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We go hands-on with RPG mash-up Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam

Get it?

Product: Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam | Publisher: Nintendo
For: 3DS
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What on earth is Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam?

It's a mix up of the Mario & Luigi games, and the Paper Mario games. So, the brothers are joined by a paper thin version of Mario. And paper versions of Bowser and Peach and other characters appear too.

What crazy story has Nintendo come up with to merge these two stories together?

I guess the Mario brothers find a book about Mario. And it's magic, of course. So a little 2D Mario peels off the page and enters the real world. I have no idea. I'm sure it will be explained exhaustively in the final game.

Who's developing it?

Alpha Dream, the developers of all the Mario & Luigi games, is behind this one. And it shows: it very much looks, plays, and feels like a Mario & Luigi game with Paper Mario as a cameo, rather than the other way around.


So how does Paper Mario work in battle, when these games are normally about only two characters?

He's stood at the back, and contributes like another team member. You control him with Y and he can split himself into multiple copies to improve his attack stats.

Non-paper Mario and Luigi can still do those double-team Bros attacks like normal, but now Paper Mario can initiate trio attacks.

These are quite elaborate. One turns the enemy into a sheet of paper and sticks it to a wall. The three Mario brothers then play tennis, beating a ball against the paperised enemy.

Are there paper enemies?

Yeah. You might face off against a normal goomba and a paper goomba, and they'll have different attacks. It's quite an interesting twist, I guess.


The last Mario & Luigi had crazy 3D boss battles with a giant Luigi. Does this one have anything like that?

Yeah, and it's possibly even more crazy. Mario and Luigi ride on the back of a giant cardboard Mario tank, which is carried around by an army of toads. This paper-craft Mario can slam into giant cardboard goombas, and thrown at downed enemies.

You have to watch your attack power, and return to a toad station (where you play a little rhythm mini game) to top up.

It's kind of weird, I'll admit. And the one I played was a little long and tedious, but it might be a nice change of pace from the typical turn-based battling.

Does it have normal boss battles, too?

Yes, thankfully. I fought Petey Piranha in a good old fashioned turn-based tussle, and it was just like the old days. Luigi hit him with a hammer, Mario jumped on his head, Paper Mario threw shurikens at him.

He also charged at Mario and Luigi, chucking goop from Super Mario Sunshine. The brothers dodged it by jumping up and grabbing onto Paper Mario, who had turned into a paper plane. A good time was had by all.

The last Mario & Luigi game was stuffed with tutorials. What about this one?

Too early to say, really, but the demo build was pretty jam packed with explanations. The papercraft section described above had a five part tutorial I had to sit through, which wasn't much fun.

Paper Mario

Are you looking forward to it?

Hmm. Maybe. It feels a lot like Dream Team, which I wasn't crazy about. And as the third Mario RPG on 3DS, Nintendo seems to be pumping these things out at a steady clip.

I'll remain cautiously optimistic about it. I'm sure I'll play it eventually, but the new features and additions sadly aren't exciting enough to make me want to run out and buy it. Plenty of time for that, though: the game's not out until 2016.

Reviewer photo
Mark Brown 2 July 2015
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