It’s hard to explain… in fact I’m not even sure how to classify SPM. It’s part platformer, part RPG, and part adventure. In my hour and a half last night though there were a few things that stood out to me. I’ll have to wait a bit before giving my final "verdict" but initial impressions are good. Here's 3 main reasons I'm totally digging the plumber's new adventure.
1.) The art style. It’s something you simple don’t see. And veritable proof that great graphics come from art, not polygons.It’s slow at 1st, as you go through the typical RPG "Introduction" story part, but after about 10 minutes of animated story (made bearable by said funniness), you’re on your way jumping and stomping. There are power ups, like in any Mario game. You have hitpoints and you use Mushrooms to restore hitpoints, not grow big. But there’s a power-up (star maybe?) that makes you HUGE, but not just a big Paper Mario, I’m talking the actual pixilated Mario from the 80s taking up the whole screen, and you just mow through the levels, busting through blocks, enemies, and even tubes. Very cool looking stuff.
2.) The flipping from 2-D to 3-D mechanic adds a whole new dimension to a classic style of Mario play. If you’re stuck, you press A, flip the world, and find your way around the obstacle. For instance, at one point I went down a warp tube and found myself confronted by about 6 Whomps moving way too fast to run under safely. Press A and *POOF*, just waltz right on behind them.
3.) The writing. I’m not sure who does the localization for this game, but whoever it does deserves a hearty pat on the back. The dialog is some seriously funny stuff, ranging from old-Nintendo throwbacks to just plain silly banter like a Scottish badguy referring to fighting as "Chunking". IE – "I’m going to CHUNK you!" Freakin’ goldmine of goofy quotes it is.
All in all, it’s probably one of the few reasons to have a Wii right now, but I won’t "score" it till later. Early indications are that the reviews are right though. It’s a keeper.