When I play RPGs, I’m an ability and item hoarder. My mages are forced to rely on physical attacks. I’ll revisit a nearby town and become the inn’s most frequent customer, rather than resort to elixirs and phoenix downs. I’m afraid if I use these items early, they won’t be there when I absolutely need them. Paper Mario: Color Splash is one of the few games where I’ve felt like it’s okay. I can go all out, because I’m never going to run out of the things I need.
Paint is Paper Mario: Color Splash’s lifeblood, both metaphorically and literally. Mario needs paint to bring life back to Toads sucked dry, repaint places and things so he can use them and proceed through the world, and battle. Fortunately, it’s doled out liberally. Most items in the world can be struck to get paint drops. Trees give green drops that refill the blue and yellow gauges. Trash cans give rainbow drops that refill everything. Even items that get squished after you smash them return to their natural states after a few moments, ready for harvesting again. Enemies drop paint when they’re defeated. Rainbow drops of paint fall on Mario once an area is completed. And, naturally, Prisma Port’s rainbow paint fountain is eventually restored.
Keeping Mario’s hammer filled with paint isn’t too difficult either. Paper Mario: Color Splash starts by letting you hold a maximum of 100 paint drops, a number that increases as you defeat enemies and collect hammer pieces. Even if you avoid enemies as much as possible, which is absolutely an option since it isn’t like Mario gains experience, all the opportunities to refill means about 200-300 max paint is more than enough to get through an area.
Paper Mario: Color Splash’s cards are the second resource you need to manage. Very early in the game, you get a deck upgrade that allows you to carry up to 99 cards. That is an ample amount of cards and enough to get you through most situations. Especially since the game is always finding excuses to give you free cards. Hit a question block? Here’s a card! Fill in an empty part in the environment? This card’s for you! Find a secret area? More cards for Mario the card king! Whether they’re painted or not, they’re always a helpful addition to your roster. Restocking is easy, since they’re for sale for affordable prices in town. Even with Kamek occasionally making a nuisance of himself and hiding which one you’re using so you’re wasting them, it isn’t the end of the world. (Annoying, yet, but it’s not the worst.) Even running out of cards completely during a fight is okay, because you can just buy one card each turn for 10 coins.
Which you can always afford, because Mario will never go broke. Within the first two hours of Paper Mario: Color Splash, I’d earned over 1,000 coins. I doubled it after reaching the first Roshambo temple. Since there’s no equipment and cards are so easily acquired, you’re always going to have a surplus of funds. Sometimes, I’d throw money away on the best cards, all because I could afford to do so. Which I’d then never use, because we’ve already established that I’m the sort of person who has to keep those really great cards just in case. (I’d rather use worn out items and basic boots and hammers forever!)
The only time I ever felt like I was wasting anything was during nonessential Paper Mario: Color Splash battles. There’s a flee option. You have to spend paint to try to make an escape attempt. Note that I said try. Even though all of these basic battles are pointless busywork, there’s a chance Mario will trip as he flees, forcing you to just take damage from some of the enemies as a punishment for trying to stop wasting time on an unnecessary fight.
When you play Paper Mario: Color Splash, you don’t really have to worry about Mario running out of cards, coins, and paint. The game goes out of its way to make sure you’ve always got the resources you need. You can afford the things you need. You can paint anything you’d like. You can use cards without worrying about running out when the going gets tough. Ample resources are always available, which gives you the freedom to do almost anything you’d like.
Paper Mario: Color Splash will come to the Nintendo Wii U on October 7, 2016.