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Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door Remake




I have never done one of these before, so I hope this is not a disappointment. I figured out of any game that I wrote about for the 52 Games Challenge, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door deserved a fleshed out review like this. It probably won’t go into everything, and it’ll probably still be me speaking from the heart instead of really going into everything about the original title and its remake, but here we go. Welcome to the first entry of Winston Writes! 

The Gameplay

Paper Mario The Thousand-Year Door’s gameplay is still the best out of any of the Paper Mario titles. It improves upon the N64 original in a lot of ways, and the way it pushes you to be stylish with it’s timing is incredibly satisfying to pull off. It gives you star points, which the fancier you are with your button presses during attacks, will give you more star points to build up your starmeter to be able to do the star moves. I do feel like some of the Star Moves are a little worthless, I only really found myself using the same two or three throughout the entire game. That might just be an issue with me not wanting to experiment much, but I felt like the Earth Tremor, Art Attack and the final one are the most worthwhile since they do the most damage. They are fun to pull off too, even if the final one only really requires pressing the A Button as fast as possible.

A downgrade most will realize is that the framerate for the Switch version has been cut in half, down to 30 FPS. It isn’t horrible though, I hardly found myself struggling with the framerate change, but I’m not one that has gone too in-depth in the research of the original timing of the game. I don’t think it hurts the game much though, even if I wish it still was 60 FPS. The graphics are likely the reason why it isn’t, which yeah, they probably could have held back a bit in that category to make the frame rate better. I know there was something in the games files hinting at 4K, so perhaps with the Switch 2, TTYD will get a patch that gives it 4K and 60FPS. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Everything else has stayed pretty similar to the original in terms of gameplay. I have noticed the controls of some of the transformations are a bit off, namely the paper plane feeling a little off compared to the original. It’s not bad, but it took a little getting used to compared to anything else. It’s probably because the paper plane requires a bit more precision in some areas, namely an area in the final chapter that is more annoying here due to how the plane controls now. Not awful, just different.

Over-all though, the game delivers on the gameplay front. It’s Paper Mario The Thousand Year Door, just now with a more modern interface to match up with the Switch controls. It lacks the 60 FPS of the original, but it isn’t too bad to deal with in my opinion. 

The Visuals and Music

The Thousand Year Door remake on Switch is really breathtaking visually. It’s a combination of both the classic style and modern. The modern games add a lot of additional animations to interactions in gameplay, likely because of them being capable of it due to more powerful hardware, but it does blend in the more crafty art style pretty well. Sure, it isn’t exactly the same as the original, but I still like it. I’m glad it still sticks to the originals in terms of character outlines, and the designs all stick the same here. The partners now have far more sprites to show them moving to the background along with Mario, or Mario just hitting them in general. Mario himself also has several added hammer animations, which is a step up from the original, allowing the precision of the later games hammer hits to now be added to The Thousand Year Door. It’s a great addition if you ask me.

The remixed music here is also pretty nice, and while reading the topic on this game, I do agree in some ways with criticisms of it. It is pretty bombastic, far more than the original, which does ruin the mood a little bit in certain areas. I enjoyed it myself, as someone that is familiar with all the music of the original. I like hearing remixes in new games, even if they aren’t as good as the original. I wouldn’t say any of the music here is bad, but I can see why some would not enjoy it due to how there’s a lot more added to the songs. It makes them feel a little much at points. I do like that the GameCube version soundtrack is available at any time as a badge, just go to the badge shop connected to the hotel and spend one coin, and you can use it for as long as you want. I do really like that each area has a unique battle theme, which I do not believe was in the original.

It’s a good soundtrack, and fun to get remixes of the original game. It may not have the same feel, and some songs are probably worse, but I wouldn’t call any of the new remixes bad. They’re perfectly fine, and are a nice change of pace for someone that has heard many of the original songs so many times. I just like going with something different, but if you’re someone that is new to this title, I would probably recommend going with the original soundtrack. If you want to go through it again, then I think the remixes would be a nice addition. I think I’ll do the opposite on my next playthrough, go with the original soundtrack and see what it’s like. 

The Story and Writing 

The writing here is still great. There’s a reason why this game is acclaimed in terms of it’s characters and writing. There’s a lot of goofy setpieces here, and the characters, while mostly funny, can have complex and deep emotional goals. Koops for example wants to live up to his adventurer father and become more brave, Vivian is struggling with her place with her sisters and finding their bullying to grow worse following her transition. I’m sure everyone is aware that is familiar with this game by now, but Vivian being transgender is fantastic. It’s always been there from the original, but was changed in most releases of the game. Here, the writing has changed a bit, but her transitioning is now directly mentioned in dialogue in every territory from what I know. It’s incredible to have this representation in a Mario game, and Vivian is still a fantastic character and I love her story here. I’m glad to see Nintendo making this a thing in every territory, instead of just a couple. 

There’s also fun stuff with Pianta mob boss drama with his family, his daughter running off with one of his goons and wanting to marry him, and it being a recurring story throughout for Mario to get to places. I just love the wacky characters and things you do to please them, them having pretty satisfying conclusions to their stories, no matter how miniscule they are in the over-all story. I like that each partner has unique dialogue if you have them for cutscenes, making it fun to experiment and see who says what to which enemy or character interaction.

The main villains, the X-Nauts, are also a lot of fun. I like how silly and fourth-wall breaking they can be from time to time. It’s especially nice with the Princess Peach plot, where she mostly hangs around their headquarters and speaks to their computer TEC. It’s a decently emotional story, and one I don’t want to spoil. I don’t want to go into too much here over-all, but The Thousand-Year Door excels in writing when it comes to the RPG’s. It’s one of the very best for Mario, and the characters here are all very well done and iconic. I’d love to see any one of them return in a future Paper Mario entry, to see where they all are in their modern lives. The game can be silly, heartwarming, and dramatic and I think that’s incredible.

The Updates for the Remake 

I have already gone into what has changed here and there in terms of graphics, writing, music and gameplay, but I do want to go into the other stuff. There’s been a lot of quality of life improvements in terms of how you get around in this game, I’m guessing to make backtracking easier. The game adds Fast Travel, but it’s not exactly the type of Fast Travel I was hoping for. The Super Mario RPG Remake has a better system for it than this one, and don’t get me wrong, it is still useful. I just would have preferred to be able to teleport to certain setpieces easier, like Hooktail’s Castle. Instead you have to go to Petalburg every time and go backwards. 

It certainly makes some endgame stuff way easier though with the Fast Travel it did add, namely the mission towards the end where you need to find the White Bob-Omb and go to all those towns. You just have to jump in each pipe in the underground area it’s in, and eventually you’ll talk to everyone who knows where he went. I don’t remember that in the original game, so that pipe fast travel is a very nice system to have. If you have played Paper Mario: The Origami King, it basically works how that game does with its fast travel. There’s a pipe hub room that leads to each world’s town. 

There’s also unique audio dialogue for each character that speaks now I believe, which I don’t think was present in the original. So like Toad NPC’s, Goomba NPC’s, etc. all have their own little noises they make when speaking that much up to how they sound in other games. That basically summarizes this whole remake, it’s more of the same but with far more attention to detail in animations and voices. 

There isn’t much difference here, but what is different is them adding more detail to what already exists. They don’t rework the issues of the game too much, although I do think the Puni chapter is greatly greatly improved here compared to the GameCube one because the Puni AI isn’t horrible, but other than that it’s pretty similar to the original. So if you had issues with some chapters here, then it’s most likely not really fixed. Just the backtracking really has been fixed and that’s about it. Even then, it isn’t as easy to fast travel as I would’ve liked as I said before. I also noticed you don’t lose coins anymore when escaping a battle, which I believe was a thing in the original, but maybe I’m mixing it up with another Mario RPG. I do really like the Partner Wheel too, where you just use the L button to swipe through all your partners and can choose whoever you want really fast without going into the menu. It saves a bit of time, even if it’s not like the most needed addition. Nevertheless, it was a good one. I also heard they added a new reward if you beat The Pit again, but I haven’t gotten that far yet. I'm sure there's other changes I'm currently missing, but this is what really stood out to me. 


Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door is more or less the same game, just with updated graphics and music. The title screen itself even states 2004 as the year with no other modern year from what I can tell. It’s certainly nice to have it more widely available now, given before it was either playing it through emulation or spending like $200 for a copy on the GameCube. I finally don’t feel regret for selling my original copy all those years ago, since I can have it on the Switch and play it on the go now. 

But yeah, I’d definitely recommend this game for anyone, unless they just really don’t want to spend full price on TTYD again. I argue it’s definitely worth it, but if you’ve played the original so much and want something that drastically changes it, maybe wait for a sale. Otherwise, any newcomers or those wanting to relive a great Mario RPG, this is definitely a must-buy. TTYD is one of the best Mario games ever, and this remake now being so widely available will hopefully have a brand new generation fall in love with it. One more thing for my entry for the 52 Games Challenge, here is the ending credits screen of my playthrough. Thanks for reading! 


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Hmm. Looks like a fun rpg. Unfortunate about the framerate

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