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10 Tips to Master Paper Mario: Color Splash’s New Battle System

In Paper Mario: Color Splash you’ll be given cards to do battle. These cards come in the form of Basic Cards[1], Enemy Cards[2], and Thing Cards[3]. You’ll need to know how to use them to get the most out of your battles or else you’re headed for the recycling bin.

As with most RPG games featuring our hero pressing the A button right before you attack is key. The same is true here in Paper Mario: Color Splash. When you do the best timing possible on your attack you’ll be told it was an Excellent attack.

When using a Jump card you’ll go towards the enemy and jump.

When you’re directly above them and about to land, press the A button and you’ll jump again. With the standard Jump card you’ll be able to jump on that foe 5 times. If you mistime it then the attack ends early.

When using a special type of jump attack like the Line Jump or Hopslipper you’ll jump on multiple enemies and/or jump faster so keep your eyes sharp to get an Excellent attack. Hammer-based cards don’t typically rely on multiple inputs but instead one input with a tighter window for Excellent timing. This relies on pressing the A button when the hammer is ready to rock.

Your hammer will get blue foil-paper around it as it is charging up. When this blue circle is full it will turn orange. When it is orange that is your chance to unleash a full-strength hammer strike.

Hammer cards like the Eekhammer wll hit multiple times, but the same effect will be seen on the hammer so always aim for the orange to get the best timing.

If you’re not confident then try to swing before it turns orange to make sure you still hit them for good damage. With cards like the Fire Flower the timing can be a little tricky since there is no indicator like Hammer attacks and you may not be sure when Mario is going to toss the fireball. Allow me to help.

When using this card, Mario will throw a fireball for each successful timed hit you do up to four times. He will use the flower and change his suit to reflect the card used and then start to conjure a fireball. The fireball will start small, then medium, and lastly large when it is about to be thrown.

You can press the A button at any time between these three sizes to ensure that Mario will throw another one. Once you know the timing it is a relatively simple move. When you’re being attacked it will be up to you to press A to block some of the damage done.

It will not negate the attack but it will greatly minimize the damage you’re about to receive. When you’re on the defense you can press the A button at any moment and Mario will raise his arms to block for a full second, but after that his arms go down again. Most enemies will walk up to you and pause before attacking so try to wait for them to get close and THEN press the A button.

Don’t wait for them to make a move once they’re close, but don’t overreact to them walking near you. When a group of enemies attack you at once you’re encourage to mash the A button since their attack will last longer than a few moments. Keep hitting the block button until the attack ends as there is no penalty for pressing it a lot.

There is a brief cooldown from each block where you are vulnerable, but when you’re being swarmed it’s your best option to block as much as possible. When using a card that enhances your ability to defend like the Spike Helmet card or Frog Suit card you’ll be able to change how you defend. With the Spike Helmet you’ll be able to counter any attacks from above by pressing A to jump into their attack.

This will keep the helmet on your head and damage your foe. The Frog Suit card lets you jump over ground-based attacks with a well timed A press. There are a few different statuses that affect the way your battle goes.

There is not much you can do about these except learn how to avoid them and learn how much they’ll impact you if they do happen.

This is a status that wrinkles up the target so that they cannot perform an action on their next turn. This includes defending yourself. A good example of how to get crumpled is from Morton in The Crimson Tower[4].

His big leap attack that makes a shockwave on the ground can cause the player to be crumpled and thus lose a turn. To avoid being crumpled be sure to defend the shockwave of such attacks as well as any attacks that occur before and/or after the shockwaves. You shouldn’t be crumpled if you block just right.

When you are blind your attacks will have a high rate of missing. This means that you should be careful about what cards you’re using at this time. A card that you can use to blind your enemies is the Lemon card, one of the many Thing Cards[5] in Color Splash.

With this card a lemon will come down and squirt lemon juice on your foes. They will be damaged and blinded making retaliating very difficult for them. There are a number of things that can occur during a battle.

With the Paper Mario series being as creative as it is you should always expect a quirky twist and be ready for anything. After you reach Cherry Lake[6] you’ll gain the ability to use more than one card at a time in battle. This doesn’t mean you HAVE to of course as you can still play each turn with only one card, but the potential for way more damage is nice to have.

When using multiple cards keep in mind that the first card is meant to be used on the first enemy while the second card typically is set to hit the first foe in line again so plan your attack carefully. Also keep in mind that you do not want to go for overkill. If you play two cards and defeat all the enemies with just the first card then the second card is still used and gone forever.

Keep this in mind to save your cards. If you can take out all of your foes in a battle without being hurt you’ll receive a Perfect Bonus. This rewards you with ten extra coins that you wouldn’t normally receive.

The best way for you to accomplish this is to not give the enemy a chance to attack by winning in one turn. Just be careful not to use all your best cards too quickly. These battles, first appearing at Daffodil Peak[7], can happen at random.

They start with Magikoopa flying into the screen and onto your gamepad. Then the dastardly wizard casts a spell on your cards. You’ll be forced to fight through the conditions such as having nothing but Worn-Out Jump cards, all your cards being face down (aka hidden), and more.

When you win the fight you’ll receive a big cash bonus of 300 coins, but you’ll be unable to flee. Do your best to overcome these battles.

When your cards are flipped face down by Magikoopa they stay in the same order they were in before. Use this to your advantage and try to recall what cards you have at the end and beginning of your card list.

This will help you use exactly the card you want despite them being hidden from you.


  1. ^ Basic Cards (uk.ign.com)
  2. ^ Enemy Cards (uk.ign.com)
  3. ^ Thing Cards (uk.ign.com)
  4. ^ The Crimson Tower (uk.ign.com)
  5. ^ Thing Cards (uk.ign.com)
  6. ^ Cherry Lake (uk.ign.com)
  7. ^ Daffodil Peak (uk.ign.com)

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