Paper Mario (series)
The Paper Mario series is an RPG action-adventure series of the Mario franchise developed by Intelligent Systems. Four games have been released - three for home consoles, one for the Nintendo 3DS - and a fifth, for Wii U, is due to be released in late 2016. The series has gone through three iterations so far: Paper Mario and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door are RPGs, Super Paper Mario is a RPG-platformer hybrid, and Paper Mario: Sticker Star and Paper Mario: Color Splash are action-adventure games.
Having its roots in the action-RPG genre that Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars followed, Mario is the primary character to be controlled in the Paper Mario series and finds himself in 3D settings in which items can be found, foes can be fought, and non-playable characters can be discussed with. However, unlike Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars's isometric view, areas in the Paper Mario series are reminiscent of levels in the main Mario series such as Super Mario World by generally being made of simple horizontal paths, with Mario having to go from the left to the right and finding enemies and secrets along the way, while going through platforming trials, collecting coins and striking Blocks. To discover secrets, Mario can use many abilities he gains over the course of the game, such as a Hammer to strike Blocks, a Koopa Troopa shell to reach distant objects or the ability to remove and replace elements of the environment. Traps can also be found in the field however, and will decrease Mario's HP if he gets harmed, although his HP cannot drop below 1, except in Super Paper Mario. Save Blocks and Heart Blocks can be found, saving the player's game and healing Mario's HP and FP respectively.
Towns can also be visited, and act as areas in which Mario can rest, craft new items, talk to residents and shop for items. Side quests can also be found in towns, generally consisting in helping out dwellers in exchange for rewards. Each game has a main town as well that acts as a bigger area where the player may need to return to frequently for purposes revolving around the story, such as unlocking the next area that needs to be visited. These towns gradually change as the story advances, and in the case of the first three games of the story, also possess underground areas and optional battles. These towns are Toad Town for Paper Mario, Rogueport for Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Flipside for Super Paper Mario, Decalburg for Paper Mario: Sticker Star and Port Prisma for Paper Mario: Color Splash.
Certain side quests will lead to an optional partner being obtained. Hidden objects such as Badges, Star Pieces, Coins and Stickers can also be found. Such items can make Mario stronger, making the game easier to progress through. In Paper Mario: Sticker Star exclusively, HP-Up Hearts may also be found, giving Mario more HP and First Strike Attack Power.
Battles are an essential aspect of the Paper Mario series. While exploring, Mario will encounter enemies on the field, who will generally attempt to engage him into battle upon seeing him. Although battles are important, the way they work is regularly changed in the series, with the only consistent element being HP (Heart Points), which indicate Mario's health and decrease depending on how much damage he receives: if his HP reach zero, the player obtains a Game Over and must resume the game from their latest save point.
Paper Mario and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
Several characteristics are found in battle and help Mario defeat his foes:
Super Paper Mario
Super Paper Mario replaces its predecessors' turn-based battle system for real-time battles instead.
Paper Mario: Sticker Star
Paper Mario: Sticker Star returns to turn-based battles, but uses a different battle system from the first and second installments.
Similarities between the games