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You've Been Playing Paper Mario: The Origami King All Wrong

The newest entry in the Super Mario universe, Paper Mario: The Origami King, has everyone's favorite Nintendo plumber following ribbon trails and rescuing Toads as he tries to free Princess Peach's castle from King Olly and his Paper Soldiers. While the game features many of the classic Mario themes players love, from pipes to travel in to boxes with question marks on them, it also adds some interesting new dynamics. Bowser appears, but he's not the main enemy. You battle your opponents by using a fascinating new turn-based, puzzle-based battling system. And to repair the landscape, you throw out pieces of paper confetti to cover the tears.

Paper Mario: The Origami King is like many of Mario's previous outings — colorful, engaging, and family-friendly. But you may not be taking advantage of some tips and tricks that will help you get past Goombas, Red Shy Guys, and office-themed bosses as you try to unfold the mysteries of this Mario world. If that's the case, you're playing this game all wrong.

Rescue the toads

Throughout Paper Mario: The Origami King you're going to discover Toads in various places. A few are in plain sight. Some are trapped inside walls or flowers or tree trunks. Others have been turned into origami dogs. Others still can only be saved if you defeat an enemy, like one of those giant paper Goombas. And some may require the use of your 1,000-fold arms. You'll definitely want to take the time to locate and pull every single one out.

For one thing, the game won't let you move on without rescuing some of them. Some of the Toads are integral parts of your journey, and Paper Mario is good at giving out cues so you don't miss the important stuff. But there are clear advantages to hammering all these little dudes back into shape as well. For one thing, you can unlock the slightly longer secret ending. You can also get more perks in battle, because as you rescue the Toads, they will come cheer you on whenever you enter that dartboard ring of battle. Additionally, as you rescue the Toads they'll go back to their places of business, which means the shops will start to open.

When you're in battle, throw money at the problem

The battling wave system in Paper Mario: The Origami King takes a little bit of getting used to, since it's not a matter of just jumping on top of your opponents and flattening them into non-existence. Instead, Mario is transported to a battle arena. A puzzling element requires you to line up your opponents so that you can mete out maximum damage on a field of concentric circles separated into 12 slices. The boots work best to jump on enemies that are lined up in a row, while the hammer damages them if they are lined up in two-by-two cells like a square. You'll find other weapons as you go. There's a movement phase followed by an action phase for each side. Olivia, Mario's trusty origami helper, assists with hints, but there are definitely ways to optimize your strategy, such as changing the battle camera's perspective.

As it turns out, you can spend a little money to get an advantage. Use the + sign to spend some of your hard-earned coins to gain more time. You can also throw coins at the Toads you've rescued to come cheer you on. Spend enough and they'll interfere to your advantage, although you won't necesssarily be able to predict how. They may damage your enemies, heal you, or even help solve the puzzle. 

Shop 'til you drop

As the Toads start to go back to their shops, you'll have access to more parts of Toad Town. This includes stores where you can buy items, including weapons you can use in your battles. You'll find different kinds of boots and hammers and one-use items such as flowers. The specialized boots and hammers actually wear out in this game (although your original boots and hammer will always be combat-ready), which means you'll have to watch your weapon's warning damage symbol. Then you can return to the store in order to spend some of your money on re-stocking your inventory.

Basically, in this game you don't have to count on being able to find weapons along the way. You can stock up on them and buy as much as you can afford to make sure you're never without your favorite ones in battle. Combined with how the coins help you in battle, it's more important than ever that you get all the possible coins. So fix all those holes along your route, fight the bad guys, rescue the Toads, interact with every object, and enjoy.