Wherefore art thou, Super Paper Mario?

Its roots firmly in GC territory, this wasn't developed with the Wii's controllers in mind. How could these new capabilities be implemented? As NES titles on the Virtual Console show, a horizontally held remote is the perfect replacement for the NES' D-pad and dual button setup. So traditional are the 2D sections, with their block-smashing, Goomba-squashing and shell-kicking simplicity, that to play them with anything other than a NES setup would seem wrong.

This would, however, clash with Fairen control. Throughout the game you're accompanied by two odd-looking sprites, or Fairens; a butterfly and a shape-shifter. In the E3 demo, the shape-shifting assistant was activated with the X Button, to grab enemies and throw them or transform into a yellow mallet for Mario to wield.

We can't look at the Fairens floating around Mario without thinking of Super Mario Galaxy's item-activating star cursor or the remote-directed Zelda fairy. With Galaxy 's remote-directed cursor being met with thumbs-up, we expect it to be implemented here. The possibilities for getting the Fairen hand shape to seize enemies by their noggins already has us rubbing our hands together with malicious glee.

Super Paper Mario looks great and the story will surely be as goofy as the other Paper Mario narratives. Here's hoping Nintendo will shed some light on the title before too long.

January 18, 2007