Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam (JP) (also called M&LPJ or Mario & Luigi 5 and known in Europe and Australia as Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam Bros. and Mario & Luigi RPG: Paper Mario MIX in Japan and Korea) is the fifth installment in the Mario & Luigi series developed for the Nintendo 3DS by AlphaDream. It crosses over with Paper Mario series, introducing Paper Mario as a third party member. It is the second Mario & Luigi game for the Nintendo 3DS. The plot revolves around Mario, Luigi, and Paper Mario trying to stop Bowser and Paper Bowser from taking over the Mushroom Kingdom using their combined armies. It is the second Mario & Luigi game for the Nintendo 3DS and the fifth game overall in the series.
The story begins with Luigi and a Toad entering the attic of Peach's Castle, looking for the source of a draught. When a Scaredy Rat appears to pester them, Luigi ends up opening a book that contains the Paper Mario world. The Paper characters are released into the Mario & Luigi world, spreading across the Mushroom Kingdom. Paper Toads are seen landing near Toad Villages, while Bowser's minions begin to meet with their paper counterparts. Paper Peach remains at Peach's Castle with Princess Peach, while Paper Bowser, Paper Bowser Jr., and Paper Kamek meet and decide to team up with Bowser, Bowser Jr. and Kamek. Mario, Luigi, and Starlow decide to help Paper Peach to find the Paper Toads spread across the Kingdom, as well as Paper Mario. They also meet up with Nabbit, who steals most of the Bros. Attacks that the Toads had prepared, and Toadette, who has taken interest in papercrafting and is inspired to make giant papercrafts with the help of the Paper Toads.
Mario and Luigi first head to Sunbeam Plains, where they are cornered by a large group of Paper Goombas, who defeat the Mario Bros. Shortly afterwards, Paper Mario arrives, defeats the Paper Goombas and saves Mario and Luigi. Mario and Luigi team up with Paper Mario to rescue the Paper Toads. Soon after, the Bowser duo kidnaps Princess Peach and Paper Peach, and return to Bowser's Castle. They order Petey Piranha to stop them, and after his defeat the Mario trio chases them, but the way to Doop Doop Dunes is blocked by a Papercraft Goomba. Toadette arrives with Papercraft Mario, which she built with the Paper Toads the Mario Trio rescued, to destroy the Papercraft Megacrinkle Goomba blockade, allowing the trio to access Doop Doop Dunes. In the Dunes, they chase down Nabbit and retrieve a couple of Bros. Attacks from him. As they approach Bowser's Castle, the Big Pokey Duo knock them off a bridge into the Doop Doop Dunes Grotto. After rescuing some more Paper Toads, they are given a trampoline to reach the Pokeys and fight them. After the Pokeys are defeated, the trio are blocked yet again by Papercraft Kamek, at which point the trio are given Papercraft Luigi to destroy it with. However, right as they are about to reach the castle, they are knocked out by cannonballs that also take down the bridge to the castle. Wendy O. Koopa, Roy Koopa, Larry Koopa, and Ludwig von Koopa arrive and order the Chargin' Chuck Corps to take them away to the Twinsy Tropics Dungeon, and the Bowser Jr. duo arrive to collect the book that contained Paper Mario's world, which Luigi dropped after being picked up by the Chargin' Chucks. After escaping their cell, the Mario trio battle their Hammer Bro. wardens to retrieve their items and Command Blocks. They then find out the arrested Toads are being forced to mine Fire Ore by Bowser and Paper Bowser. Also, in the dungeon, they find a Paper Goomba they fought earlier, who gives them Battle Cards in exchange for freeing him. While in the dungeon, they notice a gate with a round-shaped indent in the center, before proceeding to escape the dungeon. However, before the group can escape, they face off against Wendy and Roy. Meanwhile, the Bowser Jr. duo annoy the Kameks into giving them a vacation to Bowser's Villa on Mount Brrr and take the Princesses with them. They also try to tell the Bowser duo about the book containing the Paper Mario universe, but are ignored.
The Mario trio, alongside the freed Toads find themselves stranded at Twinsy Tropics. After collecting a few Paper Toads, they build a boat and return to Sunbeam Plains, where they notice papercraft terrain that wasn't there before. After returning to Peach's Castle, a group of Toads tells them they saw the Princesses at Mount Brrr, which can be accessed through Gloomy Woods. Arriving there, they meet a starving Wiggler who claims to be the guardian of the forest. Paper Kamek soon appears to block the path with junk, which Wiggler considers littering. Feeding the Wiggler eleven berries and a Melon they win from a Yellow Yoshi in a race, the Mario trio use him to break the blockades. The Kamek duo tries to hinder them, with Paper Kamek cursing Wiggler and forces him to battle the team. After he is defeated and Wiggler is freed, Wiggler turns into Flutter and flies them to Mount Brrr. At Mount Brrr, the source of paper terrain is revealed to be a summit base, where King Bob-omb, Iggy Koopa, Lemmy Koopa, and Morton Koopa Jr. use the cannons to blast the land with papercraft. With the help of Toadette, the Mario trio make it to a Toad Village, where they prepare to build Papercraft Peach to combat Papercraft Bowser Jr. and save the princesses. However, after destroying Papercraft Bowser Jr., the Bowser Jr duo manage to escape with the Princesses and the book unharmed. They accidentally leave behind a Red Medallion, which opens the gate in Twinsy Tropics Dungeon. In order to go there, they cross Doop Doop Dunes again.
While crossing Doop Doop Dunes, they meet up with the Paper Goomba they saved and travel to the dungeon with him. Along the way, the Mario Trio are ambushed by the Chargin' Chuck Corps who are all defeated. Upon reaching the dungeon, the Paper Goomba betrays Mario and Co. to the Fire Bros, who have taken over as wardens; taking the Red Medallion with him. After getting the medallion back, they open the gate which leads to Bowser's Castle. Before they can proceed to the castle, they fight Ludwig and Larry, who try to stop them. Arriving at Bowser's Castle, Mario, Luigi and Paper Mario learn the Trio Glider before encountering the two Kameks and their new Papercraft King Boo which Morton and Lemmy pilot. Luckily, Toadette arrives on time with Papercraft Yoshi. After the trio's Papercraft is victorious, Kamek kidnaps Toadette to prevent the production of more Papercrafts, and prepares to build his own ultimate Papercraft Bowser with the help of his paper form. The group begin searching for Toadette and rescue her shortly afterward. Meanwhile, the Princesses escape and greet the team, but are shortly caught by the Bowser Jr. duo. They initially mean to fight, but after showing the book, realize that the trio had no idea they had the book, so they flee instead. The Mario trio chases them down, but are fooled with a fake book the Bowser Jr. duo uses to escape. After deciding to fight the trio, they are promptly beaten. The Bowser duo come in and, enraged by this, lift the castle into the sky, turning the castle into Neo Bowser Castle. Mario and co. escape the castle, leaving the book behind. As they head back to Peach's Castle the Bowser duo take their revenge by destroying Peach's Castle with cannonballs. Toadette realizes she can build a staircase with the Paper Toads from the summit of Mount Brrr to reach Neo Bowser Castle.
The team begins to make their way through Gloomy Woods to get to Mount Brrr, but due to paper terrain blocking certain paths, end up on the haunted west side. Both Mario and Paper Mario are promptly kidnapped by King Boo and his minions, leaving Luigi alone to find them. Luigi manages to find them, but he and Mario soon realize that "Paper Mario" is King Boo in disguise. The real Paper Mario is held hostage and threatened to be torn if the Mario Bros. keep fighting. Despite this threat, King Boo is defeated, and the trio meet up with Flutter once again, who flies the trio back to Mount Brrr. At Mount Brrr, the group rescues all the remaining Paper Toads to build the staircase, and proceed to venture to the summit using new paper terrain that has been produced. As they reach the base, King Bob-omb appears and proceeds to start self destruction sequence, which would wipe out everyone nearby who could spread the word. The minions flee, while the Mario trio defeat King Bob-Omb before the timer runs out, successfully preventing the explosion. Lakitus then arrive at the summit with a large delivery of Paper Toads to build a staircase to Neo Bowser Castle.
At the castle, they find Toadette, who is defending Papercraft Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Yoshi. However, the Kameks release their new Papercraft Bowser, which burns them all to a crisp. Toadette mourns the loss of her work, but then realizes that she could build a Papercraft out of the same material, Fire Ore, which she asks the trio to collect around the castle. The collected ore is used to assemble Papercraft Fire Mario, which then defeats Papercraft Bowser. The Bowsers and Kameks try to stall the Mario trio by dissassembling the bridge to the rest of the castle. As the Mario trio reassembles it, Lemmy, Iggy, and Morton activate a timer that charges up the castle's main cannon for a final blow to destroy any remains of Peach's Castle. The Mario trio manages to break the cannon before proceeding. Before they can face the Bowsers, the Kamek duo fights them, but is defeated. As the trio do the final push, the Bowser duo sends their troops, including Goombas, Koopa Troopas, Spinies, Ninjis, Hammer Bros., Spikes, Shy Guys, Broozers, and finally the Koopalings to finish off the Mario trio. They defeat them all and proceed to challenge Bowser and Paper Bowser themselves, who reveal they plan to trap the Bros. in the now empty book, whose contents became the Paper terrain that was shot across the land, leaving them in an empty abyss, which they plan to burn. However, both of them hint that they wish to trap the other one in with them. After a lengthy battle, Paper Bowser merges with his entire paper army to create a suit of armor for Bowser; creating Shiny RoboBowser. However, this wasn't enough, as after the battle, Bowser is sent flying off of Neo Bowser Castle, and plummets to the ground. Paper Bowser makes one last attempt to grab the book, but Paper Mario makes it there first, and the trio lock him in it.
Back at Peach's Castle, with the Princesses and Toads gathered at the entrance, the group reunites with their friends. Toadette orchestrates a Papercraft parade, where they tour the lands bringing the terrain and enemies back to the Paper World. Afterward, Peach, Mario and Luigi say goodbye to Paper Mario, Paper Peach and the Paper Toads who return to their world. However, Bowser then falls from the sky and starts causing trouble again, and the game ends with Mario and Luigi going off to stop him once again.
The overall gameplay is mostly similar to the previous Mario & Luigi games, though with the addition of a new party member alongside Mario and Luigi: Paper Mario. Players control Mario, Luigi, and Paper Mario simultaneously (Paper Mario using Y). Because the player now has two characters following after Mario, all three characters can be made to jump simultaneously with the X button, which also causes the three to flutter in the air briefly when held. By continuing to hold the button after jumping simultaneously, players can charge up a dash. All three characters also possess hammers. By using all three hammers in quick succession (A, B, and then Y), the trio will unleash a Trio Hammer, or powerful shockwave, that can destroy large blocks. Other moves include the Trio Drill, a reworked version of the Drill Bros.; the Trio Glider, that acts like Mario's Paper Airplane from Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, and the Trio Grab, which can reach far distanced things and throw them.
In battle, players control all three members of the group. Paper Mario, in a first for the series, fights alongside but independently from Mario and Luigi, unlike the Baby Bros. in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, the only other installment to feature characters fighting alongside the Mario Bros. This allows the trio to take three actions in one turn. While Mario and Luigi control similarly to the way they did in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, Paper Mario's abilities set him apart from the other two. Paper Mario is able to create copies of himself as a battle command, which increase the damage he can do in his attacks: He can land as many jumps as he has copies, and when he uses his hammer, the copies will split and target all enemies on the field. Paper Mario loses a copy for each hit he takes, but can replenish them on his turn before using another battle command. His jump dodge allows him to flutter, letting him briefly stay in the air longer than Mario and Luigi can.
Players are able to use Bros. Attacks with Mario and Luigi, working like they did in previous games. In addition, a new variation of special attacks called Trio Attacks can be performed with Paper Mario. These attacks will have all three members attack enemies with a giant cardboard hammer to paperize them before executing the attacks.
At certain points, the trio will take part in Papercraft battles, which are the equivalent to the giant battles from the previous two games. Each time, they'll control different Papercraft characters, each with their own unique abilities, and each of the five battles will end with a Papercraft Boss.
Another new addition are Battle Cards, replacing the badge system, also from the previous two games. The player creates a deck of 10 Battle Cards, one of which will be played each turn. These range from boosting stats, dealing damage, or lowering an enemies stats or level. Each one needs a different amount of Star Points to use. amiibo are compatible with the game, each giving the player a special set of support cards to use in battle. The cards will reset once they've all been played.
New to the series is the giant papercraft Mario which the Mario Trio rides and are piloted by a bunch of Toads underneath it. Out on the field are several giant papercraft Goombas piloted by Goombas. The goal is to defeat all the enemy papercrafts by either charging at them or jumping on fallen ones for greater damage.
The following amiibo are supported. They can be scanned in to unlock special cards to use in battle. The cards are based on the characters throughout all their iterations.
- Mario (Super Smash Bros. and Super Mario series)
- Luigi (Super Smash Bros. and Super Mario series)
- Peach (Super Smash Bros. and Super Mario series)
- Yoshi (Super Smash Bros. and Super Mario series)
- Bowser (Super Smash Bros. and Super Mario series)
- Dr. Mario (Super Smash Bros. series)
- Toad (Super Mario Bros. series)
- Yarn Yoshi (Green, Blue, Pink, Mega)
- Mario (Super Mario Bros. 30th Anniversary)
Differences from the other Mario & Luigi games
- The battle ring is different: there are no turn limits, bosses don't have a different color palette, and there is no fee to play.
- Mario and Luigi can use Bros. Attacks and Hammers in the very first battle.
- Badges are replaced by Battle Cards.
- Luigi is the first playable character in this game.
- This game keeps the same graphics as its predecessor.
- Bonus points can no longer be applied to stats upon leveling up.
- Lakitu's role is changed in this game. Instead of adding bonus points to stats (upon leveling up), he now gives the trio quests where the Bros. can help rescue the Paper Toads when needed.
- The tutorials are optional.
- The first battle in the game is not against a boss, and Luigi is also playable.
- No new characters or enemies are introduced to the franchise (with the sole possible exception of Shiny RoboBowser, although he is a fusion of two characters rather than a completely new character).
- Toadsworth is completely absent from the game.
- Bros. Attacks are obtained from Nabbit instead of Attack Pieces.
- There are seven ranks, more than Bowser's Inside Storys six and Dream Teams five. New ranks include the Boomerang Rank and the Leaf Rank.
- There are optional crosshairs under the Bros. when an enemy is attacking, as well as a peculiar animation of the character to be attacked preparing to defend himself. This is most likely due to three characters being on the battlefield at once.
- This is the first game in the series to have Items under categories in the player's bag. It also does not list key items or provide descriptions for them.
- This is the first game in the series to have the three main playable characters all take a turn in battle.
- Players can block attacks, similarly to the Paper Mario series.
- In addition to jumping on enemies or pounding them with a hammer to deal early damage at the start of a battle like in past games, Mario and co. can also dash into battle due to the effects of the Dash Socks.
- The game's Japanese title is not followed by a number.
- Mario and Luigi do not gain the Spin Jump ability outside of battle, as it is replaced with the Trio Grab.
- This is the first game to have items other than beans underground.
- Unlike the previous two installments, in this game, the Bros. perform a fancy spin before landing the second jump in battle.
- Luigi is not referred to as Green Stache, due to Bowser finally learning his name at the end of Mario & Luigi: Dream Team.
- This is the only game in the series which doesn't feature the Beanish species at all.
- There are no Save Blocks or Save Albums of any kind. Players must save through the menu.
- There are no special locations where the bros can go depending on their rank.
- Command Blocks are slightly larger than the previous game, and the Bros. stand slightly more apart.
- This is the first game in the series to be released before its corresponding Paper Mario game (being released before Paper Mario: Color Splash).
- Paper Mario was released before Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga.
- Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door was released before Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time.
- Super Paper Mario was released before Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story.
- Paper Mario: Sticker Star was released before Mario & Luigi: Dream Team.
- This is the first time in the series where the game's main antagonist (or in this case, antagonists) is/are fought in only one battle (Bowser and Paper Bowser, the main antagonists of Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, are only fought once in Neo Bowser Castle), with previous installments having main antagonists fought multiple times each (in the main stories).
- Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga - Cackletta is fought the first time in Woohoo Hooniversity and the second time as Bowletta in Bowser's Castle.
- Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time - Elder Princess Shroob is fought in Shroob Castle and later in the present Peach's Castle as a spirit above Shrowser.
- Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story - Fawful is fought in his dark form and as the Dark Star Core (the latter inside Dark Bowser), both in Peach's Castle.
- Mario & Luigi: Dream Team - Bowser is fought alongside Antasma in Dream's Deep, later by himself as a giant in Dreamy Neo Bowser Castle, then as Dreamy Bowser in Neo Bowser Castle.
In the past, the Mario & Luigi games primarily used two buttons, but the developers wanted to break new ground by making a third button active in combat. Characters were brainstormed until the developers thought of a second Mario, where the Paper Mario character would fit the third character role neatly. This implementation has then turn the idea of a crossover. Though Paper Luigi was considered to be the fourth character, the developers thought that adding a fourth button for a fourth character will be too difficult and complicated to enjoy the game. According to Kobayashi, the trickiest thing to implement in a crossover was to make Paper Mario, a main character, stand out.
Though the first draft of the story involved the characters going back and forth between the Mushroom Kingdom and the paper world with many twists to the narrative, the developers thought it was too complex and that no one will enjoy it, so that it was rewritten many times to be simplified, where greater emphasis was placed on the character interactions between each other. Though emphasis has been placed on Paper Mario to make him stand out, the developers wanted equal attention to all characters, where they mention that it was a "big job" to balance everything. The developers also mentioned interest in adding original characters to the plot, but decided against it since they already have many characters to work with, and it would be too challenging to fit them at an appropriate appearance in the story.
When asked about the gameplay, battle designer Jun Iwasaki emphasized on narrowing the focus. His first thought was making use of three buttons, which were promptly brainstormed with lots of ideas on paper, until the developers chose the one that looked the best and tested them with a prototype. Hiroshi Ohata, the battle programmer, explained that battles are first created without animations and other visual effects. He has stated that they always make sure the gameplay is very responsive at a basic level, so they perform many experiments to test the gameplay elements. What works and what doesn't is based on people who playtest the game during development.
Yoko Shimomura, the composer for the game's music, felt that since Paper Mario is joining the battle, she opted for a lighter, more upbeat tune to the game's soundtrack. When asked which music is her favorite, she stated that her songs are "like her children" and is unable to choose one, though she did say that Mountaintop Secrets, the background music for Mount Brrr, "has a certain fantastical atmosphere that isn't usually found in the Mario world, and having the opportunity to put a song with that kind of feel into a Mario game is something that's quite unique to the Mario & Luigi series, I think.
Natsuko Kemi, the game's graphics designer, emphasized on the details of the animations and graphics on the characters. For example, Luigi's walk cycles is based off his walk cycles in Luigi's Mansion.
Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam has received generally positive reviews from professional critics, scoring a 76 based on 65 critics in Metacritic and a 76.70% based on 44 reviews in GameRankings. General praise has been given out to the battle system, gameplay, and the humor, as well as removing the amount of tutorials present in the game's predecessor, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, though it has been criticized for the simple story and playing too safe for the franchise. Lee Garbutt from God is a Geek, writer of one of the more positive reviews, giving the game a 9/10, praised the game's battle combat and the humour though stated that the game was too simple for hardcore JRPG fans and the amiibo implementation was superfluous. Daan Koopman of Nintendo World report gave the game a 7.5/10. He called the game "cute" and praised the interactions between the characters, but criticized the pacing in the review, highlighting the Toad Rescue missions being the primary problem of being too excessive. On a more critical note, Mark Brown of Pocket Gamer UK gave the game a 6/10, criticizing the game for being too safe and also lamenting the lack of a diverse cast of characters, and failing to live up to the standards set by preceding games, though he notes how some charm is left and that the gameplay is fun.
- This is the first Mario game where dialogue between the Koopalings can be seen, the first Mario game published by Nintendo since the Mario's Early Years! series to give spoken dialogue to the Koopalings and the first one since Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga to call them "Koopalings" instead of "Bowser's Minions" in the British English version of the game.
- The Year of Luigi is mentioned in this game.
- The top of the North American box art has a Paper Goomba in place of the fourth Paper Toad shown on the other international box art.
- Somewhat ironically, the non-Paper characters and enemies use two-dimensional sprites, while the Paper characters use models. This is to allow them to be able to twist and fall flat, among other things.
- Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam Miiting (January 29, 2016) Nintendo. Retrieved February 8, 2016.
- Metacritic score for Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam Metacritic. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
- Gamerankings score for Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam Gamerankings. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
- Garbutt, Lee. (November 30, 2015). Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam Bros. Review. God is a Geek. Retrieved December 1, 2015.
- Koopman, Daan. (November 30, 2015) Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam Bros. (3DS) Review NintendoWorldReport. Retrieved December 1, 2015.
- Brown, Mark. (November 30, 2015) Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam Review Pocket Gamer UK. Retrieved December 1, 2015.
- Official website
- Official Japanese website
- Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam at Nintendo.com
- Title at Moby Games
- Title at Gamefaqs
|Mario RPG series|
|Paper Mario series||Paper Mario • The Thousand-Year Door • Super Paper Mario • Sticker Star • Color Splash • The Origami King|
|Mario & Luigi series||Superstar Saga (Bowser's Minions) • Partners in Time • Bowser's Inside Story (Bowser Jr.’s Journey) • Dream Team • Paper Jam|
|Other games||Super Mario RPG • Puzzle & Dragons • Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle|
|Developers||Square Co. • Intelligent Systems • AlphaDream • GungHo Online Entertainment • Ubisoft|