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Paper Mario: The Origami King doesn’t have experience points

Paper Mario: The Origami King is not the return to the traditional roots of the series I was hoping for. Like other recent entries in the series, it de-emphasizes character-progression elements to provide a simplified role-playing-game experience. And yes, that means Mario doesn’t earn experience points for battles and doesn’t level up as a result of those fights.

Paper Mario: The Origami King is due out July 17 on Nintendo Switch for $60.

Whatever Nintendo’s reasoning is for repeatedly stripping familiar mechanics from its Mario RPGs, it doesn’t do any favors for a game like The Origami King. Even just through the first section of the adventure, I’ve already begun trying to avoid combat. I have no incentive to disrupt the exploration just to get in a battle that will leave me in the exact same position I was before it started.