Nintendo had a huge presence at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, and part of their big showing was letting people check out the upcoming Wii U title, Paper Mario: Color Splash. We got to play a portion of the mustachioed plumber’s latest adventure, and while we didn’t get very far in the story, we did get insight as to what sort of experience we can expect from the new venture.
Like the game’s title suggests, Color Splash is all about bringing bright color to the world, or in this case, Prism Island. The small grassy area that was open in the demo only included a house, a couple of trees and bushes, a pipe, and a missing bridge that lead to the star I needed to collect. While walking around the location, I noticed different spots were missing a noticeable dash of paint. Luckily, Mario is equipped with a paint hammer to go along his usual turtle-smashing one (much darker when you think about it that way, right?) that splashes the world with the appropriate hues. There’s a paint meter at the top corner, so it is finite. I can only imagine how it’ll come into play when puzzles get trickier.
Usually smashing your hammer onto these white spots will yield a combination of coins or attack cards. Like Paper Mario: Sticker Star, the newest paper game deviates from the classic RPG combat seen in Paper Mario: Thousand Year Door, but instead of collecting stickers, this time around you get cards.
The cards you collect will be used during every enemy encounter. The most common cards included hammer and stomping attacks, but there are some special ones that unleash screen-filling special attacks. Once in combat, you’re able to prepare the cards on the Wii U gamepad depending on the enemy you’re facing. So, enemies with horns on their heads are better dealt with using your hammer. The new mechanic, however, lets you color the cards in to do some extra damage. Once prepared, you flick the cards upward, and they’ll instantly appear on your television.
Despite using cards, there is still some skill involved. If you’ve played previous games in the series then you know that attacks charge up, and you must smash the attack button at just the right moment to land critical hits. A standard mechanic for the series, but a good one. I did find it hilarious that when you’re stomping on baddies, they start to lose their color until they’re all white. It’s basically a health bar, but pretty dark because the life is draining out of them. Damn Mario, you bad!
As per usual, the gameplay outside of combat seems to be all about solving environmental puzzles, and there will even be moments where you’ll be searching out Toads. In the short demo I had to find six Toads to build the aforementioned missing bridge. These little dudes were hiding in trees, behind the house, and one was even taped onto a wall inside the house. The same silly, witty dialogue present in previous titles has also made a brilliant return, and I found myself with a stupid grin on my face multiple times when talking to the NPCs.
Personally, I wasn’t a fan of Sticker Star‘s combat; it always felt way too simple, almost dull. That’s what I’m afraid will happen with Color Splash, especially since the gamepad gameplay feels unnecessary. Of course, I only played a ten-minute portion of a game that will no doubt be a meaty adventure, so hopefully I’m proven wrong.
Are you guys planning on picking up Paper Mario‘s latest quest? Were you a fan of Sticker Star‘s combat system? Splash your thoughts into the comment section below!