The adventure begins with Luigi accidentally knocking off a book from a shelf. Turns out, the book is magical, and it lands in such a way that it remains open. Out spew some untold number of paper characters. These 2D characters suddenly find themselves in a 3D world. Princess Peach meets Paper Princess Peach, the Bowsers meet each other, and so on. Numerous toads and goombas are released and of course, Paper Mario. An hour or two into the game Paper Mario joins forces with Mario and Luigi and together the trio must use their platforming and combative ability to take out Bowser’s baddies as they proceed towards his castle to restore order. The story is simple and familiar enough overall, and I thought it did a sufficient job of setting the stage and giving the player a basic framework to run with.
Alpha Dream must have put a ton of effort into making game’s almost seamless 2D-meets-3D art style. Just consider how many animation frames the art department had to make for Mario and Luigi’s 16-directional movement and you can sympathise with how they wanted to make one more game with their current assets.
That doesn’t mean the game is without unique animations though, in fact there are many adorable new dances and poses performed by the two brothers. The level up animation for Mario in particular calls to mind classic Disney, an incredible technical achievement considering it is pixel art.