Paper Mario: The Origami King — The ultimate guide

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

I remember when the first Paper Mario game released on N64 back in 2001. It was such a massive change from the other Mario games of the time since it offered an RPG experience similar to my favorite SNES game, Super Mario RPG. I replayed that first Paper Mario game so many times, and to this day, it is still one of my favorites. I've also played each of the sequential titles in the series. The writing has always been hilarious even as other mechanics within the games have changed.

Now, the sixth installment in the series, Paper Mario: The Origami King, once again brings a lighthearted adventure for everyone to enjoy. Here's everything you need to know about Paper Mario: The Origami King.

What is the plot for Paper Mario: The Origami King?

Paper Mario Origami King

Paper Mario Origami King (Image credit: Nintendo)

This game starts like so many others. Mario and Luigi receive an invitation from Princess Peach inviting them to the castle, this time to attend an origami festival. The brothers run off to enjoy the festivities only to discover that Peach has been turned into origami by the evil King Olly. What's more, King Olly has used his origami warriors to invade the Mushroom Kingdom and take over Peach's castle.

Mario must band together with Olly's sister, Olivia, to fight off these invaders and return peace to the land. Bowser's minions have also been turned into origami and have betrayed their Koopa King, so a partially-folded Bowser is forced to join Mario on his quest.

What information was leaked?

Less than a week before Paper Mario: The Origami King was set to release for Nintendo Switch, the game was leaked online. We won't divulge exactly what was revealed, however, we will say that the leaks do show who the final boss is, reveal some final dungeon info, as well as other late game content.

If you haven't played the game yet and want too keep yourself safe from spoilers, we suggest sticking to the official Nintendo Treehouse Live video for details regarding the game.

Is this an open-world game?

Yes, in an interview, Masahiko Nagaya, director at Intelligent Systems, explained that for the first time in Paper Mario history, this game does away with the chapter-based progression in favor of seamless travel between regions.

"One major feature that makes the world where this adventure takes place special is that there are huge maps to explore at every turn. Because the game is laid out this way, we were careful during the design phase to make sure there is always something in the player's field of vision to catch their attention."

To help players get around in this large map, Mario takes advantage of various modes of transportation, including a boot-shaped car, an airship, a boat, and more.

What is the combat system like?

Paper Mario Origami King

Paper Mario Origami King (Image credit: Nintendo)

A brand new Battle Ring System is in play within Paper Mario: The Origami King. Players can manupulate the battlefield by sliding Mario's foes to different positions for a better lined up attack. Mario has to main forms of attack: Boots and a Hammer. He can jump on rows of origami enemies his Boots or he can slam down his Hammer on a grouping of four enemies with one strike. However, you'll have to think fast as there's a time limit for how long you can manipulate the field.

That being the case, the challenge for this battle style is arranging your enemies in some order so that you can efficiently inflict the most damage within a time limit. In fact, Mario will receive a 1.5 damage bonus if he solves the Battle Ring System puzzle and places enemies in the best possible positions. Fortunately, if you're running out of time, you can pay coins to Toads in the stands to extend the timer.

However, when it comes to boss fights, the Battle Ring System functions a little differently. Instead of moving the enemies around, players will need to rotate the field in such a way that it creates a path that allows Mario to reach the boss. Then once he's gotten close, Mario can deliver devastating attacks.

Are there real-time battles?

Yes! Every once in awhile, Mario will come face to face with a Papier-mâché Paper Macho enemy. He'll then run around the overworld and whack this enormous foe until it explodes into confetti. Some of these Paper Macho baddies are basic enemies, but others provide full-blown boss battles. Not only are these real-time battles enjoyable, but they help break up the Battle Ring System fights and provide more variety to the game.

Does Mario earn XP in battle?

Many fans had hoped that the sixth installment in the Paper Mario series would return a little more to its traditional RPG roots. Namely to where Mario must defeat enemies to earn experience points and level up as the story progresses. However, that's not how things work in The Origami King.

The Origami King is similar to Color Splash and Sticker Star in that Mario does not earn experience points or level up after defeating enemies. This sometimes makes it more appealing to run away from confrontation and avoid enemies completely while exploring an area. Players still do earn money for participating in battles, though.

Does Mario have any traveling companions?

Paper Mario Origami King Bobby

Paper Mario Origami King Bobby (Image credit: Nintendo)

Yes, a few different partners will temporarily join Mario on his travels, though in a way that's very different from previous Paper Mario games. These companions will not enter dungeons with you and you cannot control their attacks in battle. However, they will sometimes attack enemies when Mario is in the middle of a Batte Ring System fight.

These traveling companions provide some hilarious interactions and give a little more depth to The Origami King.

Are there any new abilities?

Paper Mario Origami King

Paper Mario Origami King (Image credit: Nintendo)

There sure are. Mario has a new tool, the 1,000-Fold Arms, which allow him to interact with his environment in order to solve puzzles or find hidden items. Wielding these arms, Mario can pull down paper tabs on the side of a house, reach areas he normally wouldn't be able to, and much more.

Are there hidden items?

Paper Mario Origami King Hidden Blocks

Paper Mario Origami King Hidden Blocks (Image credit: iMore)

In previous games there are hidden Question Mark Boxes, badges, healing items, and Toads for players to find. Many of these things have returned in The Origami King.

There are ? Blocks hidden in several different areas. Some of them are invisible until Mario jumps underneath them or smacks them with a hammer. The hidden boxes often cough up powerful weapons and helpful items. Mario can also collect Collectible Treasures on his journey. If you need help locating all of these trophies, check out our All Collectible Treasures guide.

Does Mario rescue Toads?

Paper Mario Origami King Folded Toad

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

Players need to locate Toads who have been folded into origami shapes and restore them to their proper forms by wacking them with a hammer. These origami shapes can take the form of an origami bug on a tree trunk, an origami dog, and so on, so you'll need to keep an eye out for suspicious folded paper items in your travels.

Once a Toad has been restored to its proper form, it might return to Toad Town and offer a helpful service, like opening a store or unlocking an area of the map. Rescued Toads will become spectators in the audience during ring battles. Mario can even pay them coins to receive help and other perks.

If you're having trouble locating each of these colorful fung-guys, check out our list of All Toad locations

What's up with the confetti?

As Mario wanders around the colorful world, he gathers different colored confetti. There are several holes in the diorama-inspired world that can be filled by tossing, said confetti into them. You'll definitely want to patch up the world as falling into these holes hurts our mustashioed plumber. Additionally, you might just be able to reach some secrets if you fill in these holes.

This is an element of game play similar to what we saw in Paper Mario: Color Splash, where players could restore colorless areas of the world with paint.

What bosses does Mario face?

Paper Mario Origami King Tape

Paper Mario Origami King Tape (Image credit: Nintendo (Screenshot))

Obviously, Mario will be squaring off against Olly, the titular Origami King at some point. Before then, Mario's goal is to undo the various streamers wrapped around Princess Peach's castle. The end of each streamer is guarded by one of the members of the Legion of Stationary. This includes foes like Colored Pencils, Rubber Band, Tape, and more.

If you ever need help defeating these tricky foes, check out our guide for how to defeat all 16 bosses

Is there a secret ending?

Why yes there is. If players take the time to 100% complete TOK, then they can unlock a slightly longer end scene after defeating the final boss. If you want more information or help with this task then check out our guide for how to unlock the secret ending.

Why does Mario wear a Metroid helmet?

Paper Mario Origami King

Paper Mario Origami King (Image credit: Nintendo)

At one point in the story, Mario stumbles across a papier-mâché version of Samus Aran's Metroid Helmet. Some people are wondering if the presence of this easter egg might be teasing Metroid Prime 4 on the Nintendo Switch. We honestly don't know if that's the case. However, it's likely that this is just an inside joke placed by Intelligent Systems, the developers behind Paper Mario: The Origami King.

You see, Intelligent Systems has done a lot of support work and programming on various Nintendo games including Metroid games and Donkey Kong games. As you can see in the picture, there's also a papier-mâché Donkey Kong head and a Goomba head in the shot. We're pretty sure this is just a silly easter egg that nods to the developer's involvement with those games.

When did Paper Mario: The Origami King release?

Paper Mario: The Origami King released for Nintendo Switch on July 17, 2020. It sells for $60, and is currently available.

Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.