The Thousand-Year Door

After nearly 20 years, one of the most beloved Mario RPGs is making a grand return. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door has been remastered for the Nintendo Switch, giving both longtime fans and newcomers the chance to experience this classic adventure. Read on to find out why this remake is an absolute must-play RPG that belongs in every Switch owner’s library.

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door on Nintendo Switch

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door details

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
 Intelligent Systems
Publisher(s): Nintendo
Genre: Role-playing
Modes: Single-player
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)

A captivating and cheeky adventure

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is a beloved RPG that has stood the test of time and the game’s story is a testament to that. In a nutshell, the story follows Mario as he sets out to rescue Princess Peach. She has gone missing after travelling to the shady town of Rogueport. This leads Mario on a quest to collect the powerful Crystal Stars and unlock the legendary Thousand-Year Door.

Even though I played the original release on the GameCube in 2004, the game’s story is still an absolute delight. It’s filled with clever, humorous writing and a colourful cast of characters. From the bookish Goombella to the flirtatious mouse thief Vivian, each character Mario encounters has a distinct personality that adds to the game’s charm. While the core plot may be relatively straightforward, the execution is anything but. The game masterfully blends spectacle and silliness, with memorable moments ranging from the absurdity of wrestling matches to the drama of a soap opera-esque mystery.

The ability to play as Peach and Bowser during certain sections also helps to flesh out the world and provide fresh perspectives. And, what I like most about The Thousand-Year Door’s story are surprising emotional beats, challenging traditional Mario tropes in engaging ways.

Engaging and interactive combat

Now, let’s dive into the gameplay of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door! At the heart of the gameplay is the turn-based combat system, which builds upon the foundations laid by Super Mario RPG. You take control of Mario and one of his party members, engaging in battles on a literal stage. What makes the combat so satisfying is the emphasis on timing-based mechanics. Pressing buttons at the right moment can allow you to deal more damage, defend against attacks, or even execute powerful counterattacks. This level of interactivity keeps the battles feeling dynamic and rewarding, rather than simply mashing the attack button.

The Thousand-Year Door’s customization options elevate the combat experience. Mario can equip various badges that grant him new abilities or enhance his existing ones. This allows you to tailor your playstyle, whether you prefer a more defensive approach or an all-out offensive strategy. The diverse cast of party members also brings their own unique strengths and weaknesses to the table, encouraging you to experiment and find the optimal team combination.

Beyond combat, I found the game’s exploration and puzzle-solving elements are equally enjoyable. The paper-craft world is filled with hidden secrets and clever environmental puzzles that require you to utilize Mario’s paper-based abilities, such as folding into a paper airplane or flattening himself against walls. I found that these platforming and traversal challenges help break up the pace and, as a result, provide a satisfying sense of discovery.

Quality-of-life gameplay improvements

While The Thousand-Year Door’s core gameplay remains largely unchanged from the original GameCube release, the Nintendo Switch version does introduce some quality-of-life improvements. The most notable being, the ability to quickly swap between party members on the fly. This change streamlines the exploration and makes it easier to access the right abilities when needed. Additionally, there is a new hint system to help guide you on what to do next, as well as an NPC that can provide advice on completing side quests.

And, you have a slightly bigger inventory to carry things and an unlockable art and sound gallery has been added. These small tweaks help to refine an already excellent experience.

The Thousand-Year Door on Nintendo Switch

Revitalized visuals along with a reimagined soundtrack

As good as the GameCube version of The Thousand-Year Door looks, the Nintendo Switch remake is even better. The game’s signature paper-craft aesthetic has been updated with crisper textures, more vibrant colours, and improved lighting that brings the entire world to life. Environments like the shady town of Rogueport and Boggly Woods feel more immersive than ever, with the paper-folding effects adding a whimsical charm.

The character models have also been given attention. With the paper-thin Mario and his companions now appearing more expressive and lifelike. Little touches, like Peach’s reflection in the cobblestones, help sell the illusion that this is a living, breathing papercraft universe. Usual Nintendo games run at 60 frames per second. The Thousand-Year Door runs at a steady 30 frames per second and the visual upgrade is so substantial that it’s easy to overlook the slightly lower frame rate.

In addition to the revamped visuals, there is a completely rearranged soundtrack that captures the tone of each location. The main battle theme has been given unique twists, with the Glitzville arena rocking out and the ominous Hooktail’s Castle delivering a more sinister rendition. Rogueport alone has multiple variations of its iconic sea shanty-inspired track, adding to the sense of place. And, in my opinion, the new audio cues for actions like menu navigation and item usage are more polished and impactful.

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is an absolute must-play RPG that belongs in every Switch owner’s library

After 20 years, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door remains one of the best Mario RPGs ever created. The Nintendo Switch remake does an excellent job of bringing the classic adventure to modern audiences. The game’s strengths shine through more brightly than ever thanks to the visual and audio overhaul. The writing is as sharp and humorous as ever, with a memorable cast of characters.

From the mischievous Goombella to the enigmatic Admiral Bobbery, each party member adds their own unique personality and abilities to the turn-based combat. Speaking of combat, the timing-based mechanics remain incredibly satisfying, rewarding those who master the art of perfect blocks and counterattacks.

While the core experience is largely unchanged from the original, the remake does include some quality-of-life improvements. The addition of warp pipes and a revamped hub help alleviate some of the backtracking issues. And, while the 30 frames per second performance is a slight step down, the visual enhancements more than make up for it, creating a vibrant, paper-craft world that truly pops on the Nintendo Switch.

Overall, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is a timeless classic that has lost none of its charm. Whether you’re revisiting this beloved adventure or experiencing it for the first time, this remake is an absolute must-play RPG that belongs in every Switch owner’s library.


  • Funny and enjoyable story with memorable characters
  • Excellent quality of life changes that improve the experience
  • Stunning audio and visuals that bring the game to life.


  • Lack of major new content may disappoint returning fans
  • Some exhausting puzzles that involve scouring dungeons

Overall assessment of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door

Gameplay: 4.5/5
Graphics: 4.5/5
Sound: 4.5/5
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5

Overall rating: 4.4/5 (88%)

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Jon Scarr
Jon is the Gaming Editor and is based in Toronto. He is a proud Canadian who has a serious passion for gaming. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry with over 20 years experience. You can often find Jon streaming the latest games on his YouTube channel. Jon loves to talk about gaming and tech, come say hi and join the conversation with Jon on Threads @4ScarrsGaming and @4Scarrsgaming on Instagram.


  1. I hope this causes a PM renaissance! The newer games just don’t hit the same mark as the N64 and TTYD

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