"Paper Jam looks to deliver exactly what you would want from a Mario & Luigi game: clever mechanics, good humour, and pure fun."
After a surprise announcement from their E3 event, Nintendo had Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam available to play on the show floor. Part Mario & Luigi and part Paper Mario, Paper Jam brings mechanics found in both iconic RPG series and fuses them together in a unique and clever way. The demo I played was specially designed for E3, so while it doesn't represent the final game, it did show what we can expect from overworld travel and combat.
In my particular demo, I had to locate 7 Toads in 15 minutes; far more difficult than it sounds. The toads had primarily been abducted by enemies, so I had to track them down and defeat them. The environment featured an array of obstacles to overcome: blocks to destroy, jump pads to arrange and a slide of sand to scale. You control three characters at once on the field: Mario, Luigi, and Paper Mario. The latter two follow behind the first, but each has a separate jump button which took some getting used to. Other than leaping, each character can also attack with a hammer or combine for a super smash to destroy larger blocks.
When battles do begin, you have a solid selection of options to choose from. There's jump and hammer, but there's also new Trio Attacks that combine the power of all characters in micro-games to deal damage. In one, you smack a ball at an enemy on a squash court by pressing each character's corresponding buttons until you miss. You can dodge and counter attacks with correctly timed button presses too, so even when it's not your turn you need to stay on your toes. The bottom screen houses a series of cards that grant you bonuses in battle with a touch.
Kyle also spent some time with the game and took on a boss in his demo. He went up against a giant fire flower-like creature with one notably unique feature. During the battle, Paper Mario transformed into a paper airplane and you could make Mario and Luigi grab on to dodge various attacks.
The visuals are bright and colourful and fit the Mario & Luigi series, rather than Paper Mario. While I only saw grasslands and desert, there's sure to be a wide variety of locals to visit filled with varied creatures. Paper Jam looks to deliver exactly what you would want from a Mario & Luigi game: clever mechanics, good humour, and pure fun.