YMMV / Paper Mario

Individual games:
  • Contested Sequel: Super Paper Mario. While most would agree that it's a good game with an excellent storyline, many fans can't accept it mostly because of the unexpectedly different and overly easy gameplay, although some would play it only for the story, which is widely seen as the game's main saving grace. Sticker Star, on the other hand, wasn't so lucky.
  • 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 in almost every way, 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.
  • 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. Fans understandably miss the formula and desperately want another game like it, but sadly the developers seem to disagree.
  • Fandom Berserk Button: Saying anything positive about Sticker Star or 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 a carbon copy of The Thousand-Year Door". Given that the first two games are held in high regard (to the point of achieving Sacred Cow status), and fans often have very good reasons to dislike the newer games (such as Excuse Plot, Flat Characters, unintuitive gameplay, and the very fact that Color Splash plays just like Sticker Star), it's understandable that they often become very annoyed whenever someone uses those arguments.
  • 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 outright stating 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: Due to its highly controversial status and several inconsistencies among other games, 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.
  • 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 can be trivialized with the correct Thing card. Making things even worse, the producer 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 was so reviled that it created a Fandom Rivalry between Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi fans. Make of that what you will.
  • 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, 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.
  • Sequelitis: Sticker Star is widely seen as the worst installment in the series, for a multitude of reasons. It would be actually easier to list things that aren't reasons to like it, especially when compared to any of the previous games. Not helping any matters is that Nintendo and Intelligent Systems are proud of it, and want it to become the series' new standard especially since "Mario & Luigi already covered the RPG elements". The reaction to this was very predictable.
  • So Cool, It's Awesome: The first two games, particularly The Thousand-Year Door. They were highly acclaimed when they were released thanks to their gameplay and storytelling, and still are to this day, with the second game being considered one of the best Mario games ever made. Super Paper Mario can also count in terms of plot, as in spite of the So Okay, It's Average gameplay, its story and characters are often considered among the best in the series.
  • 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.
  • 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 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: Big time. 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 its equally polarizing successor, thanks to being reminiscent of the former in almost every way. It's widely agreed that the games after The Thousand-Year Door are great examples of what happens when trying to fix what wasn't broken, and most fans desperately want the series to go back to the style of the former games.
  • 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, with Super Paper Mario being considered a step down in terms of gameplay while still having a highly regarded storyline, and Sticker Star often being 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, although Super Paper Mario has been Vindicated by History. But still, especially given that Sticker Star was a highly polarizing game and Color Splash follows the same formula (and on top of this, they plan to make it the new standard), it's safe to say that the series won't get away of 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.
  • 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.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/PaperMario