Wook Kim
April 15, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Videogame Review: ”Super Paper Mario”

(Nintendo, Wii, Everyone)

Princess Peach has been kidnapped and it’s up to you — starting out as everyone’s favorite plumber — to find and rescue her. (What is it about poor Mario that has bad guys constantly abducting his ladies?) As in previous Paper Mario titles, your plucky hero is again flat and two-dimensional. And by flat and two-dimensional, we don’t mean like a character in a Fox sitcom; we mean ol’ Mario is as thin as a sheet of paper. So, off you go to the town of Flipside, where you must locate and collect the eight Pure Hearts, magical items that will put you on the trail of your true love.

Go ahead and laugh, but to deny yourself this game because of the admittedly goofy storyline is to miss out on one of the absolute best titles for Nintendo’s fledgling Wii console. In a departure from other titles in the series, Super Paper Mario plays less like a role-playing game and more like an old-fashioned platformer. This was done, we suspect, to make best use of the Wii controller (which is held lengthwise in your hand, like a NES pad of yore). Tapping the ‘A’ button will allow you to change between 2-D and 3-D worlds, where you must figure out how to use your ultra-svelteness to your greatest advantage.

Which brings us to the game’s biggest strength: the degree of (gasp!) thinking that is necessary to complete your quest. Beyond the frequent scraps with all sorts of baddies, there is a satisfying number of clever and elegant puzzles dispersed throughout the game’s many levels (which, in turn, are striking and visually inventive). Add some wicked tight controls, lotsa bizarre and hilarious dialogue, and a bunch of solid mini-games and you have an exciting game that never falls, well, flat. A-

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