Generally favorable reviews - based on 55 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 53 out of 55
  2. Negative: 0 out of 55
Buy On
  1. Cheat Code Central
    A RPG that captures the excitement and fun of the Super Mario Bros series and combines it with depth found only in top-shelf RPGs. It all adds up to what is sure to be consider another Mario classic.
  2. Plainly put, this is one of the best games available on the Gamecube to date. Though not quite as challenging as Superstar Saga (or most RPG's in general), Paper Mario 2 manages to remain wholly engaging from beginning to end.
  3. Incredible replay value, with a lengthy main storyline and dozens of sidequests and things to collect in your spare time. It seems like there's always something to get in between quests, which makes the game long-lasting and very hard to put down.
  4. If you're looking for a great long-lasting game that's consistently fun from open to close, quit reading this stupid review and drive to the store.
  5. There's simply so much to see and do in Paper Mario, with secrets galore. With its entertaining characters and script and absolutely fantastic gameplay, Paper Mario will be a gem for generations to come.
  6. There is so much here that evokes what we know and love about Mario, as well as an equal share of what is genuinely new, and all of this is bundled together in such a wonderful package that this game is destined to be a fan favorite for a long time.
  7. Now that it has arrived however, we can safely say that it's firmly up there as one of the best games released this year.
  8. But what strikes us the most is how polished it feels. It's pointless going on about the gameplay because by now you know it's flawless. [JPN Import]
  9. Flaws are in short supply. It's easy to save, the control is great, the presentation awesome, and the gameplay deep and addictive.
  10. It's practically overflowing with wonderful, funny characters, memorable subplots, inventive gameplay, and beautiful visuals, and it's lengthy and quite challenging to boot.
  11. Side-scrolling, Goomba-stomping, RPG adventuring. Paper Mario isn't among the best GameCube RPGs; it is the best.
  12. Certainly one of the best new Mario games to come to market in recent years, blending the best of many of Nintendo's game types into something that is a blast to play and varied enough to capture and keep your attention from beginning to end.
  13. Nintendo Power
    Hardcore RPG fans, wait for "Baten Kaitos;" everyone else, plan on following the most hee-haw-larious yarn spun in years. [Dec 2004, p.140]
  14. The game can last up to 40+ hours, depending on how in-depth you want to get with your exploration. Once you make if past the first 3 hours or so, things begin to pick up quickly, so don't start thinking the game is as slow paced as the beginning stages.
  15. There are loads of savory things to do in this paper-made world that's funny, and original, and just solid by any and all means.
  16. 91
    Get past the slow-moving first chapter and some clunky NPC path finding routines in chapter 2 and you'll be hooked. The story is funny, the gameplay varied, and the world so charming, you'll want to explore every last corner of it.
  17. Bottom line, this game is very, very good, but it is not a system seller. If you already own a GameCube, I highly recommend buying this game.
  18. Play Magazine
    In terms of sheer fun, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is the best RPG I've played in a long time. [Dec 2004, p.80]
  19. GMR Magazine
    The mix of 2D characters on a 3D plane not only looks appealing, the gameplay that's designed around the concept (Mario's transformation skills in particular) is a creative fusion of art and design. [Nov 2004, p.105]
  20. And it'll soak up far more of YOU than "Mario & Luigi" or the other Mario RPGs ever did, too. It's easy to believe you could spend as long with this as you could a decent-length Final Fantasy title.
  21. AceGamez
    A simplified RPG at its core, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door is just too charming, funny and unique to dislike and you'll probably be smiling and feel good the whole way through.
  22. An enchanting adventure in Mario's familiar world, with excellent fighting and a brilliant script. [GamesMaster]
  23. netjak
    The only negative thing that I can say about this game is that it is extremely addictive; players can expect to find themselves completely engrossed, blissfully unaware of how much time has passed since they picked up the controller.
  24. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    Seriously, random villagers in this game have more character than major players in other RPGs, and certain moments are literally laugh-out-loud funny. [Dec 2004, p.168]
  25. Its battles are strangely beautiful. Most of all, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is the most fun I've had spending 50 hours-and 50 dollars-in a long, long time.
  26. The game starts rather slow (like most RPGs) and there are a few fetch quests that feel like they're just there to make the game longer, but overall this has to be one of the best, if not the best RPG on the Cube.
  27. Emotional, delightful, amazing. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is a work of art no Mario fan will want to miss.
  28. 90
    It mixes together some very well-designed elements, such as its battle system, level design, puzzle design and its funny, charming storyline.
  29. One of the sparklier gems in the GameCube's small but meticulously crafted treasure chest.
  30. Every single element to the game is polished to such a high degree that virtually everything you do in the game is highly entertaining.
  31. 90
    While this isn't a hardcore title, the puzzles and numerous battles will keep serious gamers busy for some time. Paper Mario is easy to play, exceptional fun, and a thoroughly engaging title.
  32. Simple enough for kids to enjoy, while challenging and funny enough that adults will get a kick out of it. It's great for newbies to the Mario games, while it's got plenty of nostalgic humor for older gamers.
  33. 89
    So much on offer in the game that you might pop!
  34. Retains so much of the original that anyone who loved the first one will still love this one, and anyone who hated the first one will likewise hate this one.
  35. It isn't exactly revolutionary, but there are some key moments in the game that just had me grinning from ear to ear.
  36. 85
    It's a testament to the diversity of the medium that in a season marked by realistic, violent and often grim video games like "GTA," "Halo 2" and "Def Jam: FFNY," a game like Paper Mario can be so willfully charming, harmless and child-friendly in appearance and still make for a compelling, sophisticated experience.
  37. 85
    Brilliant visual flair and charm that make Paper Mario a treat to watch. Almost like watching a Mario cartoon.
  38. Weekly Famitsu
    9 / 8 / 8 / 8 - 33 gold [Vol 815; 30 July 2004]
  39. Despite its lack of serious innovation, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door is another fun, high-quality RPG. Its humor, gameplay and delivery combine to create an excellent romp through familiar terrain.
  40. Some of the story is a bit contrived and the game may give players a bit of "been there, done that", but it's a very fun game to play through. There are enough twists in the story and surprises to be seen to keep Mario fans playing until the very end.
  41. Edge Magazine
    The strength of the Mario RPG series has always been the convincing lunacy with which it depicts the 'ordinary' life of the mushroom kingdom. You may have steered Mario through some strange odd-jobs in your time, but Paper Mario 2 is your best chance to actually be him. [Christmas 2004, p.86]
  42. The learning curve is well judged, and, due to its charm, should appeal to a wide variety of Nintendo gamers, but in the world of video games at the moment that is, sadly, a minority.
  43. games(TM)
    Yes the story has weak spots – having to actually play through some of the cut-scenes can be annoying when all you want to do is get back to the action – but much of it is as absorbing as you'd expect from an RPG... More than worthy of the Nintendo name. [Christmas 2004, p.108]
  44. Paper Mario 2 is full to the brim with that classic magical gameplay that only Nintendo can produce. It's witty; it's fun, and highly original in terms of both visual style and gameplay. Even if you hate RPGs, you can't go wrong with this little gem.
  45. One of the great strengths of Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door is that although everything is pretty simple, none of it is so simple as to be boring.
  46. 80
    It makes fun of itself relentlessly, yet still manages to be earnest when it matters, and the gameplay around which it's built takes the best elements of the Mario games' trademark simplicity, and constructs out of them a compelling, engrossing RPG.
  47. A uniquely-styled and enchanting RPG filled with clever touches. [JPN Import]
  48. The story is very rich by Mario standards, and the game can be surprisingly challenging, yet accessible, making it a truly great game for gamers of all ages.
  49. 80
    Classic RPG elements (like turn-based battles, item stores, and a rich plotline) flesh out classic Mario elements (like star/coin collecting, pipe travel, and jumping on things' heads as a means of violent retribution) to create a thoroughly enjoyable gaming experience (as long as you can tolerate the cuuute!).
  50. 80
    Firmly establishes Mario as an RPG force. The game is a stylish, accessible game for RPG veterans and newcomers of all ages, and shouldn't be missed by fans of Mario, RPGs, or just great games.
  51. The RPG for those of us that dislike RPGs. It's easy to play, funny, absolutely gorgeous, and filled with plenty of good old fashioned Nintendo fun. Also, the soundtrack is amazing.
  52. Battles can become repetitive and backtracking is frequently required, but it is a lengthy journey filled with entertaining scenes and a clever, self-referential script.
  53. The battles are turn-based, with a number of different physical and magical attacks available depending on the abilities of the fighter and what tricks you've picked up. Impress the crowd and you draw more spectators and rewards.

Awards & Rankings

#3 Most Discussed GameCube Game of 2004
#3 Most Shared GameCube Game of 2004
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 400 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 21 out of 400
  1. Dec 11, 2011
    The story is silly, yet captivating, and the controller inputs utilized during the battle segments keep the turn-based battles engaging. TheThe story is silly, yet captivating, and the controller inputs utilized during the battle segments keep the turn-based battles engaging. The characters are charming, and I actually found myself looking forward to encountering new enemies, even the ones that were just recolored sprites (the Tattle bestiary system and the item library were also nice features, providing impetuses for scouring the nooks and crannies of the world for hidden goodies and ingredients for recipes). The platforming features in the out-of-battle world were also satisfying, and the abilities Mario gains and those that his partners grant him have imaginative uses. The areas of the game are accessible with very little backtracking, too, as new shortcuts are opened up to the player. My one gripe about the game is a trivial matter. At one point in the game, I became stuck in the Palace of Shadow with one HP. Unfortunately, I reflexively hit the first save block that I saw, not realizing that it would make getting out of there very difficult (I was pretty much in the middle of the chapter, and had no healing items). As such, a "Teleport to Rogueport" option would have been nice. Full Review »
  2. Nov 13, 2012
    The sequel to the ever popular Paper Mario will not disappoint. With all new environments, characters, badges, side quests, enemies, and more!The sequel to the ever popular Paper Mario will not disappoint. With all new environments, characters, badges, side quests, enemies, and more! It has it all! Including our favorite Italian plumber in his second mission in paper form. Indeed, the game has beautiful graphics and fresh looking environments. Exploring the world can be so much fun when you finish the game. And the game is long enough to keep the storyline interesting and smart. It is one of the best GC games in my opinion, and it receives a very well earned 10 from me. Full Review »
  3. Nov 28, 2012
    This game uses the same formula as the first paper mario game but perfects it. The battle system has even more depth with the addition of theThis game uses the same formula as the first paper mario game but perfects it. The battle system has even more depth with the addition of the audience and stylish commands.The gameplay itself is pretty much as perfect as the gameplay of the original. Although the game is structured similarly to the first paper mario game, as both use the storybook-like chapter system, each chapter is original. Chapter three and six especially change up the gameplay formula in an amazingly original way. The puzzles are better in this game than in the first, the bosses just as epic, and the characters and party members are just as characterized as in the first game bringing a sense of connection to the game. The main new gameplay element this game introduces is mario's ability to transform into various paper structures, allowing him to solve new and original puzzles. This game not set in the mushroom kingdom, but rather in an oceanside town called rougeport. This, along with the original chapter design keeps the game fresh. The game's story also improves upon the first paper mario. Bowser is no longer the villain, and you watch as he comedically tries to be one. This is all you need to know about the story, as the rest is revealed in the game. The end of chapter peach gameplay is back, but is accompanied by bowser gameplay too. The peach gameplay is once again the worst part of the game, but the bowser gameplay is very fun as you get to play several of the original super mario bros. levels as him. The graphics are very good and the soundtrack is very good as well, but is not quite as good as the original paper mario soundtrack. All in all, paper mario 2 is one of, if not, my favorite games of all time. The depth of the gameplay, wonderful characterization and level design from paper mario 1 is back, this time with improvements. The game also improves upon its storyline, poking fun at the traditional mario storyline of bowser always being the villain. If you can, get a copy of this game to play on your wii or gamecube, or get a copy of it for the wii u when it gets released. This may be the most polished mario rpg out there. Full Review »