Is Paper Mario: The Origami King an open-world game?

Paper Mario The Origami King Switch Holes
Paper Mario The Origami King Switch Holes (Image credit: Nintendo)

Is Paper Mario: The Origami King an open-world game?

Best answer: Yes! Paper Mario: The Origami King features "open-world levels you can traverse seamlessly" with "huge maps," ditching the old chapter format of previous games in favor of a world you can backtrack through at any time. Intelligent Systems director Masahiko Nagaya has specified that the game is designed so that the player is constantly seeing new things in the world that will catch their attention and draw them in that direction.Fold by fold: Paper Mario: The Origami King ($60 at Amazon)

Open-world adventures

In an interview with Game Informer, members of both developer Intelligent Systems and Nintendo laid out the vision for Paper Mario: The Origami King's open-world structure, explaining why and how it deviated from previous games.

Unlike previous Paper Mario games, which were chapter-focused and (generally) saw Mario and friends exploring one environment at a time in a more disconnected fashion, The Origami King features an open-world described as "seamless." It allows players to go back to previously-visited places at any time by normal backtracking.

"One major feature that makes the world where this adventure takes place special is that there are huge maps to explore at every turn," said Nagaya. "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."

Gotta go faster

Paper Mario Origami King

Paper Mario Origami King (Image credit: Nintendo)

If walking around a large open-world sounds repetitive and draining to you, don't worry. At some point, Mario gains access to vehicles, including a boot-shaped car and a boat that he can use to move around the world much faster.

This may be especially important given that the game appears to have several hidden secrets and collectibles. One of those is in the form of Toads hidden around the game that you can reveal with a whack of Mario's hammer. Freeing Toads is critical to rebuilding Toad Town (more on that in a moment), so you don't want to miss any.

Fortunately, it sounds like you don't have to worry about that. If Origami King's backtracking is as solid as its developers describe, then there's no worry about missing critical Toads and ending up with a half-full Toad Town.

Takin it down to Toad Town

One benefit of being able to backtrack easily is that you can return to Toad Town, the starting point of the game, at any time. Initially, Toad Town is empty and devoid of services. But as you travel the world of Paper Mario: The Origami King and discover more hidden Toads, you'll gradually restore services to the village and make it a bustling area once again. For that reason alone, it can be worth backtracking, as you may be able to gain access to new things that hadn't been available in the world when you first visited the town.

Reb Valentine