Paper Mario: The Origami King

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Paper Mario: The Origami King Game Poster Image
Highly enjoyable adventure folds up fun for all players.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 8 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

The cartoon adventure is about Mario facing off against origami adversaries, as he attempts to find and rescue friends, such as his brother Luigi and friend Princess Peach. It's lighthearted, yet emphasizes standing up for what you believe in and helping friends and family.

Positive Role Models & Representations

You play as Mario, who's brave, loyal and friendly. He doesn't ever kill enemies, but he will use a hammer to smack them, or use boots to stomp on them, in order to defeat them. Overall, Mario is a good role-model.

Ease of Play

Paper Mario: The Origami King is fairly easy to play using the Nintendo Switch controls, but some maneuvers taught earlier in the game, like using Mario's giant claw to reach for something high up, can be a little challenging because it relies on the sensors of the Nintendo Switch. But overall, there's a good balance between the difficulty and many save points.

Violence & Scariness

There's some animated cartoon violence, like Mario smashing enemies over the head with a giant mallet, or stomping on their heads -- sometimes with spiked boots -- during combat sequences. No one dies -- only disappears -- and there's no blood or gore. The characters are also made out of "paper" in this story. Sometimes you need to use your hammer to free folded up friends who need to be released.


This game's based on the popular Mario franchise from Nintendo, which has produced toys, movies, TV shows, and more.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Paper Mario: The Original King is an action-adventure game with light role-playing elements exclusively for the Nintendo Switch.It's also the latest in the Paper Mario series. There's some animated violence, as Mario can smash paper enemies with his mallet or engage in battle sequences that including stomping and striking, too. But the entire game is cartoon-like and not realistic in any way. There's no blood or gore or implied pain inflicted on enemies, who disappear after losing a skirmish. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content included in the game.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 12-year-old Written byMatt N. July 25, 2020

Surprisingly mature themes

I won't retread ground by other reviews, but one very surprising thing was that a character literally sacrifices themselves (to the death) for another char... Continue reading
Adult Written byTori M. October 31, 2020

Good game but...

I was surprised by the spiritual elements of the game. Since when does a Mario game talk about deities and idols? I would definitely use caution with that asp... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byAvss July 18, 2020

Fun, good looking game with very few flaws

I, personally, like this game. I know that there are going to be elitists telling you how it "isnt as good as the first two" but they're wrong. I... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old March 26, 2021

What's it about?

The world famous mustached plumber is back in PAPER MARIO: THE ORIGAMI KING, a new action-adventure hybrid with light role-playing elements for the Nintendo Switch platform. Similar to previous Paper Mario games in the franchise, this game stars a paper-thin Mario who sets out on a grand quest -- this time to investigate the disappearance of his brother Luigi and what happened with Princess Peach's mansion, which was whisked away and wrapped in a ribbon, imprisoning everyone inside. The story evolves from there, as players discover it's "Origami King" Olly responsible for these wrongdoings instead of Bowser and his minions. Mario visits various indoor and (mostly) outdoor areas from a third-person viewpoint, fights against Folder Soldiers and other enemies, and gets to the bottom of these shenanigans with the help of a fairy-like character Mario can summon named Olivia (King Olly's sister, in fact). Olivia can chime in by giving clues and other information on what's going on to help players make progress in the adventure. Along with picking up colorful paper pieces to patch holes in this world, meeting characters and performing missions for them, and solving environmental puzzles to reach new areas, Paper Mario: The Original King employs a battle system when facing off against adversaries. When you encounter a foe, the screen flips to a ring and you manipulate them in order to best line-up enemies, whether they're in a row or side by side. You must then choose the most ideal item to defeat these threats in as few moves as possible.

Is it any good?

This charming adventure is well worth the price of admission for its lengthy and gratifying gameplay, accessible controls, well-written dialogue, and high-quality presentation. Paper Mario: The Origami King offers many secret areas, collectible items, and other hallmarks of a triple-A Mario adventure. Along with the bright and colorful graphics, with Mario and others represented by paper thin characters, the first thing you'll notice is how good the game feels to play, Maneuvering your 1,000-Fold Arms ability relies on your Nintendo Switch's gyroscope, which takes a little getting used to, but its a welcome change to your regular arsenal of moves. Much of the strategy, though, is tied to the battle system, represented by a ring the enemies stand on, with you in the middle. You have a limited amount of time to manipulate the ring so that familiar enemies -- like Goombas, Koopa Troopas, and Shy Guys -- are lined up in a desired fashion, so that you can take them down with as few moves as possible (or else they'll have a turn to damage you, too). You can rotate the rings with your limited moves, or push and pull them across the board, which is where the tactics come in. You can also add extra power to your movies -- such as stomping on baddies for spiked boots -- by properly timing an extra button press when above their heads and getting into the rhythm of the sequence.

Especially earlier on in the game, the battle portions can get repetitive and tedious, but the combat does evolve once you start adding new items and abilities. Mixed feelings about the combat aside, Paper Mario: The Origami King is super fun, and those who love exploring every nook and cranny in a game will be rewarded with paper treasures, hidden characters, weapons, upgrades, and more. The game's also very funny, and you'll want to read every interaction with a character or object (like a sign) because it's so well written. There are platforming challenges and some mini-games, too, for those who enjoy those traditional Mario gameplay elements. Paper Mario: The Original King isn't "paper thin" but it does have some tears thanks to some of the combat issues. That said, it's still a super fun ride for fans of the franchise and newcomers to the series alike.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Paper Mario: The Origami King affected by the lack of blood and gore in the game? Is the violence acceptable because it's cartoonish and light, especially because the characters are made out of paper?

  • Is Paper Mario: The Origami King another "damsel in distress" storyline, like many other Mario tales, or are women given stronger roles here? Should Nintendo games have stronger and more independent lead characters who are women?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love adventure

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