Paper Mario: The Origami King — Are there partners?

Paper Mario: Origami King Bob Omb
Paper Mario: Origami King Bob Omb (Image credit: Nintendo)

Paper Mario: The Origami King — Are there partners?

Best answer: Yes! Paper Mario: The Origami King will feature partners like the original Paper Mario or Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. However, while you will get to have a fun new cast of characters join Mario on his latest adventure, not all of your new buddies will participate in battle.Folds of doom: Paper Mario: The Origami King ($60 at Amazon)

Grab your partner

Paper Mario: Origami King River

Paper Mario: Origami King River (Image credit: Nintendo)

When Nintendo announced the release of the newest Paper Mario franchise entry, Paper Mario: The Origami King, I had a little bit of hope. This long-beloved series has been a roller coaster ride since the games have experienced so many changes, only keeping the paper-inspired style over the years. One feature that players have been hoping would make a return is the partner system from the first two games: Paper Mario and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door.

The beloved partner system paired Mario with a rag-tag group of unique characters, such as Bombette, Kooper, Goombella, and Vivian (depending on which game you're playing). These partners featured special abilities that helped Mario solve puzzles on the overworld map, like breaking through a cracked wall or hiding from passing enemies.

They also assisted in battle with distinctive attacks for each partner. For instance, Goombella from Thousand-Year Door could "Tattle" on enemies and reveal their stats and weaknesses, while Kooper from Paper Mario could attack multiple enemies at once. Each partner proved their worth during the adventure, and it was fun to switch up the battle experience by swapping characters.

Unfortunately, to the devastation many fans, the partner system was changed and eventually done away with in favor of different helpers. These "new" partners would act more like a sidekick, throwing out wise-cracks and granting Mario new abilities. Olivia seems to fit this mold in The Origami King, but with new information from Nintendo, we now know that The Origami King will feature partners! But, it is definitely not like the previous games.

A brand new look

Paper Mario: Origami King Ship

Paper Mario: Origami King Ship (Image credit: Nintendo)

With the closer look trailer, we've been introduced to a wacky new cast of characters for the upcoming Paper Mario sequel. Plus, we got to see some of them in action. Additionally, there's a treasure hunting Toad and a very vocal Bob-omb. The newest reveal has put names to these characters and a little bit about each of their personalities. When others do join Mario, some will stick around, while others will only stay for a short period.

Primary Companions

  • Olivia: King Olly's sister, and Mario's steady companion
  • Bob-omb: A Bob-omb with attitude suffering from amnesia
  • Professor Toad: A professor of ancient history
  • Kamek: A Magikoopa who loves to clean
  • Bowser: Mario's forever rival

Temporary Companions

  • Luigi
  • Bowser Jr.
  • Spike
  • Bone Goomba
  • Feelin' Fungi

While these characters will take part in Mario's journey, it won't be like how partners were handled previously.

So, how do partners work?

Paper Mario: Origami King Toad

Paper Mario: Origami King Toad (Image credit: Nintendo)

Partners in Paper Mario: The Origami King function as secondary characters in the broader narrative. They become part of the story, but when it comes to helping in battle, they don't do much. Certain partners will help Mario if the chips are down, but generally, their attacks are pitiful at best. Plus, once you get to a dungeon, they will come up with some excuse to stay outside. So, they pull a Yoshi, and you have to leave them outside the dungeon.

Other than adding more layers to the story, the partners are pretty much just for show. Not to say that's bad, but I would have liked to see them take more action in battle. Fortunately, the story is so engaging, it makes playing worth it.

Sara Gitkos

Sara is the Freelance Coordinator, writer, and editor at iMore. When not editing or writing away, she's glued to her Nintendo Switch, Xbox, or PS5, though she's a retro gamer at heart.