Paper Mario: Color Splash
Paper Mario: Color Splash is an action-adventure, turn-based role-playing game for the Wii U developed by Intelligent Systems. It is the fifth installment in the Paper Mario series, as well as the twentieth and final Mario game released for the Wii U. As a direct successor to Paper Mario: Sticker Star, it expands on many gameplay elements introduced in that game. Its direct sequel, Paper Mario: The Origami King, was released for the Nintendo Switch in 2020.
One stormy night, Princess Peach and Toad meet Mario at his house to deliver a strange letter: a Toad drained of his colors. The stamp on the letter points to Prism Island, where the three travel to. Upon arriving, they find the deserted Port Prisma full of spots drained of color. They also meet Huey, a mysterious 3D talking paint bucket, and find the cause of colorless spots to be Slurp Guys using straws to suck color out of things. Huey then asks Mario to squeeze him into paper form in order to use the power of paint to battle the Shy Guys and to repaint the colorless spots, including the local Toads. Discovering that the Big Paint Stars at Prisma Fountain are gone, Huey asks Mario to find them and return them to the fountain. However, the Koopalings are also on the island and have captured the Big Paint Stars, and Mario must find and defeat them.
The events that caused Port Prisma to be damaged and the black paint's creation are explained through the Big Paint Stars' memories, told throughout the game. Bowser had jumped into the fountain and mixed the paint together, wanting his shell to turn rainbow. This created black paint, which possessed him. The Koopa Troop attacked Port Prisma, stealing its paint and sending a Toad as a letter to get Mario and Peach to Prism Island. Peach sends Mario a series of Holo-Peaches, holograms of her telling Mario what Bowser is doing while she is captured.
After saving Port Prisma, Mario and Huey set out to find the red Big Paint Star. First, they pass through Ruddy Road and Cherry Lake, learning the Cutout ability and collecting 3D real-world objects called Things. They find out that Bowser has stolen the paint from the Crimson Tower, where Morton is keeping a Big Paint Star captive. To open the gate, they must find the three Chosen Toads: Justice Toad at Cherry Lake, Surfing Kinopio at Bloo Bay Beach, and the Mountain Sage at Daffodil Peak. Additionally, Mario assembles the green and purple Rescue Squads at Indigo Underground and Ruddy Road to help him reach more Mini Paint Stars. When all the Chosen Toads have been found, Mario defeats Morton at the Crimson Tower, painting in a large gate at Sunglow Ridge.
At Sunglow Ridge, Mario learns about the Unfurl ability. He searches for Prof. Kinopio at Château Chanterelle, and finds him at Mondo Woods. The professor gives Mario both an Excavation Site Permit, which he uses to enter Marmalade Valley. Here, Mario finds the professor's pet Chain Chomp, Princess, and brings her back to Château Chanterelle. The professor is happy and gives him the Sharp Spike as thanks. The spike unlocks the door to Kiwano Temple, which Mario must pass through to reach the Golden Coliseum, where Iggy is holding the yellow Big Paint Star. Mario defeats Iggy in a stadium battle and the Big Paint Star repaints an oversized coin in Mondo Woods.
Next, Mario investigates the mystery of ghosts haunting the Dark Bloo Inn, and explores the hotel's garden to find their Teapot to appease them. This leads him to Violet Passage, where he helps out the yellow Rescue Squad while on a pirate ship. The Rescue Squad go to the shrunken Sacred Forest to unclog a pipe. Here, Mario pieces together a Mini Paint Star and gains access to Cobalt Base, where he participates in Snifit or Whiffit. Next, Mario infiltrates Cobalt Base to defeat Ludwig in his Super Ludship and Super Ludsub. The recovered blue Big Paint Star repaints the ocean at Violet Passage.
With the ocean restored, Mario has to join a ship crew and venture to Fortune Island to find the purple Big Paint Star. Using clues left behind by a legendary captain, they first pass through the Lost Sea. They stop at Vortex Island to calm down a whirlpool, then help out a lighthouse keeper on Lighthouse Island to light the way to Fortune Island. Mario makes use of parallel worlds to find the treasure, but is confronted by Wendy before he can collect it. Defeating Wendy and collecting the Big Paint Star repaints a sinkhole at Mustard Café, which the café's owner falls into.
Next, Mario hears of the Sunset Express train stuck at Kiwano Temple. The blue Rescue Squad help fix the broken tracks, only for the train to be damaged by a Big Thwomp. The Toads push the train to Toad Trainworks, where Mario repairs it. Next, the train goes to Tangerino Grill, where Mario cooks pizza for the Toads, and serves steak to a VIP customer (Larry Koopa). Larry hijacks the Sunset Express, and Mario defeats him with the help of the Toad train conductor. The train stops at Starlight Cape, where Huey makes a wish for the orange Big Paint Star; once it is granted, the Big Paint Star restores an unpainted Draggadon at Marmalade Valley.
Mario guides Draggadon through Redpepper Volcano and Redpepper Crater. After returning to Tangerino Grill to get the Magnifying Glass Thing, he battles Kamek at the Sacred Forest. This opens a path to the Green Energy Plant, where Mario ventures into a Super Mario Bros. 3-like world to find a Mini Paint Star. He assembles the last members of the red Rescue Squad at Mossrock Theater, and visits the Emerald Circus, at which he meets Lemmy. Mario defeats Lemmy atop the circus tent, and saves the green Big Paint Star. It flies somewhere unknown and colors in Luigi's kart.
Upon rescuing all six Big Paint Stars, they create a path to Black Bowser's Castle, where Mario and Huey head off to via a kart ride from Luigi. Inside they discover a factory producing Banzai Bills loaded with black paint with the intention of using them as bombs. After destroying the factory, they escape the flood of black paint and find Bowser with Princess Peach drained of her colors. As Mario battles Bowser, Huey has himself turned back into his 3D-self to absorb the black paint off and defeat Bowser, who has no memories of the incident. Black Bowser's Castle proceeds to collapse as Mario restores Peach's colors. Mario, Peach, and Luigi return to Port Prisma while Huey stays behind to contain the black paint and release it where it cannot do any more harm, to the skies. Later, while celebrating at Port Prisma, Peach comforts Mario when he laments Huey's disappearance. When all Super Flags are achieved, Huey can be seen falling back into the Prisma Fountain in the end screen.
Paper Mario: Color Splash is an action-adventure RPG game that elaborates on the mechanics of Paper Mario: Sticker Star. It is based on Mario using the Paint Hammer to paint colorless elements, characters and parts of the environment in order to progress in the game and collect Mini Paint Stars and Big Paint Stars. When a course is completed, several new courses may become available at once, and the number-based course naming that was seen in Super Paper Mario and Paper Mario: Sticker Star is gone (the game features a sort of 'world map' like the latter though).
Super Flags return as well, this time found in the main square of Port Prisma. The battles are based on Battle Cards that can be painted to increase their effect. Said cards can be bought at the Prisma Cardware. Once used, cards are discarded, it is however possible to buy them directly in battle using the Battle Spin and choosing one of the flipped cards. There are three types of cards. Basic Cards are used for various purposes, including attacking, healing and replenishing paint. Many attacks are similar to those featured in Paper Mario: Sticker Star, with the hammer attacks now having a charging sign indicating at which point an "Excellent" attack can be obtained. Thing Cards, which do not deplete Mario's paint, are used to summon Things, both in battle and in the course to solve puzzles. Such cards can be obtained by directly squeezing Things into Thing cards. There is a shop in Port Prisma allowing the player to directly buy Things to squeeze them into Thing Cards, and there are Replica versions of Thing Cards as well. Finally Enemy Cards, dropped by defeated enemies, are used to summon an enemy into the battle as an ally. Only one ally can be present at a time. Such an ally attacks other enemies and, when the enemies attack, position itself in front of Mario to protect him, and stays in battle until defeated. However, it runs away in front of bosses. At the beginning of a battle, Kamek can sometimes appear and either flip all the cards or steal many cards, once the battle is won, all the stolen cards are regained and additional coins are obtained as well. The number showing the HP of the enemies as well as the number showing the amount of damage dealt in HP are both missing, while the health of each enemy is shown in the form of color that is gradually drained starting from the bottom.
Both the use of the Paint Hammer and the painting of most cards requires paint, whose levels are indicated by bars. After winning a battle, defeated enemies can drop coins, paint, Battle Cards and cardboard hammers called Hammer Scraps. They exist in four different varieties and are worth 1 point, 5 points, 10 points and 20 points, depending on how much the colors are saturated and on the amount of glittery parts. Such points are used to fill a bar that when fully filled, increases the maximum amount of paint that can be carried.
It is also possible to permanently increase the number of cards playable in a turn during a battle by collecting special power-ups. Similarly, the maximum amount of Mario's HP can be increased by collecting HP-Up Hearts that are obtained when saving a Big Paint Star. Each HP-Up Heart increases the maximum amount of HP by 25 and increases the power of the First Strike as well.
In order to gain additional coins, there are side quests and mini-games that can be played. One of them is finding Luigi who is hiding in some places, another is playing Super Roshambo against several opponents at the Roshambo Temples, a further one is fighting and defeating The Shy Bandit on the world map.
Furthermore, it is possible to use a move similar to paperization called "Cutout" in order to cut part of the courses. Likewise, the Flip technique from Super Paper Mario returns as well, in a course dedicated to Super Mario Bros. 3 found at the Green Energy Plant. Key items also return.
The game is set on Prism Island, shaped like a paint brush, and on nearby islands, similar to drops of paint, which have been drained of their color. The locations are organized according to the game's seven main colors, with the three primary colors (red, yellow and blue) and the three secondary colors (violet, orange and green) having each four courses and a course with a main boss, Port Prisma being dedicated to the game's three primary colors and Bowser's Castle being dedicated to the game's tertiary color, black. The map is colored in as Mario collects Mini Paint Stars, though it is not possible to view it completely colorless, as the world map is only unlocked after Mario collects the red Mini Paint Star from Port Prisma.
Items and Objects
Nintendo eShop description
A mystery is afoot on Prism Island and only Mario™ can solve it——by restoring the land's vanishing colors with his new Paint Hammer. Puzzling battles await, but never fear; there's always a clever way to dish out the powerful Battle Cards up his sleeve. These fresh layers of strategy make this one of the most action-packed Paper Mario™ adventures ever!
It all begins when Mario receives an odd letter in the mail and heads for the unknown in a small boat. What he finds is a series of hilariously mysterious moments, each a clue that inches him closer to answering the riddle of Prism Island. To restore its former glory, he must first rescue the Big Paint Stars. Luckily, Mario's new companion Huey has granted him the power of paint, which can be used to recolor the exotic locales he'll hit up on his journey. Examine environments for clues, revive color-drained Toads, and even participate in strange events like the game show "Whifit or Snifit." Whatever it takes to make a splash on Prism Island!
Pre-release and unused content
The game features a concept art gallery in which concept art is gradually unlocked by donating Battle Cards to the museum. The concept art allows players to see how the characters, objects and settings were gradually changed during development. It also reveals two locations that were cut from the game.
The first location is the east side of Decalburg, from the previous game, that would have featured new objects, including postboxes, differently placed Coins and ? Blocks and, most importantly a river with sewage pipes, that it would have been possible to cross using a bridge to reach an area not present in Paper Mario: Sticker Star. The second one is an unused location similar to a temple in a mountainous area of a rocky desert, that would have featured blue torches and at least three buildings connected by staircases and bridges. Many warp pipes would have been present as well, as in the concept art five of them can be observed, of which four are in a row.
The unused location on the inside would have featured blue torches, cacti, sandfalls, broken walls that allow some light to enter, drawings of a Coin, a mushroom and a star on the walls, very high pillars, bridges made of blocks of a different material, possibly sand, and spiked pits, thus making it similar to Kiwano Temple, suggesting, along with the rocky desert setting, that this unused location might have been a preliminary version of said location.
Upon being shown at the March 3, 2016 Nintendo Direct, Paper Mario: Color Splash received negative reception from some fans, the main complaint focusing around the game's similarities to Paper Mario: Sticker Star. Within hours of the game's reveal, a petition on Change.org ordered the game to be canceled, which TechRadar described as "a frightening example of how quickly, and harshly, we judge games we know next to nothing about."
Despite this, the game received generally positive reviews at release. Most critics praised the game's art direction and humorous writing, though the lack of original characters and still-simplistic storyline were points of contention. In addition, while several reviewers noted gameplay improvements from Paper Mario: Sticker Star, some elements still drew criticism, such as the battle system and linear level design.
In its opening week - October 10 through 16, 2016 - Paper Mario: Color Splash sold 20,894 copies in Japan. It left the top 20 after the week of October 31 with 37,093 copies sold. Famitsu reported the game as selling a total of 65,316 copies over its entire lifetime in Japan, making it one of the lowest-selling retail Mario games in the country.
Similarities to other Paper Mario games
Differences from other Paper Mario games
References to other games
References in later games
Names in other languages