YMMV / Paper Mario

Individual games:
  • 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. With Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam mostly being held aloft by the gameplay and characterization approach of its other constituent series while suffering from a few of the same problems as current Paper Mario games, and Color Splash being highly reminiscent of Sticker Star via first impressions, many fans agree that the dork age isn't ending any time soon. 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, in some respects, 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.
  • Fandom Heresy: In some circles, it's treated as a serious crime to like Sticker Star or what's been shown of Color Splash, especially if one compares them favorably to Sacred Cow The Thousand-Year Door or to a lesser extent, the original.
  • 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 Nintendo 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 implying that a new Paper Mario RPG like The Thousand Year Door would likely not be coming any time soon.) Needless to say, when word about this reached the Paper Mario fandom, any good relations they had with the Mario & Luigi series and fandom went down the toilet in record time, primarily out of jealousy for "stealing" the status as the Mario RPG series away from them.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Most fans would rather pretend that Sticker Star (and by extension, Color Splash) never existed. It doesn't help that the developers plan to make it the series' new standard, much to the ire of the fanbase.
  • 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. Going back to an Excuse Plot after the detailed plots of The Thousand Year Door and Super Paper Mario did not help either.
  • Fridge Logic: A hilarious (and very fortunate) in-universe example. Right when Mario leaves Lavalava Island, Jr. Troopa shows up, having swam all the way there. He misses Mario and has to swim all the way BACK to Toad Town. When Mario fights Jr. Troopa at Toad Town Harbor, his HP will be halved at the start of the battle. After Mario beats him, Jr. Troopa will realize he could've just flown to Lavalava Island and back since he has wings.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Americans and Europeans love Paper Mario; in Japan, its country of origin, the series is not nearly as popular.
  • 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.
  • 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, as seen on Vindicated by History below, many fans say that the moment where the series truly lost its way was after Super Paper Mario, as it still had an interesting and complex storyline with memorable characters in spite of its polarizing gameplay, as opposed to the widely hated direction the series has gone with Sticker Star. It doesn't help that Nintendo wants to replace the original formula with Sticker Star's, and to say that fans are "angry" with that is one hell of an understatement.
  • That One Attack: Magnus Von Grapple 2.0 would be easy if it weren't for its audience-machine-gun attack.
  • That One Level:
    • The Dotwood Tree in Super Paper Mario. If you get hit by a Crayzee Dayzee mid-jump (and this is a very jumpcentric level), 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 generally very well-regarded, the third and fourth are substantially different beasts and generally considered good examples of trying to fix what isn't broken. Exactly how bad Super and Sticker Star are relative to the first two games and to each other tends to differ from person to person.
  • 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.
  • The Woobie: Shadow Siren Vivian is often wrongfully and mercilessly disciplined by her sister Beldam. If you feel like treating her right, well, Chapter 4 seems like the right time to start because Doopliss steals Mario's body and Vivian's sisters leave her alone while they slack off. She will join you after you console her, but eventually she'll find out who you really are and leave. She changes her mind in the end though and stays as a permanent party member.