Honorable Mention: Paper Mario: Color Splash
It’s award season here at Twinfinite! Starting with a few runner ups, let’s look back at the best Nintendo games from this year and our 2016 winner!
The adorable world of Paper Mario returned for yet another outing in 2016, and Color Splash manages to be every bit as charming as the titles before it. It changes up a few things about combat, but has a big focus on exploration. It perfectly matches the humor of previous titles as well, as it’s filled with jokes, puns, and very good writing.
One day Mario and Peach receive a letter from Prisma Island, which actually turns out to be a folded up Toad completely drained of his color. They promptly set out for Port Prisma, only to find the island, much like the folded up Toad, is completely colorless. In the city, Mario finds a paint bucket named Huey, who gives Mario the unique ability to splash color with his hammer. Now, in a traditional Mario fashion, the hero sets out to find Big Paint Stars and restore color to the island.
Color Splash’s shining quality is its playful world and brilliant writing. Whether it’s Toads existentially questioning their existence or Shy Guys telling Mario why he’d be a terrible Shy Guy, the game is consistently funny and witty. Each level has its own unique design and aesthetic, and there’s a huge emphasis on exploration and puzzle solving, as well as using Mario’s new color splash ability to return color to parts of the world. You never know what ridiculous use of color or paper is waiting ahead, and that’s part of what keeps Color Splash so exciting.
Combat is a little different this time around. It’s still turn-based but uses attack cards. Mario has a ton of different abilities like jumping and hammer strikes assigned to these cards, and even gets some crazy powerful attacks with “Thing” cards. These cards come from items he finds in the world that resemble real world things, which Mario then squeezes the paint out of. These are usually mundane items like a Piggy Bank, Plunger, or Fan that unleash lavishly animated devastating attacks in battle.
The combat in Color Splash is slower and easier than past entries in the series, but the fun story and colorful world are more than enough to make up for it. The hilarious characters and writing create a vibrant experience that’ll have you smiling the whole time.