YMMV / Paper Mario

Individual games:
  • Contested Sequel:
  • Dork Age: It's generally agreed that the subseries started going through one with Sticker Star, which was a heavily controversial game for removing the story, exploration and RPG elements that made previous installments so beloved. Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam usually isn't considered here, due to being mostly held aloft by the gameplay and characterization approach of the other Mario RPG series while suffering from a few of the same problems as Sticker Star, but Color Splash gets the short end of the stick for having several similarities to Sticker Star. Worse still, some interviews have stated that they've handed over the reigns of the "Mario RPG" completely to the Mario & Luigi series, so there are some serious concerns that the dork age will literally never end. There are a few fans who believe that the dork age began with Super Paper Mario, but in hindsight, it's seen as a far better game that is still quintessentially a Paper Mario game in terms of humor, charm and heart, and mostly only suffers due to its different gameplay. However, some fans believe Paper Mario is being brought out of its dork age with Color Splash thanks to its sense of humor, Scenery Porn and not being as cryptic as Sticker Star, but the other side of the fans still see Color Splash as a bad game in the franchise mostly because of the gameplay reminiscing the 3DS game and not having a grand story in comparison to Thousand Year Door and Super.
  • Even Better Sequel: The Thousand-Year Door to the first game, thanks to taking most of the things that made the latter great and taking them Up to Eleven, resulting in what most fans believe to be the best game in the series, the Mario RPGs and even one of the best Mario games as a whole.
  • Fandom Berserk Button: Saying anything positive about Sticker Star (and to a lesser extent, Color Splash) aside from the soundtrack or the art style is enough to start a Flame War in some circles. Scratch that, say that the "new" style of Paper Mario is better than the "old style". Oh wait, you want to make things really hot? Then say that Sticker Star or Color Splash (or worse, both) is the best while The Thousand-Year Door is the worst. We are not responsible if this causes a meltdown in the arctic...
    • Similarly, anything that even resembles some sort of defense to Sticker Star and Color Splash is subject to start a Flame War. This includes anything related to telling fans to "give the game a chance", calling them "nostalgia-biased purists", or saying that older fans hate the new games because "they're not The Thousand-Year Door".
  • Fandom Heresy: In some circles, it's treated as a serious crime to like Sticker Star or Color Splash, especially if one compares them favorably to The Thousand-Year Door or to a lesser extent, the original or Super Paper Mario.
  • Fandom Rivalry: There was a time where the Paper Mario fandom got along amicably with that of the Mario & Luigi series, even with the alleged wrong turns the Paper Mario series had taken. Then the current Paper Mario producers explained that they were planning on making Mario & Luigi the Mario series' de-facto RPG series, while Paper Mario would continue in the (much maligned) action-adventure direction of Sticker Star and Color Splash. (And all but outright stating that a new Paper Mario RPG like The Thousand Year Door would likely not be coming any time soon.) In a subversion, the fans of both series saw past the attempt to incite this trope, both pointing out why this doesn't make any sense.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Due to their highly controversial status and several inconsistencies among other games, most fans would rather pretend that Sticker Star and (to a lesser extent) Color Splash never existed, which is allegedly reinforced by certain plot points in Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam.
  • Franchise Original Sin:
    • Sticker Star is disparaged for (among other reasons) making the characters never shut up about being paper cutouts, but the characters and setting played with the paper theme from the beginning—North American ads for the N64 game featured Bowser dangling Peach above a paper shredder, and The Thousand Year Door even had Mario fold himself like origami. The first two games were considered charming and clever for their use of the paper theme, but Sticker Star's explicit comments on it went past the point of being irritating.
    • Sticker Star 's lack of an overall plot more complex than Bowser kidnapping Peach was also criticized. This plot showed up in the original Paper Mario as well but it had a lot better characterization when compared to Sticker Star which made up for it.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Americans and Europeans love Paper Mario; in Japan, its country of origin, the series is not nearly as popular.
  • Hype Backlash: Thanks to the Broken Base and Internet Backdraft that Color Splash received, The Thousand Year Door is starting to get this from fans who appreciate Color Splash for what it is and feel that it is not been given a chance because of Sticker Star and a Nostalgia Filter about the first two games.
  • Internet Backdraft: Before Color Splash was announced, fans were expecting a new game for the Wii U like the first two after the poorly-received Sticker Star. As it turned out, the new game was following the same formula as Sticker Star but with a paint gimmick, and on top of that, they previously said that they wanted to make Sticker Star the series' new standard. After this announcement, all hell broke loose, and later footage didn't help any matters, as it showed that the game was repeating some of Sticker Star's most glaring problems, like the excessive amount of generic Toads over other species and bosses that are ridiculously difficult without the correct Thing card but downright trivial with them. Making things even worse, the producers said that they wanted Mario & Luigi to become the de-facto Mario role-playing game series while Paper Mario would continue in the Sticker Star route. Which then led to a second backdraft against the first one; fans still can't agree about Color Splash.
  • It's Easy, so It Sucks: A very common complaint about Super Paper Mario and Color Splash, mostly because they barely focus on combat at all and thus nearly all of the enemies and bosses are very simple to defeat, as well as the fact that you have access to very overpowered tactics that take away all of the challenge.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks:
    • Probably the biggest point of criticism directed at Color Splash is the fact that it follows on the same formula as Sticker Star, which is the least liked game in the series.
    • Ironically, this was also Miyamoto's reaction to the original version of Sticker Star, feeling like it was a "3DS version of The Thousand-Year Door, which is what led to the final version and a lot of controversy.
  • Memetic Mutation: RIP Paper MarioExplanation 
    • "I love going on message boards and complaining about games I've never played!"Explanation 
    • Paper Mario: Nuts & BoltsExplanation 
    • "If (any existing character) appeared in a new Paper Mario game, it would be a Toad."Explanation 
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Grodus deactivating TEC for betraying him while Peach watches.
    • Dimentio seemingly killing Mr. L/Luigi and, after that, the whole party. Later, he finally cements himself as the Big Bad by attempting to kill the already beaten Bleck. But it's his final action that puts him about as far across this as possible — just before he dies, he uses the last of his power to keep The Void going, which would take everyone else in existence down with him, solely because of Evil Is Petty against a small group of people for defeating him.
  • Sacred Cow: In the eyes of most fans and classic RPG fans, The Thousand-Year Door, and to a lesser extent, the first game as well, by virtue of being the only games that didn't attract severe backlash when they were released, on top of still being acclaimed like they were back when they were released. At this point they're Immune To Criticism, especially in the case of The Thousand-Year Door. Super Paper Mario is also entering this territory thanks to it being Vindicated by History after (especially after Sticker Star's release), and it having one of the best stories in the Mario franchise, and fans tend to be defensive about it nowadays, but not quite near the extent of its predecessor.
  • Seasonal Rot: The series is largely considered to have lost its way after the second game, leaping back and forth from idea to idea but not yet returning to the series' roots. However, many fans say that the moment where the series truly lost its way was after Super Paper Mario, which still had an interesting and complex storyline with memorable characters in spite of its polarizing gameplay, as opposed to the very controversial direction the series has gone with Sticker Star. Whether Color Splash continues the rot or pulls the series out of it is very hotly contested.
  • Sequelitis: A very common reaction when it comes to the later games in the series, with the worst offender being Sticker Star, which is widely seen as the worst installment in the series for a multitude of reasons, like the Excuse Plot (in a series renowned for excellent storytelling), the total lack of original characters and its unintuitive, consumable item-based battle system.
  • So Okay, It's Average: While some fans don't exactly hate Sticker Star and Color Splash, they don't love them either, and most fans would consider them average and unremarkable games at best, if not downright horrible like other fans would believe. Super Paper Mario's gameplay could also be considered this, mostly because of its easiness and the fact that it hardly requires any strategy beyond using the Goomba Stomp unlike the previous games, although many fans agree that the excellent writing and story make up for the gameplay.
  • Tainted by the Preview: Color Splash, big time. The moment it was announced that the mechanics would be like Sticker Star's, almost everyone hated it. Even after later trailers revealed that it would at least fix some of the most glaring problems that Sticker Star had (among other things, Paint is much easier to replenish than stickers, because you'll get plenty of it refilled after battles, and fighting enough battles will increase your maximum paint, meaning that battles are not as pointless as before), people are still not giving it the time of day. It doesn't help that the game eventually retained several things that people didn't like about Sticker Star, aside from gameplay issues; most of the NPCs are still Toads, and the story is yet again flat and basic (albeit deeper than that of Sticker Star, which isn't saying a lot) and even borders on Idiot Plot. Time will tell if the game will be Vindicated by History like Super Paper Mario, or stay just as reviled as Sticker Star was.
  • The Scrappy: While Toad and the Toad species as a whole are Base-Breaking Characters at worst in most other installments of the Mario franchise, you'll be hard pressed to find any sort of love for them from the Paper Mario fandom. The primary reason for their immense hate from the Paper Mario fandom is because of their perceived over-abundance in Sticker Star and Color Splash, at the expense of any other more interesting Mario characters that could serve as friendly NPCs, as was the case in previous installments. note  The excessive amount of Toads is often held by the fandom as an example of why the Paper Mario series is in a Dork Age.
  • That One Level:
    • The Dotwood Tree in Super Paper Mario. If you get hit by a Crayzee Dayzee mid-jump (and this is a level that is very centered around jumps), which you probably will, you'll probably end up falling a good distance and having to do large chunks of the level over again.
    • Chapter 2 in every Paper Mario game can get annoying pretty quickly. In the first two games, it's because of the enemies getting noticeably stronger than they were in the first chapter without Mario having much of an advantage to match; in the third, it's because of Merlee's Mansion being tedious to get through (especially 2-3), not to mention having one of the biggest doses of Nightmare Fuel in all of Paper Mario; in the fourth, it's because the levels tend to be The Maze, at least one of them has some borderline-Guide Dang It moments, and the boss pretty much imprints upon you the game's (commonly pointed to as being flawed) boss weakness system.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: The first two installments are widely regarded as excellent games (especially the latter), while the third was rather divisive when it came out due to its completely different formula, but became Vindicated by History thanks to its excellent storyline and characters and especially because of its very polarizing successor, which is widely considered the weakest entry in the series and it isn't especially helped by the equally polarizing Color Splash, thanks to being reminiscent of the former in many ways.
  • Tough Act to Follow: The series greatly suffers of this. Both the first game and The Thousand-Year Door are highly regarded RPGs, with the latter in particular being declared as the very best of the series. Since then, none of the games have attained the same amount of praise. Super Paper Mario is considered a step down in terms of gameplay but still has a highly regarded storyline. Sticker Star, however, is often called the worst of the series due to its barebones plot and highly unintuitive gameplay on top of Color Splash following the previous games' steps. But still, especially given that Sticker Star was a highly polarizing game and Color Splash follows the same formula (which is intended to be the standard), it's safe to say that the series won't get away from The Thousand-Year Door's shadow anytime soon.
  • Vindicated by History: Super Paper Mario got a lot more respect after Sticker Star was released when people focused on the detailed plot (especially compared to other Mario games) and better gameplay compared to Sticker Star. Unlike the divisive reception it had back when it was released, now it's largely regarded to be on the same league as the first two games.

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