Video Game Review: Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door

Details: Released in 2004 for the Nintendo GameCube. I don’t think it’s been released for any subsequent console or on the virtual console so the only place to play it is on the GameCube. Played the game for around forty-two hours. More information can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paper_Mario:_The_Thousand-Year_Door and http://www.metacritic.com/game/gamecube/paper-mario-the-thousand-year-door

Score: 8.2/10

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is a surprisingly funny, charming game despite coming out over a decade ago. It is visually simple, but the writing and satire here is top notch.

The Thousand-Year Door takes place in a two dimensional version of Nintendo’s Super Mario universe. Mario is chilling in his house with his bro Luigi when he gets a letter from Princess Peach. The letter asks Mario to join her in searching for an ancient treasure hidden behind an ancient door. Upon arrival in the designated place, Mario discovers that Peach has been kidnapped yet again and he must go around collecting seven legendary stars in order to open the door, rescue Peach, and save the world.

The strongest aspect of this game is the writing, which is surprising since this was originally released as a Japanese game and then translated into English. The English translation is funny and nuanced. It has understandings of English and Western culture in a way that made me almost believe that was originally and American game. I found myself chuckling many times throughout the game. It’s a clever, lighthearted story with a lot of jokes that hit the mark for me.

The gameplay is interesting for a turn based role playing game. It is simplistic, while offering a number of unique twists to differentiate from other turn based role playing games. What I liked and also disliked was that attacks during battle succeed or fail based on your success with timing button presses or matching button presses. It keeps you involved, but sometimes I want to be uninvolved when I’m fighting low level enemies I can breeze through. Outside of battle, there is some platforming and puzzles to solve.

Visually, the game is fine. It was released in 2004 and looks pixelated. However, the cartoon style makes the game very presentable and adds to the overall humor of the game. You could argue it’s overly simplistic, but this is an old game and that simplistic style is also arguably the only way a game this old could possibly stay playable. With that said,

The music is great and I found myself wanting to download some of the tracks to listen to in my own time. There isn’t really voice acting. It’s that Nintendo thing they do where each character has a designated sound they make when they react to something. I did like Mario’s incredibly creepy “Oh Yeah!” and considered making it my ringtone or alert for text messages.

Overall, this is a great game despite its age. It holds up and is still incredibly fun. The only lousy thing is that you can only play this game off the GameCube. It is not on the Virtual Console anywhere as far as I know.

Score: 8.2/10

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2 thoughts on “Video Game Review: Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door

  1. ttay213 January 4, 2019 / 12:05 am

    I like this post, but I have a few comments/questions about it- let me tell you them:

    I really do agree that the writing style in the game is amazing! It’s one of the reasons why I really enjoy the game. The music is also amazing- can’t ever forget that!

    Do you have any comments or thoughts about the characters? You don’t mention them or their development throughout the story. I’d love to know what you think!

    P.S. there was also a badge in the game that prevented the player from having to fight through battles with low-level enemies.

    I’m only really asking you these questions because I’m thinking of doing my own Paper Mario: TTYD review! I’d love to know what actually interests people regarding this game.

    • elliot January 4, 2019 / 1:03 am

      I felt like the characters were very similar in tone. That’s probably why no one character stood out. I really liked all the characters as a whole though.

      Yeah! you should definitely write your own review. The whole point of blogging is to share your opinion right? Enjoy!

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