Thousand Year Door Is Looking Better Than Ever

Paper Mario TTYD Preview

I don’t know what makes for a perfect remaster. But I do know a very good one when I see it, and Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door is starting to take that shape for me. So far, it’s merely a matter of presentation, of simple aesthetic decisions. But all these choices have been excellent ones. In other words, my critical first impression of this game has been a positive one. It’s a sort of sneaky little trick the game successfully played on me, one that I appreciate a great deal.

This is the way of remasters these days. You think it’s just a port, based on the trailers. You’ve played this game before, you know what to expect. But you don’t! Not exactly. You see, TTYD has pulled off that clever trick that so many other remasters have tried lately. You think you’re looking at the original game, because it appears just like you remember it.

Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door Review

When in fact, what you’re looking at is a complete overhaul of an old favorite. There are new lighting effects, new audio cues, new character models, and more. I wasn’t quite sure at first, but a look at the old game online confirmed it. This is practically a brand new game. The dialogue and gameplay is preserved, sure. But the devs have ripped the guts out of this thing and shined it up from tip to tail.

You Can Almost See The Scissor Marks

Static visuals have become animated. Certain flat effects have been given slightly more depth. All the character models now look like paper cutouts. If you look closely, you can actually see the spots where the scissors clipped everyone out. One or two models have a couple of tiny bends and wrinkles, adding even more depth. Mario and company aren’t exactly more lifelike, but everyone feels more vibrant, more lively. The characters more completely embody their papery selves. Princess Peach has a reflection in the slick cobblestones. Once you start looking, the changes are everywhere.

Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door Review

You can hear the difference as well. Dialogue proceeds with rhythmic noise that reflects each character. Mumblespeak, crafted with sound samples taken from other iterations of the characters in question. It adds a whole new layer, like cake icing for your headphones. Mario exerts himself with his more familiar joyous declarations. Your wahoos and whatnot. It feels like every action comes with a perfectly-crafted sound now. Things like menu navigation, save blocks, and screen transitions. It’s a subtle but significant change that brings the whole game to life.

Having played the original game, I thought I knew exactly what to expect. But the slick new sound and visuals have forced me to revise my expectations. Now, I’ve got a lot to look forward to with this new version of TTYD. I’m extremely curious about what else is different going forward. Yet, even if the aesthetic overhaul is the extent of it, I’m in for a good time. The devs have done a great job so far. I’m confident that the full game is also going to be excellent.

***A Nintendo Switch code was provided by the publisher***