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"Will you crease yourself and be reborn, like me?"

"I am no longer your brother Olly. I am KING OLLY! By the time I am done, all of those miserable Toads will be folded... The flimsy paper minions of Bowser shall be reborn as loyal Folded Soldiers—serving me! And I shall fold, crease, and bend the entire paper world to my whim... The birth of a new origami kingdom!"
Olly
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Paper Mario: The Origami King is the sixth game in the Paper Mario series, developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo.

Princess Peach is planning to hold an Origami Festival in Toad Town, and the Mario Bros. are invited. When the two of them arrive, however, they find the town abandoned and in disarray. Inside Princess Peach's Castle, Mario discovers Peach has taken on an origami form and wants him to join her in being folded and silencing the Toads. She then drops Mario into the castle dungeons, where he sees that Bowser's minions are being subjected to the same origami treatment.

Olly, the titular Origami King, has invaded the Mushroom Kingdom and turned Princess Peach and several of Bowser's minions into origami figurines beholden to his will. Transporting Peach's castle far away, Olly plans to remake the entire world in his image. Escaping the castle with Olly's benevolent sister Olivia and a folded Bowser, Mario goes forth to save the Mushroom Kingdom from the king and his origami legion — the Folded Soldiers.

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The game was released on July 17th, 2020.

You can view the game's first trailer here, its second trailer here, its summary here and its website here.


Paper Mario: The Origami King provides examples of the following tropes:

  • 1-Up: As per series tradition, the 1-Up Mushroom appears as an item. If Mario has it, when he dies, it is consumed and restores all of his health.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Olly is defeated for good through Olivia folding into the form of a giant hammer, which Mario whacks him repeatedly with.
  • 100% Completion: Collect all 15 trophies to 100% complete the game; most of these are awarded by maxing out smaller sidequests, such as hitting hidden blocks or finding Toads.
  • 1000 Origami Cranes: Played for Drama. Olly is hoping to fold a thousand cranes so he can make a wish to eradicate all the Toads. In the end, when he is defeated, he requests Olivia to fold him into the final crane and make her wish. She does and makes a wish to undo all of his creations, which includes herself.
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  • Absurdly Short Level: The purple streamer quest mostly consists of tiny islands, which all have their own space and completion counters on the map. A majority of these are only one screen long, and possibly the shortest is Hammer Island, where all Mario has to do is walk up to a Toad statue and fight a few enemies.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Exaggerated. Olivia can't seem to understand that Bob-omb's name is indeed Bob-omb, referring to him as Bombert, Bhomas, Bombonosuke, and most often, Bobby.
  • Accordion to Most Sailors: The Variable Mix for Toad Town changes from the fully orchestrated version of most of the town to a quieter accordion-based version when approaching the dock.
  • Action Bomb: Played for Drama. A standard black Bob-omb (nicknamed Bobby) joins Mario and Olivia, missing a fuse. He later explains that his kind usually have short lives, so they try to make the most with the time they're given, with their greatest wish being to make an impact and change something for the better. This is right before, with a fuse of his dearly departed friend newly attached, he detonates himself to save Olivia, who's trapped under a boulder.
  • Action Commands: As always for the series. Mario has to press A at the right time while jumping or using a hammer in order to deal the most damage. Fire Flowers, Ice Flowers, POW Blocks, and Tails have action commands as well.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Yellow streamer: Bobby's death and the sequence where you comfort Olivia afterwards.
  • Actually Four Mooks: Directly lampshaded by Olivia at the beginning of the game when one Goomba comes out to fight:
    Olivia: Speaking of which, you're now surrounded by FOUR folded soldiers! Huh. Where did the other three come from?
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Most of the time inverted (see Discount Card), but played straight with Bowser's minions in Shangri-Spa. They sell you treasures for 10,000 coins each, but if you wait to buy them until after you've defeated Scissors, they will demand 20,000 coins instead!
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: The sign outside the Battle Lab has the subtitle "Training Tough Toads Tirelessly."
  • Adult Fear:
    • In the beginning cutscene, Mario watches Princess Peach's Castle be taken away… and when he sees a green hat fall into the crater where the castle was, he realized that Luigi was still inside the castle.
    • Bowser is stuck in a folded square and can't do anything at all. This is a very bad situation to be in when Scissors essentially turns his own son into confetti.
  • Advertised Extra: Origami Peach is shown off in trailers, the boxart, and the beginning of the game in a way that suggests that she's Olly's dragon, but she has next to no impact on the game's plot and Mario never fights her at any point. In fact, Olly flat-out kills her sometime before the Final Boss fight, and she's only revived (as regular Paper Peach) by Olivia's wish on his 1000 Origami Cranes.
  • All the Worlds Are a Stage: The Sea Tower employs the classic Zelda trope of the "final dungeon" having elements of all previous dungeons in the game by being a summation of the Vellumental dungeons specifically, as the final Vellumental dungeon precedes it.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Peach's and Bowser's castles have been taken over by the Folded Soldiers.
  • Already Done for You: Over the course of the game, Luigi finds crucial keys just whenever you really need them. Unfortunately, he has a tendency to get in trouble himself, so saving him becomes the next target.
  • Already Undone for You: To make progress in the Great Sea, Mario must solve puzzles on four islands based on playing card suits. Upon completing the fourth one, he gains access to a treasure chest that contains a note from Luigi saying that he already took the key from the chest.
  • Always Check Behind the Chair: Treasure No. 110, Paper Macho Piranha Plant, is located behind a chest that contained a rather mundane item in Bowser's castle. Other treasures are equally well-hidden. Thankfully, you've got the Treasure Alert to help you out.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Averted. Characters with asymmetrical design elements, such as the button on the Princess Peach captain's shirt, have separate sprites that keep them aligned properly depending on which direction the character is facing.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • With a few exceptions here and there, the Toads have been folded into a variety of random objects, including insects and other animals, plants, and inanimate objects. They're all well aware of what's been done to them, but are forced to play the part of whatever shape they're in and unable to control their actions, call for help or free themselves — and the ones turned into inanimate objects cannot even move at all, as noted by a number of toads who were turned into junk or food and note that they were stuck dreading being thrown away or eaten without being able to do anything about. Ironically, several — especially the ones turned into animals — do imply they liked it.
    • The Toads in the Temple of Shrooms had their faces punched out by Hole Punch and are turned into zombie-like beings unable to communicate.
    • The Folded Soldiers are implied to be in a similar state, due to having lost their free will and self-control in their transformation, and the few that speak are implied to be acting against their personal desires. This is called out by name when a pair of Folded Soldier Goombas need to wake a Paper Macho and say "if only we could scream".
    • Scissors turns many of Bowser's minions — and his son — into a mass of shreds before turning it into a giant monster, the Paper Mistake Buzzy Beetle. They're all still alive in there, and screaming for Mario to save them.
    • In the climax, Princess Peach has been essentially turned into a unfolded stained-glass decoration when Mario, Bowser, and Olivia enter King Olly's throne room. Olly, however, insists she's likely much happier this way in a peaceful, quiet existence.
  • Angry Guard Dog:
    • Princess, the guard Chain Chomp at Shogun Studios, is a subversion. She's introduced as an angry, snarling guard dog that prevents you from proceeding past her, but she's actually just hungry — once she's had her dinner, she's an affectionate sweetheart. Her keep still tells you to count your fingers before and after when you pet her, though.
    • Stapler is portrayed as a rabid dog, with its staples being akin to a dog's teeth and it making dog-like noises.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: The Legion of Stationery, the guardians of the ends of the streamers that are wrapped around Peach's Castle. Three members include Colored Pencils (a case full of colored pencils), Rubber Band (a mummy-like figure made of rubber bands), and Tape (a tape dispenser).
  • Antagonist Title: Mario and company are fighting against Olly, the Origami King.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • In combat, you can buy more time with coins, as well as pay your audience of Toads to do some or all of the puzzle-solving for you, should they prove to be too difficult; paying them at least 100 coins makes them do the first move for you, 500 makes them do two, and 999 (the maximum amount you can pay) makes them do all three. The game is also very generous with coins, and it is pretty tough to run out of them unless you're a reckless spender. Spending a lot of money also gets you health from the Toads, which doesn't use a turn or an item like consuming a Mushroom will.
    • As you progress through the game, stopping by the Battle Lab will give you options that make standard battles easier, such as showing where the enemies should be lined up or automatically extending the timer before it runs out. This is helpful to players that struggle with battle puzzles or want a more laid back experience.
    • There are hint envelopes available on the battlefield during boss battles, which offer helpful hints for defeating the boss to the player if they collect them.
    • There are accessories in the game that come in the form of bells that make a noise when the player is near a Toad in need of help, a chest or collectible treasure, or a hidden ? Block. Additionally, two of the three Sensor Lab gadgets are radars that assist the player in finding Toads and hidden ? Blocks, which make finding collectibles much easier for completionists.
    • The Lamination Suit gadget is required for stealth in the last dungeon, but is generally convenient for players who want to sneak past enemies when they're not in the mood to enter a battle and can't defeat the enemy with an overworld attack.
    • Club Island requires you to find three Toads in the grass, which is really hard to do without the Toad Radar. Luckily, there is a Snifit on that same island who will offer to charge your Toad Radar should its battery happen to be depleted at that time, saving you a tedious trip back to the Sensor Lab. He will charge you 1,000 coins instead of 500, however.
    • Certain puzzles in the game will gradually reduce in difficulty if the player keeps failing at them, or simply give the player the option to make the puzzle easier.
      • There are portions of the Fire Vellumental Cave and the Sea Tower where you have to hop across a set pattern of platforms to avoid getting burned. The first time you're shown the path, the platforms light up in reverse order, and you're expected to fully remember what can be a tricky pattern. Each time you fail, the puzzle gets progressively easier to solve: the platforms that light up retain a glow afterwards, then the pattern is shown in the correct order, and finally the platforms that aren't part of the path are removed.
      • The second slider puzzle in the Water Vellumental Shrine is pretty tough. Fortunately, there is an option to pay coins for hints that solve some of the puzzle for you. The third option is called "KASPLOOSHY HINT"; for 3,000 coins, the game straight up solves the entire puzzle for you.
      • If you fail a Diamond Island trial at least twice, you will be presented with the option to make the trial less challenging, in exchange for 3,000 coins.
      • If you reset the sliding ice panel puzzles enough times in the Ice Vellumental Shrine, some of the breakable rocks will turn purple to show which ones need to be broken.
      • If you lose the battle with Scissors enough times, the Paper Mistake Buzzy Beetle will drop a save point when defeated, sparing you from having to re-fight it from that point on.
      • Likewise, if you lose in Olly's third phase, a ring-unscrambling puzzle that must be solved in a little over 40 seconds and is frequently interrupted by quick-time attacks that will likely kill Mario if your concentration falters, the time limit will be extended a bit after every Game Over.
    • Around areas where one mistake can lead to death — like the Folded Thwomps at Overlook Mountain — Olivia will suggest that you save your game.
    • One of the Toads you free will tell you about any optional hidden MAX UP Hearts you may have missed, providing hints or letting you know when you're caught up. He's also very easy to locate- he's just outside Shogun Studios as an origami heart.
  • Arbitrary Mission Restriction:
    • The Overlook Tower has several Not-Bottomless Holes in it, which are all inconveniently placed in areas Mario needs to go through to proceed. You can go outside and get as much confetti as you need to fill in the first hole, as filling it in triggers Jean-Pierre Colored Pencils to bar the door with two of his missiles. However, the game will always set Mario's confetti to just shy of the amount he needs to fill in the second hole. Any other events that give Mario confetti will always give him exactly enough to fill in the next hole.
    • When you fight the bucket-carrying Shy Guys in the Fire Vellumental Cave, you can't use mushrooms. A Fire Vellumental statue burns the mushroom as Mario holds it above his head, wasting the item. This is one of the only two times where you're prevented from healing with mushrooms in a battle, and the only one where there's no indication that this area will be any different.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Captain T. Ode is kept frozen beneath the Scorching Sandpaper Desert by multiple open freezers. In reality, something like this would heat the room, not cool it.
  • Ascended Extra: Luigi plays a bigger role this time around compared to recent games. Luigi tries to locate the key to Peach's Castle due to the fact that it will come in handy eventually once the streamers are down. Unfortunately, the keys he finds, while useful at the moment, aren't the right one. It turns out, the key had been in his kart's tail pipe since the beginning. He also plays a part in undoing Olly's origami, while having been too late in bringing his creator to talk him down, the Craftsman helps Olivia wish away her brother's destruction.
  • Assist Character: The Partners do a brief attack between Mario and the enemies' turns. They can sometimes fail, but they usually hit hard enough to one-shot any enemy they can fight, and the partners met after Bobby are all capable of taking out an entire row of enemies.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The Paper Machos are huge papier maché monsters spread over a wire frame. To be able to destroy them, their Olly stickers must first be attacked and then they become truly vulnerable.
  • Auction: On Overlook Mountain, a Monty Mole auctioneer is selling a Shell Stone. Three Koopas also want to buy the stone. The price starts at 10k, and eventually drops to 300 as Mario declines. Past this point, the Koopas combine their money to buy it. If this happens, Mario can buy it back for 1500 coins.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • Subverted with blue streamer partner Bobby. In Bowser's Castle, Olivia sees a Bob-omb walk up to her, who she presumes to be Bobby. He is then followed by other identical Bob-ombs, and explains that he is not their old traveling partner. Olivia is still happy to call him Bobby anyways.
    • Played straight with Bowser Jr and Kamek. They are attacked by a flood of mini Paper Macho Goombas in Hotfoot Crater, disappearing and implied to be dead, and yet are completely fine in time for Olly's defeat and the Origami Festival.
  • Background Music Override: Just like Color Splash before it, the Origami Castle's background music overrides the normal battle music to great effect (alongside the 1,000 Fold Arms background music). The same happens during The War Sequence in Bowser's Castle if you fight any of the Folded Soliders.
  • Badass in Distress: Bowser has been folded into a bent rectangle, and is reduced to hopping around like a greeting card. It's revealed near the climax that he was trapped in that shape by Olly's minion, Stapler, and when Stapler is defeated, the staple on Bowser's body comes undone, bringing him back to his original form.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: Olivia seems to be nervous about the House of Tricky Ninjas, but is actually very excited.
    Announcer: A ninja residence full of tricks and traps... That's right, folks! It's the HOUSE OF TRICKY NINJAS! Will you escape unscathed? Or will you trip and inja yourself? Enter...IF YOU DARE!
    Olivia: Wh-what? A house full of traps? Did he say "unscathed"? Does that mean it's dangerous in there? This whole thing sounds s-s-s—SUPER FUN! Solving puzzles? Dodging traps and escaping like a REAL ninja?! I can't wait! Let's go in now! Can we go in now? I want to go in now!
  • Baleful Polymorph:
    • The intro reveals that Bowser got captured by Olly and was folded into a square, and then bound to it by Stapler. He can't do much in this state except walk and breathe fire.
    • Several Toads were turned into origami shapes and scattered across the land. Mario must hit them with his hammer to turn them back into their normal selves.
  • Better Than a Bare Bulb: This game loves to do jokes about Toads being the only friendly species, in response to criticism that the previous two games had too many Toad characters. A Goomba complains that he "never got to see Toad", there's dramatic reveals that both the Ancient One buried underground and Olivia and Olly's creator are Toads, and Olivia refers to a "random unnamed staff-member Toad" at Shogun Studios, among others.
  • Beware the Skull Base: Bonehead Island is a Call-Back to Fortune Island from Color Splash. The key to dispelling the fog around the Great Sea is to solve a puzzle on Bonehead Island, inside a big skull-like rock.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: The Scorching Sandpaper Desert is a combination of this and Shifting Sand Land. When Mario gets there, the desert is shrouded in The Night That Never Ends due to Hole Punch stealing the sun from the sky, and the dunes are haunted by undead enemies — skeletal Dry Bones roam the main desert area, while the nearby ruins are mostly inhabited by Boos. The Temple of Shrooms is also mostly inhabited by these enemies, alongside Giant Spiders. Once the sun is restored, the undead vanish.
  • Big Damn Heroes: A Shy Guy piloting Bowser's Koopa Clown Car manages to swoop in and rescue Bowser, Mario, and Olivia while Olly displaces Peach's Castle.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Upon defeating Olly, he learns that the "scribble" on his body that drove him to genocidal madness was a simple wish from his creator for him to be a good ruler, and Olly makes amends with Mario and Olivia by letting them use the 1,000 Crane Wish with his body making the last crane. Using her wish, Olivia wishes for all of Olly's origami to be undone, but since she was also one of his creations, she dies too. The ending has everyone, Bowser's troops and Toads alike, celebrating the wonders of origami before lighting floating paper lamps to honor Olivia's memory. If you get 100%, the Origami Craftsman makes origami miniatures of Olly and Olivia, happily sitting side by side on their replica Origami Castle.
  • Black Comedy: After the battle against the vicious doglike Stapler, specifically after Mario snaps its jaw, one of the Toads comment on how "they should get a dog".
  • The Blank: The yellow Toads in the Temple of Shrooms have their faces punched out, leaving holes where their faces should be. Hole Punch, the yellow streamer's guardian, is the perpetrator.
  • Bookends: The story begins and ends with Mario riding with Luigi on his go-kart.
  • Border Patrol: Getting past the map's boundaries in the Great Sea is made impossible by a giant Blooper rising from the sea holding a big red sign which blocks your path and follows the path of your ship.
  • Boss Banter: The Legion of Stationery bosses as well as Olly, with the exception of Stapler, who is characterized as a dog, talk a lot during their fights.
  • Boss Bonanza: There are four boss fights, each with a different style, in Bowser's Castle: Boss Sumo Bro, Handaconda, Paper Mistake Buzzy Beetle, and finally, Scissors.
  • Boss Rush: Scuffle Island holds a gauntlet of seven Paper Macho enemies. These enemies are stronger than most, as they have to be hit three times to become vulnerable, their attacks do thirty damage as opposed to the regular eight, and are faster, too.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Characters that have been folded into origami versions of themselves — including Princess Peach and Bowser's minions — obey Olly's every command. Toads, Olly's real target, remain themselves but are folded into different shapes.
  • Brainwash Residue: Multiple Toads pick up verbal tics and behaviors from the forms they were stuck in. One green Toad continues to pose even after being restored from a bonsai and seems intent on staying posed.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: Luigi finds a Shiny Mushroom inside Bowser's Castle. He likes the smell, and says that it makes him want to cook pizza, pasta, or pizza pasta.
  • Breakable Weapons: Mario always has his basic Boots and Hammer available to him, but stronger variants such as the Shiny Boots or Hurlhammer can only be used a limited amount of times before they break.
  • Breaking Old Trends: This is the first Paper Mario game where the game's plot isn't explicitly divided into chapters, though the streamers constitute distinct arcs of the story and each streamer's destruction provides an "area clear" cutscene much like the previous games' chapter-end ones.
  • Brick Joke: In the opening, a Shy Guy pilots Bowser's Clown Car. You can talk to him in Bowser's Castle much later in the game, where it turns out he's not allowed to drive the Clown Car anymore.
  • Broken Bridge: A literal example in Toad Town. Mario can restore it from the other side, which requires him to go through Peach's castle.
  • Buffy Speak: Bobby's third attempt to remember the word "amnesia" has him call it "Thinky Thinky Panic".
  • But Thou Must!: Like other games in the series, if you're asked a plot-important question and give an answer that goes Off the Rails, you either get this or a Non Standard Game Over.
    • Upon meeting each other, Peach, in origami form, asks Mario three questions. Regardless of his reply to all three, she declares that his words are nothing but flat, and sends him away by opening the floor underneath him.
    • When you meet Peach again, who is accompanied by a yellow Shy Guy, he will also ask Mario to crease himself. If you say yes, the Shy Guy will assume it's a trick, and still reveal himself as King Olly.
    • When you meet Bobby the Bob-Omb, he will ask you if he can join you on your adventure to help him restore his memories. If you say no, Olivia and Bobby will be disappointed, but he'll keep bringing it up. Keep saying no, and Olivia will chastise you until you say yes.
    • After you go down Eddy River, you can choose to stop at Shogun Studios like Olivia wants, or progress to Sweetpaper Valley. If you choose Sweetpaper Valley, you start going downstream (to Olivia's disappointment), but it turns out the blue streamer is blocking the way. The only way you can destroy it is by going to Shogun Studios, making the entire choice pointless.
  • Butt-Monkey: Bowser's stuck in a folded form and can't do much. He even gets captured and hung on a clothespin on two occasions.
    • The Shy Guy who saves Mario and Bowser at the beginning of the game get banned from riding the Clown Car ever again for his troubles. If you come back to the airship bay after you have been to Peach's/Origami Castle, the same Shy Guy will be sulking because they forgot him at the bay, despite really wanting to ride the airship.
  • Call-Back:
    • A Shy Guy rides the Koopa Clown Car to save Mario's party, which is very similar to a gag in the credits of Super Mario RPG where Bowser spots a Shy Guy taking the Koopa Clown Car for a joyride, much to his dismay. Riding down the Eddy River for coins calls back to the Midas River in the same game.
    • The intro cutscene shows that just like 64, TTYD, and Sticker Star, Mario and Luigi receive a letter from Peach asking them to visit her at a festival, which kicks off the quest.
    • The game seems to be an expansion on Mario's "curses" from Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, which allowed him to turn into simple origami shapes without any issue.
    • At the helm of The Princess Peach, Bobby references he used to dream of being a ship captain or admiral, harkening to Admiral Bobbery from The Thousand-Year Door.
    • During the Purple Streamer portion, Mario and co. are faced with an impenetrable fog. After the riddle on Skull Island is solved, a giant fan rises in the background and blows the fog away, as if Mario had used the "Fan" sticker from Sticker Star. It even uses the same musical theme.
  • Central Theme: "Life is what you make of it". Bobby muses that his kind has a short life but wish to make an impact. Olly became a tyrant because he couldn't understand the meaning behind the "scribble" on him, Olivia decided to explore the world and even sacrifice herself to undo Olly's machinations.
  • Cerebus Call-Back: The Scissors make their entrance just like the Scissors Thing in Sticker Star, attacking Bowser Jr. This time, however, it's played completely seriously and slices him into still-sentient pieces that require Mario, Olivia, and Kamek's help to restore.
  • Chain of Deals: A smaller one in Shogun Studios. To get past the Chain Chomp, you need a bone from the Dry Bones, who need a ball won from the Shuriken Dojo, which needs shuriken from a Ninji, who needs a straw from a Shy Guy.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: The Goomba mask is used to sneak into the Big Sho Theater. Later, it's used again to cheer Olivia up after Bobby's Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Chekhov's Gag: After rescuing Luigi from being trapped inside a wall, he decides to try and find the key to Peach's Castle. From then on, he'll make an appearance and explains that he found the key, only for it to be a different relevant key each time. Come reaching the now unsealed castle, Luigi reaches a Despair Event Horizon over the lack of finding the true key… only for it to have been stuck in his kart's tail pipe since the beginning.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • The Trial of Courage in the Diamond Island tests both your reflexes and bravery as you have to stop a heavy object from hitting you between a certain point. During the second phase of King Olly's battle where you have to assist Giant Origami Bowser, Olly calls forth a Giant Folded Thwomp, which requires you to slam the ground with your Thousand Folds Arm while a Giant Thwomp is on the verge of crushing you. Cower out too early and you won't really be helping Bowser out too much. Let the Thwomp crush you and it's a Game Over.
    • One of the categories in Shy Guys Finish Last, Ring Scramble, is a new usage of the ring arena that involves unscrambling an image on the board. The final phase of King Olly's battle involves unscrambling a giant Magic Circle.
  • Cold Cash: There is some money stored in the fridge of the Overlook Tower Restaurant.
  • Collection Sidequest: Multiple.
    • Rescue the folded-up Toads hidden around the world. When you've saved one, it'll join battles to cheer you on in the audience. The more Toads you collect, the more powerful your Cheer bonuses get. Rescues also give you Toad Points, which you can spend to reveal pieces in the museum's Concept Art Gallery.
    • Fix the holes around the world by using confetti. This rewards you with a small amount of coins, is needed to progress at some points, and gives you soundtrack records to listen to at the museum.
    • There are "Collectible Treasures" you can find around the world, mostly in treasure chests, but sometimes in blocks and from merchants. You can admire them in the museum, but they have no function otherwise.
    • The museum also has fifteen trophies you can unlock for accomplishing difficult tasks, usually with minigames.
  • Colony Drop: Bowser's Castle came to be located at Shangri-Spa by falling on it and demolishing the banquet hall. Kamek pressed the wrong button for the flight controls.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Professor Toad is scared of fire, so he won't enter the Fire Vellumental Cave. He does, however, sit on a bench right outside, surrounded by fire and leaping flames. There's no reason as to why he can't wait in the desert.
  • Company Cross References:
    • In the Shogun Studios staff room, Mario puts on a papier-mache rendition of Samus's helmet and walks sideways while making the NES shooting noises from the Metroid series of games. Bobby also says the thing would look better on "some other M." A papier-mache Donkey Kong head is also on display.
    • The Great Sea is very similar to the Great Sea from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, having the same name and being an open expanse of water with islands that get plotted on a gridded sea chart in the same style. This game's Great Sea even shares a couple of its novelty island shapes with Wind Waker's.
      • The goal of exploring the sea is to undergo trials of Power, Wisdom, and Courage to earn special orbs. Power, Wisdom, and Courage are the divine virtues in the Zelda series, and many Zelda games ask the player to undergo trials of those virtues for special items that get assembled. The colors for each virtue are even coded the same as in the Zelda series, with Power being red, Courage being green, and Wisdom being blue.
      • Diamond Island's interior is styled as Ghibli Hills set at the bottom of the ocean, a la the sunken Old Hyrule in The Wind Waker.
      • One of the places to visit in the Great Sea is the Sea Tower, which shares similarities with Wind Waker's Tower of the Gods, namely, its visibility from an incredibly far distance and its ancient nature.
      • Averted, however, with the Vellumental found in this region: Considering the abundant Wind Waker references and the fact that Mario has encountered the Earth, Water, and Fire Vellumentals, all signs point to it being the home of a possible Wind Vellumental, only for it to be the Ice Vellumental instead.
    • A Toad attempting to climb a cliff of Autumn Mountain gives us a simultaneous reference and stab at a controversial aspect from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild:
      Toad: Guh! I thought I had more stamina than this. But hey, at least it isn't raining. Hrrrgh!
  • Combat Tentacles: The Paper Macho Gooper Blooper has them, and they need to be destroyed individually before Mario can attack the Blooper itself.
  • Concept Art Gallery: Like in Color Splash, the museum holds pieces of concept art (150 total), mostly for areas found in the game. You have to spend Toad Points, which you get by rescuing trapped Toads, to view the art. The larger pieces cost more Toad Points.
  • Confetti Drop: Played straight on a number of occasions, most often in Shogun Studios if Mario has purchased the Royalty ticket. As with every confetti, Mario can collect it.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Luigi still has his go-kart like he did in Color Splash.
    • Bonehead Island is a very obvious reference to the Violet sector from Color Splash: it looks almost the same as Fortune Island, contains a similar puzzle, its music is a remix of the Violet sector leitmotif and a giant 3D fan is used, this time to blow the mist surrounding the island away instead of giving wind to a ship's sails.
    • When aboard the Princess Peach, Bobby mentions that one of his dreams is to be an admiral, a reference to Admiral Bobbery from Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door.
    • After making it past the incredibly windy wall climb on their way to the Spring of Rainbows, Olivia calls for Kamek through a pipe that was sealed off, but she accidentally calls him "Kammey", which he objects to.
  • Continuity Snarl: Bobby dies after he exploded to free Olivia. In the first two Paper Mario games however, Bob-ombs could explode as much as they liked without any repercussions, and they even do it for fun. Although it is implied that Bobby is a mass-produced Bob-omb.
  • Cosmetic Award: The collectible treasures and trophies are cool, but all they do is sit in your museum showcase, not impacting gameplay at all.
  • Cultural Translation: In the English version, a Spike brings a can of ravioli to eat with his friends. In the Spanish version, this is changed to a can of sardines. The line "I brought ravioli" is also translated to "I'm hungry." However, no actual change is visible.
  • Curtain Camouflage: Some of the ninja Toads in the Ninja Attaction are hidden behind curtains. You need to check every single one to find all of them.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to Sticker Star and Color Splash, both of them caused by Bowser's doing, Olly is a tyrant whose end-goal of making a wish to wipe every single Toad out of existence clearly puts him on the line of the end-goals of Dimentio or the Shadow Queen, and it's also the first Paper Mario game with permanent onscreen deaths for heroic characters.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Bowser Jr. and Kamek, usually minor enemies in the main series, join Mario in his quest during the green streamer area and get a fair amount of focus.
  • Decon-Recon Switch:
    • The Mario design trope of the landscape having eyes is explored with the trees of the Whispering Woods, which are characterized. Some trees have been cut and turned into buildings or firewood, and while it seems like an awful fate, they accept and encourage their new uses.
    • Bobby is a run-of-the-mill mass-produced Mook Bob-Omb... and so when he self-destructs, he doesn't come back. He says that his kind's lives are inherently short, and they try to make the most of their lives while they can, and their greatest desire is to make an impact.
  • Deconstruction:
    • The Legion of Stationery are a deconstruction of the Things used in Sticker Star and Color Splash. Like the Things, the Legion are massive, real-world objects who have very destructive power and can shape the paper world around them, but that level of power is terrifying when it's not on your side. This is best shown when Hole Punch, his kooky Disco Dan personality aside, steals the Sun to use as a disco ball and the faces of forty Toads just to have them dance with him. Scissors, meanwhile, is a thing of Kryptonite, and can turn Bowser's entire army into confetti and one-shot you in battle. Shoot, as part of their Establishing Character Moment, they almost kill Bowser Jr.!
    • A meta one. Players have been very annoyed that most of the NPCs in recent Paper Mario games have been nothing but identical Toads. Olly's motivation is to strike back at his Toad creator, and since he sees all Toads as the same, his punishment amounts to genocide of the entire species. Moreover, we can see that Olly is wrong on how "all Toads" are the same, as each one you see has different quirks and personalities.
    • Another meta one. Captain T. Ode uses a naming convention that hasn't been used in the series since 2004, and the game reflects this by treating him as an "Ancient One" while T. Ode himself is implied to be the last of his kind.
    • A non-meta one: The Bob-omb philosophy Bobby explains to Mario which they have to develop to grapple with their mortality gets flipped on its head with the Bob-omb Batallion, which appears while preparing Bowser's ship for the final assault. The idea, which is made to help make the short lives Bob-ombs usually have more meaningful, also allows for them to be easily manipulated into becoming kamikaze soldiers for an army, and they will do it with a smile. This, combined with the fact they power the cannon minigame you play in that segment, must be the biggest Black Comedy joke in the whole game.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: When you defeat a Folded Soldier, on the overworld, it bursts into confetti and coins.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: A rather tragic case by series standards occurs with Bobby the Bob-Omb, whose story ends with sacrificing himself and a permanent death.
    • Even more tragic is Olivia, who spends the whole game learning about the world she lives in and how great it is, to the point where Mario even becomes a surrogate parental figure to her. In the end, however, she makes a wish to destroy all of Olly's creations, which includes herself.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • Near the Sensor Lab on Picnic Road is an inconspicuous manhole. Hitting it with the Hammer reveals a Rocky Wrench who will talk to Mario before returning underground. If you're standing on the manhole when you hit it, though, the Rocky Wrench won't notice or talk to Mario and will just pop back under the ground, confused.
    • If you go back to the Oarsman's boat after destroying the boulder, but not talking to Olivia, it turns out he's away and has left a note in the boat saying he'll come back later.
    • Bowser's Castle has a laser puzzle used to access the airship bay. However, the green streamer blocks the receptacle the laser's supposed to go into, so you can't access the airship bay before beating Scissors. If you, by any chance, did put in the correct solution before Scissors' defeat, the game will remember the positions of the pieces and you won't have to do it again.
    • There's an Accessory you can buy at Shangri-Spa called the "Retro Soundbox," which changes Mario's sound effects to 8-bit versions. If Mario is under the effect of a Super Star, the Starman theme from the first Super Mario Bros. will replace the usual theme, even though Stars are rare and you'd have to backtrack just to find one by the time you get this Accessory.
    • Winning the House of Tricky Ninjas in Shogun Studios will get you a hammer weapon. If your inventory is full, you'll be rewarded with some coins instead.
    • Mario needs to get Professor Toad to dig up glowing spots in the Scorching Sandpaper Desert. If he tries hitting them with his hammer first, Olivia will warn him that it won't do anything.
    • The Trial of Courage instructs you to press down a button to prepare. If you ignore the instructions to release the button, the voiceover will get increasingly desperate.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Bobby, who got amnesia and doesn't remember his backstory. He begs to join Mario in hopes that he'll finally be able to figure out who he is.
  • Disappointed by the Motive: Just before the final boss fight, Olly reveals the reason he wants to turn all Toads into blank paper and nearly destroyed the Mushroom Kingdom: the Toad who originally folded Olly scribbled all over his paper.
    Olivia: THAT'S why you're doing this?
  • Disc-One Nuke: After rescuing the Sea Captain Toad in Autumn Mountain, it's possible to head back to Toad Town and to the Great Sea, long before the point where it's first required (the diversion at the beginning of the Yellow Streamer arc). A MAX UP Heart can be acquired on the decks of The Princess Peach, though the door to the interior is blocked off until the mainline plot requires him to search the vessel proper. This Heart has enough juice to propel Mario's attack power to the next level, making the fights in Shogun Studios quite a bit easier.
  • Discount Card: Spend enough coins at a shop and you'll get the Membership Card accessory, which you can equip before shopping for discounted prices on everything. Spending even more upgrades it to the Silver and Gold Membership Cards, with the Gold one giving a 50% discount on everything.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Overlook Tower is rather beautifully vandalized by the skillful drawings of Colored Pencils, and Olivia admires them. When he's defeated and the drawings disappear, Olivia remarks that even though he was a bad guy, his art was good, and says that concept is a doozy to think about. While not referring to any specific case, the moment is a broad reference to ethical and philosophical debates about whether art can stand on its own and be freely enjoyed when its creator has done terrible things, with the common question being "can one separate the art from the artist"?
    • The Earth Vellumental Temple is shown to be like a religion for the Koopa Troopas, as they enter the shrine and pay a few coins, then pray. The exhibits are such things as some rocks that claim to look like the Earth Vellumental, but actually don't. There's a Toad later in the temple who admits he came up with the entire thing as a scam; the scene seems to be portraying religious tourism in a very negative and cynical light.
    • Olly's end goal is complete genocide of an innocent species because of one slight.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": A Bob-omb Mario's traveling with introduces himself as "Bob-omb". Olivia has a ridiculous amount of trouble remembering it for some reason and eventually just settles on calling him "Bobby". He also mentions a friend of his whose name was also "Bob-omb", so it's possible that this trope applies to the whole species.
  • Down the Drain: The Graffiti Underground, a sewer area connecting Toad Town proper with Peach's Castle, consists of several levels of Absurdly Spacious Sewers and their associated maintenance tunnels, incorporating some basic puzzles themed around lowering and raising water levels and inhabited by bats and rats. They also overlap with Blackout Basement, as several sections are pitch black until Mario hits a light switch.
  • Dowsing Device: Courtesy of the Sensor Lab researcher, Mario can get Radars that detect nearby Toads and Invisible Blocks, beeping louder the closer Mario gets to them. There's also a series of Alert items, which ring a bell sound when Mario is near an item (a Toad, invisible block, or collectible treasure). While the Radars are more efficient, they have a limited battery life and Mario must bring them back to the lab to recharge them. The Alerts are infinite, but less precise.
  • Dragon Rider: Mario can ride on Olivia during boss fights when she turns into the Water Vellumental, which is a water dragon.
  • Easy Levels, Hard Bosses: While some of the puzzles can be difficult, most enemies can be dealt with easily regardless of position. Boss battles require much more persistence and patience and specific ring alignments for required actions. The primary objective in most bosses is to make paths to activate and reach Magic Circles for Olivia's transforming abilities. Her Vellumental powers can let Mario weather or halt heavy attacks or gain an opportunity for heavy damage with the 1,000-Fold Arms, making each turn spent without activating or using a Magic Circle unproductive and possibly deadly.
  • Eaten Alive: Multiple instances.
    • Some Paper Macho enemies eat Toads and hold them inside until Mario destroys them, upon which point the Toads are released. Professor Toad even describes the experience as "dark and scary, but educational".
    • The Spring of Jungle Mist is infested with Paper Macho Piranha Plants. They lunge at Mario and eat him, and the only way to escape is to destroy it from the inside, using the hammer repeatedly while Mario is in its mouth.
    • The Paper Macho Chain Chomp devours anything in its path, and being caught by it is a Non Standard Game Over.
    • The origami cootie catchers in the Origami Castle inflict 100 damage to anything they eat; while Mario can survive, at most, one such fall before he needs to heal, Folded Soldiers that fall in are instantly shredded into confetti.
  • Endgame+: After beating the game, you're set back to the most recent save point like in previous Paper Mario titles, but with an additional pipe leading back to the main world. Some of the objectives counting towards 100% Completion can only be obtained after having beaten the game.
  • Enemy Mine: Bowser and his remaining minions decide to side with Mario due to their predicament. Among them, Kamek is a partner of Mario during the Green Streamer section, tagging along to help Mario breach Bowser's Castle and restore Bowser Jr. after the Scissors attack him. During the ending, Bowser and his minions join in on the origami festival and also light paper lamps in Olivia's memory. This is also the only Mario RPG where Bowser is never fought at any point, helping Mario whenever he can.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Bowser, frequent princess-kidnapper and would-be conqueror, balks at Olly's attempted genocide of the Toad species.
  • Evil Overlooker: The boxart shows Olly and his origami subjects overlooking Mario and a few of his allies.
  • Every 10000 Points: The Coin Step Counter, when equipped, rewards Mario with 10,000 coins for every 10,000 steps you take.
  • Exposition Fairy: Following in the footsteps of Tippi, Kersti, and Huey is Olivia. She helps give Mario advice and tells him where to go.
  • Fake Longevity: If you're going for all the Collectible Treasures, you also have to refight every boss in the game through the Replay Mode in the Battle Lab. Nothing about the bosses or battles have changed besides the fact that you can't ask the Toads for help, meaning that the battles are almost completely identical. For the Paper Macho bosses, absolutely nothing is different.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: The game has plenty of dismemberment, a party member detonates himself, and the Arms finisher for the Stapler has Mario break its jaw.
  • Fantastic Racism: Olly hates Toads with a burning passion, seeing the face of the craftsman who offended him in each one.
  • Fatal Method Acting: In-universe example. The play at Shogun Studios has Mario enter as a cast member to perform in the show's acts. The acts have real hazards and the Paper Macho actors can hurt Mario the same way normal enemies do, and if his HP hits 0 on stage, he still dies. It turns out to be a ruse as part of Rubber Band's plot to kill Mario. It unfortunately backfires for them when Mario makes it through all of the plays, earning the captive Toads' cheers and pissing Rubber Band off enough to fight you personally.
  • Fishing Minigame: You can go fishing for Cheep Cheeps, Bloopers, Toads, and treasure on three occasions during the game worldnote . Only the first time is required to beat the game.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • One of Princess Peach's But Thou Must! questions regards silencing the Toads. Of course Princess Peach would never suggest that, but King Olly would.
    • Bowser states "Now THAT'S dysfunctional" when learning that Olivia and Olly are siblings. He has no idea just how screwed up their relationship really is; as Olly made Olivia, this also makes them father and daughter, and due to her goodness, he treats her as a failure and tries to kill her repeatedly.
    • The description for the Sidestepper, an enemy you can fight as early as the Water Vellumental Temple in the blue streamer, hints at the nature of one later streamer boss. It says that the Sidestepper's claws are "as sharp as Scissors"; emphasis on the proper noun.
    • Most victims of Olly and his minions' evils (being transformed into origami objects, having holes punched out, etc) are Toads. That's because King Olly really, really hates them.
    • At the Hot Springs, Olivia briefly becomes too relaxed and is in danger of unfolding, turning back into a normal, non-sentient piece of paper. Olly suffers this fate by the end of the game.
    • While aboard the Princess Peach, Bobby tells Mario about a life philosophy of Bob-ombs: life is short, so make the most of the time you have. It's an important hint towards his end goal.
    • Bobby starts remembering his past after seeing the fireworks at Shogun Studios. It's a subtle hint that he's going to go out with a bang himself.
    • During the beginning segment of the game, the Yellow Shy Guy Folded Soldier attending Princess Peach speaks with a normal text box rather than the origami/folded text boxes, hinting that he's not a mind-controlled Folded Soldier at all and is, in fact, Olly.
    • Reading some of the books on Mushroom Island's basement (the Origami Craftsman's workshop) mentions tools for making Origami. Said tools consisting of Streamer bosses you've fought before and one you've yet to fight, though oddly Tape and Scissors are absent.
  • Fluffy Cloud Heaven: Shangri-Spa is a business that takes on this appearance and is staffed by an ancient type of Toad with white spots on their heads and wings. One of them has the more mundane task of running the Sensor Lab satellite office for Shangri-Spa.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Shogun Studios' petting zoo is home to a Chain Chomp called Princess, who angrily lunges at Mario when he gets close. note 
  • Forest of Perpetual Autumn: Autumn Mountain, a peak whose slopes are covered in dazzling scarlet foliage even when the rest of the setting is green and lush. Piles of raked leaves replace the green bushes of the earlier Green Hill Zone, and the origami Toads hidden here are often found folded in the shape of red and yellow maple leaves. Chestnut Valley below features the same decor, alongside hazards in the form of massive spiky chestnuts.
  • For Want of a Nail: If Olly actually took the time to read the message scribbled on his body, his genocidal goals would never have happened.
  • The Four Gods: Living in four temples are the Vellumentals, origami beings with elemental powers that include a dragon, phoenix, turtle, and polar bear. They've been corrupted thanks to Olly, but beating them allows Olivia to transform into them to solve puzzles.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: A rescued Toad on the Princess Peach cruise ship makes a toast and mentions that he and the other guests are drinking "family-friendly glasses of fruit juice."
  • Full Health Bonus: Mario receives some additional coins at the end of any random non-boss battle should he retain full health throughout the entire battle sequence, and it's named "No-Damage Bonus".
    • Since Colored Pencilsnote  and Scissorsnote  have attacks which can actually be outright avoided, it's actually possible to beat both of them without taking any damage whatsoever.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: The launch version of the game had a very nasty one that happens after you get the VIP Card at Shangri-Spa and use it to enter the secret passage. If you go back out of the place, the game thinks you haven't gone through the passage yet locking you out from going in again and if you try to get another one from the Toad that gave it it to you, the game acts like you already have the card in your inventory, preventing you from progressing and forcing you to restart the entire game because of the autosave. Fortunately, this was fixed in the 1.0.1 update a couple of weeks after release.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • There are many Folded Soldiers created from members of Bowser's army, but zero from Toads. This would usually be justified in Mario's usual schtick of fighting Bowser's minions and wondering exactly how one would fight a Toad, but it's explained that Olly has a particular hatred for Toads and plans to skip the folding and brainwashing and move straight to mass murder instead if he gets his way.
    • Mario suffers 100 damage if he falls into the origami cootie catchers, but the Folded Soldiers Olly punishes for running from Mario are instantly shredded. Paying attention to damage dispensation reveals that no Folded Soldier has more than 50 HP, which is half the damage the hazard inflicts.
  • Glad I Thought of It: Inverted. When Mario, Olivia, and Bobby are on the river tour, they get the choice to stop at Shogun Studios, which Olivia is really looking forward to. If Mario decides to continue down to Sweetpaper Valley, it turns out that the blue streamer is blocking the path.
    Bobby: I guess we have to check out Shogun Studios after all, huh?
    Olivia: We do? My goodness! I guess you're right, Bobby! What a great idea. So glad you thought of it.
  • Green Hill Zone: The area leading to and around the red streamer, the first area explored in the game post-intro and tutorials, consists of a lush forest, Toad Town itself, a flower-filled meadow and a low mountain covered in greenery, and is home to the weakest and most easily beat enemies in the game.
  • Gratuitous Disco Sequence: The game loves these.
    • Giving the Soul Seed to Ol' Grandsappy has him burst into song before growing tall.
    • What's the first thing Olivia does when she defeats the Earth Vellumental and can turn into a giant turtle? Get out some pompoms and dance.
    • Refilling the river on Autumn Mountain has a slow, calming song by the oarsman.
    • An energetic J-pop number plays as Olivia sings the ritual song to raise the Fire Vellumental Cave. Mario and Professor Toad dance nearby with glow sticks.
    • Hole Punch enjoys "Thrills at Night" and has you walk around the temple playing it to attract faceless Toads. Once you've got 40, they join Mario on the dance floor.
    • You can rescue four Toads on Club Island. Once reunited, it turns out they're a musical group, shuffling to a boombox beat.
    • Complete a trial on Diamond Island and you'll be treated to a brief fanfare as the Toad statues dance to samba music.
  • Gratuitous English: In the Chinese translation of the game, Toads in the audience may sometimes say English phrases during the Hole Punch fight. The reason is that this boss is disco-themed, and the disco genre is associated with the USA around the world.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: The partners in this game are treated as this, following Mario and helping him in battle for a time before leaving due to plot events. Even the Bone Goomba and Spike who very briefly follow Mario in Autumn Mountain to the Canned Food Par-tay will help in battles.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The last lost Toad and the last treasure chest in the first level, Whispering Woods, are obtained by finding a giant shell in the Great Sea with the submarine close to a single, isolated Shy Guy, and then cooking said shell at the barbecue place close to the hut in the Woods. This is further complicated by the fact that the respective region may be displayed as 100% cleared already.
    • The Petal Bag may seem like a Useless Item at first: it changes Mario's confetti to pink flower petals, which looks nice, but the game doesn't indicate it has any practical purpose. It actually increases the amount of coins you get from filling in holes by 30%.
  • Hailfire Peaks:
    • Autumn Mountain, and by extension Shogun Studios, mixes Souvenir Land, Forest of Perpetual Autumn, and Wutai based on Japan.
    • Shangri-Spa mixes Fluffy Cloud Heaven with Jungle Japes.
    • Where it really gets Hailfire Peaks is the Sea Tower, which contains elements of all previous shrines — the first level contains the Earth shrine's moving-column puzzles and the Water Shrine's gimmick of having to restart a blocked stream to progress, while the second is literally split between the Ice shrine's Slippy-Slidey Ice World and the Fire shrine's Lethal Lava Land, complete with a pair of Ice and Fire Bros. in the central split chamber that never wander from their respective patches of ice and scorched stone.
  • Heart Container: For rescuing Toads, completing sidequests, or finding them around the map, MAX UP Hearts increase Mario's total HP by 5, 10, or 20. His base attack power also increases when he gains large amounts of HP.
  • Hearts Are Health: Picking up cardboard hearts will restore Mario's HP. The bigger the item, the more health he gets.
  • Healing Spring: Shangri-Spa's various hot springs restore Mario's HP and help reassemble, smoothen, and re-color a cut-to-pieces (and later color-drained) Bowser Jr.
  • Heroic Mime: Mario, as per the series usual, is completely silent. Olivia talks for him instead. Lampshaded in Shogun Studios, where Luigi recognizes Mario for his "confident silence."
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Bobby, one of Mario's partners, uses his late friend's fuse to detonate the boulder Olly dropped on Olivia. And contrary to what you would expect, this is not a Disney Death; he comes back as a ghost to confirm it.
    • Olivia folds her brother's body into the 1,000th origami crane and wishes to undo all of his origami, which includes her.
  • He Was Right There All Along: It turns out that the key to Peach's Castle that Luigi had been searching for this entire game was stuck in his kart the whole time. And for some time too according to Bowser, as it had apparently been hampering Luigi's kart-racing abilities.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: The unit used to measure the output of Boot Cars is Yoshis, the equivalent to horsepower.
  • Human Cannonball: Will happen to Mario if he gives a wrong answer during the Sudden Death round of the Shy Guys Finish Last quiz show. The cannon he's in will launch him straight to a Non Standard Game Over.
  • Implausible Deniability: The Shangri-Spa's Spring of Jungle Mist is therapeutic, but has the unfortunate side-effect of draining the bather of color, as Bowser Jr. finds out during the quest to restore him after being attacked by Scissors. If you return to the spring, the Shy Guy and Spike staff members have lost their color and the Toad overseer is upset, but the staff roundly deny bathing in the spring despite it being extremely clear that they did.
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: Many Collectible Treasures are found in chests even when the chests seem out-of-place: examples include a floating island, an underground temple, the bottom of the ocean, and an icy mountain.
  • Implied Death Threat: When you get to the fourth floor of the Overlook Tower, directly before fighting the Colored Pencils, there is a drawing of an 8-bit Mario "lose-a-life" sprite scrawled on the floor.
  • Incredibly Lame Fun: A Spike, Bone Goomba, and Sombrero Guy all hang out on Autumn Mountain for a "canned food par-tay". They eat canned ravioli and tuna, and have a great time doing it.
  • Innocently Insensitive:
    • The first area after the opening, the Whispering Woods, shows problems caused by the Toads' lumber-gathering of wood from the living, sapient trees that live there. This is noteworthy in that, while Toads have always been whimsical, impulsive, and not entirely all there, this is the first time it's been directly addressed that those seemingly-harmless qualities can lead to trouble. This very concept ends up being important later on, being central to Olly's true motivations.
    • After Olivia is freed from the boulder, she enters a Heroic BSoD and runs into Breezy Tunnel. On the way to find her, Mario can talk to some Monty Moles who mentions a giant boulder being destroyed and don't really care how it happened as long as they can find something for Bowser. Here's the thing: the boulder was destroyed via Bobby's Heroic Sacrifice and Olivia was running away after realizing that Bobby is pretty much dead. To add insult to injury, two of the trophies found in the same area are the Giant Boulder and Important Box… which is coming up just after Bobby's death.
  • Interface Spoiler: If you have the Toad Alert equipped, it also starts ringing while fighting the Paper Macho Gooper Blooper and Mega Pokey, spoiling that you're going to free Toads trapped inside them after you defeat them.
  • Invisible Block: Surprisingly, a major mechanic in this game. Each area has a tracker for how many ? Blocks you've hit, counting the hidden ones, and finding invisible blocks rewards you with coins or collectible treasures. There's a beeping radar and an alert sound for finding the blocks if you get stuck.
  • Irony: That annoying scribble that caused Olly to lash out against all Toads? It was just a simple wish for Olly to become a good ruler. Even Olly finds it to be tragically hilarious when he realizes.
  • Item Get!: Mario proudly holds up the item, complete with a musical fanfare and a "You got it!" message, when collecting one. Even if it's something like a baseball, a straw, or a can of tuna.
  • It's All Upstairs from Here: The challenge of Overlook Tower is reaching the top of it. The segment includes problems like a kitchen infested with Goombas, a broken elevator, and pencil missiles raining down.
  • Journey to the Sky: The Great Sea segment focuses chiefly on Mario completing a series of puzzles needed to unlock the Sea Tower, followed by ascending it in order to reach Shangri-Spa, an earthly paradise/spa resort mix floating high up in the sky.
  • Jungle Japes: The path to the Spring of Jungle Mist in Shangri-Spa winds through an area of thick tropical forest home to Piranha Plants, their smaller Nipper relatives, and giant bees. After that, it climbs up a gigantic tree and becomes more of a Tree Trunk Tour.
  • Jump Scare:
    • Discovering the Mini-Goomba infestation in Overlook Tower's restaurant has one of them fly into the camera, complete with scream.
    • Look through one of the telescopes on Overlook Tower and you'll be greeted with a Toad's face taking up the entire view. This serves as a hint to the Toad stuck on the telescope, but if you're observant or have the Toad Alert, you'll probably notice it earlier.
    • In the Temple of Shrooms, a group of tied-up Toads suddenly drops down from the ceiling in one hallway.
  • Killed Off for Real: By the end of the game, Bobby, Olly, and Olivia have all bitten the dust, with the latter two even going Deader Than Dead.
  • King Incognito: Olly infiltrates Peach's Castle while disguised as an ordinary yellow Shy Guy.
  • Knights and Knaves: Diamond Island's Trial of Wisdom has a variant with three players. The goal is to determine the liar, and each of the three will make a different claim. The question is different each time you go through it.
  • Lampshade Hanging: One of the folded Toads comments on how he was waiting for "someone to hit everything with a hammer" to save him, referencing the likely trial-and-error process players will go through to find Toads.
  • Last Lousy Point: There are 100% completion bonuses for covering the Not-Bottomless Holes, saving Toads, grabbing Collectible Treasures, and hitting ? Blocks. (Yes, four completion gauges for each area of the map!)
  • Lethal Lava Land:
    • The Fire Vellumental Cave, where the eponymous elemental bird resides, is a fiery dungeon filled with rivers of lava crossed by narrow pathways (some of which collapse under as you walk over them), fire-breathing statues, and fire-slinging Hammer Bros.
    • Hotfoot Crater, although visited only briefly, is a volcanic cavern featuring lava pits that will instantly kill Mario should he fall in them (instead of simply taking off a chunk of health like other pitfall traps) and Lava Bubbles that will leap onto the safe ridges the player must climb to leave the area.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Bobby wants to befriend a Spiny, until Olivia warns him that it's made of origami and thus is dangerous. By this logic, Bobby reasons that the paper-mache enemies are not dangerous, ramming himself into one and proceeding to get knocked off a bridge.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Bowser declares this after he finally gets unfolded.
  • Limited Loadout: Mario can only hold a certain amount of weapons at once, and only three boots and hammers each can be equipped for battle. Additionally, you can only use two misc accessories (out of 6) at a time.
  • Long Song, Short Scene:
    • Sweetpaper Valley has not one, but two overworld themes. All for a section of the game that comprises a short walk with no enemies and whose music is quickly replaced upon entering the mine and exiting the other side.
    • The third phase of the final battle has its own theme that plays for 2 minutes and 15 seconds before looping...even though said phase is just one puzzle with a 40-second time limit. Even with all of the quick-time events that hamper your progress, a player that beats it on the first try likely won't hear all of it.
  • Lost in Translation: One joke in Shangri-Spa is that there are two Toad statues in the lobby: one labeled "Shan" and the other "Gri-spa." This doesn't make sense if you don't know what the original intent of the joke is. In the Japanese version, these are captioned "Ten-kun" and "Ku-chan", with the honorifics making it more clear that these are the characters' names. It's also a pun on "Tenkku", the Japanese word for "Heaven."
  • The Lost Woods: The Whispering Woods, the first area in the game, are filled with living trees and home to Grandsappy, an extremely old tree with the power to trap people forever in the forest if he so wishes — if he does, then all paths you take will lead you back to the center of the forest. There's also a magical spring there that will revitalize and renew whatever is dipped into it.
  • Maximum HP Reduction: Hole Punch can punch out parts of Mario's body, lowering his maximum HP. Mario can get Hole Punch to cough up the pieces after attacking it and grab these holes again on the arena to increase his maximum HP, and it gets fully restored after the fight whether the pieces were grabbed in the fight or not.
  • Memento MacGuffin: After Sweetpaper Valley, Bobby encourages Mario to go to the Princess Peach to recover a valuable item that can save Olivia. This turns out to be the fuse of his deceased best friend, and he puts it on himself and blows up the boulder.
  • Metal Detector Puzzle: In Scorching Sandpaper Desert, Professor Toad's ability is to dig up spots in the ground. Most of these dig spots are marked by glowing dots, but a few have to be spotted from conspicuous features, and the gems for the desert towers are buried in places that probably won't be found without the riddles written within the towers.
  • Metal Slime: Mechakoopas don't appear on the overworld, instead having a random chance of entering any other enemy battle. They have above-average health, especially for when you can first encounter one, and if one survives Mario's turn, it has a high chance of fleeing. Defeating one is worth your time, though, as doing so gives you a neat 1000-coin sack after the battle.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Bobby the Bob-omb's treatment throughout his arc is much different narratively, in relation to other Bob-ombs. As Bobby spends a chapter getting acquainted with Mario and Olivia, it's quite a shock when he decides to sacrifice himself in order to save Olivia on the idea that his death will make an impact. So much so that Mario and Olivia go through a moment of grieving before continuing their adventure. Later in the game, when flying on Bowser's airship towards Peach's Castle, Olivia briefly meets other Bob-ombs who echo Bobby's sentiments of making an impact, but without Bobby's characterization, are treated as literal ammo that Mario fires out of a cannon and explode unceremoniously. Olivia has to convince herself that it's just nice to see Bobby again and not mind it much.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: The Toads who were folded into animal shapes gained a full set of animal instincts while in those forms — including against their wishes in some occasions, as noted by a Toad-turned-cicada who notes that he was being driven crazy by the noise he felt compelled to constantly make. Notably, several retain animal mannerisms after being unfolded, such as former Toad-turned-dog who barks and growls in his speech and several former Toads-turned-butterflies who keep running around while flapping their hands.
  • Missing Secret:
    • If you return to the Whispering Woods, there's a tree that says, "I know you're busy, but if you ever come back, I've got some stuff I want thrown in that spring..." This ultimately amounts to nothing, because the tree never actually gives you what he wants you to put in the spring, nor tells you what it is.
    • The Boot Car is shown as "Boot Car Type B" in its intro cutscene, along with various stats. This may lead you to believe that you can upgrade your Boot Car or buy a better one, but returning to Toad's Automoboots doesn't let you buy anything and you don't end up learning what Type A could be. What makes this weirder is that the boat vehicle in the next streamer area can be upgraded with a faster motor, by the same Toad no less.
    • Even after you've seen all the graffiti in Graffiti Underground, Olivia still says that there could be more if you come back later, although you've beaten the game and there's nothing left to do.
  • Money for Nothing: Zigzagged. Between ? Blocks, defeating enemies, and patching up Not-Bottomless Holes, the game throws Coins at you by the hundreds, but there are just as many ways to burn through them, such as paying the Toad audience in battles for health and puzzle assistance, expanding the ring puzzle timer, and purchasing expensive items and accessories. However, the Toads are less helpful during boss battles, and battles don't give you anything besides coins and confetti. Shops also aren't immediately available and all but the first one require you to go out of your way to unlock them.
  • Monster Compendium: The Origami Character Gallery has interactive 3D models, names, and descriptions for every enemy you fight.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The Legion of Stationery are a villainous example. On the surface, they're just art and office supplies come to life (a box of colored pencils, a tape dispenser, a hole punch, etc). However, the havoc they cause in the world of Paper Mario has been shown to have devastating effects. Stapler is responsible for locking Bowser's minions into Folded Soldier forms, Hole Punch stole the sun in Scorching Sandpaper Desert along with an entire town's worth of Toads and their faces, and Scissors utterly annihilates Bowser's army thanks to being a Man of Kryptonite.
  • Mythology Gag: Many, as usual for a Paper Mario title.
  • Never Say "Die": The word is never really said. but Olivia eventually puts two and two together as to what happened to Bobby.
  • New World Tease: When Olivia is crushed under a rock by Olly, Bobby decides the only way to help her is to go back to the cruise ship named The Princess Peach and get his best friend's fuse. To do this, Mario and him find a boat and go out to the ship. The sea you are on will constitute the majority of the Purple Streamer arc, but you can't break that streamer yet due to a fog, and you only gain the ability to clear the fog after you break the yellow streamer.
  • The Night That Never Ends: The Scorching Sandpaper Desert is stuck in perpetual, undead-haunted nighttime because the sun is missing. Once Mario defeats Hole Punch, who's been using the sun for a disco ball, the desert goes back to its normal daylit, scorching state.
  • Ninja Log: Hammer a Ninji and it replaces itself with a log, then counterattacks Mario. Ninjis have to be defeated with items or Boots instead.
  • No Bulk Discounts: Averted. Mushrooms, Shiny Mushrooms, Fire Flowers, and Ice Flowers can be bought in groups for a cheaper price than buying them individually. Additionally, spending enough coins in one shopping session gives you the Membership Card accessory, which gives you a discount on all store items when equipped. Spending even more upgrades the Membership Card for better discounts.
  • Non Lethal Bottomless Pit: One of the game's main mechanics. Everywhere in the game world, there are bottomless pits that you can fill with confetti. Falling in one is not much more than a slap on the wrist, as they cause seven HP of damage and just inexplicably throw you out again.
  • No Ontological Inertia: After a member of the Legion of Stationery is defeated, all the damage they've done is reversed. This includes Stapler, the reason the Folded Soldiers are immune to Beat the Curse Out of Him, meaning that all the Folded Soldiers are freed after you defeat that boss.
  • Now, Where Was I Going Again?: The game works to avert this by letting you ask Olivia for advice, and she gives you a quick reminder of what you have to do next.
  • Ocean of Adventure: The first half of the Purple Streamer chapter, the Great Sea, is set in a stretch of ocean bordering Toad Town that Mario has to sail through and explore to reach the Sea Tower on its far side. The Sea is dotted with many small islands that can explored, in addition to clusters of rocky reefs, wandering whales and money-dropping swordfish, and secret spots where the player can dive to find sunken treasure.
  • One-Hit Kill: Should you be unfortunate enough to get hit by Scissors' Final Cut, or jump on their unsheathed blades, Mario is sliced in two, resulting in a Game Over unless you have a 1-Up Mushroom. Additionally, the very last phase of King Olly's battle contains an attack where he can slice Mario into two if he fails to dodge, just like Scissors.
  • One-Woman Wail: This can be heard as part of the standard battle music for the Green Streamer area.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Mario, who usually takes dangers in stride (save moments of surprise) and doesn't speak much, flips out when he realizes that Bobby lit his friend's fuse so he can detonate himself to save Olivia from underneath a boulder. Afterwards, he is so depressed that when Olivia asks where Bobby is, he can't bring himself to look at her.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The Toads with missing faces are rather zombie-like in behavior since they can't speak and they walk with their arms outstretched. Fortunately, they aren't hostile towards anyone and they can't spread their condition.
  • Overly Long Name: Colored Pencils is actually called Jean-Pierre Colored Pencils the 12th. Olivia opts to just call him Colored Pencils.
  • Painting the Medium:
    • Colored Pencils' text is rainbow colored, making him standout from the rest of the cast and to reference him being multiple pencils in one case.
    • Folded Soldiers have their text written in shaky letters.
    • When you're at the jungle spring at the Shangri-Spa, after taking one dip, Bowser Jr. goes back in again, and when he remerges, he has lost all of his color. The sight of this startles Kamek so much that he shouts an empty text box. He then claims that "all the color drained from my typeface just now".
  • Parrot Exposition: In Shogun Studios, a staff member notices the key to Big Sho' Theater is missing, and shouts with increasing drama: "The key! It's gone! The key is gone!" Olivia replies with the same mounting drama: "The key? It's gone? The key is gone?!" Bobby quips that they don't have to shout like that.
  • Permanently Missable Content: A couple of special banners appear in the game's ending, but these can be permanently unobtainable on a save file if the player gets a Game Over or uses any battle accessories. The no Game Over achievement can be particularly frustrating, as the game will autosave whenever the Game Over screen appears to prevent Save Scumming.
  • Pixel Hunt: The hunt for Diamond Island in order to take down the Purple Streamer is a downplayed example. The "success zone" for the triggering dive is fairly large, but it can still be hard to determine even once you figure out the clue is "draw a plus-shape between the four marked islands; it lies at the center where the two lines meet", since the target area is an expanse of empty ocean with no other landmarks.
  • Pop Quiz: The Trial of Wisdom has Mario answer true-or-false questions. Some of these are about in-game information, such as the drawings on Overlook Tower and the largest location in Shogun Studios, while others are Stock Lateral Thinking Puzzles. It closes off with a Knights and Knaves segment.
  • Power-Up Magnet: Confetti can be collected if Mario goes close to it. The Confetti Vacuum accessory adds a passive bonus that allows him to collect it from further away.
  • Pressure Plate:
    • To open the Water Vellumental Shrine, Mario has to guide Bobby to a pressure plate out front. Pressing the plate isn't the hard part, it's getting Bobby there because he keeps getting lost along the way.
    • The Temple of Shrooms has a pressure plate puzzle, where you have to show Professor Toad the backward writing above one plate, which, despit trying to be coded instructions telling him to stay there, instead confuses him into staying put anyway while he tries to translate, unaware it's written backward. While he's distracted, you can stand on the other plate.
  • Punny Name: Both Olivia and Olly's names are based on the first two syllables in "origami", puns that are Lost in Translation.
  • Puzzle Reset: In the Ice Vellumental Mountain, if you mess up an ice-tile snow path puzzle, all you have to do is step into a small room next to it and exit. All the snow you broke on the path is suddenly back and you can try again.
  • Repeat Cut: Used for dramatic effect, the scene where Bobby sacrifices himself by blowing up a large rock crushing Olivia, while a frantic Mario runs towards him to try and stop him, is repeated 3 times from different angles.
  • Replay Mode: In the Battle Lab, Mario can refight bosses he has already defeated. His health and gear are reset to what is appropriate for the fight, and there's a timer that encourages beating the boss as fast as you can. The battles are slightly harder due to the removal of the "cheer" function, which means players won't be able to pay for health or a pathway visualization on the arena, and the inability to use accessories that increase HP, reduce damage, and extend time.
  • Reused Character Design: Many Toads are re-used from Paper Mario: Color Splash.
    • The green Toad with sunglasses in the Earth Vellumental Temple is identical to the one that runs the Mustard Cafe in CS.
    • The mechanic that sells the Boot Car is identical to CS's Sunset Express conductor.
    • The chef Toad at Overlook Tower is the same as the one in Tangerino Grill in CS.
    • In the Temple of Shrooms, there's a DJ-ing purple Toad with sunglasses, who is identical to the lighthouse keeper on Lighthouse Island in CS.
    • The colored Toads you arrange while playing Speed Rings are actually the Rescue Squad from CS. However, the sprites used are for the squad captains, who are singular characters, not the generic members.
    • Bizarrely, there's one prop that gets repeated verbatim. The ancient-style oil panting of a Toad present in the mansion of Toad Town can be found in Daffodil Peak in Color Splash.
  • Rubber Man:
    • Mario gets accordion-like arms that can stretch and alter the environment called the "1,000-Fold Arms".
    • One of the Legion of Stationery, Rubber Band, is not only a literal Rubber Man, but two of their attacks involve them either stretching their arms back to snap Mario with immense force, or encasing him in a rubber band and then pull-and-snapping that rubber band to knock him head over heels. This is also their biggest weakness, since the only way to defeat them is exploit their stretchiness by first using the 1,000-Fold Arms to pull their hair and snap it back to launch their outer rubber bands off the arena, and later to launch their large main band to finish them off.
  • Rule of Three: The beefed-up Paper Macho enemies on Scuffle Island all have three stickers each, and must be hit three times to remove them and make them vulnerable.
  • Running Gag:
    • Olly disposes of his enemies by sealing them in walls under layers of paper or cardboard. Without fail, each character trapped in this way misinterprets their situation as being "trapped between dimensions".
    • Luigi's tireless quest to find the key to Peach's Castle results in him showing up once per streamer area 110% convinced that he finally found it, only for it to turn out to be a completely different key entirely. Of course, the keys he keeps giving you are always vitally important to your quest anyway, which Olivia picks up on by the fourth time or so.
    • Olivia continually treats Kamek as a groundskeeper after meeting him put to work sweeping at Shangri-Spa. Kamek eventually gives up correcting her and comes to see himself as groundskeeper, becoming invested in the management and eventually saying he resigns in frustration when the Spring of Jungle Mist proves very obstructive. And even when he's done and boards Bowser's airship, telling Olivia he's not the groundskeeper there too… he still concedes that the ship could use some cleaning.
    • At the Spring of Jungle Mist in Shangri-Spa, there are multiple branching paths, and Kamek and Olivia (and later, Bowser Jr. too) have different opinions on which path to take. Ultimately, it's proven that Kamek is always correct and Olivia is always wrong, with Olivia's paths leading to dead ends and enemy attacks. Kamek explains it as knowing that Bowser has always ignored his advice and failed, so he must always have the right idea.
  • Save Point: Saving the game can only be done at Save Blocks around the world. Thankfully, these are rather common. If you're about to fight a boss, Olivia will encourage you to save before continuing.
  • Scam Religion: The Earth Vellumental Temple contains "exhibits" that are clearly scams (a random rock claiming to look like the Earth Vellumental, a show of lights, a footprint), and the Koopas continue to pray and donate to it. Deeper into the temple, a green sunglasses-wearing Toad admits that he invented it solely to get money.
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • One of the trailers showcases the Toad rescue sidequest. If you listen to the narrator, you can tell even he is getting tired of all the Toads.
    • When Olly reveals all of the atrocities he committed were to just get revenge on the Toad that wrote on him, Olivia questions why Olly decided to go after every Toad in the kingdom rather than just that one. Olly angrily shouts that every Toad looks the same to him so it doesn't matter, echoing a common fan criticism of the most recent Paper Mario games, which traded out the series' previously unique-looking NPC's for palette-swapped Toads. Although the fact that this complaint is coming from the bad guy has caused some people to interpret it as a Take That, Critics! instead.
    • One of the Toads you rescue tries endless to climb up a cliff, and complains that he thought he had more stamina than this, but at least it isn't raining.
    • After beating Scissors, a Hammer Bro outside will congratulate you, saying that the achievement is so astonishing that people will write a book on it, and then a movie that everyone will hate. Mario hasn't been the subject of acclaimed literature, but it has been the basis for a panned movie.
    • Upon reaching Peach's Castle before it turns into the Origami Castle, trying to open the door on the right will have it locked. Bowser calls the developers cowards and demands that they patch the room in.
    • Olivia refers to a "random unnamed staff-member Toad" in Shogun Studios.
  • Sequel Non-Entity: This is the first modern Paper Mario game where Petey Piranha is a no-show.
  • Sequential Boss: The final boss fight against Olly consists of three phases, each of them with its own gimmick.
    • Mirror Boss: In the first phase, Olly fights by shapeshifting into the Vellumentals and uses all their attacks, just like Olivia.
    • Ring-Out Boss: In the second phase, an enlarged Olly fights against Bowser (turned into a giant origami by Olivia), and Mario must help the former push the latter over the edge of the arena.
    • Puzzle Boss: In the third phase, Mario must use the ring arena to unscramble the Magic Circle for Olivia's final attack, all while avoiding the attacks of an even bigger Olly. The final phase is also a Time-Limit Boss, as a purple toxic fog slowly advances towards the center of the arena. If it reaches Mario, it's Game Over.
    • The last two note  Stationery bosses, Tape and Scissors, also have two phases. Tape loses their dispenser, but gains a tearoff-ring and starts sticking the arena together, and Scissors unsheathes their blade after losing a third of their health, assuming you didn't break it yourself.
  • Serial Escalation:
    • The status of Mario's partners throughout the modern series. Sticker Star has Kersti briefly dead, but brought back to life in the end and Color Splash has Huey go off to get rid of the black paint and only return in the 100% ending, but with the implication that he's alive and well. Origami King ends with not one, but two partners (Olivia and Bobby) permanently dead with no implication of them ever coming back.
    • Princess Peach's state is also more dire with each game. In Sticker Star, she was taped up but in no real danger, in Color Splash, she had her color drained but was able to be repainted, while in Origami King, she's made one of the Folded Soldiers at the start and by the end is made part of the castle, unable to be restored without a wish.
  • Series Continuity Error: According to Bowser Jr, Bowser has never taken a bath. The final boss battle of Super Mario Sunshine, which is also Bowser Jr's debut, is Bowser and Bowser Jr in a hot tub.
  • Shaped Like Itself: Captain T. Ode names all the islands on the Great Sea after their shape. "That's definitely a Mushroom. Only one choice here... Mushroom Island." The only exceptions are the skull-shaped Bonehead Island and square-shaped Scuffle Island.
  • She's a Man in Japan: Hole Punch, Scissors, and Stapler are females in the Italian translation, since all those items are referred to with female pronouns in Italian.
  • Shifting Sand Land: Most of chapter 3 takes place in the Scorching Sandpaper Desert, a very extensive desert zone split between multiple sub-areas, consists of a tremendous expanse of empty dunes dotted with cacti and ancient ruins and populated by Toads turned into scorpions and desert beetles, cactus enemies and the walking dead. Despite the name, it's actually quite chilly — abnormally so, as the sun was literally plucked out of its sky and replaced with a black, empty hole. Returning the daystar to its proper place and restoring the desert's naturally scorching climate is a major point of this section of the game.
  • Shockwave Stomp: Paper Macho Gooper Blooper slams its tentacle arms on the deck of the boat, which create a small shockwave that damages Mario.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sigil Spam: King Olly plasters an insignia of his face everywhere: on the pieces of tape that frequently seal off Doors to Before, on the stickers that power the Paper Macho enemies which must be attacked and knocked off before you can deal damage to them, and stamped into the body of every member of the Legion of Stationery.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The Ice Vellumental Mountain, a frozen complex of chambers and passages lined with slippery ice that will cause Mario to slide a short distance even after he stops moving, containing multiple puzzles based on sliding slabs of ice around a room, and populated by ice-based enemies weak to fire-based attacks.
  • Sound Test: The museum's sound gallery fills up as Mario fills in holes around the world. If he repairs all the holes in an area, the music that plays there is unlocked in the sound gallery.
  • Stock Lateral Thinking Puzzle: The Trial of Wisdom has Mario decide whether certain statements are true or false, leading to two such thinking puzzles:
    • "Twelve passengers are riding a bus. If five of them get off at their stops, seven people will remain on the bus." The answer is false. "There must be a driver on the bus as well, so eight people will remain...not seven."
    • "One ton of iron is heavier than one ton of cotton." The answer is false: "One ton equals one ton. The density of the individual materials does not matter."
  • Surprise Creepy: The paper-themed horrors are disarmingly effective in their context. Combine with an unexpectedly mature story, and a lot of players were caught off-guard.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: The Fire Vellumental and Tape use tactics Cast from Hit Points, using pieces of their bodies to create obstructions on the battlefield and sacrificing health with them. Defeating the Fire Vellumental is a matter of waiting until most of its feathers (and thus, hit points) are off its body so you can finish it in one attack of the 1,000-Fold Arms. (If an Arms attack can't finish it in one go, it recalls all of its feathers and health and the fight basically starts over.) Tape uses their pieces to stick the battlefield together. Burning the tape off with Olivia's Fire Vellumental power not only opens up movement, but eliminates all the hit points they put down onto the arena in the form of their pieces. Rubber Band is an aversion, since they recalls the rubber bands and HP they puts down after every turn and the bands can't be cleared directly off the arena, only reduced from Rubber Band's body.
  • Temple of Doom: The Vellumentals' temples and the Sea Tower are a series of mazelike dungeons that Mario must navigate to find and battle the elemental spirit resting at its deepest point, and will hamper his progress with complex puzzles, pits filled with sharp spikes or burning lava, and a variety of ancient but perfectly functional stone deathtraps — including, of course, the classic giant rolling ball.
  • Tennis Boss: Paper Macho Stone Spikes require Mario to bat their rocks back at them with his hammer, which knocks them over and allows Mario to approach them and knock off their stickers without fear of being smashed.
  • The Burlesque of Venus: A Toad you rescue from a giant clamshell poses like this when it opens.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: Several origami'd Toads act like the forms they've been folded into, such as a dog barking with a Chain-Chomp, a monkey engaging in, well, monkey business... and one Toad who is freaked out and confused when restored from a swan because he doesn't know how to swim.
  • The Worm That Walks: In spirit, if not quite in letter. The boss-monster Rubber Band is a mass of rubber bands in a vaguely humanoid shape, where each band can be controlled as an extension of themselves. This makes attacking them with normal methods futile, because they simply recall any bands displaced by the attack. Likewise, at the end of their turn, they reabsorb any rubber bands still left on the battlefield, reclaiming the HP they put down in the form of the bands. The trick is to use the 1000-Fold Arms to snap their hair, which catapults rubber bands off of them and off the battlefield, so they can't reabsorb them.
  • Throw the Mook at Them: A rare enemy example. Many enemies, including winged enemies, Ptooie Piranhas, and Bro-type Koopas, can throw or drop other enemies for good damage. The projectile enemy is always defeated by the attack, however, regardless of its HP.
  • Tier System: Works for weapons and items. For Boots, Hammers, and Iron Boots, the progression goes normal, Shiny, Flashy, Legendary — each one does more damage than the last. The Tail, Hurlhammer, Fire Flower, and Ice Flowers only get Shiny upgrades, while Mushrooms have both Shiny and Flashy versions.
  • Tom the Dark Lord: The one who turned Peach and Bowser's minions into origami figurines and aims to do the same thing to the rest of the world is an evil king named Olly, a name much more befitting a young boy. This makes more sense, however, when you learn of his origins.
  • Totally Radical: In the Temple of Shrooms, DJ Toad is demanded to play music that Hole Punch will like. Hole Punch speaks with outdated slang, and so DJ Toad isn't sure what he actually wants.
    DJ Toad: This guy is such a weirdo! He keeps asking for "groovy" music to "cut a rug" to. Do I look like I'm 100 years old? I'm a DJ, man! I have no idea what that means!
  • Tradesnark™: In the English version, Mario "agrees" to the terms and conditions of a "Not-a-Lease Lease™" by obtaining the Boot Car and its whistle and is specifically told that there's "no need to read or understand the details" of it.
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: When folding him, the Origami Craftsman wrote "Dearest Olly, may you become a fair and kind king." on the paper that comprises Olly's body. When Olly saw the message, he couldn't read it, mistook it for vandalism, and invaded the Mushroom Kingdom prior to the Origami Festival to gather materials to fold 1000 origami cranes, all to wipe out the entire Toad species. Had Olly asked someone to read the "scribbles" before he went flying off the handle, the entire plot would have never happened. He actually does have the message read to him… by Olivia… while he is dying… as a result of all the atrocities he committed. Having his paper folded into the thousandth crane to undo all of his handiwork was his idea of penance in the end.
  • The Trees Have Faces: The living trees in the Whispering Woods are shown to almost all have eyes, with the Sap Sisters in particular having womanly physiques and armlike branches. They are led by Ol' Grandsappy, a large stump with a mustachioed face who can open paths for Mario in the woods despite otherwise being immobile.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Luigi's trip through Shogun Studios doesn't go well. He is threatened by a Chain Chomp, runs into the House of Tricky Ninjas and is promptly ambushed, falls into the staff room and gets stuck in the gears, and in the end, the one thing he was after wasn't even what he wanted.
  • Tree Trunk Tour: The second part of the path to the Spring of Jungle Mist climbs up and around the trunk of an immense tree, over which Mario, Olivia and Kamek must pick their way through a chain of narrow platforms and rope ladders. They're intermittently chased by a gigantic Chain Chomp during this trip, and eventually lose it by swinging across to another tree and letting the beast plummet to its doom.
  • Turns Red: Stapler, the penultimate story boss, uses regular staples as weapons at the beginning of the fight. After one third of the fight, it reloads with red ones that cause more damage. After two thirds, it reloads with golden ones that cause even more damage and pose a serious threat.
  • A Twinkle in the Sky: If Mario gets blown away after losing the Sudden Death round of the Shy Guys Finish Last quiz show, he will fly through the skies, with a short twinkle effect.
  • Underground Level:
    • In the red streamer area is Graffiti Underground, a sewer beneath Toad Town. You fight Scaredy Rats and batlike Swoops here.
    • The Temple of Shrooms is an underground area in the Scorching Sandpaper Desert, infested by spiders and Dry Bones.
  • The Unfought: This is notably the only Mario RPG so far where Bowser is never fought under any circumstances. Folded Princess Peach also shows up several times, but is unfought. The Paper Macho Chain Chomp at the Spring of Jungle Mist is an odd example. It's permanently defeated by luring it off the floating island when Mario and co. swing on the rope to the hot spring, but it's not actually battled like any other Paper Macho enemy.
  • Unique Enemy:
    • There's only one encounter with Shoe Goombas: in Breezy Tunnel, right after you get the Boot Car. Since this battle is optional, and you may end up running over the Goomba with the Boot Car instead, it's very easy to miss this enemy the first time.
    • Chargin' Chucks only appear in one scripted battle in Shangri-Spa. After defeating them, you won't fight them again in that playthrough.
  • Useless Item: The Donkey Kong and Samus masks at Shogun Studios. Mario picks them up, and they remain in his inventory, doing absolutely nothing besides providing a Company Cross References joke. You are given two prompts to use them, but they turn out to be the wrong choice: the Goomba mask must be used in both instances.
  • Variable Mix: The normal battle themes for all six areas (as well as the four Vellumental Temples) mostly use the same melody, but with slight alterations and different compositions. Interestingly, there's also a Variable Mix inside a Variable Mix; the battle themes themselves have variants for when Mario is lining up the rings, when he's at low HP, and after an unsuccessful attempt at fleeing.
  • Victory Fakeout: In the battle against Tape, after you destroyed their dispenser, the battle seems to be over, all with Mario's winning animation... before they return from above for the second phase, much to the surprise of Olivia and Mario. Partially subverted, as the boss fight music theme does not stop while this is happening.
  • Video Game Caring Potential:
    • When Mario is exiting the Earth Vellumental Temple, he comes across a Koopa near the entrance who likes to see the colours of the "Temple Origins" display light up, but he already spent all his coins, so he can't anymore. If Mario chooses to power up the attraction again, he doesn't get any bonus reward for it, but the Koopa is overjoyed and thanks Mario for letting him see it again.
    • During the big battle against the Folded Soldiers occupying Bowser's Castle, you can take out the Folded Soldiers some of the minions are locked in combat with. They'll all thank Mario after the battle's over, and if he manages to avoid attacking any of them, some of them will reward him with a 1000-coin sack.
  • Visual Pun: The Legion of Stationery, a group of sentient office supplies that stay in the middle of the arena. In other words, they're a group of stationary stationery.
  • Warp Whistle: There are two means of fast travel in this game:
    • An art piece in Musée Champignon consists of a group of Warp Pipes with the other ends at major locations far away from Toad Town. They're even numbered in the order Mario reaches these locations and share the same colors as the streamers they're associated with.
    • The fax-like devices at the Sensor Lab's satellite offices can all teleport Mario to the central office in Picnic Road, which in turn can send Mario to any of the other satellite offices (or back to the same one if you wish). All of the Toads running the other offices, however, got their heads stuck in the fax machines, and their doors had been destroyed into Not-Bottomless Holes.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Colored Pencils, the first of The Legion of Stationery and the second boss you'll fight. His battle assumes you have the boss ring puzzle form down, with multiple panels being marked with dangerous colored pencil targets. His weak points are also harder to reach than the previous boss. There's also the fact that this is the first boss battle to feature an "ON" panel that activates any Magic Circle panels on the arena, meaning you have to create a path to not only attack his weak points, but to cross the "ON" panel as well in order to activate the 1,000-Fold Arms Magic Circle.
  • Wallet of Holding: Mario can hold tens of thousands of gold coins in his pockets.
  • Wants a Prize for Basic Decency: Despite having crashed Bowser's castle onto Shangri-Spa, indebting himself and the Koopa Troop to years of humiliating manual labor, Kamek still whines about how he doesn't get any respect and that Bowser should trust him more.
  • The War Sequence: Kamek rallies Bowser's troops in Shangri-Spa to storm and reclaim Bowser's Castle from the Folded Soldiers, leading to a massive battle in the castle's grand hall. If Mario engages any of the Folded Soldiers in battle proper, the friendly minions will be mixed in on the battlefield too. They don't get hurt by Mario's attacks, and leave the battlefield if the enemies aren't defeated in one round.
  • We Can Rule Together: Olly offers an opportunity for Mario to join him the first time they meet near the start of the game. However, if the player accepts said offer, Olly only says he won't fall for Mario's "trick" instead of hitting the player with a Non Standard Game Over.
  • Wham Episode:
    • While on the way to the yellow streamer, Mario and Bobby end up going onto an abandoned cruise liner to find an item Bobby claims can save Olivia from being trapped under the boulder Olly crushed her with. Once Mario beats a boss, the item is found — it's a Bob-omb fuse. Bobby is noticeably missing his. This is a Red Herring, though, as the fuse isn't Bobby's, but rather his late friend's, which Bobby kept as a memento. After a speech revealing his true backstory (Bobby was attacked on the aforementioned cruise ship and washed up in Toad Town without his fuse or his memory), Bobby then dons the fuse and proceeds to blow himself up, destroying the rock and freeing Olivia. Even Mario is flailing around in panic when he realizes what Bobby wants to do, and it isn't a Disney Death. Bobby is Killed Off for Real.
    • On Mushroom Island, Mario and Luigi learn a lot about Olivia and Olly's origins. The Origami Craftsman is a Toad who crafted Olly and Olivia as part of an Origami Castle display for the Origami Festival. The craftsman intended Olly to be a good king, only to be betrayed and trapped in the wall. Olly then folded Olivia using the forbidden Fold of Life technique. The Legion of Stationery are also mentioned in a book of origami tools, explaining that they came from the craftsman's origami desk.
  • Wham Line: With Olly defeated, his final request is for his sister to read the "scribbling" that caused him to become such a menace. Olivia reads:
    "Dearest Olly, may you grow into a fair and kind king."
  • Who Wants to Be "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?": The game in Snif City where you need to determine the shopkeeper's mood is visibly structured like the show, including the music and stings, the four answer interface, the need to confirm your answer, the long pauses with camera cuts and zooms...
  • Whole Plot Reference: The Great Ocean segment is one to The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker — besides the marine exploration angle and filling in a map divided into a grid pattern as you discover islands, the segment's story focuses on mapping out a geometric series of islands (the card suit square here, matching a Triforce shape made by plot-relevant islands in The Wind Waker) to find a hidden, sunken dungeon in its precise center, passing tests of Power, Wisdom, and Courage in a red, blue, and green temple, and obtaining colored pearls of the same shades (the three colored orbs to the three Goddess Pearls) which are then used to unlock the final dungeon.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Despite Origami Peach and Folded Bowser being seen as quite prominent in the trailers and the box art, both of them end up only appearing during the very beginning and the endgame. Bowser plays a much bigger part in the final chapter than Peach, though.
  • The Worf Effect: Olly folds Bowser into a square, brainwashes Princess Peach, and turns several of Bowser's minions into mindless origami soldiers, thus showing how dangerous and powerful he is.
  • Work Off the Debt: During the Green Streamer, you find Bowser's castle has crashed into the banquet hall in Shangri-Spa, apparently without a reservation. To get back at Bowser and his minions, the Toads in this area slap them with several fees that they must pay off by basically doing janitorial work around the place.
  • You All Look Familiar: Played for Drama. Olly despises his creator for daring to soil his “perfection” by writing on him. Since said creator is one of the infamously identical nameless Toads, Olly couldn’t tell him apart from any others. The frustration of seeing the face of his hated creator everywhere, but being unable to determine the real object of his hatred, drove him into a genocidal rage against the species as a whole. The purpose of his entire invasion is to gain the power to wish all Toads out of existence just to eliminate his creator and everything that reminds Olly of him.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Being game regulars, they naturally get better, but Kamek and Bowser Jr. both pull this in rapid succession to hold back a flood of Paper Macho Goombas as Mario and Olivia escape the volcano (seeing Junior harmed fills Bowser with such emotion that he regains his ability to use his fire breath in spite of still being half-folded and helpless).

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Snow Spike Hurly Burly

The Snow Spikes combine their snowballs to drop a huge one on Mario.

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Main / CombinationAttack

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Main / CombinationAttack

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