Paper Mario: The Origami King’s reveal from earlier in the week gave new hope to Paper Mario fans who wish for the game to be a success and in some ways a return to the franchise’s roots, but the reveal did raise some questions. We didn’t see much of the game’s combat aside from a unique ring-based system that still isn’t fully understood, and questions about progression and RPG mechanics are still on the table as well. One of the most discussed topics since the game was announced has been the topic of companions and how they’ll work in the game.
The Origami King certainly has some sort of partner system in it given that Mario was seen interacting with characters like a Bob-omb and an adventurous Toad, but how deep that system goes isn’t known. Are these named characters like the ones seen in previous games who have unique abilities and room to grow, or are they temporary companions who come and go during stretches of Mario’s journey? Do they help him in combat, or are they just on the sidelines to cheer him on?
Regardless of what’s done with the new partners, it’d help the game out to have some familiar faces for players to spot. Companions were a big part of the original Paper Mario and The Thousand-Year Door and left an impression on players both in terms of their abilities and their personalities, and Nintendo’s proved time and time again it’s no stranger to references between its games.
That’s not to say that the companions from the old games should be Mario’s sole travel buddies for The Origami King. In fact, they probably shouldn’t even help out in combat at all, or they should only help in an extremely limited capacity if anything so that other characters can have their times to shine. Newer Paper Mario games have shown that they’ll let older characters have cameos, so perhaps we’ll see classic partners return in that way in The Origami King. If that’s the case, we’ve got a few ideas of who should make appearances.
If personality was a big factor in who you kept out with you in Paper Mario, there weren’t many better options than Lady Bow. Bow’s a Boo who only joins Mario’s party after he helps her out with her problems first, and her strong-willed personality made her one of the more memorable companions.
Her combat prowess was nothing to scoff at either. While other partners were geared more towards doing damage, hers were split between that and aiding Mario through utility effects. She could completely hide Mario from attacks both in and out of battle and could scare enemies away, though you wouldn’t get experience from doing so.
Bombette was one of the first few partners Mario encountered in the original Paper Mario. A bright pink Bob-omb who Mario finds in the Koopa Bros. Fortress after falling into a trap, this partner was one of the more impressionable characters in Paper Mario because of how much she stood apart from the normal black Bob-ombs seen everywhere.
She’s also one of the most useful characters in the game when it comes to exploring. Every character was essential to progressing through the story, but her explosive abilities had a way of making it seem like she had a greater impact. Bombette was also the perfect character to get an easy first strike with since you could toss the partner and leave her to explode.
Watt was a pretty excitable character to find in Paper Mario once players freed her from her prison in Shy Guy’s Toy Box. Her powers allowed Mario to light up areas and find hidden resources, and her battle abilities dealt with bypassing defenses and paralyzing enemies.
A small ball of energy with what was made to look like a pacifier, Watt always seemed to be designed to be a younger character. Assuming years have passed since the events of the first Paper Mario game, we wouldn’t mind seeing what Watt looks like now.
The last of the characters from the original Paper Mario game that would be nice to see in The Origami King is Lakilester. He’s a Lakitu who joins Mario’s party last in the game after they were briefly on opposing sides.
Despite Lakilester being on the wrong side of the fight when you first meet him, he’s actually a pretty alright guy. He ditches his boss, Huff N. Puff, and joins Mario’s party. He’s one of the most laidback companions you can travel with in Paper Mario, and his combat abilities are a nice mix of utility and damage.
One of several ghostly characters in the Paper Mario games, Vivian broke away from the typical sorts of characters you’d expect to see in a Mario game. Because of that, she was one of the more memorable characters from The Thousand-Year Door.
Mostly soft-spoken because of her relationship with her sisters that didn’t treat her well, she was a quiet but important part of Mario’s party. Every character has their own path of progression in the Paper Mario games, but Vivian’s was one of the more obvious and fulfilling ones to see play out.
No offense to the energetic Goombario from Paper Mario, but Goombella from The Thousand-Year Door wins the Goomba battle every time. She was a fountain of knowledge for Mario during his journey as the plumber’s first companion throughout the game, and her design set her apart from other Goombas while still incorporating some familiar archetypes found in other tertiary Mario characters.
She’s one of the simpler characters to manage and have out during travels and in a fight, but her personality made her a better traveling companion than many others. She’s both loyal to Mario and confident in herself, so one would think she’d be doing quite well by the time the events of The Origami King came around.
Bow may have had the most attitude of anyone in Paper Mario, but that title goes to Yoshi Kid in The Thousand-Year Door. He was unique in that he could be different colors depending on when he hatched – a mechanic only seen in his design, not in any other partners – but his spunkiness persisted regardless of the outcome.
Yoshi Kid was born into battle since he was hatched around the Glitz Pit, so he’s always ready for a fight and has powerful abilities to back him up. Like Watt, he’s a younger character in the game, so seeing him all grown up would be a nice touch.
Ms. Mowz was one of the more mysterious characters Mario encountered throughout his journeys in the Paper Mario game. She’s seen periodically as a shifty background character before she’s eventually persuaded to join Mario’s party, and she’s unique in the sense that she’s the only character that isn’t required on Mario’s team.
Given that she’s the final character to join the team for most players, there wasn’t as much time spent around her even though she appeared periodically before she joins Mario. She had a knack and the tenacity for getting what she wanted, so she’s probably doing pretty well for herself whatever she’s up to now.