Paper Mario Is NOT Saving The Folded Toads In The Origami King

While there is no doubt that Mario plays the role of the hero in Paper Mario: The Origami King, some of his actions may be cause for concern. Among the various sidequests Mario undertakes during his journey through the paper-crafted kingdom, one has our mustachioed hero rescuing toads who have been folded in all sorts of precarious ways. But is Mario really saving the toads, or is he taking away their newfound happiness?

Keeping in line with the game’s overarching origami theme, hundreds of toads have been folded up and hidden around the Mushroom Kingdom for Mario to find. Each serves as its own little micro-puzzle for Mario to solve, usually by whacking with his hammer or pulling out of the ground. After rescuing a toad they will usually throw a quick quip Mario’s way and then run on back to Toad Town, but some will voice their distaste towards Mario’s actions and will stand around sulking or attempting to mimic their former state.

Related: Paper Mario: The Origami King Has A Rather Scandalous Easter Egg

In certain instances, Toads have been folded into beautiful butterflies that flutter around freely. Once hit with a hammer they unfold and return the Toad to its original state. Other Toads are hiding underground or are crumpled wads of paper tucked away in a corner. While being a crumpled-up paper ball doesn’t sound like an enjoyable state of being, being able to fly without a care in the world doesn’t sound too bad. And in some cases, the Toads seemingly enter a state of depression when returned to their original forms.

Not all toads want to be saved, and that is okay. While a player may get a sense of accomplishment for saving every folded Toad in the Mushroom Kingdom, it is worth knowing that they are sadder having been saved then when they were folded. Some Toads, specifically the ones that have been folded into butterflies, will express that they wish they were still in their folded forms. But to make matters worse, they will then repeatedly jump up and down, flapping their arms in an attempt to mimic the sensation of flying.

Imagine the feeling of waking up from a really good dream and instantly realizing none of it was real. That feeling of loss is sad, but is quickly gotten over because it was never real to begin with. When a Toad is taken from their folded state of euphoria and returned to the mundane reality of being a Toad, they experience that same sadness. The difference is that they aren’t waking up from a dream. They are having their new and better reality taken from them, and have to live knowing they once had something better.

Sadly, for the player, it is impossible to gauge which Toads want to be saved, and which want to be left to their own folded devices. The only way to know for sure which state of being they prefer is to rescue them. They will then tell Mario what they think of his actions, but by then it is already too late. This puts Mario in a catch-22 of sorts, as he can choose to save everyone and leave some Toads depressed, or save no one, leaving some folded Toads to live their best lives… unless.

There is a third option for only those who are truly dedicated to the betterment of the livelihood of all Toads. A player could go through and rescue every Toad, documenting their responses and mapping out which Toads want to be saved and which prefer to stay folded. Then, by wiping that save file, it would act as a reset, as if that timeline never happened. The player could then use their newfound knowledge to rescue the Toads that wish to be saved and leave the ones that do not. Then, and only then, would a player be able to claim that they have truly saved Toad-kind.

Next: Paper Mario’s Lack Of Original Characters Due To Weird Nintendo Policy

Paper Mario: The Origami King is available now on Nintendo Switch.

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