned Rainbow Fountain is dried up. Luckily, Mario is able to locate the fountains’ guardian, Huey – a paint can, and inquire with him on what he knew of the chaos that had occurred on the island. While the true enemy is unknown at this point, there is only one goal, to restore color to the island and to retrieve the 6 Paint Stars who are the forces behind the power of the Rainbow Fountain.

The gameplay is very simple, using his Paint Hammer, Mario is able to smash paint against a object or spot that is missing paint and restore it. This includes characters (mostly Toads), flowers, walls, and much more. Mario is rewarded with coins, paint droplets, power hammer tokens and sometimes Battle Cards every time he restores something with paint.

Mario also has the power to “cut out” places in a scene (literally using scissors), where he normally cannot reach an item, but a hidden access point would allow him to. This is a fundamental ability, especially for reaching unique passages needed to progress storyline.

In battles, Mario uses Battle Cards that represent different actions, such as Jump or Hammer, and must power them up with paint to make them stronger…while utilizing the A button special timing techniques. It takes a little bit to get use to how to best use the cards and to ensure Mario has enough stock before he goes outside the main city to go exploring. A card does not need to be painted fully, or even at all, but the less the paint on the image, the less the power.

The tricky part of the game is maintaining Mario’s paint levels. On the screen you have paint level bars for Red, Blue and Yellow paint. As he smashes things to restore color, or to power up Battle Cards, these levels will drop based on how much of each color is needed.  If Mario doesn’t have enough of a color to complete a paint smash, it will not be performed. Certain items (especially plants and barrels) will contain hidden color paint droplets to help restore the paint inventory. Basically…hit everything you can.

So far this game has kept me glued to the controller. The graphics are much more defined for the WiiU system, crisper color and easier controls for gameplay. The raw dynamics of having to utilize paint in every aspect of the game from normal interfacing of characters, to battles…shows the deep concept planned out in the game.

While many can argue that many of the Paper Mario games run the similar concept of storyline, I still find it rather refreshing. It has a lot of similarities to Paper Mario Sticker Star, wherein instead of peeling and sticking stickers, you are splashing color everywhere.

Like most Mario games, the camera angle is very unforgiving at times, and sometimes causes you to hope that there isn’t a hidden pitfall somewhere where you can’t see.

Thus far I have only been able to find Mini Paint Stars in the few levels that I have completed, but I am hot on the heels of a main Paint Star. I look forward to returning and providing a full game review in the weeks to come once I have had a chance to dive deeper into the game.

One piece of advice if you get a chance to play….Beware of the Shy Guy with the straw….

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