It is similar to the previous two Paper Mario titles and Super Mario Bros. The game combines side-scrolling 2D gameplay with free roaming 3D graphics and to a somewhat lesser extent, RPG elements (unlike the RPG-style gameplay of previous Paper Mario games).
Princess Peach is forced to marry Bowser by Count Bleck; a book called the Dark Prognosticus predicts that the marriage will open a dimensional rift that will engulf the universe. Mario is transported to the town of Flipside, where the Light Prognosticus states that a hero matching Mario's description can close the rift. To accomplish this, Mario must find the eight Pure Hearts.
According to a fact sheet, Luigi was accompanying Mario to find Bowser when Princess Peach disappeared, and Count Bleck is said to have taken Luigi away as well.
The story starts with Mario and Luigi inside their house sitting at the dining area.
Super Paper Mario has a unique gameplay element similar to previous installments.
Unlike previous Paper Mario games, there is no turn-based fighting in Super Paper Mario; the game is predominately a side-scrolling platformer. Some RPG elements have been added; for example, the traditional scoring system doubles as an experience point system. Characters are controlled by holding the Wii Remote sideways like a NES controller.
Characters and abilities
- Mario has the ability to flip 3-D.
- Peach can glide across lengthy distances and shield herself with her parasol.
- Bowser breathes fire. His attack is twice as powerful Mario's, Princess Peach's and Luigi's attacks. He can also breathe fire underwater.
- Luigi can jump high and can also hit enemies above with his ability.
Because the game is a 2D side-scroller, there is no turn based combat. Instead, it is live combat. However, there are some twists. Firstly, when the player jumps on an enemy, they can shake the controller, and they will earn points on their attack. Items can also be used. Pixls will also add new combat abilities.
Pixls give the player new abilities, reminiscent of helpers in other Paper Mario games.
- Tippi allows the player to point the Wii Remote at the screen like a spotlight. This spotlight can give more information about enemies, allies, items, and surroundings, and reveal hidden objects.
- Thoreau with the player can help pick up enemies or items.
- Boomer is placed close to the enemy, boss or object and press the 1 Button to explode straight away.
- Slim allows the character to turn sideways and become paper thin, making it possible to slip between bars or other narrow places.
- Carrie will act as a floating platform that can carry the player across certain hazards.
- Cudge can help the player hit objects or enemies with a hammer.
- Dottie can shrink the player to go through holes or tiny places.
- Barry defends the player from enemies or bosses. Barry can also counterattack.
The E3 trailer showcased new abilities and power-ups, including a space helmet: Mario is seen floating in mid-air, shooting enemies with a ray gun, and running sideways down a wall. Newer videos and information reveal more items available in the game. Badges, used in previous Paper Mario games, are not available in this game.
- Mushroom: Restores some of the character's heart points.
- Starman: Causes the character to grow to immense size (similar to the Mega Mushroom in New Super Mario Bros.), allowing him or her to crash through the level, effectively invincible. It also causes the character to appear in the form of a NES-style sprite.
- Red Flower (a variation of Fire Flower): Deviating from its traditional role of allowing Mario to throw fireballs, the Red Flower speeds up time.
- Slow Flower: The opposite of a Red Flower; it causes time to slow down.
- Pal Pills: These cause a group of miniature 8-bit Marios to follow the player around and act as a personal army.
- Fire Burst: When used, every enemy visible on the screen bursts into flames. Also, when the Wii Remote is shaken up and down rapidly, it makes the Fire Burst cause more damage.
- Life Shroom: If the player's HP drops to 0, the Life Shroom will restore it by 5 points.
- Turtlely Leaf: Reduces all damage to the player by half.
- Honey Jar
- Shroom Shake
- Shell Shock
The trailer has shown that staple Mario series enemies, such as Goombas, Koopa Troopas, and Hammer Bros. will appear, although two new enemies, a purple square with a beak, and a blue version of said enemy, have appeared so far. Also, in the April edition of Nintendo Power, a spherical Thwomp-like enemy was seen rolling down a slope.
Super Paper Mario was first announced by Nintendo on May 11, 2006 at E3 for the GameCube. On May 30, 2006, Nintendo set a release date of October 9, 2006. That summer, the game was "quietly" moved to the Wii.