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Paper Mario: Color Splash sheds its RPG roots for an action-adventure with charm


Paper Mario: Color Splash was one of the most stylish games on show at E3, quietly tucked away behind closed doors in a corner of Nintendo’s booth that few saw. Away from the clamour of Zelda downstairs, I found Color Splash to be charming and very comfortable in its blend of humour and light puzzle solving.

But, away from the buzz of E3, many Nintendo fans responded differently. Paper Mario did not go down well among devotees of the series watching its demo shown on Nintendo’s E3 Treehouse livestream. For many, Color Splash was a return to the lighter role-playing of the Paper Mario series’ last entry, 3DS outing Sticker Star. Once again, players use a card-based system to draw upon support and launch attacks rather than allowing for multiple party members.

It’s not as great a disconnect between Nintendo and fans as this year’s Metroid Prime: Federation Force, a game so widely disliked that it has barely been seen since its E3 appearance last year. And it shouldn’t be. Federation Force removes the Metroid series’ beloved main character, mechanics and throws its established art style in the bin. Color Splash is still very much a Paper Mario game, although one with a changed focus from the series’ origins.