Since the first game was released in 2003, the Mario & Luigi series of games have delivered great turned based combat along with a big sense of humor. Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam continues this tradition with a big new element thrown it.
In Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Luigi accidentally releases all paper versions of all of the characters (including enemies) when he messes with an old book. Everyone is understandably confused when they’re greeted with their paper selves. Then Bowser kidnaps Princess Peach and her paper self and, well, you know how the story goes after that.
One thing I’ve always loved about these games is their sense of humor. They frequently take jabs at the act of playing games and even the Mario universe itself. For example, a paper version Toad says, “We must be in another world. Luigi looks so competent.” When Bowser storms into the castle, Princess Peach says, “I guess it’s that time in the story.” I had a good chuckle at many more lines besides those, but that should give you the gist.
Gameplay-wise Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam is basically an evolution of the previous games. Battles with enemies are turn-based with some precise timing in avoiding attacks and pulling off special moves. The biggest change in this game is the presence of Paper Mario, who battles alongside the traditional duo. All of the characters have their own special attacks, but Paper Mario has the ability to copy himself into a larger number of Paper Toads, giving him the chance to land multiple hits on an enemy if you can time your attack with the proper timing.
At a couple parts in the game, you have to control giant paper craft version of the characters while knocking down paper craft enemies. This features tank-like controls. I thought the idea of this was cool, but it got tiresome pretty quickly. Another new element is the Battle Cards, which contain various boosts, that can be used in battle.
Bottom line: if you’re looking for something new and original, you won’t really find it here. The gameplay, with the exception of a few elements isn’t much different the previous games. The story is a typical Mario story, but I found its humor charming. As I have loved this series since the beginning, I had a lot of fun with it.