Let's take a step even deeper than ranking the chapters in this game by ranking every individual level! There are 32 levels, four in each chapter. For the sixth chapter, I will just be including the levels when playing through the first time, not during the Duel of 100. Writing this article has taken me an obscene amount of time, but I finally present to you: Super Paper Mario: All Levels RANKED!
#32 - Downtown of Crag (5-1)
This level is honestly pretty bad. The only objective is to talk to a dude and then hit blocks. I'm not a big fan of the theming in Chapter 5, and the gameplay of this level is just not great. Sure, there are a few houses and stuff, but most of them are of little to no use. The Whacka is here, but he can only be utilized like ten times until he's had enough of being whacked in the head with a hammer and leaves. I personally think this level was just not designed very well and could have been executed much better.
#31 - Into Outer Space (4-1)
This level has a nice concept, but it is tedious as almost all of the gameplay is the exact same throughout the entire level. Each screen is practically the same with the exception of the portal placement. The outer space aesthetics are cool and shooting enemies with Squirps is fun, but the overall lack of interesting content places this level low on the list.
#30 - Subterranean Vacation (7-1)
This level is the same level you just played. The thing about this level is, instead of solving puzzles, Mario just has to walk to Jaydes's palace and talk to her. No new treasures or anything of the sort. The reason this places above the other two is that it isn't long and boring, it's short and boring.
#29 - When Geeks Attack (3-1)
I don't know why, but I've never really liked the eponymous first level of the Bitlands (which is one of my least favorite chapters). For fans of the original Super Mario Bros. games, this level could be a good one, but I honestly find it just too long and I don't love the music. Tippi leaves at the beginning of this chapter, but she isn't all that useful in gameplay, so it isn't that big of a "hitch in the giddyup." There are some unique segments here, like the Bowser battle, but for some reason this level just never caught on for me.
#28 - Pixls, Tablets, and Crag (5-2)
Similarly to 5-1, I just don't like this 5-2 all that much either. I just find there to be too much backtracking in order to get the tablets, and this level is very similar looking to the previous level. The O'Chunks fight here is one of the most forgettable in the game. Climbing the tower and getting Cudge is pretty funny though. Overall, I just don't love this level.
#27 - The Gates of Space (4-3)
Isn't it funny how many of the levels from chapters I just don't love end up near the bottom of the list? Well no, it's just how life works. This level has the same mechanics as 4-1, but I think it's more fun in this level. In the Outer Limits, there are doors that you have to squeeze Squirps into (it's kind of dumb but also funny). And for some reason, there is a chocolate shop in space. Yeah, you heard me right. Squirps needs chocolate, so Mario floats through portals to find the shop and then goes back. While a decent level, I just find this one pretty lackluster.
#26 - Bloops Ahoy (3-2)
The Tile Pool is an underwater level, which are usually bad. But this one is actually pretty decent. Thudley, one of the most powerful Pixls, is first found here. There is also a boss fight with the Big Blooper, which is kind of forgettable, but still not bad. This level takes place in a chapter I don't love, but it is still fun to go through.
#25 - The Sealed Doors Three (7-2)
Who doesn't want to climb a seemingly endless ladder only to get knocked all the way down to the bottom by a Dark Boo that appears out of nowhere? Well that's simply what happens in the Underwhere Road. After you make it to the top, you have to go get something from an old grandma and then climb all the way up again! The Dorguy puzzles are okay and the Underchomp fight is fun, however. I loved using each Pixl I had in my arsenal against it to see what it would do. Not the worst level, but it is quite frustrating.
#24 - A Paper Emergency (4-2)
The low gravity effect is pretty darn fun if I'm being honest with you, but I find this level to be a little bit too slow for my liking. The part about Fleep in the bathroom is funny but there is a lot of backtracking. This level is definitely less janky and more fun than 4-1 and 4-3, but it still can be a little boring at times.
#23 - World of Nothing (6-3)
This level is pretty darn bad in terms of gameplay (it's literally just like 5 straight minutes of holding right), but it has a solid message: Blumiere ain't messing around when he says he wants to destroy all worlds. What was once a beautiful kingdom is now just an empty void of whiteness and the few remnants of the arena structures. Also, there is a boss fight, Brobot L-Type. While not one of the greatest boss fights in the game, it is still decent and gives this level at least some gameplay.
#22 - A Bone-Chilling Tale (7-4)
Being the last level outside Count Bleck's castle, it would just make sense that you would be the slightest bit bored by this point. This level is just too similar the the previous level and there are just fetch quests. The Bonechill fight, while not as bad as everyone says it is, is one of the less exciting chapter bosses in the game, but the part after the fight where Luvbi's secret is revealed is nice.
#21 - The Adventure Unfolds (1-1)
As with most first levels, this one is solid, but not as unique as the others. Most of the game's mechanics are introduced here, but there isn't all that much to see here. While having to go get the Flipping mechanic from Bestovius is kind of fun, it isn't that great. There aren't really any puzzles here either except for the hidden door as Tippi is the only Pixl with you at this point. Overall, Lineland Road is a great first level, but doesn't stand up to the rest of the levels in Super Paper Mario.
#20 - The Sands of Yold (1-3)
By the time you get to Yold Desert, you have Thoreau, which means you can do fun stuff like throw a buff grumpy old man into a pile of sand. I'm of course talking about O'Chunks, which is the first boss battle encountered in Super Paper Mario. Apart from the relatively easy but fun boss fight, there are a few pretty neat puzzles, such as the one with the red palm tree. But obviously, the true best part of this level is that MUSIC!!
#19 - Bogging to Merlee's (2-1)
This is the first level where you can use Peach, but you don't actually get her here, so I can't really take that into consideration in this levels placement in the ranking. You also get your second Pixel, Boomer, here. The level to me feels too much like a regular Mario platformer game, however, and lacks many of the key things that make the levels that rank higher on this list have, such as boss fights, puzzles, or plot elements. Overall, a pretty average level, but certainly not a bad one.
#18 - Afoot in the Foothills (1-2)
As with the Yold Desert, the music here is like when your mom actually puts a good amount of black pepper on your fried egg. This course introduces you to many new characters such as Watchitt, the stupid Red and Green, and the best Pixl in the game, Thoreau. You also gain access to a shop that has better items for sale than the one found on the first floor of Flipside. Overall, Mount Lineland is a solid level, but as it's still basically a part of the tutorial, it isn't one of the best in the game.
#17 - Tricks, Treats, Traps (2-2)
After completing the long trek to some mansion out in the middle of nowhere, Mario is treated to some nasty surprises. If you are playing the game with a guide or on a subsequent playthrough, you could easily just ignore or avoid the traps, but what's the fun in that? In fact, one of the traps gives you a heck of a lot of coins, so killing a few enemies isn't the biggest price to pay. I've always had a soft spot for this level, as I have with the other two levels that come after it in this chapter. The level is, however, very short when compared to the others, so that's why it lands here on the rankings.
#16 - Sammer Guy Showdown (6-1)
I love the Sammer Guy sidequest in this game, but the portion of it that you play during the game is not quite as good (most of the Sammer Guys in the first 25 arenas are basically the same). But with that said, this level is still fun, as it has you battling against little weird samurai. The majority of these are super weak though, so it isn't close to as strategic as the latter portions of the full Sammer Guy Showdown. This level also shows the Void grow to a gargantuan size, which gives the player a looming sense of dread. Also, the Sammer Guy showdown music is pretty epic.
#15 - ??? (6-4)
After being attacked by Dimentio, where does Mario go? Heck, of course! Residents of The Underwhere inform Mario that he is, in fact, dead, but Mario refuses to believe this. This level has you searching for answers about your lost friends, Dimentio, and the state of the world with the Void. The level has a nice-looking color scheme, great puzzles in the underwater section, and the first appearance of Mario's long-lost brother, Luigi. At the end of the level, the brothers continue on their way to find their friends and escape from, quite literally, their heckish situation.
#14 - The End of a World (6-2)
Yeah, yeah, you only really fight five Sammer Guys in this level, but, along with all of Chapter 6, this level influences the game's story more than the chapters before it. The rematch against Mimi is also a great boss fight, although using Peach to guard against the Rubees makes it much easier than it would be if you were to use Mario against her. At the conclusion of the battle, the entire world literally blows up. Like, how cool is that? A great boss fight and good plot elements are enough to get this level up to it's relatively high placement, but the short length doesn't let it earn any of the higher spots on this list.
#13 - The Battle of Fort Francis (3-4)
Ah, the home of the absolutely maniacal pervert nerd frog. This level is just pretty average to me. You get a new Pixl, Carrie, but, contrary to popular belief, she is pretty bad and only really useful in getting across those long pits of spikes. The main reason that this level is as high as it is is that it has a pretty good boss fight, which is obviously Francis. Also it is quite amusing to see the frog trying to seduce Princess Peach, especially since his attempts fail miserably. You finally get Tippi back in this level, which is good I guess. Fort Francis is a pretty solid level with a good boss fight, but it lacks some of the great things that the levels ahead of it on this list have.
#12 - The Menace of King Croacus (5-4)
This level seems like, in a way, just a downgrade from the previous level. It once again takes place in the Floro Sapien Caverns, but the aesthetic is basically the same as 5-3. There are two boss fights, but the O'Chunks fight is practically the same as the previous two battles against him, and the King Croacus fight is in my opinion one of the weaker chapter-ending boss fights in the game. Obviously it is still a great level, however (it wouldn't be this high if it weren't). The level involves you searching for a keycard and a Floro Sprout which are both required to sneak past the security system and enter the King's chamber. You also find a new Pixl! Too bad Dottie is by far one of the worst companions in the game. This level has some really good elements to it, but as you will soon find out, it is outshined by another level in the same location.
#11 - Up, Up, and a Tree (3-3)
To me, the Dotwood Tree is easily the best level in the third chapter of Super Paper Mario. This level actually requires skilled platforming rather than just running through a boring and overly long Super Mario Bros. level (looking at you 3-1). And once you jump all the way to where you can go inside the tree, the fun doesn't stop. I think I died more times inside of this tree than in the entire rest of the game combined. Seriously, this level is difficult, but in a good way. You also get to fight Dimentio for the first time here, which is an awesome battle. Just whatever you do, don't fall off of the red gust of wind at the very end like I did, that was very frustrating.
#10 - The Forbidden Apple (7-3)
This is a controversial opinion, but I think the Overthere Stair is one of the best levels in Super Paper Mario. I just find it to be so much fun jumping on clouds and flying way up onto higher platforms with hidden treasures. Also, you finally reunite with Peach, who has been cursed with some kind of black magic that puts her into a coma. You must find the correct apple (which is the black one) to cure her, otherwise she will be hit by some very strange side effect. You also get to feed a little cloud an apple which somehow causes him to become jumbo-sized and launch you off of the planet. The level is just silly and overall a great time.
#9 - The Mysterious Mr. L (4-4)
The final level in Outer Space places you in the aptly named "Whoa Zone", which will almost certainly make you say "whoa". The main gimmick of this level is that, upon entering certain doors or hitting special blocks, gravity will just cease to work properly and Mario (or whoever you're playing as) will be sent to either the ceiling or one of the walls. Trying to properly control your character and attack enemies while on the walls especially is very difficult. While this level is awesome, I just think it's a little bit too long (I did my calculations, and it took longer for me to complete this one level than the three before it in its chapter combined). At the end of the stage, you come to find Mr. L, who looks oddly similar to Luigi... Crazy theory: what if they're the same person? All jokes aside, after stomping on the green dude's face a couple of times, he will bring out his ultimate battle machine: a flying Brobot that is shaped just like Mr. L's head. The fight against Brobot basically turns the game into a space shooter. The fight is pretty epic, but the problem is that it isn't really a challenge at all. This level is really good, but I don't like it as much as the other ones on this list.
#8 - The Impending Darkness (8-1)
Even my least favorite level in the final chapter of the game earns a very high spot on this list. This is because the entirety of Castle Bleck is just amazing. The first level has you leaping across enormous gaps, lighting sconces, and demolishing your old rival O'Chunks once and for all. The enemies in Castle Bleck are more difficult than those in previous chapters by a large margin, and don't even get me started on the epic final dungeon music that you can listen to here. Also, the story takes a larger role in the game as soon as you hit this final chapter. This is a great introduction to the closing stages of Super Paper Mario.
#7 - A Crag in the Dark (5-3)
After having to trudge through the boredom that is 5-1 and 5-2, you reach the Floro Sapien Caverns, which is a perfect breath of fresh air. From the spectacular music to the epic roller coasters (do not tell me they are minecarts please, I know), this level is a blast to play through. You also have to avoid killing brainwashed Cragons to avoid the risk of losing hundreds of points. I don't know if it's nostalgia or just the contrast in fun factor from the previous two levels to this, but I just personally think that this is one of the most fun levels in the whole game.
#6 - Monster of the Ruins (1-4)
The first chapter-ending level in the game also happens to be one of the best. This level throws everything you've learned at you: puzzles that involve flipping, using Thoreau, and pro gamer platforming skills. From flipping and finding hidden keys to hitting blocks in the right order, the gameplay in these ruins is pretty great. There is also some pretty fire music. But we haven't even talked about the good stuff yet. The boss battle at the end of this place has honestly got to be one of the most epic video game moments of its time (okay maybe not that extreme but still). Fracktail, a giant computerized dragon is turned against Mario via Dimentio's magical powers. Mario must then flip and literally jump on top of the giant dragon. Then you get to chuck mini robots at its antenna and blow the darned thing to smithereens. The boss music is incredible and I couldn't keep in my laughter when Fracktail started spurting out random computer words (I'm something of a computer nerd myself). Solid gameplay and an absolutely epic boss fight earn Yold Ruins a spot at number 6 on this list.
#5 - The Chase (8-2)
The level of the final dungeon centered around Mimi is certain to have lots of traps and ruses put in place to trick the party. From impersonating Merlee to trying to give you your least favorite item, the mischievous spider-girl is not going to make it easy to get to Count Bleck. You then get to fight Mimi, which is another great boss battle (albeit not as exciting as the one in the Sammer's Kingdom). The epic attempt to stop the destruction of all worlds becomes increasingly more exciting and perilous as you near the final stages of the game.
#4 - The Basement Face-Off (2-4)
Nothing like sneaking around in an old lady's basement, only to find hordes of demonic creatures, ghosts, and secret tunnels. This level contains tons of fantastic enemies, and around halfway through the dungeon, Mimi, after disguising herself as Merlee, horrifyingly breaks her neck, grows eight legs, and starts to chase you around the basement as you make a mad dash for the... bathroom. When I played through this dungeon, I almost had a heart attack every time Mimi showed up and the music changed. After reaching the bathroom, you get to play a minigame to try and discern which Merlee is real and which one is actually Mimi in disguise. After using your master detective skills (or just finding the fly), you get to face off against Mimi in her glorious spider form. This boss fight is quite fun, and I found it best to use Thoreau to throw the Rubees at her head and then jump on her a couple of times. After obliterating Mimi, you receive the yellow Pure Heart and escape the basement.
#3 - Breaking the Bank (2-3)
Why in heck would I put a level where you have to jump and hit a glowing block repeatedly while avoiding an electric current on the ground as the third best level in the entire game? I honestly have no idea. But ever since I first played this game I had a soft spot for the third level of the second chapter. Talking to the other people forced to work for Mimi and buying secret code words to unlock the VIP room is just fun. And even though I have access to the official strategy guide and the Internet, I've never just looked up the passcode to the secret vault (where's the fun in that?). It's just all fun and silly since Mimi makes you earn a million of her fake currency called Rupees for knocking over a vase on top of a block (seems excessive, doesn't it?) That's because it is. Mimi's intention was to trap Mario and Peach there forever, but through a sneaky vault robbery, they are able to amass all 1 million Rupees with relative ease. You also meet Slim in this level, which is nice as he is a pretty cool familiar (although I never really found a use for him throughout the game). After giving your stolen gems to Mimi, she literally explodes. And somehow she magically turns up in the next level. This level is just awesome, fun, and funny, which gives it it's place in the third position on this list.
#2 - Countdown to Destruction (8-3)
The penultimate level of Super Paper Mario is an incredibly well designed level and has probably the best gameplay out of any level in the game. From rooms requiring you take a certain path to frightening mirror hallways with fake mirrors, this level has it all. After completing a few puzzles, Mario and Luigi come to the second hall of mirrors, where Dimentio seems to be hiding. After literally smashing hundreds of Dimentio's clones with a hammer, you get the key, which allows you to reach what seems to be the final showdown with Dimentio. Instead of just jumping on his head, Dimentio complicates things by making you return to various portions of the game, running from the evil jester while using Fleep to warp to the next location. This is a really fun idea and allows you to look back on all the places you've gone throughout your playthrough. Once the chase is over, you get an old-fashioned jump-a-thon of Luigi versus Dimentio, which isn't the greatest thing ever, but makes the final plot elements of the game make much more sense as you can see Luigi and Dimentio alone while Mario and the Pixls are forced to leave. This is my favorite level in the game when it comes to gameplay, but as in any RPG, gameplay isn't the only factor.
#1 - Tippi and Count Bleck (8-4)
At last, Mario, now alone, has reached the inner sanctum of Bleck's unhallowed fortress. As the chances of saving the world appear to be slim, Mario does not give up and decides to face Count Bleck alone. He must traverse very dangerous moving platforms and 3D mazes to reach the meeting place of the Dark Prognosticus. Until Nintendo does what Nintendo does and reveals that somehow your entire party actually survived (not that I'm complaining or anything). Heck, maybe that was Intelligent Systems, not Nintendo. Anyway, Count Bleck channels the power of the Chaos Heart, making himself invincible and preparing to destroy the universe. Unfortunately for Bleck, the power of the Pure Hearts exceeds that of the Chaos Heart, meaning that he no longer can be invincible. After giving him a good pummeling, Bleck lies on the ground, defeated. But then it is revealed that Dimentio, not Blumiere, is the true villain here, and that Count Bleck wanted the prophecy to be stopped all along. Dimentio then possesses Luigi and enters his ultimate creation: Super Dimentio (great name, I know). The actual fight against this boss is much more difficult than the relatively trivial fight against Bleck. And I forgot to mention: the music tracks for both the Count Bleck fight and the Super Dimentio fight are absolutely phenomenal. After defeating the final boss, there is a supremely epic ending that wraps up the story very well. This level is the best in the game because it has challenging gameplay, epic boss fights, and finishes what may be the best story in Super Mario history.
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