Paper Mario: Color Splash
Top Critic Average
Bowser's latest m'ch�-nations are boringly familiar. Despite the usual fizzy writing, this series doesn't make us crease up like it used to.
Paper Mario: Color Splash is a step in the right direction for the series after the 3DS’s Paper Mario: Sticker Star, continuing its shift from RPG to action-adventure game while also introducing some smart changes to its battle system. The beautiful Wii U graphics and playful humor stay true to the spirit of the Paper Mario franchise, but the story is straightforward and a bit bland. Inventive level design in the second act offers some much needed diversity to some of Color Splash's otherwise linear gameplay before the disappointing third act regresses into simple and uninteresting battles. Though Color Splash still isn't back to the high points of the first three games in the Paper Mario series, it's a strong step in the right direction.
Nintendo continues to paint over some of the best features of previous Paper Mario games, but the great script just about saves the dull combat.
Puzzles aren't exactly inspiring, but good writing and typically first-class presentation amount to a more-than-passable plumb pudding.
Charming characters and zany events fill the world, which is good because you traverse the same locales multiple times
Paper Mario: Color Splash is clever and funny but a chore to play
Returning after a 9-year break from consoles, Paper Mario goes Bob Ross on countless Shy Guys by teaching them The Joys of Painting.
A dreadful combat system brings down an otherwise beautiful and funny Mario adventure.
Color Splash is so damned imaginative and beautiful, though, so colorful and confidently funny. Even when it annoyed me, it was only fleetingly. It makes the abstract world of Mario so personable. Its gentle, playful weirdness and irreverence contrast so positively with the prevailing seriousness of fall’s big games
Make no mistake: Some of Color Splash is best-in-class material. But some of it is just awful. As much as I'd like to be able to give it an unqualified endorsement, I really can't. The excellent visuals, music, structure, and writing sit at odds with the toilsome combat system and the addition of far too many gimmicks and gotchas. The game is as irritating as it is inspiring — and while there's much to love here, be aware that finding it requires slogging through some truly rocky moments.