Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door – Review
Follow Genre: RPG
Developer: Intelligent Systems
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: Switch
Tested on: Switch

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door – Review

Site Score
Good: Colorful graphics, Classic that's great for all types of gamers
Bad: Small pacing issues due to backtracking
User Score
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Paper Mario is one of those spin-off franchises that has always been somewhat of a hit or miss for us. We loved the original on the Nintendo 64, as well as its predecessor, Super Mario RPG, but sadly the latest installment, The Origami King, missed the mark. While the latter still had so much charm, it was mainly the gameplay that turned the experience into a slog. Nonetheless, we had high hopes for the remake of The Thousand-Year Door as it’s an absolute classic, and it’s also a Paper Mario title that goes back to basics. We were simply wondering, even with the changes, if it withstood the test of time.


The story in The Thousand-Year Door is a bit more elaborate than traditional Super Mario games, where Princess Peach gets kidnapped by Bowser and you jump, stomp, and fire-blast your way through the different levels. In this scenario, Peach was actually on a holiday of sorts in the pirate-like town of Rogueport. Not being able to fight her curious nature, she soon purchases a treasure map and mails this to Mario, asking him to come and find the treasure together. Mario is always open for an adventure and heads to Rogueport. Sadly, by the time he gets there, Peach has already been kidnapped by a new villainous organization. He not only decides to try to rescue Peach, but he also deciphers what’s on the map, which will allow him to unlock the Thousand-Year Door. While the promise of a treasure is always alluring, some doors are better left closed.

All in all, the story progresses at a steady pace, and there are quite a few side characters that still offer a few fun dialogues. The game isn’t necessarily a very long RPG adventure, but you’ll certainly be able to spend quite a few evenings exploring Rogueport and the game’s many linked areas. There is some backtracking that does mess with the otherwise decent pacing, but this is not uncommon for older RPGs like this.


Graphically, The Thousand-Year Door looks great. The artwork in the Paper Mario games is always splendidly handled, and that is also the case here. The game will throw you into different environments, all with their unique theme. The character designs are also very nice, and it’s fun to see familiar faces as well as a few original characters that were added for this standalone adventure. Even during more heftier sequences, we didn’t notice any frame drops or stutters. The game does suffer from very long loading times, however.


Unsurprisingly, the sound design is great. The supporting soundtrack does put you in the right mood to venture out to explore your surroundings, and the combat music is equally captivating. The SFX are decent and provide proper audio feedback for the action onscreen. Sadly, this title does not have any voice acting. We wouldn’t have minded for this remake to perhaps have a bit of voice acting being thrown into the mix.


Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is in many ways a fairly traditional RPG experience, with some light platforming and puzzle-solving. The game is quite straightforward, and most of the time it’s also very clear what is expected of you. You’ll be playing as the legendary mustachioed plumber, Mario, and you’ll pick up new party members along the way. As the game progresses, new abilities will become available to you in combat as well as in the overworld. If you played the recent remake of Super Mario RPG, you will probably already have a good idea of what to expect from this one. If you have played the original, you’ll notice a few new additions, such as new NPCs, different quest orders, and so on.

Truth be told, there isn’t much to say about gameplay if you are already familiar with the series or have a basic understanding of what most RPGs have to offer. The reaction-based turn-based combat we have seen in Super Mario RPG is still present here. This means that if you press the correct button at the right time when attacking or defending, you might deal a lot more damage, or you may even prevent damage from being dealt to you. It’s a great system that makes sure that you keep paying attention during combat. At times, we suggest grinding a tiny bit when possible, as leveling up provides some needed stat boosts.

Traversal is also done in an equally pleasant way. As you progress, you’ll unlock new characters that can aid you in combat, but also those that may help you with navigating the world around you. You also unlock abilities to reach places you couldn’t reach before. The game does suffer a bit from a lot of backtracking, but it was not something that made us dislike the experience at all. You’ll notice that Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door doesn’t bring anything new to the table in terms of general mechanics, but it does provide players with an extremely polished experience.


If you haven’t played this Paper Mario RPG when it came out back in 2004, or if you were really itching to replay it, then we suggest simply picking up the Switch version to experience the definitive edition of an already great title. If you weren’t convinced back in 2004, we reckon this new version will not win you over either. That being said, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is probably one of the best titles in the Paper Mario series thanks to its overall charm, solid combat mechanics, and the fun world that gradually opens up around you. The game only misses out on receiving a perfect score because of the constant backtracking, which dulls down the overall great experience.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

Aspiring ninja.


  1. […] but we’re happy to see that the console is still going strong between recent releases like Paper Mario and upcoming titles like new Metroid and Zelda games. Sometimes you’d want a smaller title […]

    VA:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
    0 people found this helpful
  2. […] many Mario releases over the last few years, be it the remake of Super Mario RPG, the remaster of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, or Super Mario Bros. Wonder, one sometimes forgets that the red iconic plumber also has a younger […]

    VA:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
    0 people found this helpful

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.