Paper Mario: Prophecy of the Arts (ペーパーマリオ：芸術の予言 Pēpāmario: Geijutsu no Yogen) is the sixth installment of the Paper Mario series released for the Nintendo Switch and will be developed by Intelligent Systems.
Prologue: Arising Dark
Parakarry delivers a letter into Mario and Luigi's mailbox. Luigi heads outside, opens the mailbox and comes back inside with the letter in his hand. The camera then zooms into the door, then cuts to the house's interior with Mario sitting at the table with a cup of coffee. Luigi walks into the scene and gives the letter to Mario for him to read.
The two brothers head out. After passing the tutorial stage, Mario and Luigi head into Toad Town. Houses would be covered in decorations, shop stands, and carnival games. A few NPC characters from past Paper Mario games would also be there. Going into the castle, a few toads, the partners from The Thousand-Year Door, and the Kid yoshis from Lavalava Island, now grown up as adults, would greet Mario. As Peach walks down the stairs to greet Mario, she kisses him on the forehead and declares the party to begin.
While everyone in the room starts to celebrate, one blue toad and a torn page rip stand in the corner of the upper floor. He discusses to Mario about the rip. Suddenly, purple beams shine from the rip, catching everyone's attention. Before Mario could stop it, the beams grow larger until the screen turns white, which would stun everyone in the room. The lights start to flicker, one of them showing a corrupted Bowser capturing Peach. The screen fades to black, and then the lights turn back on, showing more page rips and small cracks.
Goombario wakes up and finds Mario crumbled under some wreckage. After waking him, Mario unfolds and gets up. He looks around, realizing that the rip had stunned everyone else Before Mario leaves, however, a female toad runs up to him and introduces herself as Toadalla. She asks Mario if she can join his adventure, and he accepts. The two leave the castle into Toad Town as the sky fill a light grey instead of the jolly blue, decorations would be taken down, and toads except for the Rescue Squad Chief from Color Splash shiver in fear.
After leaving Toad Town, the two would head into Sunflower Fields. They soon spot a yellow pipe on a mountain being guarded. Toadalla insists that the pipe might lead them to another area that could take them to the right path. After reaching the peak of the hill, they are greeted with Morton who challenges them to a battle if they want to reach the pipe. After a fight with him, he says that this isn't last of "us," mentioning the other Koopalings. The two then enter the pipe after a short conversation about Morton. However, a green bandit climbs up the hill and follows them down the pipe, ending the chapter.
Chapter One: Maple Troubles
The pipe leads the duo to an autumn forest near a waterfall. Toadalla says this might be is Autuminal Falls, and plans to find Maple Village, a town nearby. Halfway through this stage, they spot a wheel-shaped Oriam at the doorstep of a small cabin painted yellow. He appears to be kicked out of some group, running off. Toadalla claims that if they follow him, they will lead to the village.
After clearing the stage, they would find out that a majority of the town's residents are Oriams like the boy from earlier. Toadalla suggests they should look around for any help. After searching for a while, they find a purple gem on the ground. When Mario picks it up, a path appears after them. With no other choice, the two follow.
Eventually, it would lead to a simple brick wall, with the trail faded off. Before they could go back, a trapdoor would open below them, falling into a pit. The green bandit from last chapter would then show up and looks down at Mario. He introduces himself as Buckello, a member and inventor of the Disaster Trio.
He also explains that another member of his squad, who is an expert at casting magic, has managed to change a gem's path magic towards his trap. Pulling out a small gadget with a red button, he waves them farewell. Before he could press the button, however, the Oriam from earlier bumps into him, dropping the gadget into the pit.
Buckello starts to yell at the Oriam, in which he responds that it was an accident. Meanwhile, somewhere in the distance, a fox-like Oriam notices a lever and decides to pull it in curiosity, which brings Mario back up. The bandit notices this and challenges Mario to a battle, if he's ever got a choice.
After the fight, Buckello informs Mario that this is not the last of him and runs off. A cloaked figure then thumped over to the group and introduced himself as Elder Iccardius. He brings the group into his hut where he tells the Prophecy of the Arts, and that Mario must bring seven Fortuned Crystals to the Doodela Shrine in order to seal the rips. The young Oriam also introduces himself as Rooket and decides to join the team.
The group and Elder Iccardius head off into the undergrounds, where the shrine is said to be held. Halfway there, however, a Tanoomba quickly steals the purple shard. Mario tries to retrieve it back by following its footsteps and eventually locates and defeats the goomba in a battle. After returning to the shrine, he places the purple shard and completes the Purple Crystals. The heroes continue their adventure to retrieve the other crystals on the Excess Express, and the chapter ends.
Chapter Three: A Bogging Situation
After a night of staying on the train, Mario and the group finally arrive at Sundew Woodland where they find an orange fortuned shard and eventually meet a tribe of multiple species of birds and koopas struggling to keep a mud volcano at rest from erupting recently. So with the help of a bumpty named Pengrin and a few other tribe members, they head up to the volcano and check out what's causing the nonstop erupting, finding another orange shard along the way.
The group travels through the volcano's interior, in which they discover that a machine that manages the volcano's eruption time has been malfunctioning. After multiple failed attempts of fixing it, Mario hears a clatter from below and the mud rises them up to the top where a goop of purple and grey mud attacks Mario and the gang, engaging them in a battle.
After defeating it, they receive the final orange shard, but the ground begins to shake and the player must get back down safely before the volcano erupts one more time. Back at the village, the tribe chief merges the shards together into the orange Fortuned Crystal. Pengrin joins Mario's party, they climb onto a boat, and the chapter ends.
Chapter Three: Island of Fur
A cutscene plays, similar to the opening cutscene in Color Splash where the group is traversing the seas on the boat from last chapter. Suddenly, the tide grow more aggressive and soon a bolt of lightning strikes the boat. It then cuts to them lying on the sand as a white cat-like figure watches them from a distance and runs away when they wake up. With the boat now destroyed, the gang decides to explore the island, finding a yellow shard along the way.
Eventually, they stumble upon a village of cats and ask for help off the island. However, none of them have left their homeland due to the recent law of the "Emperor." One white kitten who introduces herself as Yume decides to help them. After giving them another yellow shard, they head up to the castle of Marchwood, only to find that the castle is being heavily guarded by some troops. With no other choice, they try another way to sneak in.
After travelling through the vents into the prisoner room, it is revealed that the real emperor is being held by Iggy who has disguised himself the whole time. After a long battle with him and his mech, he drops the last yellow shard, releases the emperor from his cage, and runs off.
The emperor then merges the shards into the Yellow crystal and announces the privilege of travelling along the seas but only with a Sailing License. After making the way back down, Yume joins the party as they build a raft and sail off, ending the chapter.
Chapter Four: Escaping the Castlewood
After a two-day trip across the sea, the group finally reach an island similar to the Steam Gardens where the emperor said the next Fortuned crystal was located. They try searching all around every corner and cranny, only to get nothing. Eventually, they meet Sheron who is fascinated by the wonders of the Steam Gardens.
Suddenly, three strange, cloaked figures capture the group alongside the shy traveler and bring them to their underground facility below the gardens. The screen fades to black, then cuts to the gang now in a small prison alongside Sheron. Easily bored, he demands an escape plan. A guard drops a key near their cell as Mario picks it up and unlocks it.
The other guards notice and two pick a battle with him. After defeating them, the player must dodge guard lights, otherwise they would have to fight them or be teleported back to the nearest checkpoint. Eventually, both Toadalla and Rooket randomly argue about their differences and split up. Mario tries to reunite, but cannot find them.
With no other choice, the group continues their journey to their exit. However, when they nearly come closer to the end, a trapdoor opens as the group falls into yet another room. Toadalla and Rooket from earlier are now trapped in crystal bubbles, as one of the strange figures reveals himself as Lightlis and challenges to fight if he really wants them back.
After being defeated, he teleports away and releases the two. Soon, a green crystal appears between them, which is all formed together unlike the other gems found thus far. A staircase also forms leading to a coast near the Steam Gardens. Sheron joins the party, locates the next Fortuned crystal, the heroes hop on their raft to travel back, and the chapter ends.
Chapter Five: Mazes and Magic
Landing on a coastal town called Basil Post, where they prepare themselves for the night and head out tomorrow where Elder Iccardius is waiting for the group. He says that he has located a shard of the Pink crystal somewhere in a cave. As they reach its location and head inside, the team eventually finds it surrounded by a giant crystal heart.
However, before Mario can grab it, the ground starts to shatter as Mario and the gang fall deeper into the caverns. Waking up, they find themselves in a small camp with a young pokio and yellow toad, who introduce them as Polly and Leap. Fixing their slight injuries from the fall, Mario leads the group to find an exit and perhaps the three Pink shards.
During this intermission, the player must solve a series of trials and puzzles, one of which contains a mini-boss of a corrupted Wiggler and its reward being the second shard. Eventually, they find themselves another trial that seems to be in construction by various corrupted races.
Rooket tries to question why it's taking so long to reach the exit, which somehow makes the unfinished trial crumble down and reveal themselves as shadowy ash. The builders start to take the blame on him before a bell rings in the distance, thus calling them out.
After Toadalla asks him about his recent insecurities, Rooket tells a story revolving around his inability to shapeshift like most Oriams. Suddenly, fogs begins to fill the caverns, as a looming palm reaches out and grabs Polly. A tall witch resembling the Shadow Queen reveals herself as the Cobra Mage, challenging Mario to fight.
After defeating her, Polly is freed from the sorcerer's clutches and Rooket regains his ability to shapeshift as the third shard appears and a large gate emerges. Meanwhile, back at the creek, Iccardius greets them with the first Pink shard from earlier, merging the three as one.
Polly decides to join the party, and the player is free to explore the creeks, but also must end the chapter by reaching the pipe on the hill.
As an action-adventure RPG, it reuses a few mechanics from the previous five games, specifically the two notorious Paper Mario games, as well as adding mechanics of their own. It would consist of a unique worldset, a similar battle system to The Thousand-Year Door, and an art style similar to Color Splash, with higher resolution. The main focus of this game, which is revealed during Chapter One, is to collect the Fortuned Crystals to seal the page rips that keep popping up and stop Voldom from tearing apart the kingdom.
There are also intermissions between chapters, in which the player(s) catch a glimpse on Luigi, Peach, and Bowser's perspectives. Partners would also return, able to enable abilities both in the Overworld and in Battle.
The battle system would return to its traditional formula from the two original Paper Mario games. All battles would take place on a theater stage with a background representing the player's current area and an audience, mostly with toads. The battles would also be turn-based. Audiences, partners, and opponents can interact with Mario in a battle, which can become Scrapbook Memories, depending on the partner's friendship level, the audience's trust upon the player, or other reasons.
Selecting the attack move, Mario and his chosen partner attack opponents. Their attacks can gain extra power using the Action Command and accurate timing. When in Multiplayer mode, the role the player is playing as will interact with their Joy-Con. For instance, the one playing as a partner would be the one to control that role using the second Joy-Con.
The guard move can only be performed with an opponent is attacking. In this action, Mario and his partners would block one's attack, using the A and B button. In multiplayer, the guard button would depend on the Joy-Con order (A for First, B for Second). If successful, the opponents' attack would cause less damage than if not blocked.
Star Points (SP) make a return as a similar fashion to the older games, Paper Mario and The Thousand-Year Door. They appear as a green orb with a star inside. They are given to the player by winning a battle. This is the case for all enemies except optional bosses and enemies who can weaken Mario's level. Once Mario has 100-star points, he levels up and can increase their max HP, BP, or FP. However, he can no longer receive star points once he reaches level 30.
The audience also makes a return from The Thousand-Year Door, though it's only available if the area is filled with friendly NPCs. The audience gets larger and gains Mario's trust depending on how much star points Mario currently has and receives. They consist of various Mario enemies and Toads cheering as one on stage attacks. If Mario or a partner does an attack stylishly, they gain star points.
Flower Points (FP) are small, white flowers used as the main energy for special attacks. Both Mario and all his partners have the same stock of Flower Points and can be replenished by healing items. When leveling up, the player can choose to increase the max FP by 5. Some Badges affect FP when worn.
Badges and Badge Points
Badges are special types of items that when worn, give the wearer a specific ability. A few badges have returned, and even new badges. However, they require BP (Badge Points). Badge Points are used to manage the badges that Mario and his crew can wear. When leveling up, the player can choose to increase the max BP by 5.
Optionally, two players can play together with two matching controllers, with the second player controlling selected partner. Battles will also change a little, where attacks are selected at once and they release those attacks once both players have selected. Plus, the menus are slightly smaller.
These are characters that are mainly played, although all of them having intermissions, with the exception of Mario, which is mostly played throughout the main story.
Mario - Just like the other Paper Mario games, Mario appears as the main protagonist of this game. This time, he, alongside some new partners, embarks on a quest to find the Fortuned Crystals to seal all the reality rips that an unknown evil has started and stopped it from tearing apart the world.
Luigi - Mario's younger, taller brother. With everyone else in the castle earlier searching for clues of the page rips, Luigi returns to Rogueport in search of anyone who seems to know about the suspicious incident and if they also got page rips, alongside his five fellow partners.
Peach - The ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom. She holds is captured by Bowser, but was later revealed to be held captive in a crystal cage by a mysterious foe named Voldom. However, she reunites with
Bowser - A notorious villain of the Mushroom Kingdom. At first, he is once again the main villain, planning to destroy the kingdom and shatter all forms of defeat he could find. However, it is later revealed that he was just corrupted by another vicious spirit.
Voldom - Also known as Void Knight, is the true antagonist of the game who corrupts Bowser. He plans to shatter the world in nothing but scraps of meaningless.
These characters are supporting characters towards Mario, and are only playable through local co-op.
Toadalla - A female greenish yellow toad with a desire for adventure and a quick nature. She is very energetic and the first partner the player receives. Her agility helps with distracting and
Rooket - A reckless Oriam who is Mario's second partner and dreams of joining the Paint Adventurers. He enjoys acting tough, despite being quite shorter than most of his kind. It is later revealed that Rooket has been cursed to only be in his normal state and unable to shapeshift.
Pengrin - A purple penguin that enjoys collecting items of interest. Has a love for food and often gets hurt, but supports Mario with distracting and using his body to hit. Soon, he receives a basic hammer and is later revealed that he has an unusual corruption under his bandage due to a recent earthquake.
Yume - A shy white kitten who lives on an tropical island of other cats but has wanted to learn sorcery and sea travel outside her island. She joins Mario when she realizes that they have crashed on the island and decides to help them escape. She uses her claws and strange witchcraft to weaken and confuse opponents.
Sheron - A green shy guy traveler that travels kingdom after kingdom to study their rich lore and history. After being captured and held prisoner alongside Mario and his group, he decides to help him escape and free the other innocents. Uses many different parcels and gadgets from his past travels in battle.
Polly - A female pokio with a hobby for going outdoors. She joins Mario when they find her and Leap, her yellow toad friend. Uses her beak and ability of plant communication for aiding Mario in his combat. Also dreams of managing a nature park from her experience of working in her mother's garden as a child.
Wally - A bipedal walrus in a rookie band known as the Lava Walkers. After his other members get captured by Wisky during their first concert performance, he joins Mario to rescue them and other captives held by the Disaster Trio. He uses his loud Rock music to attack enemies.
Phaeis - A shattered Beautiel that was one of Voldom's minions who failed to seek the green Fortuned Crystal and was sent into the Limbo Heart. She decides to join Mario in hopes to be redeemed from her crimes as a villain's servant. She wields a long, majestic sliver katana to slice enemies.