Generally favorable reviews - based on 74 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 51 out of 74
  2. Negative: 1 out of 74
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  1. Oct 31, 2016
    True to Paper Mario's great sense of humor, art, and constant series revision, it should be no surprise to longtime fans that they're in for a treat one way or another. Maybe they'd like a return to form, but for now, to anyone who skipped Sticker Star, Color Splash is worth the price of admission just to luxuriate in what has clearly been a labor of love for the Paper Mario series.
  2. Oct 19, 2016
    Paper Mario: Color Splash is everything I could've hoped for. The visuals are amazing, the dialogue is well written and there's a lot of variation in the level design.
  3. Oct 15, 2016
    A gem. A look back into what Nintendo can do, and a shining example of why they should never be counted out. It’ll keep you laughing, engaged, and having a blast. It truly took my breath away at times, and looks and plays with staggering beauty.
  4. Oct 13, 2016
    A great and colorful island with a big humor sense is waiting for Mario, Princess Peach and Toad.
  5. Oct 12, 2016
    While the game does not bring anything significantly new to the Paper Mario franchise, it does bring a nearly perfected Paper Mario experience which in itself is worth the price of admission.
  6. Oct 7, 2016
    Paper Mario Colour Splash might not be the Paper Mario game everyone wanted, but it's a game that oozes polish and manages to sit somewhere in a niche between RPG and adventure game...It's a memorable journey full of charm, craft, chuckles and a whole lot of paint.
  7. Oct 7, 2016
    Paper Mario: Color Splash is an absolute delight.
  8. Oct 5, 2016
    Paper Mario Color Splash isn’t frustration-free, but compared to the Mario platforming games Color Splash is light and refreshing, an opportunity to have an adventure with Mario and his friends that doesn’t require lightning-quick reflexes and high frustration tolerance. You’d better be ready for some cringe worthy puns, however.
  9. Oct 5, 2016
    Paper Mario: Color Splash is an engrossing journey and a funny and colorful game. It plays a lot like Sticker Star, but does everything better.
  10. 90
    I wasn’t expecting to be so surprised by Color Splash, and it’s turned out to be one of my favorite games this year. Color Splash is a gorgeous, funny, and entertaining adventure that functions as a wonderful swan song for the Wii U.
  11. Oct 5, 2016
    Paper Mario: Color Splash brings a delightfully funny plot to an involving and extraordinary adventure that can keep the player in front of the Wii U for over 50 hours of gameplay. With its lovely visual presentation, exquisite soundtrack and well implemented gameplay mechanics, Paper Mario: Color Splash is set to be one of the Wii U's most outstanding titles in the console's still growing catalogue.
  12. Oct 29, 2016
    If you’re looking for something fun to play without too many headaches, Paper Mario Color Splash is that game and so far, it’s my favourite game on the Wii U this year.
  13. Oct 5, 2016
    What begins as a Sticker Star 2.0 grows more confident and slowly becomes a great Paper Mario on its own. There still are some issues, but it's great that Intelligent Systems has found its right direction.
  14. CD-Action
    Jan 12, 2017
    Wow, so it is possible to make a genuinely funny game after all. I can’t recall another game that made me laugh so often and occasionally so hard. [13/2016, p.72]
  15. Oct 25, 2016
    The return of one of the greatest RPG series of Nintendo is awesome. Paper Mario: Color Splash takes the good things of The Thousand Year Door and combines them with some concepts of Sticker Star to gives us a great adventure full of color.
  16. Oct 5, 2016
    Fun, charming, brilliant in narrative and dialogues, Paper Mario Color Splash succeeds in telling a nice story with memorable characters, despite a combat system being only good and nothing more.
  17. Oct 5, 2016
    Color Splash’s RPG elements might be paper thin, but fans of the series won’t be disappointed with this latest adventure. While the game’s combat isn’t much deeper than Mario’s paper-thin body, this plumber’s antics and colorful world are worth the price of admission.
  18. Oct 5, 2016
    Paper Mario: Color Splash is a charming journey that will delight your senses, your funny bone, and the part of your brain that houses your nostalgic feelings towards Nintendo.
  19. Oct 5, 2016
    Minor crinkles can’t stop Paper Mario from being a frankly excellent experience and one that you, yes you, should play.
  20. Oct 5, 2016
    It’s no Thousand-Year Door, but Color Splash really does provide an overarching sense of consonance which was conspicuously absent from Sticker Star and even Super Paper Mario. It’s a good balance of humor, environment, variety, and casual puzzle elements.
  21. 83
    Color Splash is Wii U's swan song. The game is fun and brings some new (coloured) dynamics in a consolidated structure, despite some smear here and there.
  22. Oct 5, 2016
    Paper Mario Color Splash is a delightful visual experience that keeps alive the series' RPG style and offers new features thanks to the Wii U pad possibilities beside a great length.
  23. Oct 7, 2016
    The star in Color Splash definitely is the art design. The consequence of the length the paper theme is executed is admirable, while the scripting of the stories you encounter is right on the spot. A higher difficulty level and a tighter direction are needed, though.
  24. Apr 8, 2017
    It will be entirely up to you whether the writing and redeeming elements of the battle system suit your preferences, but I am absolutely glad I was able to give Paper Mario: Color Splash a chance.
  25. Game World Navigator Magazine
    Nov 18, 2016
    Hardcore fans of action games or tactical RPGs will probably grow bored with Color Splash pretty soon, since it’s mostly about running around and enjoying jokes. But what it lacks in terms of engaging combat, Mario more than makes up in level of detail. [Issue#214, p.62]
  26. Nov 9, 2016
    A fun game that is almost a step in the right direction for the series.
  27. Pelit (Finland)
    Nov 9, 2016
    Paper Mario Colour Splash is a fun action-adventure, but falls a bit short game design-wise. The fun lasts for two thirds of the game, the last stretch of the game is quite dull and repetitive. The game would've benefited a lot from a little more complex game mechanics and a somewhat simpler user interface. [Nov 2016]
  28. Nintendo Force Magazine
    Nov 7, 2016
    Paper Mario: Color Splash is a party from beginning to end. [Issue #24 – November/December 2016, p.14M]
  29. Oct 31, 2016
    Color Splash improves significantly on Paper Mario: Sticker Star's formula. An engaging, deep and genuinely funny adventure platformer, only hampered by a few, mildly annoying shortcomings.
  30. Oct 13, 2016
    A game that any fan of Mario should play. It’s an incredibly fun experience, where the strong points of the game more than make up for its shortcoming.
  31. 80
    Paper Mario: Color Splash is a vibrant, humorous and fun experience. Continuing on the path of Sticker Star, its lack of more traditional RPG elements will leave some players cold, but it still carves a satisfying path all its own.
  32. Oct 7, 2016
    While I’m still wishing the RPG elements of Thousand Year Door were back here, I still had a pretty great time with Color Splash. It looks amazing, plays great, and has some really great pacing that kept me coming back knowing I was just one more step away from another paint star.
  33. Oct 7, 2016
    Paper Mario: Color Splash feels like the last hurrah of the dying Wii U. The game has an interesting combat system and a very good music, that shows what Nintendo can do when they put their minds to it.
  34. Oct 6, 2016
    Paper Mario: Color Splash is a funny adventure with a beautiful art style and great moments typical of Nintendo. Its excellent writing, clever level design and impressive music help us to forget the disappointing combat system of the game. There are great ideas in the use of collectible cards, but all of its potential is not realized.
  35. Oct 5, 2016
    Maybe it's not the best game in the series, but it's definitely a really good one. Its combat system can be strange at the beginning, but behind it there's a great adventure.
  36. Oct 5, 2016
    Apart form the fact that it is diverging more and more from its original RPG roots, the Paper Mario saga continues to evolve, and Color Splash is a good example of how to successfully mix different genres to create a cohesive and fun gaming experience, albeit a little too much on the easy side.
  37. 80
    A decidedly solid adventure-platformer, with some great storytelling and humor layered on top. The papercraft visuals are gorgeous, and the soundtrack will have you humming along in just a few minutes. The card-based battle system is a real downer though and the loss of deeper gameplay elements is still hard felt, dragging the whole experience down quite a bit.
  38. Oct 5, 2016
    Color Splash sure smells like fresh paint, but such a large fresco takes some time to spread as a whole. The high definition lets Paper Mario unfold spectacular artistic and narrative fantasies, while concealing the rather flat, artificial framework. And beyond the exhilarating practice of "hammer brushing", the extensive support of cards add a layer of strategy to the gameplay, slightly heavier though. Intelligent Systems still displays a masterful use of the design palette, picking just a few drops of action, platform and RPG to create its own tone for this stupendously magnificent story.
  39. Oct 5, 2016
    A lively cocktail of Mario, RPG and papercraft puzzle-solving with funny dialogue and a surreal, self-aware sense of humour. It won’t be for everyone, but it’s a great game for those who get its lovable oddball vibe.
  40. Oct 5, 2016
    Paper Mario Color Splash is a colorful, funny and entertaining game. Nintendo has changed a lot of things with this franchise. The episode on GameCube is still the best one, but with Color Splash a lot of people will be able to have fun enjoying a great game, without thinking about 4k and mid-gen consoles.
  41. Oct 5, 2016
    Although is not a perfect title (the fighting system is not entirely convincing in terms of balance and rhythm), Paper Mario Color Splash remains a work of undoubted quality; delicious to see, listen to and explore.
  42. 80
    Most of the time, it's the kind of game that simply brings a smile to your face as you enjoy the fresh world and amusing dialogue. If it weren't for the tedious side effects of the card system and the disappointingly unoriginal cast, it could be a genuine Game of the Year award contender.
  43. Oct 5, 2016
    Color Splash presents a beautifully crafted paper and cardboard world, populated by witty paper Toads and existential minions. Though it’s got its share of backtracking and battle system quirks, the new painting mechanics are satisfying, and the mini-story arcs are almost creative and clever enough to make you forget that your princess is (yet again) in another castle.
  44. Oct 5, 2016
    Even when we were left unsatisfied by enemy encounters, Prism Island was always a joy to explore, with diverse environments and an endless amount of catchy tunes to keep you engaged from start to finish. It's a game of memorable moments that we would love to share but wouldn't dream of spoiling on you. Take Color Splash for what it is, and you might just find it to be a messy work of art.
  45. Oct 5, 2016
    Is the Wii U dead? Not by a long shot. Paper Mario Color Splash is good for adults and for kids. The game offers a nice combination of action, RPG and adventure.
  46. Games Master UK
    Nov 9, 2016
    By turns frustrating and utterly delightful - despite inconsistent design, the good does outweigh the bad. [Nov 2016, p.68]
  47. Oct 8, 2016
    A charming and creative adventure with great ideas, but annoying fights and frustrating moments. Not the best Mario appearance.
  48. Oct 5, 2016
    Paper Mario: Color Splash is the Wii U game you shouldn’t write off. Though it has issues, its fun, funny and looks excellent. If you’re looking for a lighthearted, casual RPG-style experience then look no further, this is the best Paper Mario game in years.
  49. Even with lacklustre combat, Paper Mario Color Splash’s gorgeous art style, lush music, and great writing make it a pretty easy recommendation, at least for fans of family-friendly single-player adventures.
  50. 75
    Excellent writing, impressive visuals, and great presentation save the game from the somewhat lackluster battle system and make it a solid game that will provide fun for fans of Mario games and the Paper Mario series.
  51. Oct 5, 2016
    Seriously fun if only for all the Mario jokes and impressive use of music. Clever level design is great, although irritating combat and lackluster RPG elements might alienate fans.
  52. Oct 5, 2016
    The beautiful Wii U graphics and playful humor stay true to the spirit of the Paper Mario franchise, but the story is straightforward and a bit bland.
  53. Dec 1, 2016
    It's not exactly Sticker Star, but the change isn't necessarily for the better. Still, despite its flaws, there is fun to be had here.
  54. Edge Magazine
    Nov 15, 2016
    With some prudent trimming, this could have been one of Wii U's best games: even with all those maddening missteps, its moments of sparkling brilliance can make it feel frequently close to essential. [December 2016, p.122]
  55. Oct 18, 2016
    Paper Mario: Color Splash is the best looking installment in the series, offering the most immersive world to-date. Still, its battle system suffers in a misguided bid to innovate.
  56. Oct 11, 2016
    Color Splash uses childish frivolity as a mask for adult nostalgia that wants to find a new generational host to burrow into.
  57. Oct 5, 2016
    A wonderfully realised game with plenty of humour to keep you smiling throughout. However, it’s hampered by some annoying design decisions and carries the legacy of Sticker Star – both good and bad – which many series’ fans may find problematic.
  58. Oct 5, 2016
    Paper Mario has historically given Nintendo free reign to bring something new to the table, all while poking fun at the titular character's notable legacy. In this light, Color Splash is a riotously funny, joyfully eccentric, but disappointingly safe reimagining of its premiere mascot. For every instance of dull combat, though, there's a humorous home run that makes Port Prisma a worthy vacation spot.
  59. Oct 5, 2016
    Make no mistake: Some of Color Splash is best-in-class material. But some of it is just awful. As much as I'd like to be able to give it an unqualified endorsement, I really can't. The excellent visuals, music, structure, and writing sit at odds with the toilsome combat system and the addition of far too many gimmicks and gotchas. The game is as irritating as it is inspiring — and while there's much to love here, be aware that finding it requires slogging through some truly rocky moments.
  60. Oct 5, 2016
    They say the devil’s in the detail, but Color Splash proves quite the opposite. In the minutiae it excels, while many of its broader systems hit a little wide of the mark. Despite its flaws, it’s very difficult to dislike, perhaps because every niggling issue is quickly followed by a moment of grin-inducing silliness or awe-inspiring beauty. This might not be the return to classic Paper Mario that its devotees have been awaiting, nor is it a bold reinvention that vindicates Nintendo’s need to innovate. It is, however, one of the most heartwarming games you’ll play this year.
  61. Oct 5, 2016
    At its most imaginative, Color Splash's visual gags and thoughtful manipulation of 2D objects rival any "wow" moment from Sony's Tearaway games.
  62. Oct 14, 2016
    It’s a shame that despite all these positives, in the end I found the game to be a chore; my pleasure often undercut by frustration and annoyance. Where I was once delighted by its humor, I’d later find myself annoyed by it.
  63. Oct 5, 2016
    The same lousy fighting system without adding any experience points, the same locations and the same characters; there is way too much Sticker Star in Color Splash. Thankfully the dialogue is awesome, but it could have been much better.
  64. Oct 5, 2016
    Color Splash is a disappointing RPG, but the gameplay is still worth while thanks to its funny situations and inventive levels. It's such a pity the things we did not like about Sticker Star are back.
  65. Nov 19, 2016
    A disappointing new step in a declining series. [Issue#180, p.80]
  66. LEVEL (Czech Republic)
    Nov 5, 2016
    Mix of wonderful graphics and great ideas ... and a couple of nagging bits, that hinder gameplay. If you have nothing to play on your Wii U, Paper Mario is here ready to serve you. [Issue #268]
  67. Oct 31, 2016
    Paper Mario: Color Splash is one of those games that works best if you play it a couple of hours each time. The graphical design is as wonderful as ever, and the adventure offers plenty of charming settings. Sadly the gameplay feels a little too monotonous, and the battles aren’t as dynamic as the previous games. 

  68. Oct 27, 2016
    A colourful, often hilarious RPG-lite adventure, crippled by a tedious and frustrating combat system.
  69. 60
    Paper Mario: Color Splash is an endlessly charming, cutesy journey that represents a greater achievement for the art directors and script writers than Intelligent Systems as a whole. It’s a shame that such a talented studio opted only to tweak the flawed Sticker Star and, as a result, dull and unbalanced gameplay often holds back this whimsical romp. As one of the final Wii U titles, though, it’s certifiably hilarious and might just warrant a second look.
  70. Oct 10, 2016
    Paper Mario: Color Splash could have been so much more than it was, but its attachment to Sticker Star’s failed mechanics holds it back.
  71. Oct 9, 2016
    Paper Mario: Color Splash is a complete joy aesthetically, looking and sounding fantastic, complemented by some very amusing script work. At its core, though, whilst attempting to mix things up as much as it can in order to keep the action fresh, its battle system grows tiresome very quickly, dragging the enjoyment factor down several notches.
  72. Oct 7, 2016
    Paper Mario: Color Splash ruins a gorgeous art style and clever writing with an incredibly tedious combat system.
  73. 60
    Nintendo continues to paint over some of the best features of previous Paper Mario games, but the great script just about saves the dull combat.
  74. Oct 16, 2016
    A dreadful combat system brings down an otherwise beautiful and funny Mario adventure.
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  1. Jan 12, 2017
    I don’t think anyone wants games like this, really. It’s lovely to have games that can feel like entire worlds, but they take approximately ten billion times longer and require many more people to work their fingers to the bone, and then when they come out people say they aimed too high, stretched themselves too thin. I hope that, in the years to come, we get to see games that scale themselves back to focus on the filigree.
  2. Oct 18, 2016
    Color Splash is so damned imaginative and beautiful, though, so colorful and confidently funny. Even when it annoyed me, it was only fleetingly.
  3. Oct 5, 2016
    Most of what there is to love in the series’ previous games is still here, but while Color Splash is far from a disaster, it’s hard not to be disappointed with an experience that’s ultimately all surface.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 452 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 96 out of 452
  1. Oct 7, 2016
    Wonderful game! Very funny! Nintendo does it again! Well done! Play this one all the way to the end! The most realistic lemons I haveWonderful game! Very funny! Nintendo does it again! Well done! Play this one all the way to the end! The most realistic lemons I have ever seen! ! Full Review »
  2. Oct 7, 2016
    Good presentation, but ultimately bland uninteresting gameplay with tons of pacing and padding issues, and lazy uninspired character design.Good presentation, but ultimately bland uninteresting gameplay with tons of pacing and padding issues, and lazy uninspired character design. Better than Sticker Star as a whole, but definitely doesn't live up to the quality of the first 3 games. Full Review »
  3. Oct 7, 2016
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. Let me be clear here, this is not "mindless bashing" on a game that isn't Paper Mario for the Nintendo 64 or Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door on Gamecube. This is telling it like it is.

    Paper Mario: Color Splash is an improvement over Paper Mario: Sticker Star in many ways, for one you can actually level up your character's paint meter and progression is good to have in an RPG. The game is also still the turned based battles that we've been seeing for 4/5 games of the series, so at least it feels like a Paper Mario game in that sense.

    However then we go into the flaws, first off the character development for Toad is nice; however seeing him over and over again or shy guys over and over again just gets really redundant and makes the character development for Toad and Shy Guy null and void, especially considering Nintendo is just going to forget about it in the next game anyways. Also Peach gets "color drained" only to be immediately brought back to life and Huey leaves Mario and his friends behind in a scene that really isn't that impactful considering we only got one game to see him develop and he didn't develop all that much anyways.

    But enough about story, despite the fact that the original Paper Mario game was called "Mario Story" in Japan that isn't the main concern of someone who would play a Mario game. Gameplay consists of going around the world looking for Big Paint Stars and you don't really need to battle anyone but the bosses to really get most of them. Add this to the fact that "thing cards" are the only reasonable way to defeat the bosses without battling them futilely for hours on end and something still feels off about this game that could easily be fixed. Just have the thing cards for casual players who struggle with the boss fight but allow hardcore players to use strategy and wit to defeat the bosses normally. Add that on to the fact that if you do end up in an encounter which I wouldn't really call random since you can see the enemies on the map, you end up fighting the slow, clunky card system as well, and you can see why I gave this game a 4 out of 10.

    This game is not bad by any means, but the truth of the matter is that it is a mediocre RPG with pretty graphics that we learned to expand from in 1997 when we learned that graphics aren't what makes an RPG good in Final Fantasy 7 (that is still a great game by the way don't get me wrong) and Paper Mario has already done the concept of Mario going on an adventure looking for stars with better partners (counting Huey as one), better gameplay mechanics, and with greater stakes 16 years ago
    Full Review »