Paper Mario: King of Origami is a pretty good game in itself, but let’s be real: It has been year as we had a game that captures the magic of the first two titles in the Paper Mario series. where Origami King makes fighting more of an action-oriented puzzle, old school Mario Games games were deeper role-playing games with easy action elements. Luckily, there’s something out there that collects the torch, and it’s on the Nintendo Switch to get started.
Error Tales: The Eternal Nursery is a highly acclaimed adventure RPG that has been on the computer for a while, and was recently released on consoles. The impact of Paper Mario is evident from the movement, thanks to an art style that makes everything look like a two-dimensional cardboard cut. Looks better on the go than on screens, trust me. Fighting is also a turn-based issue where good weather can help you hit or defend a little more. Some ideas are also similar: I am currently playing through a part of the desert that is definitely removed from the memorable part of the Nintendo 64 game of Oasis.
It would be a mistake to call Error tales a simple imitation, however. Rather than simply recreating an experience you already had, Error tales takes the original formula of Paper Mario and expands it in big and small ways, eventually creating a delightfully unique experience.
Part of it is the basic premise: You play as a group of bugs living in a larger insect world, much like you in the same brilliant way Hungry knight. This fact only allows Error tales place to experiment with characters whose likes we usually do not see in games that often. I have killed a lot of zombies, grunts and people in my games over the years. Here, I am most concerned about things like prayer mantises, parasitic mouths, wet beetles, moths and all kinds of ants. Better yet, there are larger insect kingdoms, each with its own politics and cultural preferences to worry about.
One of the playful characters is a bee rebelling from her mother, who would better see her fulfill a predetermined role inside the hive, as all pollinators do. Intrudingly, the only types of bugs I have not seen are roaches, but this is intentional. Roaches, in this world, are an ancient civilization with advanced technology that other insects are still trying to understand. I only have about 15 hours inside Error talesbut I have a feeling I will find out what happened to the actually ubiquitous real-world pest. For now, I’m left to ask about politics on a smaller scale, like why ladybugs are not allowed in the ant kingdom.
I’m also regularly entertained by the way its developer, Moonsprout Games, plays with the size environment. There are times when it becomes clear that you are a small creature living in a big world. It was a part, for example, where I entered a museum that proudly displayed a series of plugs and rubber balls, which were speculated to be remnants of an ancient war. Shops and houses are made of things like old boxes and cans of soda, which lends Error tales a worn and lived look.
The fight will be familiar to anyone who has played Paper Mario before, but there are some twists and turns. Instead of having two characters on the field, you have three. Your positioning determines who gets hit the hardest by the enemy, though you are allowed to switch order among you. Characters can also give up their turn to give another teammate a second move, but the trade-off is that each attack will be a little weaker. Enemy setting also makes a difference: If your rival is flying, for example, only certain attacks will land … if you have not managed to throw them to the ground.
I’m also regularly surprised by the complexity of the action commands – many hours in, I still have to pay active attention to what the game wants me to do. The window to lower a hit will move constantly, or the button causes specific attacks to change from turn to turn, so I can not turn off my brain after memorizing how it works. I can – and do – confuse basic commands when I lick. On the flip side, however, it is extremely satisfying when I manage to accurately predict the timing of an enemy attack, allowing me to deny its damage.
Yes, yes: There are statistics and numbers to worry about. As you level up, you get the choice to add HP to your pool, increase your special command skill points, or expand as many “medals” as you can equip. Like the badges on Paper Mario, medals affect all sorts of different things in combat, allowing you to tailor the experience to whatever style of play you see fit. Right now, I’m wearing a medal that allows one of my characters to hurt an enemy whenever I successfully block an attack, and another that instantly kills low-level opponents without having to go into battle. I am trying to save for a medal that allows further attacks.
Error tales is also packed with the kind of side content that makes RPGs sing, from quests and optional bosses to secret shops and even a card game that uses all the characters you meet along the way. I have attended a show, and have so far returned the lost items of an apartment. There are a number of “generous” that I have no idea how to meet. There is also a cooking system with dozens of recipes that can enhance your items in new and unexpected ways. I still haven’t messed with it much, though Error tales also introduces a charm system where you can pay a mystique for occasional, temporary buzzing during battle. And, if basic experience is not enough for a challenge, Error tales it also gives you two chances of hardship through medals that make the fight harder, but also bigger rewards.
Perhaps my favorite mechanic is the dedicated “gossip” button, which you can press at any time for your characters to comment on the colorful cast they encounter along the way, or the many antiques they transcend during your adventure. Let me tell you, it’s a perverted pleasure to stand in front of someone and then decide to talk nonsense about them, just because you can. When social distancing has reduced the opportunities for hot gossip, being able to exhale steam like this in a game is a hilarious relief. More games should have a gossip button like this. It’s brilliant.
All this means: If you are looking for a real experience in Paper Mario, you may have it. It only costs $ 24.99 – less than half that Origami King does – you can take it with you on the go, and it’s a blast. It just isn’t being made by Nintendo.