Paper Mario: Color Splash (JP) (also called Paper Mario 5) is the fifth entry in the Paper Mario series, succeeding Paper Mario: Sticker Star and the first and only one on the Wii U. It is also the final Mario game to be released on the Wii U. It iterates on the previous game's mechanics, but adds a central painting mechanic that Mario uses to fill in blank spots.


One stormy night, Princess Peach and Toad meet Mario at his house to deliver a strange letter, a Toad drained of his colors. The stamp on the letter points to Prism Island where the three travel to. Upon arriving, they find the deserted Port Prisma full of spots drained of color. They also meet Huey, a mysterious 3D talking paint bucket, and find the cause of colorless spots to be Slurp Guys using straws to suck color out of things. Huey then asks Mario to squeeze him into paper form in order to use the power of paint to battle the Shy Guys and to repaint the colorless spots, including the local Toads. Discovering that the Big Paint Stars at Prisma Fountain are gone, Huey asks Mario to find them and return them to the fountain. However, the Koopalings are also on the island, either after the Big Paint Stars to get them for Bowser, or waiting for Mario to find and battle them.

After collecting the Big Red Paint Star from The Crimson Tower and returning to Port Prisma, Bowser shows up covered in black paint and reveals to Mario his plan to use the power from the black paint to take on the world and then flies off on an airship with the kidnapped Peach. From then on, Peach will secretly send Holo-Peaches to Mario, telling what she has found out from her location to Bowser's plans and strange behavior. As Big Paint Stars are saved, they show Mario and Huey their memories of what happened: Bowser jumped in the Prisma Fountain wanting to give his shell a rainbow hue, but by mixing up all the colors ended up creating black paint that possesses him. The Koopa Troop then attacked Port Prisma, draining its colors and using a Toad as a letter to get Mario and Peach to the island.

Upon rescuing all six Big Paint Stars, they create a path to Black Bowser's Castle, where Mario and Huey head off to via a kart ride from Luigi. Inside they discover a factory producing Banzai Bills loaded with black paint with the intention of using them as bombs. After destroying the factory, they escape the flood of black paint and find Bowser with Princess Peach drained of her colors. As Mario battles Bowser, Huey has himself turned back into his 3D-self to absorb the black paint off and defeat Bowser, who has no memories of the incident. Black Bowser's Castle proceeds to collapse as Mario restores Peach's colors. Mario, Peach, and Luigi return to Port Prisma while Huey stays behind to contain the black paint and release it where it cannot do any more harm, to the skies. Later, while celebrating at Port Prisma, Peach comforts Mario when he laments Huey's disappearance. When all Banners are achieved, Huey can be seen falling back into the Prisma Fountain in the end screen.


Paper Mario: Color Splash is an action-adventure game that elaborates on the mechanics of Paper Mario: Sticker Star. It is based on Mario using the Paint Hammer to paint colorless elements, characters and parts of the environment in order to progress in the game and collect Mini Paint Stars and Big Paint Stars. When a course is completed, several new courses may become available at once, and the number-based course naming that was seen in Super Paper Mario and Paper Mario: Sticker Star is gone (the game features a sort of 'world map' like the latter though).

Super Flags return as well, this time found in the main square of Port Prisma. The battles are based on Battle Cards that can be painted to increase their effect. Said cards can be bought at the Prisma Cardware. Once used, cards are discarded, it is however possible to buy them directly in battle using the Battle Spin and choosing one of the flipped cards. There are three types of cards. Basic Cards are used for various purposes, including attacking, healing and replenishing paint. Many attacks are similar to those featured in Paper Mario: Sticker Star, with the hammer attacks now having a charging sign indicating at which point an "Excellent" attack can be obtained. Thing Cards, which do not deplete Mario's paint, are used to summon Things, both in battle and in the course to solve puzzles. Such cards can be obtained by directly squeezing Things into Thing cards. There is a shop in Port Prisma allowing the player to directly buy Things to squeeze them into Thing Cards, and there are Replica versions of Thing Cards as well. Finally Enemy Cards, dropped by defeated enemies, are used to summon an enemy into the battle as an ally. Only one ally can be present at a time. Such an ally attacks other enemies and, when the enemies attack, position itself in front of Mario to protect him, and stays in battle until defeated. However, it runs away in front of bosses.

At the beginning of a battle, Kamek can sometimes appear and either flip all the cards or steal many cards, once the battle is won, all the stolen cards are regained and additional coins are obtained as well. The number showing the HP of the enemies as well as the number showing the amount of damage dealt in HP are both missing, while the health of each enemy is shown in the form of color that is gradually drained starting from the bottom.

Both the use of the Paint Hammer and the painting of most cards requires paint, whose levels are indicated by bars. After winning a battle, defeated enemies can drop coins, paint, Battle Cards and cardboard hammers called Hammer Scraps. They exist in four different varieties and are worth 1 point, 5 points, 10 points and 20 points, depending on how much the colors are saturated and on the amount of glittery parts. Such points are used to fill a bar that when fully filled, increases the maximum amount of paint that can be carried.

It is also possible to permanently increase the number of cards playable in a turn during a battle by collecting special power-ups. Similarly, the maximum amount of Mario's HP can be increased by collecting HP-Up Hearts that are obtained when saving a Big Paint Star. Each HP-Up Heart increases the maximum amount of HP by 25 and increases the power of the First Strike as well.


The combat is also similar to Sticker Star in that to attack the player selects a card. The player taps the card to color it which powers it up. Sending an uncolored card is much weaker but, will work. After the attack is started, action commands for each attack can take place which will improve the attack's effect.

The amount of paint left on the enemy's sprite is how much health they have while Mario still has numbers. Defeating enemies give hammer points, which upgrades the amount of paint that can be stored.

The player can hold up 100 cards including Thing Cards that are real objects that are much more powerful than normal cards. Thing cards are almost necessary to defeat the bosses, be it a Fire Extinguisher to put out Morton's hammer or a Bone to get rid of Iggy's chariots.

There are also enemy cards that summon an enemy to fight for you and take a hit.


Prisma Museum

Players can donate battle cards to the museum hidden at the dojo in Port Prisma. The more cards donated, more art pieces will be unlocked. The music from 100%ing levels will also be here.

Nintendo eShop description

A mystery is afoot on Prism Island and only Mario™ can solve it——by restoring the land's vanishing colors with his new Paint Hammer. Puzzling battles await, but never fear; there's always a clever way to dish out the powerful Battle Cards up his sleeve. These fresh layers of strategy make this one of the most action-packed Paper Mario™ adventures ever!

It all begins when Mario receives an odd letter in the mail and heads for the unknown in a small boat. What he finds is a series of hilariously mysterious moments, each a clue that inches him closer to answering the riddle of Prism Island. To restore its former glory, he must first rescue the Big Paint Stars. Luckily, Mario's new companion Huey has granted him the power of paint, which can be used to recolor the exotic locales he'll hit up on his journey. Examine environments for clues, revive color-drained Toads, and even participate in strange events like the game show "Whifit or Snifit". Whatever it takes to make a splash on Prism Island!

Pre-release and unused content

The game features a concept art gallery in which concept art is gradually unlocked by donating Battle Cards to the museum. The concept art allows players to see how the characters, objects and settings were gradually changed during development. It also reveals two locations that were cut from the game.

The first location is the east side of Decalburg, from the previous game, that would have featured new objects, including postboxes, differently placed Coins and ? Blocks and, most importantly a river with sewage pipes, that it would have been possible to cross using a bridge to reach an area not present in Paper Mario: Sticker Star. The second one is an unused location similar to a temple in a mountainous area of a rocky desert, that would have featured blue torches and at least three buildings connected by staircases and bridges. Many warp pipes would have been present as well, as in the concept art five of them can be observed, of which four are in a row.

The unused location on the inside would have featured blue torches, cacti, sandfalls, broken walls that allow some light to enter, drawings of a Coin, a mushroom and a star on the walls, very high pillars, bridges made of blocks of a different material, possibly sand, and spiked pits, thus making it similar to Kiwano Temple, suggesting, along with the rocky desert setting, that this unused location might have been a preliminary version of said location.


Critical reception

Upon being shown at the March 3, 2016 Nintendo Direct, Paper Mario: Color Splash received negative reception from some fans, the main complaint focusing around the game's similarities to Paper Mario: Sticker Star. Within hours of the game's reveal, a petition on ordered the game to be canceled, which TechRadar described as "a frightening example of how quickly, and harshly, we judge games we know next to nothing about."[1]

Despite this, the game received generally positive reviews at release. Most critics praised the game's art direction and humorous writing, though the lack of original characters and still-simplistic storyline were points of contention. In addition, while several reviewers noted gameplay improvements from Paper Mario: Sticker Star, some elements still drew criticism, such as the battle system and linear level design.


In its opening week, October 10 through October 16, 2016, Paper Mario: Color Splash sold 20,894 copies in Japan.[2] It left the top 20 after the week of October 31 with 37,093 copies sold.[3]

Similarities to other Paper Mario games

  • Huey is Mario's companion in the game, fulfilling the role of Goombario from Paper Mario, Goombella from Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Tippi from Super Paper Mario, and Kersti from Paper Mario: Sticker Star.
  • Huey turns himself into a Battle Card to help Mario defeat Bowser, similar to how Kersti sacrificed herself by turning into a sticker during the final boss in Paper Mario: Sticker Star.
  • Bowser returns as the main antagonist, like he was in Paper Mario: Sticker Star.
    • Also, the black paint controls Bowser and makes him more powerful, much like the Royal Sticker in Paper Mario: Sticker Star.
  • There is a level in which Mario must go on a game show.
    • Snifit or Whiffit returns from Paper Mario: Sticker Star with new games involving Battle Cards.
  • Mini Paint Stars function like the Comet Pieces from Paper Mario: Sticker Star.
  • Battle Cards replace stickers.
  • Jumps, Hammers, their Worn-Out variants, Line Jumps, Hopslippers, Iron Jumps, Eekhammers, Hurlhammers, Blazehammers, Fire Flowers, Ice Flowers, POW Blocks, Mushrooms, Tails, Spike Helmets, and Frog Suits all return from Paper Mario: Sticker Star.
  • Things from Paper Mario: Sticker Star return, including the Fan, Cat-o-Luck, Basin, Lightbulb, and the Hair Dryer, along with the Teapot, although it has a different appearance.
  • Like in Paper Mario: Sticker Star, Luigi can be found hiding in some levels.
  • Like previous home console installments of the Paper Mario series, the game starts at the Mario Bros.' House.
  • Much like Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door and Super Paper Mario, there is a generic enemy character named Johnson. In the former games' cases, he was an X-Naut and a Koopa Troopa respectively, whereas in this game, Johnson is a Shy Guy.
  • Bowser's castle floats, like it does in Paper Mario and Paper Mario: Sticker Star.
  • A parade takes place during the ending credits, just like in Paper Mario and Paper Mario: Sticker Star.
    • Luigi leads the parade, just like in those games.

Differences from other Paper Mario games

  • Lakitus are completely absent from this game, though they are mentioned by Luigi.
  • While fought, enemies say phrases to provoke Mario.
  • Parakarry makes no appearance in any form and is not mentioned either.
    • As a result, this is the first game to not reference a partner from a previous game.
  • A giant Blooper does not appear as a boss or mini boss.
  • There is no story-related recurring mini boss.
  • The HP of enemies cannot be seen. However, when attacking an enemy, paint is drained from the enemy, indicating the amount of health remaining.
    • The amount of damage inflicted on enemies can also not be seen.
  • There are no individual save files.
    • Players can only remove save data through the settings.
  • When Mario hits a Save Block, the game does not ask the player if they want to save, instead automatically saving the game by default.
  • There are no Recovery Blocks.
  • When Mario collects a Big Paint Star, his maximum HP increases by 25 points. Comparatively, in previous Paper Mario games, Mario's health only increased by 5 points at a time (either after leveling up or collecting an HP-Up Heart).
  • Unlike in Paper Mario: Sticker Star, where several Things can be used for the same puzzle, only one set Thing is required to change a level.
  • Characters and enemies in this game have a more papery appearance than in the rest of the Paper Mario series. They have a white outline, similar to Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, and they have no shading on their colors.
  • This is the only Paper Mario game where Boos are enemies, but no Big Boo variations are present.
  • This is the first game in the series to be released after its corresponding Mario & Luigi game (being released after Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam).

References to other games

  • Super Mario Bros. - The Goal Pole makes an appearance in both the 8-bit sprite from said game which appears in Green Energy Plant and in Black Bowser's Castle. The Springboard uses this games sprite in Green Energy Plant as well. A Toad in the audience of Emerald Circus throws the Super Mushroom sprite from this game and Mario uses his idle based on his sprite while he grows.
  • Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels - When Huey realizes that the red Mini Paint Star in Ruddy Road has lost most of its color, he exclaims, "What in The Lost Levels is going on here?"
  • Super Mario Bros. 2 - The overworld music is rearranged, titled "Spinning-Door Game." The vases also make an appearance in Château Chanterelle. Wart is mentioned in the game by a yellow Toad at Sunglow Ridge.
  • Super Mario Bros. 3 - The Angry Sun is mentioned by one of the Five Fun Guys during Toad and Go Seek. It is mentioned again when the Roshambo Temple announcer introduces Green Pokey. The Green Energy Plant is based on this game. When accessing the level, the soundtrack during normal gameplay is taken directly from the NES game, although flipping to 3D mode has it instead play a slightly orchestral cover. When Mario and Huey confront Larry on top of the train and the latter explains his motives, he makes clear he us doing his actions regarding hijacking the train to get the orange Big Paint Star solely to make sure Bowser isn't upset otherwise, which is what Larry stated in the Japanese manual for the game. The Recorder from this game (which, in turn, is from the original The Legend of Zelda game) appears as its 8-bit sprite in Green Energy Plant and can be squeezed into a more realistic-looking Thing Card; when used, the original notes are played by the flute itself, and it has the same effect of summoning a whirlwind, while three other flutes play the "Coin Heaven" theme in the background. Additionally, to board the airship, Mario hangs on an anchor, similar to how he did in this game. The Shy Guy Stack in Cherry Lake, upon seeing Mario, says, "HA! It looks like your upper lip found a Tanooki Suit!" Peach also uses Holo-Peachs to send Mario tips during the game after beating the various Koopalings, similar to her letters from Super Mario Bros. 3. Also like in that game, she'll be unable to send a message to Mario after all objectives have been completed, although for different reasons (in Super Mario Bros. 3, Bowser sends a letter in her stead stating he kidnapped her again. In Color Splash, her message is cut off via Black Bowser draining her color off-screen).
  • Super Mario Land - A remixed version of the credits theme is present in the Roshambo Temples.
  • Dr. Mario series - After talking to the injured Purple Rescue Squad member on Daffodil Peaks, if the player talks to Huey before helping the Toad, he'll mention Mario part timing as a doctor.
  • Super Mario World - Dino Rhinos return from this game.
  • Paper Mario - The jingle played when collecting a Big Paint Star is remixed from the first few notes of this game's opening theme.
  • Luigi's Mansion series - One of the Toads in Dark Bloo Inn references Luigi's role in these games, noting that he has dealt with paranormal activity before.
  • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door - The running gag that originated from this game in which an implied grunt character is referred to as Johnson returns after being absent from Sticker Star. Additionally, Port Prisma has an almost identical layout to Rogueport, with a staircase leading to the square where the major collectibles of the game are put in place in Prisma Fountain, like in Rogueport Sewers. In addition, Peach sends messages to Mario like in that game, and was ultimately responsible for getting him to the main area of the game in the first place, and late into the game, she also has her message cut off due to interference from the primary antagonist.
  • Super Princess Peach - The colors used in Roy's battle represent the vibes in this game; red representing Rage, yellow representing Joy, green representing Calm, and blue representing Gloom.
  • Super Paper Mario - Mario can use flip in the Super Mario Bros. 3 part of Green Energy Plant in a similar way to this game.
  • Mario Party 8 - The Five Fun Guys troupe name originates from the Mario and Toad team name featured in this game.[4]
  • New Super Mario Bros. Wii - Iggy taunts Mario by slapping his behind, like in this game. A Junior Clown Car, which is shown to be Koopa Clown Car in concept art, is seen in the back room of The Emerald Circus.
  • Mario Party 9 - Toad and Go Seek is named after a minigame from this game.
  • Paper Mario: Sticker Star - Many of this game's elements and physics return. Photographs of the Yoshi Sphinx, a location in World 2, and Hither Thither Hill can be seen on the left wall in Dark Bloo Inn's lobby. Also, sound effects from this game are recycled. The music for Bowser's introduction is also the same music used for his introduction from the same game. When Mario gets a Big Paint Star, the music that plays when the areas color is restored is the same theme that plays when the flashbacks explaining how each of the bosses in that game got their respective Royal Stickers. Also, there are plenty of music tracks from this game that are remixed. The Koopalings' introduction themes were also taken from the Warning themes for the "Sticker Star" boss introductions. Snifit or Whiffit is also taken from this game as well. The fight against Wendy is a music-based fight similar to the Gooper Blooper battle in this game. Huey turning into a battle card mirrors Kersti turning into a sticker.
  • Mario Kart series - Luigi appears driving a Standard Kart modeled after the ones from Mario Kart 8. Additionally, the "Luigi's death stare" meme, which originated from that game, is referenced. Also, the title theme and the countdown timer to begin racing are taken from this game as well. Rainbow Road appears in the game and the music of that course is a remix from Mario Kart 64. When Luigi decides to floor it to rush to the castle despite its creepy appearance, he states they'd better be careful, stating Lakitu isn't there to save them this time around, alluding to how various characters in the Mario Kart series, if caught in various hazards (falling into water, quicksand, lava, or bottomless pits) is fished out by Lakitu and brought back onto the main course. After being beaten, Bowser asks Mario if he's at Black Bowser's Castle because they have a kart race scheduled for the day, referencing the Bowser's Castle tracks in the series. Just before leaving Black Bowser's Castle in the ending, Luigi reassures Mario that Huey is alright, mentioning that he fell off Rainbow Road lots of times, alluding to the difficulty of the courses in the game.
  • New Super Mario Bros. U - Similar to the ending of this game, the Koopalings and Bowser's last appearance before the credits was them and their already damaged airship crash landing. Unlike in this game, however, it crashing was not Bowser's fault, as it got hit by a stray firework. Morton Koopa Jr. has his Hammer (based on Mario's) and Roy Koopa has his Bill Blaster for their respective fights.
  • Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker - Draggadon makes his paper debut. After using the Basin Thing in Redpepper Volcano, a bump comes out of its head, just like in this game after a rock falls on it. Also, when this happens, Mario can ride Draggadon as Captain Toad does in this game. One of the Rescue V Squad's concept art also has Captain Toad's headlight. Also, one of the yellow Rescue Squad members says they used "sophisticated Toad treasure-tracking technology" to track a stolen bone from Marmalade Valley to The Golden Coliseum.
  • Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam - Enemies can sometimes appear in stacks, just as the paper enemies do in this game. Also, the Koopalings have their first paper appearances, after it being foreshadowed by Wendy in this game.

References in later games


  • The seven main colors on which the game is based (red, yellow, and blue as the primary colors; violet, orange, and green as the secondary colors; and black as the tertiary color) are actually the colors of the Koopalings' Magic Wands, first introduced in Super Mario Bros. 3 in 1988.
  • On September 23, 2016, it was discovered that purchased Nintendo eShop pre-load data was actually the full game, granting players early access two weeks ahead of schedule in North America.[5] Nintendo, however, removed the pre-order option within hours, and stated that this was inadvertent.[6]
  • In some English-speaking countries (e.g. the United Kingdom and Australia), the correct spelling for color is "colour". Despite this, the title was not changed outside of the Americas to reflect this difference.
  • A game on the Play Nintendo website was released in 2016 called Paper Mario: Color Splash Trivia Quiz.


Game Trailer
Game Trailer
Nintendo E3 2016 Trailer
Game Trailer
Main Page: Paper Mario: Color Splash/videos


External links

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